It's funny because when you're preparing for the real world, no one talks about these things outside of just throwing the words around. Literally what the heck does any of that mean? Well, I can officially tell you. I can officially tell you that being a real person includes all of these things and I now know the meanings.
In essence, money we pay to the government- state and federal- to help pay for stuff. You can delve more into that on your own I'm sure, so I'll spare you the nitty gritty details. But, I will tell you that when someone suggested I use Turbo Tax and someone else suggested I take my W2 to H&R Block..... my thoughts were "my W-what?" and "Where do I even start with Turbo Tax?". It was also suggested to me by my parents that I should do my taxes on my own the first time (while it's still simple), without any technology or accountant, just so I would know how to do it. Ugh. I did. Let me just tell you the fact that I still owed money hurt. They should pay me to fill out those forms! It's like reading hieroglyphics trying to go line by line and see what the heck the IRS is looking to assess. The freaking instructions involve tables and charts and grids and all this information you think you have but you really haven't a clue. I mean honestly, I chose communications as a major for a reason. This whole following instructions thing isn't really up my alley. Nonetheless, I finished! I did it! With the help of my dad, because I wasn't kidding when I said "My W-what?" BUT I DID IT!
Bitch better have my money. But seriously. So while paying taxes all year long kills, sometimes the government takes too much and you get some back! That's the best. State and Federal filings are different and sometimes you'll owe to one and get back from the other, owe to both, or get back from both. It varies from person to person and how you do your withholdings and all that jazz. I highly recommend getting some insight from someone who knows what the heck they're talking about when setting it all up, which brings me to...................
Start investing as soon as you start working. It's so important. If you wait 10 years, you're already 10 years behind in saving which means you won't have that when you want to retire. Besides, what's 1-3% of your paycheck when you're starting? Not much. I promise you won't miss it. You can increase it as you get pay raises. Most employers will match to a certain percentage as well, so you're saving even more when you consider that. It's easy because all you have to do it sign up, pick where you want to send your money, then watch it grow. DO NOT PANIC. Be patient. Again, talk to someone who knows what the heck they're talking about so you feel comfortable about your decisions.
Work hard and don't stress.
It's easier said than done, I know. Establish savings plans, come up with a reasonable monthly budget, and at the end of it all- just relax with a glass of wine. Hey, I didn't say what size glass!