Older People Offer Life Advice for Kids Who Are About to Turn 18

You’re an adult when you turn 18-years-old, whether you like it or not.

And even though you might think you’re invincible when you’re that age, you’re really not…and before you know it, you turn 40…

So to all the teens out there: listen to these words of wisdom because you don’t know everything…even though you might think you do…

AskReddit users weighed in with their advice for young people.

1. Get involved.


You’re old enough to vote. Currently the 65+ crowd dominates elections.

They’ll be d**d soon. There are more of you than them. It’s your future. Don’t buy into the turd sandwich vs giant douche apathy. Select the politicians you agree with.”

2. Mistakes are okay.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but don’t risk mistakes that will severely compromise the rest of your life.

What I see, across cultures and countries, is an enormous pressure to be perfect, so high that no one can ever possibly meet the pressure. So, people make mistakes, as they should. The problem is that the pressure to be perfect makes all mistakes seem the same.

Risk losing some money. Risk making relationship mistakes. Risk losing friends. Risk losing a year. Those are fine.

Don’t risk six figures of debt (which means student loans without a degree, good major, and good GPA to show for it; college is a great investment if you also put the time and effort in to succeed). Don’t risk disease. Don’t risk death. Don’t risk pregnancy. Don’t risk drug addiction. Don’t risk a felony conviction.

Take the kinds of risks your 25 year old self will laugh at. Don’t take the kinds of risks your 25 year old self will curse you for saddling them with.”

3. Think of your future.

“Time management, finances, forgoing college and working for a few years.

They should really begin to try and understand why they are doing the things they are doing. Are you just going to college because that is what your teachers and parents are saying you should do? Is it a practical choice? College can be good but a lot of jobs you could have gotten with a degree you can get without one.

You may just end up robbing your future self for a delayed adolescence.”

4. It won’t matter.

“Literally everything that happened to you in high school doesn’t matter.

Sure, you’ve heard and likely dismissed that while you were going through it, but the sooner you accept that, the faster you’ll start to act like an adult.

Also, if you’re a dude, 23 seems to be the year everything goes to hell, but keep on and s**t will improve.”

5. “I wish someone told me…”

“Learn a skill that can be offered as a service in a freelance setting. Have a “side-hustle”. It’s fine to get a job which is this specific skill, but work only with the idea of learning as much as possible, so you can later either become self-employed or build a company.

Jobs are miserable (in 90% of cases). Learn a skill that people/businesses need. Any of marketing specializations is a good start!

I wish someone told me this earlier. I’m a mediocre freelancer now, but it’s waaay better than anything my higher education in one of the richest countries in the world could give me. And if I keep developing my skillset, my income has pretty much no upper limit.

“Money doesn’t make you happy”. Bulls**t!

While paper piece or a digital digit wont make you happy – best healthcare, all bills paid, nice vacations, freedom to pursue your interests and ability to help others will in fact drastically increase your happiness.”

6. College isn’t for everyone.

“Decide if college is actually for you.

There are many jobs that are going to be automated in your lifetime. Jobs that will be last to automate are labor jobs. Start a landscaping company, a pool cleaning company, a plumbing company, an AC/heater repair company, or any other labor type job.

If you start young you have the potential to make $60k+ after only a couple years without putting yourself on $40k+ in debt. Obviously this route is not for everyone but don’t sleep on it just because everyone up until this point has said you need to go to college.”

7. Think about your future.

“Retirement accounts.

Throw crumbs in them during your 20s and compound interest will do its magic, giving you a very comfortable retirement.”

8. That doesn’t matter.

“Caring about what is “cool” or caring overmuch what others think of you will only hold you back.

The more open minded you are, the more prospects you will have in friendship, relationships, jobs–and when things are very hard, which they absolutely will be, more opportunities for joy, support, and pursuit of individual mastery of a wider variety of skills.”

9. This is crucial.


(20 Year old here)

So many kids now-a-days are so locked into their tech that they simply don’t have proper communication skills or know how to act in a social setting.

Practice conversing! Be comfortable talking to people, it will only benefit you tremendously. Even if you’re an introvert, you should be able to at least hold on to a half a**ed conversation where it seems you’re engaged and committed.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve gotten internships, bonuses, and the likes just because I knew how to have a human to human conversation.

So many times at my age going into interviews etc just conversing with other candidates etc its shocking how little interactive social skills they actually have because all they do is bury their heads into their phones with their wireless earbuds in completely ignoring objective reality. TALK!”

10. Take care of your teeth.

“Brush your teeth.

Posted this before but I’ll post it again… I’m looking at $30k~ worth of dental work I need done at 33 years old, all because I didn’t practice good dental hygiene when I was younger and partying.

Its literally 5 minutes out of your day. Watch a quick YouTube video while you do it if you don’t have the patience. Brush, floss, mouthwash twice a day. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day to at least rinse your mouth if you can’t brush after eating.

From an internet stranger, trust me, the position I’m in now sucks. I’m having to put starting a family on hold until I take care of this. Brush your d**n teeth.”

11. Healthy habits.

“Develop healthy habits NOW.

Proper nutrition, a steady sleep schedule, regular exercise, etc. You are in a fantastic position to build a healthy lifestyle that will elevate your quality of life for the rest of it.

It is much, much harder to change existing unhealthy habits that have been established for years. Most people aren’t able to. Give yourself the best chance for a lifetime of health and happiness now.”

12. Make it a point to learn.

“Learn how to learn.

Most of us had no idea how to do taxes, get a mortgage, vote, fix a broken electrical socket, etc. You just need to know where to go to learn things and I think the younger generations are already exceptional at finding information.

But there’s some sort of learned helplessness people have (especially those who didn’t have to learn things while they lived at home) where if something seems confusing or hard they give up vs actually searching out more information. Sometimes YouTube is great, sometimes you need to call an expert, sometimes you need a class.”

13. Some good tips.

“Don’t be afraid to walk away from a job/person that’s toxic.

Start saving now…so you CAN walk away.

Community College is your best friend, go there before doing the last 2 years at a 4 yr

Trade schools are just as viable, ain’t no shame in being debt free at 22 making 60+

3-5% of all income should go to retirement starting now…go open a Roth 401k.”

14. You need to recharge.

“Your mental health.

Don’t set so many goals for yourself that the stress makes your mental health suffer.

Take some time for yourself. To do nothing. Just recharge. Even if it’s only a couple hours a week. It gives you something to look forward to.

Also, learn how to budget and save.”

15. Make a budget.

“Learn how to use an excel (or Google Sheet) and make a budget. Live by it. Get a bank account. Get checks. (Budget will help here for people who don’t cash checks timely)

Whatever extra money you have (if you do), divide it by two. Save half, enjoy the other half. That will keep you from feeling burned out.”

16. This is important.

“Learn. How. To. Fu**ing. Cook.

I know it’s way more convenient to throw food in the microwave, but trust me. For your sanity, take a quality over quantity approach when it comes to feeding yourself. It’s healthier and cheaper (if you do it right) at the cost of some time.

And if you learn your way around spices and flavors, you’ll be able to make restaurant-quality meals while wearing literally nothing but a bathrobe.”

17. Take care of those choppers!

“The sooner you get a good routine the better.

So I would say learn to take care of your teeth and don’t forget to floss! It’s easy to look over flossing and not do it but it’s so important and future you will thank you!”

18. Be careful on the road.

“Don’t drive like a 12 year old playing GTA V.

Don’t drive if you are drinking.



19. Make good choices.

“It takes one bad decision/ moment to change your life forever.

Back in the day I knew this guy, he was probably 20 at the time, (not a friend, small town so everyone knew everyone) who dr**kenly punched another guy. Well the guy fell, hit his head on the concrete and from what I heard blood starts pooling around his head and and the pool is getting pretty big. To his credit the guy who did the punching called the ambulance.

Anyhow the guy who was knocked out spent about two weeks in hospital, needed surgery, broken jaw, etc. The guy who did the assault did 5 years in prison for it.”

20. Friends will come and go.

“Be social but remember friends will come and go.

Dont invest in people that wont invest in you.”

21. Practice those life skills.

“Learn some basic cooking. Learn how to wash clothes, hang them up, do ironing etc. You may be moving out soon, so practice the skills you will need. Imagine all the things you would have to do if mum and dad weren’t around, then start practicing them.

Draw up a budget. Look at how much to rent in the place you want to live, add in food and elec and mobile phone and internet. Don’t forget to add bond too.”

22. Stay motivated.

“How you organize a day without the structure of school. That planned environment is going away fast and some of your peers are really going to struggle with finding their pace and motivation.

Also, procrastination is a bitch.”

23. You will change.

“Listen to your desires and dreams.

I’m 28. My goals and dreams now are vastly different than when i was 18. Listen to those changes. For a long time I kept chasing a dream almost because I felt I owed it to my younger self. It’s ok for your dreams to change as you age and your circumstances change.

Who you are now will not be the same person you are at 23. And as you grow listen to your internal monologue. Dreams and desire change. Grow with them.”

24. Make yourself a priority.

“Taking care of your physical and mental health before you fall into the trap of “I dont have time for it.”

Really sit down and think about how you can better yourself for your own sake.”

25. This is important.

““Authorized user” is sort of a cheat code in the credit world. If your parents have decent credit and take care of their s**t, see if they’ll make you an AU on a card and then lock the card up in a box.

Being AU makes the credit history of the account show up on your credit report. If financial responsibility is a big deal in your house, this can have some major advantages when you’re trying to get started.”

26. S**t gets real.


As soon as you hit 18 things start becoming real. Don’t get married without being sure of your future spouse, don’t go unprotected during sex, don’t get into a relationship where your other half will get you in trouble with the law.”

27. Keep your nose clean.

“You are now risking real jail time.

What were once just shenanigans (kids will be kids) are potentially things that will haunt you for a really long time.”

28. Be careful what you post.

“Your data trail online.

Old Instagram and Facebook posts can come back and haunt you during future interviews.”

29. It’s up to you.

“Learn how to take care yourself.

Take full responsibility for everything that is happening in your life. Create big goals and have a life purpose if you have one. Focus on saving money and don’t buy stupid s**t to impress people you don’t even like.”

30. Do what it takes.

“Getting s**t together. 18 isn’t the age you should be thinking you’re a full blown adult. Nah. You need to venture into the 20’s for that. But between 18 and 21. You just gotta get your s**t together.

No matter what it is. Financial. Mental. Physical. Just do whatever it takes to make sure you can fully prosper from stressed out teen to a battle hardened grown up.”

31. Don’t even start.


Started with cigs so I could take breaks at work (construction) 22 now and cant quit vaping.

S**t sucks.”

Pretty good advice, I think.

What about you? Do you remember getting good advice when you were about to become an “adult”?

Talk to us in the comments!