Friday, June 17, 2016

That Time I Moved Across the Country

*Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support Chow Down USA! 

What does it mean to be a grownup? Are you automatically a part of the adult club once you turn a certain age, or maybe once you graduate college? I think it's different for everyone. One of my most substantial "grown-up" experiences was moving across the country via an epic roadtrip! 

Stepping into the Mississippi River
Many of you know that I was born and raised in San Francisco, and three years ago we drove cross-country to move to Boston! Along the way, we saw gorgeous lands, waters, and skies, and came across some delicious and unique meals. I thought driving 3,000+ miles with a car full of luggage would be the longest week of my life, but it turned out to be the shortest week of my life. Each day we drove through new terrain, filled with new experiences. One day we were hiking in Utah's serene Zion National Park, and a couple days later we were in bustling downtown Chicago. It was such an adventure! 

Visting the Bean in Chicago
But perhaps the real experience began after that legendary roadtrip. Once the dust settled and we started our jobs in Boston, I started to really feel like an adult. I was independent, my friends and family were thousands of miles away, and I was taking care of myself. I found an apartment, got a job, and continued working on my blog. Even little things like getting groceries, cooking, and cleaning the house hit home - if I didn't do these things, no one else was doing them; they just wouldn't get done! 

Steering the duck boat of adult life in Boston
It felt great to be able to support myself and navigate the waters that are adult responsibility: arguing with Comcast, chipping away at student loans, paying rent, while still finding time and a budget to take fun trips to the Cape and get some retail therapy in. 

I was thriving in my new city, but I had plenty of questions. I wanted to know about budgeting my money long-term, saving for retirement, choosing the right credit cards, and other crucial aspects of being an adult that they don't teach you in school. I've often discussed with friends that these things should really be on the curriculum, at least as an elective (why can I choose to take ceramics, but finance and budgeting are off the table)? 

Enter Society of Grownups, a company that seamlessly melds financial education with laid-back, local classes and events. They somehow manage to unpretentiously teach everything from student debt, to investing, to the role of money in relationships. 

I was lucky enough to attend a few classes at a nearby Society of Grownups branch. My recent class with Certified Financial Planner Tyler was so casual yet informative - and isn't that really the best combination? The theme of the class was "You're A Grownup, Don't Panic," and offered a high-level overview of financial planning, including tips to getting a good credit score, how to strategize the best retirement plan, and general best practices for budgeting. 

The main takeaway I had from the class was that everyone has different goals in life, and thus you have to find the best financial plan for what your goals are. Someone who wants to travel the world will have a different plan from someone who wants to buy a house soon, for example. It's important to sit down and really think about your goals and financial values before setting up a financial plan, so that's what I intend to do in the coming weeks. I'll keep you all posted on that!

I'm truly excited about Society of Grownups. They made my transition to adulthood and moving across the country so much easier by giving me financial education and confidence in my future! I believe we need more classes and events like this across the country, from San Francisco to Boston. Plus, any company whose motto is "You're a grownup - don't panic," is fine by me!

Comment Challenge: What was the first time you really felt like an official grownup?


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