First steps into the real world for teen

OK, you're now in unexplored territory. This is where what you've learned starts to pay off. You're not helpless, stuck on a conveyor belt. You've made your own decisions about where you want to go, and you've given yourself at least some of the resources you need to get there in one piece.

You've got started on the main game, and you've found out how to get there, despite the deluge of information and disinformation.

There's two basic scenarios:

  • You're just starting college
  • You're at entry level in your career

Either way, the world is now expecting you to pay for being alive. You've moved out, you're running your own life for the first time, flying solo. Now you can really start to sing the song.

Like any explorer, there are some basics to attend to, and keep under control while you're on the trail:

  • Accommodation
  • Costs
  • Having a life
  • Commitments
  • Health

Like nearly everything else in this obsessive society, a lot of that means nothing more or less than MONEY.

It can be a nasty word. Given a chance, it can run your life for you. The only way to beat it is to beat it at its own game:

  • Keep your costs covered.
  • Know what you're spending, and how you're going to pay for things.
  • Pay anything important, yesterday or sooner.
  • Make sure you have what you need, then think about what you want.
  • Try and get good deals, shop around, go for quality.

There's a pretty respectable list of DON'TS:

  • Don't commit yourself to anything, not even a pizza, without doing some costing up front.
  • Don't allow bills to pile up. EVER.
  • Don't try and live on the credit card, it's a definite problem.
  • Don't pay credit with credit. (Certain financial suicide, when it's real money.)
  • Don't borrow if you can possibly avoid it.

Annoying, isn't it?

Not as annoying as being permanently broke, we can promise you.

The reason this is such a big deal is that you can do a pretty thorough and comprehensive job of sabotaging yourself if you don't have the money angle truly locked in.

This is going to sound unfair, but you're at the perfect age to take on a lot of financial obligations are really regret them.

Even if you have backup, and you have financial support by the truckload, it reflects on:

  • Your credit rating,
  • Your financial management skills,
  • Your chances for things like mortgages, personal loans, college loans, etc.

When things screw up, and they will try to screw up, even if you don't, that's exactly what you don't need.

So don't do that.

You don't have to live in a monastery, either.

Just stay in the black, not the red. You can have a life, and not destroy your future at the same time.


The story with accommodation is find something affordable and hassle-free.

Don't move into a bad neighborhood to save money, particularly if you have to spend a lot of time going around the bullets and dead bodies.

Lousy buildings, bad sanitation, nutcase neighbors, bizarre landlords, forget it. Moving house isn't fun, and having to do it any more often than you have to should be avoided.

(It's expensive, too.)

If you're studying, or just trying to get settled in to a first job, hassles of any kind are not required.

Living out of a suitcase may sound nice and cheap, but you have to go and buy everything. Ironically, because you don't have anything much to keep you at home, you'll probably find you go out more, and spend more.

(If you're trying to live out of a suitcase, find a cheap way of keeping yourself entertained.)

Having a life

This is another hobby that can cost quite a bit. However, being bored to death isn't a lot of fun, as you may have noticed, watching other people.

Fun is supposed to be part of being alive. Things can get stale, too, and it's another part of exploration, new things, new places, new people.

You will meet someone, sooner or later, and some other explorations will be required.

If you can plan it properly, you can do it all. Some people can live on memberships of clubs, discount plans, any sort of cost cutting exercise. They can have normal social lives without really spending much at all.

Other people know how to find entertainment, at prices they can afford. It really is a matter of tastes. You can spend a fortune on something you find out you don't like, too.


  • Cut out things that are less important.
  • Save up a bit for the things you really want to do.
  • Don't get into habitual, same old things which cost time and money.
    They're just another way of sending yourself broke. You can do that sort of thing when you feel like it, if you feel like it.


This is a word you will be becoming pretty familiar with. Your commitments to your work, to your career and relationships, are inevitable. They're also essential to your life.

Remember: You do have choices in your commitments. You don't have to be pushed into anything. Again, the more options, the better.

Explorers usually create a lot of new relationships, early in their journey. Some of these relationships are very much survival based. People can be supportive.

Some can also be parasitic. The difference between a mosquito and a bloodsucking person is debatable, but it's your call. People who cost you more than they give are a pretty good indication.