Let’s Talk Adulthood

As 2021 approaches, I have been making a to-do list of things I need to look into over the next year. Come February, I will have been a legal adult for a decade. I still don’t feel like a true adult. While I consider my self lucky, especially for a millennial, I also know I worked hard to get where I am. Yet, there are areas of adulthood that just make me confused, frustrated, and just plain lost.

  • My education prepared me for a job, not life
  • The cost of my higher education
  • The cost of having a house
  • When do I need life insurance??
  • When do I need a will??
  • How a I supposed to stick to a budget and save money for 6 months of expenses when half my monthly income goes to my mortgage and loans?
  • Why are people harping on my generation for not spending money and having kids when it is $10,000 with insurance to just be pregnant and have the baby with no complications???

I am thankful for my education. It allowed me to learn how to socialize and do algebra and to learn that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. What it did not teach me was how to budget effectively – my mom did most of that. My education was for college, plain and simple. Instead of learning about negotiating salaries, researching loans and credit scores, investing in IRAs and 401k, I learned U.S. history for ten years and sciences I do not use ever because I went into business. That’s a pretty big pitfall for a society that expects young adults to be just like the generations before it.

I have been lucky enough to be able to make monthly payments – the same payments as originally scheduled, not less- on my federal student loans during the Covid 0% interest/ forbearance period. These loans (plus another $30K with Sallie Mae) paid for 3.5 years of housing and tuition and books and required meal plans at GCSU as well as my Masters program in accounting at GSU in 2016.

The total cost for my education was around $80K, not including what I earned through the Hope Scholarship program. I paid on the loans during school. I followed the “don’t borrow more than you will make” rule I was told in HS. I was a business major. I tried to compete for jobs in a small town populated with thousands of students also looking for jobs. I could not get one until after my Disney College Program. Then I worked at Old Navy while at home and called alumni every night to give GCSU more money for $7/hour that paid for my gas and food while at school. My last loan payment is currently predicted to be October 2041. And I will pay almost double what I borrowed.

This is the remaining projected cost of my education over the next 31 years if I don’t pay more than my monthly payments.

Free tuition or loan cancelation may not be the right answer – I don’t know what is. I do know that high education needs a reform as young adults are going into more debt than they understand. And this debt will effect the economy as it factors into home buying and starting a family. Price of school is only going up.

Oh, and that buying a house thing? Again, this is where I get lucky. I am outside Orlando, basically in a more rural area that is starting to build up cause we’re 30 minutes from Disney. Our budget for a starter home was $220,000. Do you know what most of the houses in our budget looked like? They had been abandoned and covered with dead lizards. Only two were nice enough to actually consider. And after closing costs and down payments, we have a mortgage for $213,000 because the total for this house ended up being over budget by a few grand. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house. It’s perfect for where I am now. But if we have more than one child in the next few years, we will need to move. So, over $220,000 for a 5 year starter home in a not too terrible area.

How is that a starting price??? That was before furniture and other random repairs/ changes we made in the first year. All of that was definitely a few more grand, even after moving some of our apartment furniture with us. Thank God Disney covered the moving costs as well.

Yeah, no idea where or how to start looking at different life insurance companies. I know we need to get it, but the internet only helps so much when trying to figure out which company to go with. Same with choosing medical insurance levels. That crap gets so confusing when it’s time to make the next year’s elections.

Do you get a will after you have children or sooner? Should we have gotten them after we got married? Where was the “Random Adult Things No One Talks About” class?

I update my budget every six months as that is usually when my car insurance premium changes. Almost every month we go over because the cost of everything is crazy. And, before you say anything, my mortgage is about the same as what rent would have been down here. That isn’t the problem. But, on top of that, $600+ goes to student loans. Then there is car insurance which is another $250. Then cell phones through Sprint and my husband’s discount, internet, power (holy cow AC costs and the cost of power while working from home was so high this year), water, HOA… Groceries. I put about $100 in savings a month. It needs to be more, but we need to stick to a budget first. I don’t want to add credit card debt to the loans. I already feel guilty enough that my college education is costing us so much.

Speaking of debt, if we decide to have children, medical debt is basically inevitable. I did some research on this the other day. With health insurance, a normal pregnancy and birth in Florida costs about $10,000. If you have a c-section, you’re looking at about $14,000. And if you have emergency issues or NICU needs? Yeah, that price skyrockets. What is the point of the insurance at that point? I don’t want to go into the politics of this one, but maybe you should think about it the next time you ask a millennial or a gen-z individual when they are going to have kids. Birthing a child is the same cost as a downpayment on a house. What. Even.

So, yeah. Sorry for the rant. I’m just frustrated. Lately I feel like I’m working 80% of my life away for more bills and not fun. I know others have it worse and others have it better. But as a probably upper middle class married couple with two incomes, it’s still really freaking difficult. I wouldn’t even call us frivolous spenders – Christmas season not counting there. But the rest of the year, we only really spend on what we need. Sometimes we treat ourselves, but that is usually in the form of books. And now I’m trying to make excuses to internet strangers. Sorry. Anyway, if you want to join in on the rant or share words of wisdom, please do.

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