You’d be hard-pressed to find a university senior who’s not worried about what challenges their first year in the “real world” will bring.
But while they may be nervous about finding a job or adjusting to a new city, it turns out their chief concern has to do with money.
That’s according to a recent poll from LendEDU that surveyed more than 3,770 university students over an 11-month period, nearly half (48%) of which said paying taxes and budgeting are the scariest part about graduating university and entering the real world.
Their next biggest concerns, according to the survey findings, were finding a job (26%), not being around friends all the time (14%), and waking up early five days a week (11%).
Considering money is one of the leading stressors among American adults, it’s not entirely surprising that 20-somethings feel most worried about taking on financial responsibilities like paying taxes and budgeting. And yet, these two things are inevitable.
If you don’t pay your taxes, some pretty terrible things could happen to you, like acquiring late fees, forfeiting your refund, or losing ground on your credit report. The good news: It’s not that hard to pay them. Online software like TurboTax and H&R Block make it easier than ever to file electronically — just don’t forget to claim tax breaks that could save you money. If you have a complicated financial situation, like tons of student loans or a side hustle or two, seek help from an accountant or financial adviser.
And as dull and “real world” as it may seem, forming a budget in your early 20s is crucial. In fact, one of the dumbest things you could do is ignore your cash flow and spending patterns. That first paycheck at your new job may make you feel powerful, but a lot of it will get eaten up by expenses you may have never had before, like rent, utilities, credit card bills, food, travel, and so on.
Tracking your money — whether through a personalised spreadsheet or an app — is the best way to ensure you’re not overspending in the wrong places and keeping up with your expenses. Believe it or not, once you establish the habit, the effort is minimal.