It’s hard to throw a big birthday bash in the middle of a pandemic. That said, with new financial opportunities to seize and a lengthy investment timeline ahead of you, you may end up luckier than you think.

Here are a handful of 5 best practices for 18 year old’s we’ve provided in the past, to help you control your finances during this pandemic.

1. Working? Open Your Own TFSA

If you are working and you’ve turned 18, I recommend opening your own Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and start saving into it regularly – no matter how modestly you can contribute. You’ve probably already heard, the younger you are when you start saving and investing, the more dramatically your savings can grow. In fact, if you were able to start contributing a bit when markets took a nosedive in early 2020, you may have been able to invest at particularly low prices. Plus, any future earnings will be tax-free, as they’re earned and when you withdraw them. What’s not to love about that?

2. Going to School? Put Your RESP Account(s) To Work

If you are going on to post-secondary school, you can start tapping into any Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) accounts your family may have established for you. Higher education should help you pursue a satisfying career and strengthen your earning capacity. Paying for it out of your RESP should help you minimize the debt load you may need to achieve it. Plus, like the TFSA, the earnings and withdrawals are tax-free.

3. Bulk Up Your Credit Score

Whether you’re working, continuing your education, or both, it’s also time to start building your credit score. One possibility is to take out a mobile phone contract in your own name, and pay it off diligently and on time. If you decide to apply for a credit card, and/or bank loans, use them responsibly. Think of credit cards as a convenient way to spend money you already have while establishing good credit. Pay off the balance in full EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Make timely bank loan payments as well. Do not use any form of debt to stretch beyond your means or go on Internet shopping sprees. Write down how much you can afford to spend (based on what you’re earning) and what you do spend, to ensure they match.

4. Part- or Full-Time Employment? Contribute to the CPP

Any employee or self-employed individual working part- or full-time must start contributing to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) once they turn 18. These may be called “contributions,” but they are mandatory and deducted from your salary. You may not love that right now, but your Future You will eventually appreciate the contributions your Current You is making today.

5. Educate Yourself About Money

There is a significant financial media presence designed to inform you and help you. At the same time, learn how to identify the equally large presence – in the media and everywhere else – designed to tempt you into spending and consuming, even if you can’t really afford to. There is a lot of peer pressure and emotional marketing going on that has nothing to do with your financial independence, and a lot more to do with financial helplessness.

Again, happy 18th birthday! While 2020 might not have been your first choice for achieving this major milestone, the good news is, time is still on your side – especially when it comes to building future financial well-being.