35 Things You Wish Your Parents Told You About Being an Adult


Let’s face it — growing up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you can drink (legally) and vote. But independence comes with responsibility. If your parents had been completely honest with you, they’d have pointed out that responsibility is just a euphemism for, “Now you get to pay the bills.”

Yes, adulthood means dealing with ATM fees, insurance premiums and mortgage payments. Unfortunately, among all the lessons we teach kids, the fact that being an adult is more taxing than a surprise calculus test isn’t one of them. So, here are 35 things you probably wish your parents had told you about adulthood.

1. Maids Are Great — and Expensive

If there’s one person in your adult life who will make you appreciate everything your parents did for you, it’s your house cleaner.

But, while you probably love coming home to folded laundry and washed dishes, hiring someone to clean for you is anything but cheap. In fact, according to HomeAdvisor, hiring a cleaner costs an average of $158. It’s a good thing mom and dad never charged.

2. College Will Eat Your Paycheck

Graduating college and entering the real world means you get to start earning a living, taking control of your finances… and paying back your student loans.

According to The Institute for College Access & Success, seven out of 10 students who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had loan debt, and the average borrower owed $30,100. Say goodbye to Starbucks and start looking for a part-time job to help with the bills.

3. Auto Loan Rates Are Ridiculous

When you were young, you likely assumed that buying a car meant handing over some cash and walking out the door with a new toy. However, many adults need to take out loans to purchase new vehicles.

Even with good credit, auto loan rates range from 3.15 percent in Atlanta to a whopping 5.1 percent in Los Angeles, according to HSH.com. And taking out a loan for a used car will cost you more than 6 percent in some cities.

4. Cable TV Will Disgust You

Nope, we’re not talking about those presidential debates but your monthly cable bill. The average cable TV bill was $103.10 in 2016, up 4 percent from last year, according to Leichtman Research Group, which follows the industry. Disgusted yet?

5. Buying a House Is Harder Than It Seems

If you’ve always dreamed of buying your own home, you might be in for a rude awakening. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average sale price for a single-family home in September 2016 was $276,900. If you want to put down 20 percent, you will need to save $55,380. It’s no wonder that so many young people are opting to rent rather than buy.

6. Owning a Home Is More Expensive Than You Thought

Yes, homeowners get to write off the interest on their mortgages. However, they also have to deal with 100 percent of the cost of plumbing, electrical and structural repairs, as well as broken appliances and pest control.

If you’re thinking of buying property, you might want to remember the 1 percent rule, which states that you can expect to spend 1 percent of the purchase price of a home on annual maintenance. It might not sound like much, but 1 percent of a $300,000 home sale comes to three grand a year in maintenance costs.

7. You Will Drive a Piece of Junk

Did you dream of buying a luxury car as a kid? Well, dream on. High-end rides like the Mercedes S-Class and the Porsche 911 Turbo cost around $100,000 or more.

To keep spending in check, warm up to the idea of driving a Nissan Versa or Chevy Spark, both of which have starting prices under $13,000.

8. Renovating Your Home Will Bankrupt You

If you do manage to buy a home, chances are good that you’ll want to put your own signature on it. According to HomeAdvisor, though, the average cost for a kitchen remodel is $20,556, with some upgrades costing as much as $49,700. Moreover, the average cost of a bath remodel is $9,348.

If you can’t afford bills of this size, you might need to live with the previous owner’s signature style, or find cheap renovations that can increase your home’s value.

9. You Won’t Be Wearing Designer Clothes

Once upon a time, your parents might have bought you designer jeans and brand-name tops. However, when you’re on your own, you have to get practical — and find a new appreciation for Gap and Macy’s.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent almost $2,000 on clothes and related services in 2015, so shop smarter to keep costs down.

10. Free Time Is Not Free

When you’re a kid, a park, beach or cardboard box could occupy you for hours — and for free. Now that you’re an adult, however, free time means doing things like skiing, going to the theater and playing golf, all of which cost money.

11. Caring for a Lawn Is Expensive

Whether you care for your own lawn or hire someone else to do the job, landscaping costs money. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to maintain a lawn is $158 per month.

12. The Cost of Drinking Can Kill Your Buzz

The good news is that, as an adult, you get to have that guilt-free glass or two of wine every night. The bad news: It’s way more expensive than you think.

In fact, the average price of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2015 was $8.28, according to Statista.com. So, with approximately five glasses a bottle, the cost of unwinding can be seriously stressful.

13. You’ll Never Have Enough Money

You probably felt like you didn’t have a lot of money when you were a teen. Unfortunately, studies show you might feel just as poor as an adult.

The Federal Reserve studies people’s preparedness for financial emergencies. According to its 2015 report, nearly half of respondents said that they would have to borrow money or sell possessions to cover a $400 emergency — the cost of an average car repair.

14. You Will Hate Christmas

The holiday season might have seemed like the most magical time of the year when you were a kid. However, when you grow up, it means the kids are out of school, they’re high on sweets and you have to spend a bunch of money on presents for them.

Yes, the holidays are as expensive as they are stressful; in fact, in 2015, a Gallup poll found that Americans planned to spend an average of $830 on gifts.

15. You’ll Fear Getting Sick

Sure, getting sick when you’re a kid is unpleasant. But as an adult, a financial insult is added to your injury. In fact, the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that catching the flu costs the average person $130 between doctor visits and medicine.

16. Eating Out Will Give You Financial Indigestion

Everyone looks forward to eating out. But when you’re not paying the bill, it’s a lot more enjoyable. According to a 2016 study by Zagat, the average cost of eating out is more than $36 per person.

17. Tipping Will Finish You Off

In addition to paying that hefty dining bill, adults have to tip their servers. With Zagat reporting the average tip rate at 18.9 percent, you can expect to add $6.80 to that $36 restaurant check.

18. Diapers Are Expensive

Buying diapers will definitely make you appreciate the sacrifices your parents made for you. According to the site, What to Expect, you’ll change 2,700 of them during your baby’s first year, paying between 14 cents and 25 cents for each one. That’s $378 to $675 in diaper costs per year.

19. And Diapers Are Just the Beginning

As a kid, you probably didn’t think about how much your parents spent to raise you. And the pricetag has only gone up in recent years.

According to the USDA, it will cost $245,340 to raise a child born in 2013 ($304,480 when adjusted for projected inflation). While that figure includes food, housing, child care, education and other expenses up to age 18, it doesn’t cover college — so put aside a little extra for that expense.

20. Starbucks Is Life — But It Isn’t Cheap

According to Statista, the average American worker spends $21.32 per week on coffee. That adds up to $1,108.64 per year. Get hooked on daily venti mocha Frappuccinos, which cost $4.95 each, and you’re talking almost two grand a year.

21. You Will Make Less Money Than You Thought

When you were young, you probably pictured yourself making thousands of dollars per week and having more disposable income than you could spend. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earning for American workers is just $809. That’s not a lot to work with.

22. You Will Pay More in Taxes Than You Expected

Unless your last name is Trump, you’ll likely pay more in taxes each year than you ever anticipated.

Even with deductions and tax credits, Americans pay an average of 19.8 percent of their incomes to the federal government, thanks to payroll taxes and other fees, according to the Tax Policy Center.

23. Rent Is Much Higher Than You Thought

You probably thought that when you said goodbye to your college days, you also said goodbye to having roommates. Think again, unless you’re ready to tackle some pretty pricey rent costs.

According to ApartmentList.com’s study, the national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,120. And the cost is even higher in popular cities like New York ($3,370), San Francisco ($3,500) and Boston ($2,800).

24. You Should Definitely Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise can be more uncomfortable than attending that office Christmas party. However, a 2015 study by Payscale.com showed that 75 percent of people who asked for raises got them. So, get out that mirror, start practicing your sales pitch and apply some insider tips.

25. You’ll Need to Save More for Retirement

You go to school, work and retire. However, retiring costs a lot more than you might have expected.

According to the Fed, 31 percent of non-retired adults have no retirement savings. Fidelity says you need to have eight times your last salary in savings by age 60, so you better start putting away your pennies.

26. Your Toys Are Way More Expensive

From golf clubs to surfboards and classic cars, your collectibles are going to cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Gone are the days when a $100 skateboard seemed exorbitant.

27. Driving Is Not as Fun as You Thought It Would Be

You probably loved driving around with friends when you were a teenager. Now, not only is driving less fun now, but it also costs you a lot more money. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spent an average of $2,090 on gas and oil in 2015.

28. The Cost of Utilities Is Shocking

In 2015, Americans spent an average of $3,885 on utilities. It’s no wonder that Mom and Dad used to harangue you about leaving on lights and taking 20-minute showers.

29. Owning a Car Is More Expensive Than You Thought

According to AAA, the cost to own the average sedan is $8,698, or 58 cents per mile, based on 15,000 miles a year driven. And the cost to operate an SUV is a whopping $10,624.

Furthermore, a recent GOBankingRates.com study found that in addition to auto payments, the average cost to buy and own a car for three years is $11,227.

That bus is looking better and better.

30. Having Bad Teeth Will Cost You

Your parents probably told you to brush your teeth when you were young, but they might not have told you the price of dental work.

According to the insurer Member Benefits, the typical cost of a dental exam, x-rays and cleaning is $288. And a single filling can be anywhere from $50 to $4,500 without insurance. Even with insurance, you’re likely to pay a portion of the dental work, so invest in some floss before it’s too late.

31. You Will Need Multiple Types of Insurance

From homeowners insurance to auto insurance, life insurance to health coverage, disability to travel insurance, adults pay for multiple types of coverage each year. Yes, adulthood means paying a lot of money for policies you hope you’ll never need. And they call kids silly.

32. You Will Pay a Fortune in ATM Fees

When you’re young, you watch your parents visit fancy machines in the wall, stick in their bank cards and get cash. What they don’t tell you is that you often have to pay ATM fees in return for the privilege.

In fact, in 2015, America’s three biggest banks made almost $1 billion off ATM fees, according to a study by SNL Financial and CNNMoney.

33. You Will Pay a Fortune in Overdraft Fees

If there’s one thing more insidious than ATM fees, it’s overdraft fees. And if ATM fees are good for a bank’s bottom line, overdraft fees are great for it. The SNL Financial and CNNMoney study found that the top three U.S. banks made a whopping $5.1 billion from overdraft fees alone.

34. You Will Be on the Hook for Pet Bills

As a kid, you got to enjoy all the fun parts of pet ownership without any of the responsibility. However, as an adult, you’re the one footing the bill for Fido and Fluffy. According to a study by the ASPCA, the first year of pet ownership can cost $1,000 or more in food, vet care and other costs.

35. Vacations Will Stress You Out

When you’re young, vacations mean no school, no homework and plenty of fun. Grow up, and they mean airport and rental car lines, excess baggage fees and the equivalent of your monthly mortgage payment for a week in a tiny, garden-view room. Work is sometimes more relaxing.

This article was originally published on GOBankingRates.com.


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