How badly do you want freedom? Are you prepared to give up the comfort of your current life to work on your goal of single-mindedly liberating yourself from your parents? I can guarantee you if you’re not willing to give up much, then you don’t want this badly and you WILL very likely fail at the first sign of trouble and give up. I ‘ll also assume you’ve read the Teenager’s Guide to the Real World from the previous lesson and understand its basic principles here.
You only need 2 things to live your life on your own terms: 1) Money to pay the bills and 2) A place of your own. I don’t mean to insult your intelligence. Besides, achieving these two things will be much easier said than done. But if you wish to stop depending on your parents’ financial support and living under their dictatorship, you’ll need to be laser focused on achieving these two goals. The vast majority of the time you spend from now on should be at least indirectly related to achieving these two goals!
Now let’s work backwards…
Unless you’re independently wealthy (which is highly unlikely if you’re dependent on your parents), then you’re gonna need a career to provide you with the income to financially emancipate yourself from your parents. If you’re in college, definitely pick a major that doesn’t require additional years in professional or grad school in order to start a lucrative career. Go for something like Computer Science, Accounting, Engineering, etc. rather than Physics, Psychology, Law, Pre-Med, etc.
In addition to having income, you must also manage your money wisely. It’s not rocket science but if you spend more money than you make, you’ll soon be back begging your parents for more despite having ran away to live “independently”. In order to avoid this awkward situation as much as humanly possible, you must learn to manage your money responsibly. But spending only slightly less than what you make isn’t a recipe for financial success either; you won’t have much savings available in the event of an emergency and you’d be back on your Mom and Dad’s doorsteps begging for more. So even when you have income, learn to live on as little as you can until you’ve saved enough money to last you a year or so without a job – then feel free to relax you spending a little. Oh, and don’t skimp on health or auto insurance either. And if you can’t afford the latter, you probably shouldn’t be driving – you can walk, get a bike, take public transportation, and/or use Uber as an alternative.
If you need more smart advice on managing your money and keeping expenses in check, please take a look at Mr. Money Mustache’s Blog. Be warned though: this self-made millionaire retired at age 30 while working a normal job which is no ordinary feat; he will likewise hold you to similarly high standards in saving money! If you find his system too hardcore and restrictive, then maybe check out my system (posted on my main blog) or Ramit Sethi’s in the recommended books below.
Housing will likely be your largest expense when you’re living on your own. Forget getting an Apartment or even a studio when you’re struggling to live on your own without your parents’ financial support. Rent a room in a private landlord’s home instead. A few resources for finding room listings:
- Craigslist or Padmapper
- Classified Listings in your local papers (in Southern California, you can find great deals in the classifieds section of the World Journal if you can read Chinese.)
Although I had excellent credit, most private landlords I’ve encountered never bothered to run a credit check on me. While you can’t afford to be too picky right now, you’d at least want to find a place that you’d like to call home for a while so make sure the landlord (and possibly other housemates) are generally nice people and the neighborhood is fairly comfortable to live in.
First, take a look at padmapper.com and search for rentals in your area or the target city you’d like to move to. Even if you already have a place of your own, take a look and see if there are cheaper places that you’d be willing to live in.
Then, let’s take a look at your budget. Fill in the blanks:
Part 1: Housing = ________________ /mo
Part 2: Food = ________________ / mo
Health Insurance = _______________/mo
Auto Insurance = ________________/mo
Transportation expenses = _______________/mo
Mobile Phone = __________________ /mo
Internet = _____________________/mo
Everything else = ________________/mo
Part 3: Savings = ____________________/mo
Part 4: Take Home Pay = ________________/mo
Ideally, your housing expenses should be at most 1/3 of your take home pay and you should save at least 1/3 of your take home pay (see my article for further details.) It goes without saying but make sure your numbers in Parts 1,2, and 3 add up to your Part 4 amount. Don’t have a job or any source of income other than your parents? Then you need to find a job! I don’t care if you’re going to college full time – you’ll need this experience if you want to stop depending on your parents in record time! It’s OK if you don’t have any options other than to depend on your parents’ financial support for now; remember to live below your means and stash away a bit of the money every month for when you’re ready to “declare your independence.”
First, read my article on simple budgeting on my main blog.
Then take a look at Mr Money Mustache’s Blog, starting with his intro article. Pay attention to the things he spends money on and those that he chooses to skip (like riding a bike instead of owning a car, despite being a 1%-er himself.)
Then read the following 2 books:
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi: he also has an excellent system for managing money that’s a great alternative to mine and Mr Money Mustache’s. Check it out at your local library or click the book below to buy it.
- How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne. Check it out at your local library or click the book below to buy it. Pay attention to the chapter called “The Box” and use that framework to conquer everything that gets in the way of the life you want to live including the rules and restrictions your Asian parents impose on your adult life.