News

The Pains of Being an Adult

By: KENDALL ASBELL
Staff Writer
@kendallasbell

   Adulting—the verb form of adult, meaning “to adult.”

   This word has become more prevalent within the millennial zeitgeist, as many of us enter adulthood and begin to experience the realities of living on our own.

   It perfectly encapsulates the sometimes-mundane tasks that we do as adults—tasks that were once charged to our parents. For many of us, our parents were a wonderful source of support and guidance. But even with that support, some of us remain clueless regarding certain aspects of adulthood. This is especially true when it comes to handling money.

   Between paying bills, doing taxes, grocery shopping, doing laundry and—on top of all of that—schoolwork, students are often overwhelmed. Indeed, such stress was reflected in a study conducted by the American College Health Association in 2013. The study asked college students how they felt over a 12-month period and the results were revealing:

  •  84.3 percent felt overwhelmed by all they had to do
  •  60.5 percent felt very sad
  •  57.0 percent felt very lonely
  •  51.3 percent felt overwhelming anxiety
  •  8.0 percent seriously considered suicide

   Parents clearly want the best for their children, and many go to great pains to ensure that their children are safe, cared for and comfortable. But, can this kind of parenting backfire? Micromanaging a child or a young adult’s life—often called helicopter parenting—will likely not help them build stronger social and economic skills. Rather, it is actually more likely to hinder a child’s development, since that child is not learning how to complete tasks alone or how to cope with stress.

   And while we might not all be the victims of helicopter parenting, confronting the many stresses of daily life is certainly not easy. Our lives are filled with deadlines, meetings, errands, etc. Often, one of the last things on our minds is the importance of saving money and investing. Let’s face it, young people often have little money to spare, and the thought of wisely putting money away for the future may seem absurd. The stock market looks like a confusing morass of numbers, and many of us couldn’t tell the difference between a hedge fund and a mutual fund.

   A new app called Acorns may be instructive for many of us—let’s call us the economically uninitiated. The app is designed to round each of your purchases up to the next dollar and use that change to begin investing in stocks, bonds and real estate holdings.

   The idea behind Acorns came from its co-founder, Jeff Cruttenden. As a college student, he noticed that his peers were not saving or investing money—a skill that had been instilled in him by his father. Together they created Acorns, where you can save and invest money while only depositing less than $1 at a time.

   According to Cruttenden, 75 percent of Acorn users are under the age of 35. They are tech savvy college students. They are curious about investing, but have limited resources available. With this in mind, the company provides an incentive for college students to sign up. Any student with a .edu email address will receive a waiver of all fees over the next four years. So you literally have nothing to lose. You can also customize your investing strategies. You may be as aggressive or as conservative as you’d like to be.

   Learning how to save and invest one’s money is an important life skill, and the stresses with managing our personal finances are natural. Classes like home economics, which may have seemed silly to many of us, were perhaps quite useful in retrospect. Indeed, it was constructed to teach us many of the important tasks that we must all perform on a daily basis as adults. Perhaps a newer, revamped version of home economics should be taught in school, teaching students how to manage money, pay bills and invest.”

   Remember, whether you are a parent or a child, everybody needs to learn how to grow up and be an adult on his or her own. It may seem scary and overwhelming at times, but mistakes are what make us stronger. Take the time to learn important skills for the future, and if you need help there are always apps like Acorns, or a parent who’s just a phone call away.

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