It is often said that your 20s are some of the best years of your life. They also say the same about high school, but I doubt many of us really want to go back to that time! Although popular culture likes to portray a person’s 20s as a time of self-discovery, fun, partying, and getting established in a career, for most of us this isn’t the case. Your 20s are more like a strange in-between time where you’re finally an adult, but not quite. Sure, you have an ID to get into clubs now, but the intricacies of adulting still escape most of us. Between scrambling to make that college degree mean something and paying for rent, bills, food, and the other bare essentials, it can feel more like kayaking through white water rapids than tubing down a lazy river.

However, getting through this time doesn’t have to be such an anxiety-inducing task, and by preparing for some of the most common pop-up problems, you can help stabilize yourself and finally become the functioning adult that you’ve always wanted to be. To make this a bit easier, here are six common problems and how you can tackle them.

1. Car Problems

No matter how much you try to take care of your car, things will go wrong with it. Usually at the worst possible time. Nothing puts a damper on your week quite like trying to head to work only to end up with a flat tire or a flashing engine light halfway there.

Often, there is no way to predict these problems, and you’ll have to deal with them the best you can when they pop up. Investing in roadside assistance can be one of the best ways of dealing with problems like this, and it can ensure that you won’t risk being stuck on the side of the road far from home. Many roadside assistance companies will offer things like towing, tire changes, battery jumpstarts, and gas delivery as a standard.

If you have auto insurance, which you should if you’re driving, you may also be able to get these services through them. Some auto insurance companies will offer roadside assistance as a bonus with certain plans, and it can be a good way to consolidate these services into one easy-to-pay bill.

Another car-based problem includes damage caused during an accident or natural disaster. While you can do everything that you can to drive safely, you can’t always guarantee that everyone else is, and damage can even occur if someone hits you in a parking lot when you’re away from your car. When damage like this happens, it’s important to know how to contact your insurance provider and make a claim. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you may be able to chat with your provider online, making the process a bit easier for those struggling with social anxiety.

Similarly, you should become familiar with a mechanic in your area that you feel you can trust. While not all mechanics will handle repairs, they can point you in the right direction depending on what you need. For instance, if you have a dent from an impact, they can recommend a trusted body shop to help get it repaired. For auto glass repair, some companies, such as SafeLight, will even come to your home or workplace to replace your busted windshield.

Additionally, if you do end up in an accident, you may want to have a car accident attorney in mind just in case the problem isn’t straightforward. For instance, the other parties’ insurance could be refusing to pay what you are owed, and you’ll want to have an attorney help handle the case so you can get the settlement that you need. While you don’t necessarily have to keep them on a retainer, it’s always a good idea to have one in mind, just in case.

2. Paying Debts

Let’s face it if you’ve gone to college you undoubtedly have debts. While this is an unfortunate situation, it is often nearly unavoidable unless you get a lot of scholarships. Debts can also come from old credit cards, phone plans, and default bills that you may have ignored when you were younger. Many 18-year-olds have applied for credit cards before, without really understanding all of the negative impacts that they can have. Regardless of where your debt comes from, it’s important to try and pay it off the best you can.

Although it may be tempting to just ignore the collector agency calls, and try to keep the problem out of sight and out of mind, ultimately it will only benefit you to pay. If your debt is in the collection phase, it will often be reduced so that you only have to pay a fraction of what the original amount was. This is because many companies realize that people will go out of their way to avoid paying, and by lowering the amount, they increase the chance of getting something, even if it’s a smaller sum.

The next time a collection agency calls you, it may be worth answering and talking about what kind of payment plan can be set up. In some cases, they will allow you to make payments over a period of time, making the burden of coming up with a lump sum less of a challenge.

Not paying off your debts now, can only negatively impact you in the future by lowering your credit score and ability to apply for a home or car loan. Sometimes, utility companies will even require a large down payment if you have a low credit score, making this problem cost you even more in the long run. While paying down debts is never a fun activity, it is something that you should endeavor to take care of sooner rather than later.

3. Tackling Unemployment and Underemployment

In the past year, a lot of people have found themselves without jobs, and this can be a terrible predicament for anyone in their 20s trying to live on their own. Similarly, college graduates are finding it harder and harder to find careers in the fields that they received their degrees in. This can leave them underemployed and struggling to make ends meet.

Fortunately, there are some ways that you can improve these circumstances and help stabilize yourself in a job that you don’t want to immediately quit.

Firstly, you’ll want to work on your resume. Having an eye-catching resume that highlights the things that make you stand out from the competition is key. This means writing more than just the jobs you’ve had and your references, and instead, adding things like skills, achievements, and a mission statement.

For instance, your mission statement with a retail background might include something like:

  • Highly organized with an eye for detail, [your name] has 5 years of experience working in a fast-paced, client-oriented environment. [Your name] has demonstrated a clear track record of managing and completing numerous projects from start to finish, while striving to maintain the highest quality within set guidelines. Having graduated with [your degree], [your name] is eager to start utilizing this knowledge and their skills in a professional workplace for the betterment of their employer.

While this is just a broad example, it’s important to highlight your skills both learned from previous positions and school, as well as self-taught. Although it might sound odd to talk yourself up so much, it will ultimately help make your resume stand out.

Secondly, you don’t just want to apply for any and every job that comes your way. Research the different companies before you apply to them and read reviews of past employees. This will give you a good idea of whether or not you will be happy there. While money is money, you don’t want to lock yourself into a position that you’re going to end up hating, especially if there are other options available that will make good use of your skills. Don’t sell yourself short, you’re definitely worth more than that.

Lastly, when you’ve snagged an interview you’ll want to make sure that you have everything in order. This means dressing nice — thrift stores are great for finding low-cost professional clothing — and making sure that you don’t have anything beforehand that could show up on a drug test. For instance, some medications may cause false positives for illicit substances, and it’s always good to know beforehand if you’re taking any prescriptions. Similarly, some workplaces may still want their employees to refrain from cannabis, so if you smoke or eat edibles, make sure your system is clear before heading in. At-home cannabinoid testing can help you know if you’re in the clear or not.

4. Puppy Problems

Many 20-somethings have fur babies, and really these four-legged friends can require just as much care as human children. If you brought a puppy into your home recently, consider puppy classes to help train them so that they can learn better behaviors, (like not chewing up your good shoes).

Training is especially important for puppies, and it can be one of the best ways to ensure they grow up to be great companions. You may also want to invest in pet insurance, which can be fairly inexpensive and a lifesaver if something happens to your pet. Although most pets won’t start having serious health problems until later in life, being prepared can save you from ending up with a heavy vet bill should something pop up.

5. Home Problems

Although not many people in their 20s own homes, there are exceptions and even if you are living in an apartment, it’s important to know how to take care of your living space. For instance, if you do have a home, you should be aware of your roofing, especially if you don’t know how old it is. Roof damage can be hard to see from the ground, which is why many roofers recommend having an inspection at least once a year. A roof repairing service can inspect your roof for damage or weak areas, as well as let you know how long you have before it needs to be replaced. Taking care of this can help save you from having to deal with any water or pest problems that can be caused by roof issues.

If you live in an apartment, you probably don’t have to worry about roofing, but you should keep an eye out for issues around your home so that you can alert your landlord. As a tenant, you have the right to live in a safe place, and it is your landlord’s duty to maintain your building. If they refuse, you should speak with your local housing department and put in a complaint.

6. Smoking and Vaping

Smoking and vaping can be a real (and expensive) problem that many people in their 20s struggle with. Although a lot of young adults (and teens) have turned to vaping in recent years, the health problems and dependency that it comes with just aren’t worth it. The worst part is that the addiction can start from something as seemingly harmless as smoking with a friend or sharing a vape. The next thing you know, those few puffs turn into a full-blown dependency.

Although quitting isn’t easy, and it will take a lot of support, stopping sooner rather than later can make it a bit easier. By quitting in your 20s, you can also help prevent any health problems that can come from long usage. This can also help you save money since both cigarettes and vapes and electronic cigarettes can cost up to $10+ a pack, depending on where you live and the brand you are buying. Some vapes cost $20 each, which definitely adds up if you use them frequently.

Plus, once you’ve quit, you can throw up some balloon decorations, grab a couple of friends, and celebrate your victory.

Adulting Made (Slightly) Easier

Adulting is hard, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. By preparing for the most common pop-up problems, you can help give yourself a little bit more stability. While it may not be the fun and partying that the movies make this time out to be, it’s ultimately the best thing for you and your future.

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