There are many opportunities open to you when you turn 18. You can do things you couldn’t, and you have a lot of legal responsibility, which means you can’t be reckless anymore because there can be serious consequences. So, what can you do at 18?
At 18, someone can vote, sign themself out of school, apply for a credit card, apply for a mortgage, buy a car, drive past curfew, work jobs requiring 18 and older, and move out. It signifies a person has hit the legal age of opportunity and responsibility and can begin taking care of themself.
There are positives and negatives to turning 18, but aging is inevitable so here is a list of all the things you can do at 18 years old.
Things You Can Do Legally At 18
Legally, you are required to do things at 18 and you are also able to do more things. Males turning 18 are legally required to apply for Selective Service, females can but are not required. You can also sue people, be called for jury duty, and sign legal contracts without a companioning adult signature. You can join the military, and you can run for a city or state office position. (Source)
You can also legally change your name if you so desire. Some people have always gone by a different name other than their birth name because they dislike it. If that is you, then you are now legally able to change your name. If you have a good relationship of mutual respect with your parents, then you can include them in your decision.
Being 18 allows you to sign yourself out of high school to leave early or go off campus for lunch. If you turn 18 while in high school, then you can take yourself out of school for any reason. But, remember that you cannot have low grades, or else you will have to repeat the classes you fail. So, be responsible and sign yourself out of school when necessary, not just because you feel like it.
You can also open a bank account, and you can apply for a credit card under your name. These are important for the future. You can open accounts that make you money over time and it can go towards your retirement, and you can get a credit card to build your credit.
Once you move out and you need your own housing, you will need a good credit score. If you have a low score, then you will need someone with a good credit score to co-sign with you on a lease. So, avoid being dependent and get a credit card and start building credit. Building credit is important, so start young!
Some interesting things you can do is get married without your parents’ permission, buy real estate, and apply for a mortgage. You obviously need some money to put down for buying property but investing while young in real estate is smart.
If you can rent the property out and make money off of it over time, then you will be set for a comfortable life. Passive income is the best way to make more money than you can within a workweek.
You are legally able to adopt a child at 18. This is an odd one, but if you wanted, you could! You would just need to be approved by the state, and you will have to make enough money to support both of you. It is hard to adopt at 18 because you are so young, but it is an option.
Now, you can make your own Will, rent an apartment, move out of your parents’ home, and be in control of your own medical care. If you are adopted, then you can apply with the state and find your biological parents if you wanted.
Being able to legally do more things is new and exciting, but remember that being 18 also means you have responsibilities and you can have really harsh consequences for your actions.
If you do something wrong that interferes with the law, then you can be taken to jail and have a trial. Under 18, this is not an option, but when you are legally responsible for your own action then you can also be tried and put away depending on the severity of your actions.
So, those stupid things you did with friends in high school could get you in serious trouble now, and you should exhibit caution when you are about to make a bad decision.
Things You Can Do Because You’re Out of The House (18)
When you move out, you can make your own rules for yourself, like changing curfew to be anything you want. You are able to eat ice cream for breakfast without your mom telling you no.
You can go out to the store and buy whatever you want and no one can make you stop. Obviously, ice cream for breakfast is not the best thing, but it just goes to show you all the things you can do, little and big when you turn 18.
You can buy your own medicine at 18, and you can give blood or be an organ donor without your parents’ permission. You can buy a car, get your own Costco membership card, and begin working full-time. You are also eligible to get overtime because, at 18, child labor laws do not apply to you.
You can work in a bar and serve drinks, but you cannot drink them quite yet. You can get a realtor’s license and begin selling properties. You can book a hotel room and start using the deli slicer at the grocery store. You can also buy and sell stocks and you can buy your own pet. At 18, you can enter and purchase from adult-only stores as well.
You can start doing things that you needed your parent’s permission for, and now that you’re out of the house you can get a tattoo, get piercings, drink alcoholic beverages in other countries like Mexico and Canada, and you can buy a lottery ticket.
Things that you have wanted to do but couldn’t in your parent’s home you are now able to do. So, go sky diving without your parents’ permission if you want, you just need to be smart with your new decisions.
Things You Can Do for Fun (13)
There are a lot of things you can do to have now that you are 18. You can buy your own Disneyland ticket, enter sweepstakes and contests that you need to be 18 or older for, and you can now go onto Disney.com without needing a parent’s permission. It is truly the best thing that can come from being 18. (Source)
If you have always wanted to go to Disneyland or Disney world with your friends, then at 18 you can! Before being 18, parents would need to buy your ticket and link it to your Disney account.
Now, you and your friends can plan a graduation trip and go have the time of your lives. Plus, you are able to book hotel stays, so you can spend your time at the parks without having to commute or have someone else buy a hotel room.
Now, you can also buy spray paint, fireworks, travel, and you can rent an Airbnb for you and your friends. Now, these all sound great but remember that you need to act responsibly. Don’t go and vandalize the city with spraypaint, but instead use it for crafts or for changing up your furniture.
Buy fireworks for the Fourth of July, not for being reckless. Being 18 means you can act responsibly with all of the new responsibilities on you, so don’t prove people wrong. Prove to them that you can handle being a responsible adult.
You can also book a cruise and go on a nice vacation. This is a great way to be with friends or family and to enjoy a mix of activities and sightseeing. You can go to multiple countries in Europe, or you can go along the west coast and see Mexico.
Speaking of, you can also apply for a 10-year passport. You can experience the world more than you have before and you can do it in a way that is relatively cheap and already planned out. In comparison to buying plane tickets from where you are to one country, then to another, and another, and then back home, it is much less of a hassle.
You can go bungee jumping, go to an escape room, go to a festival, gamble, and you can watch R-rated movies without your parents being able to tell you no. Some parents are against R-rated movies, so if you really want to watch them then when you are 18 and moved out, you totally can. Your parents are not around to tell you what you can and can’t do, so watching movies they don’t approve of is okay.
Being able to make your own decisions and start exploring your independence is great. At a certain point, you can no longer progress through life unless you take initiative and move out and begin your path. It is good to explore the world, to explore new friendships and relationships, to explore new majors and study new things, and it is good to explore what you want in life.
You have opportunities to have lots of fun, to go do things that can be hard to do when you have kids in the future. You can get married during or after college, and you can start exploring the world with your spouse, friends, or family.
Being an adult is not just about the fun, but also about the things that you need to do. You need to make a dentist appointment. You need to save money and try to be frugal. You need to be smart and balance your life.
Adulthood is all about growth and balance. Balance school, work, and personal life. Balance your diet and don’t eat the same food every day. When you get married, you will have to balance seeing each other’s families and you will have to balance workloads together.
If you can practice balance, then growth will follow, and throughout the years, you will be able to see how you were once a seed and now you are a full-grown tree and you can fight against the storms of life.
Things You Still Can’t Do Until 21
You can legally drink in other countries that allow drinking starting at 18, but you cannot drink in the states until you are 21. You also can not buy cigarettes until you are 21 either. In the past, the law was that you could at 18, but now you must wait until 21. (Source)
You know that you can go to Disneyland without a parent needing to buy your ticket starting at 18, but when you are 21 you can go into California Adventure and drink some alcohol there.
In Florida’s Disney World, you can go to Epcot and drink many different kinds of drinks inspired by countries around the world. You can have a lot of fun exploring new drinks you like when you are 21, but that fun has to wait a little longer.
You can go to clubs at 21, and randomly, you can get your pilot’s license. You can also get a weapon and apply for a concealed carry license. Anything you didn’t do at 18, you can now do at 21, except for one thing. You cannot rent a car from an airport, or from most car rental places until you are 25.
So, although you have a lot of opportunities, traveling is made harder because it is hard to find a place that does not require you to be 25 to rent a car. After that point, there is nothing in your way and all things that are legal and appropriate to do are available to you.