27 votes

I'm freaking out and need advice

My mother died last month and I've been thinking of leaving my father's house ever since then. I initially thought I'd be okay with doing that, regardless of whether or not my father would object, but he talked with me last night saying he'd be okay if I left and now I'm FREAKING OUT.

Background: I'm 23 and living in Houston, Texas. I have an older brother who lives in Dallas who offered to take me in, but it wouldn't be very permanent as he plans on leaving the country for a trip next year and will be gone for some time. I also have a friend from high school who offered me a room, but she lives in Seattle and was fired from her job. No one else who is close to me is able to offer me a place to stay.

My concerns: I dropped out of college. I was planning on going back but then my mother died and that plan was put on hold, so I don't have any marketable skills (I've only ever worked in retail). I also don't have a job lined up anywhere else. I've never had to take on so many bills at one time and therefore I don't know much about budgeting.

I'd like to leave, but where I am it's secure and comfy. Maybe it's finally time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and start taking control of my own life, but I don't want to risk my safety and finances on a crazy idea.

I welcome any and all advice, and thanks for reading.

edit: changed a word

49 comments

  1. [10]
    NaraVara
    (edited )
    Link
    This seems like a general freaking out about adulting issue. One of the things with anxiety is that your shame about not being comfortable with something you think you should be comfortable with...

    This seems like a general freaking out about adulting issue.

    One of the things with anxiety is that your shame about not being comfortable with something you think you should be comfortable with makes you feel more anxious about screwing up, with ratchets up the shame, and so on. It ends up being a feedback loop of fear and anxiety that makes it hard to focus or think straight.

    So first, just acknowledge to yourself that it is perfectly natural to be anxious in a situation like this. Adulting is hard and, in some big ways, it's literally never been harder. You're making a big step that will come with big responsibilities. It's also a necessary and important step to help you grow and have a greater sense of agency and control over your destiny once you get the basic habits and skills down. So it's normal to be a little scared, but there is also a lot to be excited about. Right now, you're just looking at a giant wall of "challenges" and "stuff you don't know" so it's a bit daunting. But if we break things down into little tasks on a checklist and just work through them, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can knock most of these things out.

    Secondly, you're gonna need a job and your own money to truly get a taste of freedom. You mentioned you've done retail before, so right there that implies several marketable skills you can put on a resume including:

    • Ability to talk to customers and have a good attitude about it, even if you're unhappy and they're being dicks

    • Ability to show up on time and sober

    • Ability to follow directions and learn complex instructions

    • Ability to work as part of a team to execute on a goal

    • Creativity? (Like, window decorations and stuff)

    Other things you can look at are things like a temp agency that can place you or a receptionist gig.

    Thirdly, I can't go through a full Adulting 101 class in a Tildes comment, so I'm going to focus on the first and most important skill you need to learn, which is how to budget and manage your finances. I don't know where you are with this so I'll start with some basics.

    Banking

    You're gonna want a savings account and you're gonna want a checking account to start with. You're going to want a bank that is transparent and up front about its fee structure (so not Bank of America or Wells Fargo. I've had decent luck with Chase, but most people recommend you go with a local credit union). You're going to want to opt out of overdraft protection, where they functionally charge you $30 any time you don't have enough money in your account to save you the embarassment of having a transaction declined. Fuck that. Deal with the embarassment and save yourself the $30 poor tax. And you're going to want to set up direct deposit with whatever job you eventually get.

    Budgeting

    Second, you're going to want to create a spreadsheet where you lay out all your major expenses. This is not just important for making your budget, but it will help you structure your thinking around your spending. You can get as granular as you want, but for starting out I'd recommend keeping it broad.

    1. Non-discretionary recurring expenses:

    These are things you need to pay every single month. These go in a category together because they happen every month and you can mostly predict what it will be.

    • Rent and property fees (such as HOA or whatever else your landlord tacks onto your rent)
    • Utilities (generally power and water, possibly gas)
    • Internet service
    • Health insurance
    • Car insurance
    • Car payments
    • Phone/data plan
    • Servicing debts (e.g. student loans, car payments, credit cards, etc.)

    2. Non-discretionary variable expenses

    These are things where you have to spend money on it, but it's unclear how much you'll be spending month to month. So this includes things like:

    • Groceries
    • Transportation. If you have a car this includes cost of ownership stuff like gas and maintenance, but also accounts for things like rideshare services, taxis, bus or train service, etc.
    • Household maintenance which includes things like laundry, cleaning services if you need them, etc.
    • Work expenses. You may or may not have these. It's basically what it costs to buy, operate, and maintain the tools of your trade. So for me this is basically my laptop. If you have a very customer facing role (like waiting tables), this may include things like dry cleaning or maintaining your uniform. Since you mentioned you're presently unemployed, then for you it's going to involve expenses related to getting a job such as: Buying and maintaining a nice "interview outfit" (depending on what kinds of jobs you're looking for); Paying to get your resume listed in places if you need to; A career counselor, Courses at a community college that might help you get a certification or look good on a resume, Exam fees for certifications you might need to get.

    3. Discretionary recurring expenses

    These are also things that you need to pay every month, but they aren't really necessary for going through life. So these are mostly subscription services or lifestyle expenses like:

    • Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, cable TV, etc.
    • Playstation+, Nintendo Direct, etc.
    • iCloud storage, backblaze, password manager, etc.
    • Gym memberships or any sorts of classes involving a contract (e.g. yoga, crossfit)

    4. Discretionary variable expenses

    This is basically everything else. Your clothes, your household goods, books, your hobbies that don't involve subscriptions, eating out, getting coffee, going on dates, hitting up the club, etc.

    Prioritizing

    These are sorted in order of priority and priority is essentially based on least to most flexibility. The stuff up front you have very little ability to change without making major lifestyle changes, so you focus on trying to keep those expenses as low as you can deal with comfortably. Now when I say "comfort" I don't really mean luxuriousness or creature comforts (though don't feel bad about indulging in those in moderation). I'm talking about stuff that's trustworthy and reliable. You want your car to run reliably, you want your house or apartment to have heat/plumbing/AC that works and doesn't have a pest control problem, etc.

    When looking for a job, you definitely want to make sure that whatever your compensation is covers all of groups 1 and 2 with plenty of room to spare. So set your budget realistically and conservatively. Then, you want to take 5% of whatever is left and put it in a savings account. When you're first starting out I'd recommend being a bit extra aggressive about saving money. They say you should try to keep enough in savings to cover you for 6 months without any major changes to your lifestyle. It's a good goal to set for yourself to try and hit that mark as quickly as you can.

    What's left after that you can distribute between groups 3 and 4. Be particularly careful with group 3, because once you get into the habit of having these things it's hard to shut them off, and they can tend to bleed your savings pretty quickly. So don't sign up for something until you're sure you want it and use it regularly enough to justify it. In particular, try not to fall in love with sports or reality television. Cable subscriptions are monstrously expensive and they leverage exclusivity in access to ESPN or Bravo to make you pay out the nose (I speak from experience here).

    What next?

    There's a lot of optimizing you can do once you get those basics above down. Home economics is literally a class they used to teach in schools around how to manage a household, buy groceries, plan and cook meals, mend and maintain your stuff, manage household finances, etc. So you'll get the thrill of having to learn all of those on your own through, like, lifestylist instagram memes or something since they don't teach it in schools anymore.

    (Edits: Big post, lots of formatting stuff to do in it)

    34 votes
    1. [9]
      zara
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Wow, that's a lot of good info! One thing regarding banks: I am actually using a credit union right now, but my father says I should move to a nationally recognized bank (like Chase) so it'll be...

      Wow, that's a lot of good info! One thing regarding banks: I am actually using a credit union right now, but my father says I should move to a nationally recognized bank (like Chase) so it'll be an easier transition if I decide to go across state lines.

      Also, I forgot to put this in the post, I do have a part time retail job but it only pays me around $800, after taxes. (not including this month, where we're given more hours since it's the holidays)

      edit: a word

      9 votes
      1. [8]
        NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        In general, he's right that banks have more branches and work nationally. So it comes down to how realistic do you think it is that you will move to another state? Also, it's exactly as annoying...

        I am actually using a credit union right now, but my father says I should move to a nationally recognized bank (like Chase) so it'll be an easier transition if I decide to go across state line.

        In general, he's right that banks have more branches and work nationally. So it comes down to how realistic do you think it is that you will move to another state? Also, it's exactly as annoying to move from a credit union to a bank now as it would be when deciding to move. So I'm not sure how much weight it should have as a consideration. It just comes down to how likely you think it will be for you to travel across state lines frequently.

        Usually the bigger frustration I hear about credit unions is they don't have as many branches so if there aren't any near you then you end up having to pay a lot of ATM fees when you're trying to withdraw cash in a pinch. That kind of comes down to how well served you are by them in the area that you live in.

        Also, I forgot to put this in the post, I do have a part time retail job but it only pays me around $800, after taxes. (not including this month, where we're given more hours since it's the holidays)

        Well that's a good start. One note of caution though. Any money from "windfall" situations, like bonus hours around the holidays, you should generally put towards savings. When budgeting try to stick to living within whatever your stable base of income is for your inflexible expenses. And then when you get a windfall (which can be bonuses, a gift, getting a well paid temp gig, or whatever) you can apply it to some combination of treating yourself and banking it. (Caveat: paying down debt counts as "banking it," especially credit card debt which should be a high priority for zeroing out as soon as you have that 6 month buffer in place).

        5 votes
        1. [5]
          MimicSquid
          Link Parent
          A lot of credit unions provide ATM fee refunds in order to make it more convenient without additional cost.

          A lot of credit unions provide ATM fee refunds in order to make it more convenient without additional cost.

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            zara
            Link Parent
            I'm not finding anything about that on my credit union's website. Should I call them directly and ask anyway?

            I'm not finding anything about that on my credit union's website. Should I call them directly and ask anyway?

            3 votes
            1. anahata
              Link Parent
              When in doubt, ask. The worst they can do is say no. If enough people ask, they may decide to start doing it.

              When in doubt, ask. The worst they can do is say no. If enough people ask, they may decide to start doing it.

              7 votes
            2. MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              Yes, some do and some don't, but it's worth asking. In my experience a small native ATM network is one of the only downsides to a credit union, and even that is only an issue if you regularly need...

              Yes, some do and some don't, but it's worth asking. In my experience a small native ATM network is one of the only downsides to a credit union, and even that is only an issue if you regularly need cash.

              3 votes
            3. anahata
              Link Parent
              I suppose this is something you should think about: how often do you need cash? If you don't actually need cash much, then the smaller ATM networks for a credit union (or my recommendation,...

              I suppose this is something you should think about: how often do you need cash? If you don't actually need cash much, then the smaller ATM networks for a credit union (or my recommendation, Simple) won't matter to you very much.

              1 vote
        2. [2]
          zara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Yeah, credit unions are not as convenient as I'd like them to be, but I feel disgusted towards many national banks (expecially Wells Fargo after they had that big scandal a few years ago). edit: I...

          Yeah, credit unions are not as convenient as I'd like them to be, but I feel disgusted towards many national banks (expecially Wells Fargo after they had that big scandal a few years ago).

          edit: I might end up using a traditional bank, however just because they're so convenient.

          1 vote
          1. anahata
            Link Parent
            If you're going for a traditional bank, I like1 https://simple.com. They don't do fees, they help you find fee-free ATMs, they have budgeting and expenses features, they have savings accounts that...

            If you're going for a traditional bank, I like1 https://simple.com. They don't do fees, they help you find fee-free ATMs, they have budgeting and expenses features, they have savings accounts that they make it easy to use. No exploitation or anything like that. Very helpful and human customer service.

            1Imagine what it means for me to say I like my bank.

            3 votes
  2. [7]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I would encourage you to check out the resources available in the wiki/sidebar of https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/. You may also want to repost your question there as they have a lot more...

    I would encourage you to check out the resources available in the wiki/sidebar of https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/.

    You may also want to repost your question there as they have a lot more experience and have helped a lot of people in a similar situation as yourself.


    As for personal recommendations, the first thing that I would do is sit down and figure out exactly what you want to do and set goals for yourself. If you are currently unemployed, it may be best to stick with your father's house for awhile longer until you get on your feet. If that is not realistic, you can try one of your friends or other family members until you save up enough to put down a deposit on an apartment.

    It seems like right now, you do not have the fiscal ability to move out on your own. I would suggest trying to get a job close to whatever residence you decide to go with. Even retail experience is a marketable skill and can be translated to other jobs. Retail builds interpersonal communication skills, customer service experience, money management, etc. I would suggest checking out banks near by as one option as bank tellers can make a decent starting wage and have some benefits.

    Once you get a job and receive your first paycheck, you need to build a budget. This means determining how much you will be making after taxes, and then figuring out what your current expenses are, then determining from how much is left what you can afford for things like rent.

    I would also recommend checking out community college. It is a great way to get back into school without the huge cost and loans racking up. If you are not as academically inclined, you may also want to check out some technical schools to learn a trade.

    8 votes
    1. [6]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Is it bad that I'm having trouble with the first step? The only goals I can think of are "don't become homeless" and "live in a safe area" and "make sure to have an emergency fund" but they're not...

      Is it bad that I'm having trouble with the first step? The only goals I can think of are "don't become homeless" and "live in a safe area" and "make sure to have an emergency fund" but they're not the deep and meaningful goals that most people seem to have.

      1. NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Ha! People only have "deep and meaningful goals" in their 20s. At this point the only difference between my goals and yours are that I get to tack on the words "for my spouse, dog, and future...

        deep and meaningful goals that most people seem to have.

        Ha! People only have "deep and meaningful goals" in their 20s. At this point the only difference between my goals and yours are that I get to tack on the words "for my spouse, dog, and future kids" to the end of each of them. When you have a job and a community of friends the more fun goals will show up on their own. You just need to focus on making sure you have the basics squared away. You can worry about your long term career and stuff once you've got the basic habits of adulting down.

        10 votes
      2. [4]
        dubteedub
        Link Parent
        That is totally normal to not know what exactly you want to do or what you would be passionate about in your early 20s. It is a good time to explore options and see what interests you the most. It...

        That is totally normal to not know what exactly you want to do or what you would be passionate about in your early 20s. It is a good time to explore options and see what interests you the most. It sounds to me like trying some community college may be a good idea to see what careers you may be interested in. Maybe you can try using your friends and family to feel things out and use them as a soundboard?

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          zara
          Link Parent
          Use my friends and family how? For financial support?

          Use my friends and family how? For financial support?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            dubteedub
            Link Parent
            To talk things out. Sometimes it helps to have someone to listen to, maybe offer advice for how they were able to figure things out, and offer to lend a hand. You also may learn that they had...

            To talk things out. Sometimes it helps to have someone to listen to, maybe offer advice for how they were able to figure things out, and offer to lend a hand. You also may learn that they had similar struggles to you and that things are not so insurmountable.

            3 votes
            1. zara
              Link Parent
              Yes, I do have some friends but I guess I'm not reaching out as often as I should otherwise I don't think I'd be this freaked out. I'll send some texts and try to get the conversations flowing again.

              Yes, I do have some friends but I guess I'm not reaching out as often as I should otherwise I don't think I'd be this freaked out. I'll send some texts and try to get the conversations flowing again.

              1 vote
  3. [9]
    vivaria
    (edited )
    Link
    Outside of the finances themselves, what does your social support network look like? (i.e. Who do you have who you feel comfortable confiding in about sensitive/serious topics... the kind of...

    Outside of the finances themselves, what does your social support network look like? (i.e. Who do you have who you feel comfortable confiding in about sensitive/serious topics... the kind of topics you might feel anxious to bring up around someone you're not so close with. Who are the people you feel you could call in an emergency for a couch to sleep on or a warm meal? That's a big ask, but I think it's a good metric for closeness, just thinking about my own people.)

    Asking because moving out and taking on independent responsibilities is... challenging, as you acknowledge. Sometimes you just need folks to vent to, who you can trust will listen and respond nonjudgmentally. Knowing that there are lifelines available really helps to ease some of the pressure of moving out. If you get into a bind, too, the last thing you want to happen is to feel like you need to handle everything yourself. That can lead to some... scary mental health spots, speaking from experience.

    EDIT: Also, it's worth mentioning that... a month is a really short time following the loss of a loved one. People cope with grief in different ways, but... my gut wants to caution against making big life-altering changes in the wake of such an impactful event. Just... knowing myself, and how prone I was to making impulse decisions when I was in unstable places. It might be good to look into counselling if you feel it's something that might benefit you, just to help process where you're at and what you want/need right now.

    7 votes
    1. [8]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Oh I'm sorry you had some bad experiences. :( And yes, I do have a few friends both here and in other places who I talk to, but their advice is more along the lines of "what do you have a passion...

      Oh I'm sorry you had some bad experiences. :(

      And yes, I do have a few friends both here and in other places who I talk to, but their advice is more along the lines of "what do you have a passion for?" and my answer tends to be "well, I like not being homeless and not having to worry about a gang shootout".

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        vivaria
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's tricky... I had a friend who moved to BC from Toronto for a job, only for that job to not pan out. I worried so much about her. She was constantly in financial trouble, having to deal with...

        It's tricky... I had a friend who moved to BC from Toronto for a job, only for that job to not pan out. I worried so much about her. She was constantly in financial trouble, having to deal with flaky landlords, shady roommates, abrupt and unexpected costs, and her own mental health. Flying back to her parents wasn't an option because the move itself was so expensive. I almost wish she hadn't moved... it really destabilized things for her?

        FWIW, I don't think there should be any shame in staying in a safe and cozy environment. The idea that you should push yourself out of your comfort zone isn't an absolute truth or anything. Times have changed, and the ideal of "moving out early, finding a good job, a good partner, buying a house, having kids" isn't as realistic as it used to be.

        @emdash posted a nice article on this topic that I think might be relevant here: https://tildes.net/~life/jxr/middle_class_millennials_arent_leaving_home

        5 votes
        1. [6]
          zara
          Link Parent
          Yes, the idea of uprooting myself entirely sounds very destabilizing, which is why I'm being very cautious. I almost think that I'm not even trying to "push myself out of my comfort zone" but...

          Yes, the idea of uprooting myself entirely sounds very destabilizing, which is why I'm being very cautious.

          I almost think that I'm not even trying to "push myself out of my comfort zone" but rather trying to run away from my problems :/

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            vivaria
            Link Parent
            It might be good to spend some time exploring those problems in a safe environment? I'm not sure what your relationship is like with your father... when I lived with my dad, I had an intense...

            I almost think that I'm not even trying to "push myself out of my comfort zone" but rather trying to run away from my problems :/

            It might be good to spend some time exploring those problems in a safe environment? I'm not sure what your relationship is like with your father... when I lived with my dad, I had an intense desire to GTFO of there constantly. I don't know if I would have been able to process things while still being there. But... your relationship with your dad might be different.

            4 votes
            1. [4]
              zara
              Link Parent
              No, it's not very good, we've never gotten along and he can be toxic.

              No, it's not very good, we've never gotten along and he can be toxic.

              3 votes
              1. dubteedub
                Link Parent
                It sounds like a therapist may be a really good option for you. You are grieving and dealing with a difficult relationship with your remaining parent. It would be a good idea to find a safe space...

                It sounds like a therapist may be a really good option for you. You are grieving and dealing with a difficult relationship with your remaining parent. It would be a good idea to find a safe space for someone to listen and help.

                5 votes
              2. [2]
                vivaria
                Link Parent
                Gosh, I'm sorry to hear that. This seems like a real rock-and-a-hard-place situation... I can see how moving out and gaining autonomy could be beneficial. It's hard not having agency over certain...

                No, it's not very good, we've never gotten along and he can be toxic.

                Gosh, I'm sorry to hear that. This seems like a real rock-and-a-hard-place situation... I can see how moving out and gaining autonomy could be beneficial. It's hard not having agency over certain decisions. I know I felt a real influence from my own toxic dad just by virtue of it being his house and his money. There was this lingering feeling of having to bend to his will (even if it wasn't explicitly stated).

                You have time to plan, though, I hope? If you do decide to move out, you can stay a while still, just to think things through and come up with Plan Bs and what have you?

                2 votes
                1. zara
                  Link Parent
                  Oh for sure, I'm not going to move out tomorrow.

                  Oh for sure, I'm not going to move out tomorrow.

                  1 vote
  4. [2]
    mrbig
    Link
    It is very hard to give advice because I know nothing about the economics of your location (I'm not even in America), BUT I can say it is probably unwise to make such a radical decision so shortly...

    It is very hard to give advice because I know nothing about the economics of your location (I'm not even in America), BUT I can say it is probably unwise to make such a radical decision so shortly after the loss of a parent. Since you clearly have no pressures to leave the family home, let things settle for at least another month, so you can start this new chapter of your life with your head straight. Good luck!

    7 votes
    1. zara
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the response :)

      Thanks for the response :)

      1 vote
  5. [4]
    kfwyre
    Link
    There is lots of good advice here in this thread, but I'll share one piece of it from my experience: Some people feel the need to move out because their situation is hostile or toxic. I...

    There is lots of good advice here in this thread, but I'll share one piece of it from my experience:

    Some people feel the need to move out because their situation is hostile or toxic. I experienced this, and there wasn't a lot you could have told me that would have made me stay where I was. I needed to go for my own safety. If this is you, know that, while necessary, it can be very tough.

    On the other hand, some people feel the need to move out because they want to establish independence from their parents. This, I would argue, is less necessary than it feels to many 20-year-olds. The problem with "independence" is that, in America, it's very much a monetary treadmill. By continuing to live with parents and share expenses, you are refusing to step onto the treadmill, which means you can save up money, develop skills, and utilize your time better than you could once you're on the treadmill.

    @NaraVara covered the types of costs you'll face by moving out quite well. There's an important consideration that goes along with this: the less well-equipped you are to handle those costs, the greater the human cost you'll face. If you can't afford a car, for example, the number of potential jobs you can take are far fewer. Furthermore, you'll faced increased stress from being dependent on external factors for transportation (e.g. buses, friends, carpools, etc.). You'll also likely spend more time commuting than you would if you had a car, since you'll be running on someone else's schedule, not your own.

    All of these little things compound one another, but the treadmill runs at the same rate. If you are not financially in a situation where you can stay ahead of the treadmill's pace, it will exact its cost from your humanity. For example, without enough money to cover costs you're forced to beg friends or family for money, which comes with a loss of dignity, or you can go to a predatory payday loan place, which simply postpones the financial crunch until later, yielding an even greater feeling of financial pressure and instability. When you can't pay with money, you pay instead through time, instability, stress, fatigue, and hopelessness.

    I say all of this not to scare you, but to note that for many twenty-somethings itching to get out of their parents' house, it makes far more financial sense to stay because you're not yet on the treadmill. It doesn't mean all of those costs aren't there, just that they're being taken care of by people who have the means to outpace them. My advice to almost anyone in that age group would be: do NOT be so eager to step on the treadmill. Life gets much harder once you're on it, and it's nearly impossible to get off of it again.

    Again, you know your situation better than I do. I would never encourage anyone to stay in a situation that's hostile to them, but I also wouldn't encourage anyone to hop onto the hostile financial treadmill that is modern adult life in America. If the level of friction at home is less than the level you'd face on that treadmill, it might make sense to stay.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I'm a bit torn on this. On the one hand, rent and utilities are really expensive and significantly hamper your ability to save money and set yourself up for the future. On the other hand, the...

      My advice to almost anyone in that age group would be: do NOT be so eager to step on the treadmill. Life gets much harder once you're on it, and it's nearly impossible to get off of it again.

      I'm a bit torn on this. On the one hand, rent and utilities are really expensive and significantly hamper your ability to save money and set yourself up for the future. On the other hand, the personal discipline required to regularly make rent and manage your finances are pretty critical to develop the necessary habits that will set you up for success in the future. And it's much easier when you're young, professional expectations on you are lower, and you still have a parent around to catch you if you fall. Learning how to manage a household AFTER you end up with a career or a family and the pressure on you ratchets up gets much harder and mistakes become more costly.

      I suppose, in theory, you can still cultivate these habits while living in a subsidized rent situation. But if that's where you are, it probably wouldn't hurt to help out by taking over some of the bills or at least take some of the work out of managing some finances or tasks around the house.

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Great points (both here and in your other posts in this thread). I actually over-generalized my advice a bit, as there's definitely a segment of the population for whom this independence is...

        Great points (both here and in your other posts in this thread).

        I actually over-generalized my advice a bit, as there's definitely a segment of the population for whom this independence is attainable and valuable. I do feel like there's a floor to that segment though, below which the treadmill is outright difficult, if not counterproductive. These are the people to whom I should be directing my caution. I know many people whose maximized financial output is at the minimum pace of the treadmill, so they live in a very precarious balance that can be disrupted at any moment. Furthermore, they can't ever get ahead, and much of their enjoyment in life is tinged with guilt, as any sort of non-essential spending (i.e. treating oneself) becomes an uncomfortable negotiation between comfort and necessity.

        This floor is different based on everyone's individual situation: location, career prospects, transportation, family financial situation, etc. Based on what the OP shared, they sounded like they might be close to that floor, especially because dropping out of college means that they likely took on student loan debt but don't have a degree to counterbalance that. Nevertheless, I agree with you that it's not universal. Plenty of people can benefit from stepping on the treadmill and learning healthy financial habits, provided they have the means to do so in the first place.

        5 votes
    2. zara
      Link Parent
      Thank you for such a thoughtful response. Let me make this clear: I am not in an unsafe situation and my father has told me he will not kick me out or abandon me (he is a pretty toxic person but...

      Thank you for such a thoughtful response.

      Let me make this clear: I am not in an unsafe situation and my father has told me he will not kick me out or abandon me (he is a pretty toxic person but he is true to his word). I only thought about getting out because it would take me away from him, but you've made some very solid points and I don't think I'd be able to stay balanced on the treadmill, as you'd say.

      3 votes
  6. [7]
    Data
    Link
    I can't offer much help, but just want you to know this is something a lot of us go through at some time or another. Keep your head up and don't let the stress of being independent get to you. If...

    I can't offer much help, but just want you to know this is something a lot of us go through at some time or another. Keep your head up and don't let the stress of being independent get to you.

    If you do end up in Dallas and got any questions about the area hit me up.

    3 votes
    1. [6]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Do you live in Dallas or just work there?

      Do you live in Dallas or just work there?

      1 vote
      1. [5]
        Data
        Link Parent
        Both actually. Well in the DFW area to be exact. Been here several years so I know some good places and what places to avoid.

        Both actually. Well in the DFW area to be exact. Been here several years so I know some good places and what places to avoid.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          zara
          Link Parent
          What does DFW stand for?

          What does DFW stand for?

          1 vote
          1. Data
            Link Parent
            Dallas/Fort-Worth. Its the metroplex between the two cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The two are large cities in close proximity to each other, with Dallas being the larger city.

            Dallas/Fort-Worth. Its the metroplex between the two cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. The two are large cities in close proximity to each other, with Dallas being the larger city.

            2 votes
  7. [6]
    Arshan
    Link
    As someone who recently started living on their own, I can offer that perspective. So, I was also scared shitless of maintaining a life, the cooking my meals, the paying the rent and all the other...

    As someone who recently started living on their own, I can offer that perspective. So, I was also scared shitless of maintaining a life, the cooking my meals, the paying the rent and all the other stuff. But after a few months of it, I am pretty comfortable with it. You get used to those things, and since they are actually pretty straighfoward, it gets easy just to breeze through them. Its not super practical advice, but I can say that it gets easier.

    On some of your wider concerns about not having a "passion", I feel you. I have never had a good response to people when they ask me that. I've always felt that some people just don't think in that way. There is also the cynical part of me that just assumes people with a Passion for <insert cool AND meaningful thing!!> are just being performative. I am just trying to figure out what I enjoy and do that for a while. If it changes, cool.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      zara
      Link Parent
      Do you live by yourself or with others?

      Do you live by yourself or with others?

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        Arshan
        Link Parent
        I have 3 roomates that I didn't know before moving in. Overall, its nice to have people around, but I don't have much in common with them, so we don't really hang out.

        I have 3 roomates that I didn't know before moving in. Overall, its nice to have people around, but I don't have much in common with them, so we don't really hang out.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          zara
          Link Parent
          If I may ask, how are you able to pay your bills?

          If I may ask, how are you able to pay your bills?

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Arshan
            Link Parent
            I work a technical support job; it's incredibly boring, but it has given me time to get a feel for adulting. It pays ~$20 per hour, so its decent pay for a single person.

            I work a technical support job; it's incredibly boring, but it has given me time to get a feel for adulting. It pays ~$20 per hour, so its decent pay for a single person.

            2 votes
            1. zara
              Link Parent
              I'll say so, I wish I could make that kind of money!

              I'll say so, I wish I could make that kind of money!

              1 vote
  8. [4]
    tomf
    Link
    If you get along with your brother and can pick up work in that area, that'd be a good middle-ground. Even though you might not think you have marketable skills, you definitely have enough for a...

    If you get along with your brother and can pick up work in that area, that'd be a good middle-ground.

    Even though you might not think you have marketable skills, you definitely have enough for a recruiter to find something in an office for you. It's something worth looking into, and the pay will most likely be better than retail.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      zara
      Link Parent
      It would definitely be something I could manage, but like I mentioned, he's planning on leaving for a trip next year and he said he'd be gone for a significant amount of time. He made it seem like...

      It would definitely be something I could manage, but like I mentioned, he's planning on leaving for a trip next year and he said he'd be gone for a significant amount of time. He made it seem like he wouldn't stay in Dallas for much longer after that.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        tomf
        Link Parent
        yeah, it doesn't have to be longterm -- just enough time to get your own stuff setup. For me, I like to make a list, then break down those items into smaller items. I find its a lot easier to...

        yeah, it doesn't have to be longterm -- just enough time to get your own stuff setup.

        For me, I like to make a list, then break down those items into smaller items. I find its a lot easier to manage anything when the steps are as minor as making a phone call or whatever.

        2 votes
        1. zara
          Link Parent
          Thanks, I'll take it up with my brother and see what he thinks

          Thanks, I'll take it up with my brother and see what he thinks

          2 votes