There’s only so much that your parents can do to prepare you for being an adult. If you’re lucky, they have done their best to teach you about financial responsibility. At a certain point though, it’s really up to you. Being financially responsible requires discipline. It means having to pass up short-lived fun for long-term stability. It’s not something that you should put off until you’re well into your twenties or thirties. By starting now, you can lay the foundation for a successful life. With any luck, you’ll be able to live debt-free. Keeping a budget, filing your taxes online and reconciling your bank account are just a few things you can do. Learn more about developing financial responsibility below.
Avoid Serious Consequences
It’s easy to brush off the importance of being financially responsible. However, some very serious consequences can rear their heads sooner rather than later. From running up a huge amount of debt to ending up in jail for not paying your taxes, ignoring the importance of financial responsibility can wreak havoc on your life. The good news is that it’s not too difficult to get where you need to be.
Use Your Computer to Create and Manage a Budget
You can’t hope to live within your financial means without creating a budget. In years past, the only way to do so was by whipping out a pencil and a sheet of paper. These days, it’s a lot easier. Whether you use Excel to create a spreadsheet, or if you invest in high-quality budgeting software, getting started is a snap. There are even websites that automatically import all of your bank account and credit card information, so you can always see where you stand.
Reconcile Your Bank Account
Just because you rarely write checks doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about balancing your checkbook. Without periodically reconciling your bank account, you could miss discrepancies that could add up to a lot of money. When you do write a check, make sure to deduct the amount of the check from your balance immediately. It may not clear right away, but you need to pretend that it has. Otherwise, you could end up with bounced checks, overdraft fees and all kinds of trouble.
File Your Taxes Online
It is your responsibility to file your taxes every year. No one else is going to do it for you. Many young adults get refunds, so that is an added incentive. However, even if you owe money, you need to stay on top of your tax situation. You don’t have to be a math whiz to do so, and you don’t have to pay an accountant to do it for you. More people are choosing to file taxes online and you can too. It’s a fast, easy, affordable and convenient way to take care of this important business.
Keep an Eye on the Future
Finally, as difficult as it may be to believe, you’re going to retire someday. It’s easy to think that you can put off worrying about retirement, but it really pays to start planning for it as early as possible. Start socking away money now. It will compound over the years, which means that you’ll accumulate quite a nest egg. By doing this, you’ll stay ahead of the curve and set the stage for a financially stable life.
Jeana Olchowy is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @jolchowy25.