Adulting “101”: Basic How-To’s for ages 16-25


What is best kind of bank account to start with?

Most banks have a low-cost option personal checking account. Some have free checking if you keep a minimum balance, or use a low number of checks or withdraws per month.

What does it cost?

There are an estimated 50 different types of fees attached to checking accounts, including overdraft, under minimum balance, cash withdraw, exceeding transactions, and others. The type and how you manage your account will determine your monthly costs.

Do all bank accounts have debIt and credit cards?

Most all banks have debit cards attached to their personal checking accounts. Credit cards can be applied for and require approval.

Most common mistakes?

Overdrafts, deposits not posted on the assumed date, and being unaware of charges posted to your account (checking balances, utilizing off-site ATMs or service fees) are the biggest causes for closing of first-timers’ checking accounts.


Do I have to pay taxes? Yes.

What kind of taxes are required? In the US?

In the state of Idaho?

In Kootenai County?

In the city of Coeur d’Alene?

If you work and make over $600 in one calendar year it will be reported to the IRS by your employer. You are required to file a tax return to both the IRS and the state in which you live that reports your income and assess your tax amount due. If you own real estate, you are required to pay property taxes based on its value, to the county in which it is located. Other entities (cities, highway districts, colleges, emergency services, etc.) get their portion of your taxes from the county annually.

Do I have to register for the draft?

Yes. It is a federal requirement that men ages 18 through 25 register. See for more info. Currently this does not apply to women.

Do I have to register to vote?

There is no law requiring voter registration. It is a right and a privilege that every American citizen should not take for granted. When you vote you become an important part of the process that governs the rules you have to live by.

Length of time you’ve lived in a town that makes you eligible to vote differs from city to city so check with the local elections office.

Where do I register?

In Kootenai County the registration office is at 1808 N 3rd St. in Coeur d’Alene. KCGOV.US has all current election notices and how to register. You can submit an absentee voting request annually (after you’ve registered) and every ballot you’re eligible to vote on will be mailed to you in advance.

How do I get chosen for jury duty?

Registered voters with a valid driver’s license who are over 18 years of age are randomly selected for jury duty. You will be notified by mail and are required by law to respond. Unless you have an approved waiver, you are required by law to report as instructed. Although you report on the days (currently via phone) summoned, you may be excused if there is not a need for jury services that week. You will then not be called upon for two years.

Communication, Utility and Service Accounts:

What does “proof of residence with a utility bill” mean?

Utilities are typically services provided to a permanent residence by a regulated organization. Examples include a bill from a city or county for water, garbage and other municipal services, a cable or internet bill, or a gas or electric bill from the local authorized provider. The request is to prove that you have lived in the reported residence for a specific amount of time.

How do I get a post office box?

You can apply for one at the local post office. They range in price and can be paid for annually or semi-annually. There are many annex stores that have post office boxes available for rent as well. They operate under the same United States postal service regulations.

Does it count for a proof of residence?

No. They’re not considered proof of a permanent residence.

How do I pay a utility bill?

Send a check by mail, online posting (often not available) bring to city hall or you can use an online check from your bank account. It is critical to assure you send your payment with enough time in the mail or processing to be recorded by the due date or you could have service canceled and reconnect fees charged. If you have roommates, the person who is on the bill is the only person responsible for the payment. The entity will not pursue your roommates for their share if it is unpaid.

In upcoming issues …

Credit Cards
Drinking Alcohol
Stock market
Student Loans
Credit Reports
Grocery Shopping
Cooking & Nutrition

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