Financial Independence Week: Handling Independence For The First Time

That moment when you are left without financial support for the first time can be a scary one, and it can lead to a lot of complex emotions (fear, resentment, anger, sadness) that can lead directly into irrational behavior. This is a time of independence and freedom, a time to step forward and walk on your own two feet. Where you go is up to you, but don’t go forward carrying a lot of baggage.

Here’s some advice for dealing with that first full taste of financial independence.

Resentment is a waste of time. If your parents inform you that they are cutting ties, a feeling of resentment towards them is useless. In fact, harboring such resentment is usually a clear indication that some maturity needs to happen, and the cutting of financial ties is often an event that requires people to become more mature.

Accept it as a challenge. No matter the age at which financial ties are cut, there are going to be challenges and lifestyle changes. Rather than complaining, look for ways to accept the challenge. Spend some time learning how to budget. Challenge yourself to live more frugally every day and perhaps start building up your own financial backbone.

Don’t continue to spend as though nothing has changed. The result of this is debt, and a lot of it. It’s so easy to just keep buying and use those credit cards to purchase things you don’t need, but eventually those bills will have to be repaid with interest. Now is the time to learn how to live a little leaner; buying stuff not only prolongs things, it makes the process of actually learning to walk on your own that much worse.

Keep the channels of communication open. If you’re feeling a strong sense of resentment towards your parents, you might be feeling as though you should completely cut ties with them. Think about this for a moment. They have been giving you money that they’ve earned for your entire life, since even before you were born. All they’re asking now is that you fly on your own now that you’ve transitioned into being an adult. Is this truly cause for resentment and anger?

Rather than cutting yourself off from them completely, now is the time to keep those channels of communication open wide. Tell them about the challenges you’re facing and ask for advice, not money. Think about it this way: they once went through what you went through and eventually wound up in good enough financial shape to support not only themselves, but also you (and perhaps other siblings) for your entire life, so they probably have at least some idea of how to do things.

Re-evaluate what you’re doing with your life. The cusp of financial independence is a great time to sit down, figure out your values and your goals, and determine how to work towards those goals. This process can help you really understand why you are spending money now and make you reconsider much of what you do with money.

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