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8 Things You Can Do When You Turn 18

  1. Vote: Voting is perhaps the most important privilege that comes with reaching 18. Don’t take this lightly.  Find out who wants to run your town, state and country and make informed choices.  Voting creates a government that represents the people and their will.  Beyond choosing representatives for the next term, the voting process allows citizens to decide on local issues like how their municipality spends tax dollars to wider social issues like same-sex marriage. In a report compiling voting rates, the United States Census Bureau determined that voting among young adults aged 18 – 24 has steadily declined from nearly 51% of that population voting in a presidential election, down to 38% in 2012.  Voting is the cornerstone of what makes America great.  Be sure to hit the polls when you turn 18.   http://www.rockthevote.com/
  1. Get a tattoo or piercing: Unfortunately for mom, you no longer need a parent’s permission to get a tattoo or a piercing.    So make that appointment to finally get that lotus flower or tongue piercing you’ve been dreaming about since you were 16.  Just remember – you have many years ahead of you to live with regret, so choose wisely! We recommend starting out small – don’t go all out for the full arm sleeve when you don’t know how you are going to react to pain.  Also important to note – you get what you pay for. Those artists that charge a pretty penny for their work do so because they’re the best.  Check out their portfolio and get recommendations before choosing an artist.

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Ask the shop manager how they ensure that the instruments used on you are sterile. Look around. If the place looks like a dive, you might not want that the place where you get permanently inked.  Once you’ve done the deed, follow the care instructions carefully to ensure your tattoo heal properly.  A well-cared for tat will look it’s best for years to come.  [ Browser ThisisTattoo For Ideas!! ]

  1. Skydive & bungee Jump: This is great news for those adventurous – or crazy types. Before turning 18, you could skydive or bungee jump with a parent’s consent at 16, but your parents weren’t having it.  Now that you’re 18, it’s up to you to.  Before taking the plunge there are a few things to consider.  Do you have any healthy conditions that might prohibit you? High if you are prone to dizziness, have epilepsy, high blood pressure, joint pain, or neck or back issues, you might not be a good candidate for these thrill rides.  Do some research.  Don’t be afraid to find out the safety record of the company you are jumping or diving with. Read reviews of their service and talk to others that have jumped with them.  They do have your life in their hands after all!  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/9612317/Worlds-best-places-to-skydive-and-bungee-jump.html
  1. Change your name: It’s very touching that you were named after your great grandmother from the Old Country, but you never really felt that your name suited you. Now you can officially change your name to whatever you want.  Something more “You” perhaps? You will need to file an official Petition for Name Change with the court. There are some basic legal requirements before you can apply for a name change.  You must be a resident in the county and state where you are filing for a certain amount of time. (This varies by location.) You must not be changing your name to avoid legal action or to defraud someone. You cannot choose a name that mimics a celebrity, that does not contain letters, or contains a racial slur.    Once your change is granted, the first agency you must notify is the Social Security Administration so you can receive a card reflecting your new name.   http://family.findlaw.com/marriage/how-to-legally-change-your-name.html
  1. Open a bank account: There are a lot of fun rites of passage that come with turning 18, but a lot of practical ones too.   At 18, you can open your own bank account.   You might already have a student checking account, opened by your parents. But opening your own gives you the right to choose where your money goes and what you will do with it.   Opening your first bank account is the first important step toward building credit.  Using a checking account to pay bills on time is a great foundation for building credit.  When you feel comfortable, apply for a card with a low credit limit like a local store or gas station.  Within a few years, as your income increases, you can apply for a secured credit card through your bank. By using these cards to make small purchases, and paying your monthly bills on time, you are on your way to healthy credit. http://budgeting.thenest.com/build-credit-turn-18-23715.html
  1. Serve jury duty: Shortly after you turn 18, you will get that letter in the mail letting you know you’ve been selected for jury duty. Being called for jury duty does not necessarily guarantee that you will serve on a jury, only that you will be considered.  You might be surprised at how many people show up to court to serve along with you.  Only a select few from this group will ultimately be chosen.  Making this selection process will unfortunately mean a lot of waiting around on your part.  Bring a book or laptop to keep you occupied.  You will be compensated for these long days, albeit not much.  If you are chosen, expect to serve on a trial that could last days or weeks but might be an interesting diversion from your daily routine.  Adults groan about this caveat of citizenship, but it’s part of the judicial system that makes America great.  Do your duty with pride.  http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/JuryService.aspx
  1. Serve your country: To join any branch of the military without parental consent you must be 18.  Upon joining the military, every service member swears-in, repeating the Oath of Enlistment, vowing to honor it throughout their military career.  The Oath is a pledge to defend the US Constitution, to accept orders, and to face the Uniform Code of Military Justice if necessary. All male U.S. citizens are required to register with the Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday, with a few exceptions like certain medical issues or disabilities.  In a time of military crisis, a draft of eligible men could technically be enforced, but this has not happened since 1971.  Registration with Selective Service is however required for various federal programs like student loans and federal employment.  http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/join-the-military-basic-eligibility.html
  1. Press your luck: Now that you’re 18, you can legally gamble. That could mean playing the state lottery scratch-off game at your local convenience store, putting it all on red at your nearby casino. Gambling can become a serious addition for some people, leading to financial and emotional problems, so always gamble responsibly.  So maybe you didn’t have such a hot night at the tables. Now that you’re 18, you can also pawn some of your stuff for a cash infusion.  Let’s hope for better luck next time though, because if you don’t pay back the loan for the pawned items, they become the property of the pawn shop. http://www.responsiblegambling.org/safer-play

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