High School Graduates—When to Hit the “Pause” Button Now That You’re an Adult!

Joshua Meier
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Creating estate, business, and life plans that ensure a family’s complete protection and well-being.

Congratulations on graduating! What an exciting time. Before you head off to college with all the love, words of wisdom, and memories your family and friends have provided you, make sure you know when to hit the “pause” button to ensure your very best start to adulthood.

  1. Pause Before Signing Any Legal Agreement.
    When I was 18, I stopped off at a car dealership with a sorority sister and test drove a Jeep Rangler. The salesman told me he could get me the best deal, and even ran some numbers on paper for me to review. The first red flag was when I said the monthly payment seemed too high, and he instantly crossed it out and wrote in a lower number. Then he began pressuring me to sign, reminding me it was my dream car. Long story short, I remembered my dad warning me about people who become “upside down” on their car payments, where they owe more than a car is worth. I got up and left. Remember, before you sign any legal agreement, whether for a car, an apartment, or a new job, run it by someone first, like your mom or dad, or an attorney, who has had a lot of experience and can spot traps you might not see yet. The smartest people in the world use advisors and experts all the time to guide them, and you should too. This will save you a lot of heartache and money in the long run!
  2. Pause Before Taking out Student Loans or Choosing a Major
    The other day I was talking with a father of a high school junior. They are touring our country’s top universities, including Yale and Harvard, which is very exciting. I mentioned how Forbes Magazine recently named Harvey Mudd as the #1 college with the best return on investment, meaning their graduates were actually coming out of there with high paying jobs awaiting them. Many of us parents have not yet shifted our thinking when it comes to evaluating universities. We are still caught up in prestige, rather than return on investment. Similarly, many college students don’t research whether their major will actually help them obtain a high paying job when they graduate. This leads to astronomical student loans with little ability to pay them off. Many young adults now have to live at home with their parents and significantly delay buying a home and starting a family because of this. Make sure before you choose a major, or take out student loans, that you hit the pause button and make sure it will set you up for the life you want.
  3. Pause Before Moving In With a Partner or Getting Married
    It’s tempting to want to move in with a partner or get married, especially when it may save you money or entitle you to health insurance or other benefits. Plus, it’s natural to want to be around the person you love. The good news is there will be the right time and the right season for all of this. The bad news is that statistics show that when you cohabitate or marry before you have hit other important milestones, like finishing your education, beginning a career, and the ability to distinguish one’s immaturity from permanent character flaws, you can end up with heartache, misery, and financial ruin that can impact your entire life, or even worse, the life of a child born from that relationship. Take time to talk with couples ahead of you who have solid partnerships, and find out from them their successes and regrets, and definitely hit the pause button before making any major relationship commitment too soon.
  4. Pause Before Leaving Home Without a Medical Directive and Financial Power of Attorney
    Up until now, your parents have probably handled most of your financial and medical decisions. Now that you are an adult, they can no longer do this for you unless you legally authorize them to. I heard of one mom who received a call that her college aged daughter was hospitalized. Because the daughter had not filled out a medical power of attorney authorizing her mom to talk with her doctors in an emergency, the hospital could not tell the mother anything about her daughter’s condition. This mother had to fly three thousand miles in sheer panic to get to her daughter, not knowing if she was dead or alive. Make sure you complete a medical power of attorney so your parents can help you in an emergency and talk with your doctors if you’re seriously hurt. You may also want to complete a financial power of attorney so your parents can continue to help you with your finances until you gain more experience and are ready to give it a go alone.
  5. Pause Before Talking With the Police or School Officials If Something Bad Has Happened
    School officials and police officers are here to help you and protect you. However, if you become involved or connect to something bad that has happened, even if you know you did nothing wrong, you need to remember these very important words and say them to the authorities: “I want to talk with my attorney.” Those magic words can help protect you from consequences that could jeopardize your entire future. Be a broken record if you must. Keep saying it until you have a lawyer with you and advising you.

If you ever need help, or find yourself in a tough situation, we are here to help! Call your Newport Beach Family Trust Attorneys and we can help you make sure you are safe and protected. We are a family estate planning law firm, and can help you obtain a will, medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and other important legal documents you should have now that you are an adult. We can also help you if you need life insurance, start your own business, or need a contract reviewed. Save our number in your contacts and remember to call us if you ever need to talk to an attorney: Meier Law Firm 949-718-0420.

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