16 Things To Do When You Turn 16 (By a Teenager)

things to do when you turn 16

Congratulations on turning 16! Don’t know what you can legally do? Need some advice? Here are 16 things to do when you turn 16!

Turning 16 comes with a ton of fun perks and advantages to your future! You should feel more free than ever before and have a new sense of responsibility.

Although this is about what you can do at this age, it will also be a bit of life advice to use wisely.

Having just left my teen years, I know what decisions at 16 will tremendously put you ahead in life. Ultimately, you’ll become a better person much faster.

If that sounds good to you, let’s dive in!

Get Your Driver’s License

You’re finally at the legal age to drive on your own and it’s time to take advantage.

Go get your driver’s license so you can enjoy the freedom of being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

Head to school, take a road trip, and cruise around the city with friends late at night!

Just don’t be surprised if your parents start asking you to go shopping for them once in a while.

Buy a Used Car

Once you get your license, you might be tempted to look for the coolest brand new cars out there and lease them.

Consider buying a used car instead as your first vehicle. Here’s why…

  • You’ll save a ton of money
  • Repairs are cheaper
  • Insurance is cheaper
  • It still gets your from point A to B
  • You’ll learn gratitude and humility for what you have
  • They last a long time

Plus, if the car starts to get a little too old, you can just sell it and potentially make a similar amount to what you bought it for.

If you do get a used car or already have one, consider getting liability-only insurance. It’s more worth it for older cars.

Get a Debit Card

If you don’t have one yet, a debit card is one of the most important things to get when you turn 16.

It will teach you the value of money, saving, and spending wisely.

You’ll still need a parent or guardian to open an account for you and provide you with a debit card.

Some banks don’t allow debit cards for minors, so make sure you’re getting one with a bank that offers them.

Related Post: 10 Money Management Tips for Teenagers

Start Investing

Investing is a very commonly overlooked part of life for 16 year olds. However, the earlier you invest, the more money you’ll have in the long run.

If you have the money to do so, investing is an excellent way to start growing your wealth from a young age.

Consider opening a Roth IRA if you have a job and want to start saving for retirement. That way, your investments won’t get taxed when you pull it out in the future!

As a minor, you’ll have to open a custodial account with a parent. They’ll be able to manage your investments, but you have control over what to invest in.

Companies like Charles Schwab and Vanguard offer excellent custodial accounts. Ask your parents to open an account for you today!

Pro Tip: Invest in ETFs and mutual funds. They’re a bit safer, but also make you consistent money over the years.

Get a Fishing License

In order to fish in large bodies of water, you must obtain a fishing license. Up until this point, fishing licenses were not required for you because you were under 16.

Now, you must buy one in order to fish with friends and family.

Pricing depends on where you live and the length of time you want the license for. For example, a day license in California is around $17 and a year license is around $52.

Plus, some states allow free fishing for minors that are 17 and under, so you still might have 1 more year to take advantage of!

Most fishing licenses can be purchased at sporting goods stores.

You can always contribute in some way towards any cause no matter how old you are. However, some donations require you to reach certain age minimums.

For example, most states require you to be at least 16 years old to donate blood. If you’ve wanted to help out, now’s the time to do it.

You can also take your next step into adulthood by donating money towards an organization that you support or stand for.


Similar to donating, volunteering is another noteworthy option to contribute to society at a reasonable age.

If you have your license, you can drive to certain organizations and help out. Plus, it’ll help you get volunteer hours for school if you need them.

Some volunteer jobs require a minimum age of 15 or 16, such as volunteer abroad programs for the summer.

Here are a few volunteer opportunities for teens to check out if you’re interested!

Get a Job

Getting a job is one of the best things to do when you turn 16!

You might already have a job, since you’re technically allowed to start working at the age of 14. However, labor laws limit the amount of hours you’re allowed to work.

If you have a bit of experience working at this point, consider applying for a better job or ask your employer to increase your hours.

You are legally allowed to work an extra hour on school days and more hours overall per week. Go get that bread!

Learn Life’s Basics

Sadly, high school doesn’t teach you these important things in life:

  • Finance
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Relationships
  • Cooking
  • Etc

It is your job, as a 16 year old, to learn about these things on your own. Trust me, you’ll be so happy you did.

Most teenagers won’t take action and do this, so you’ll be ahead of everyone else if you learn these by yourself.

Resources such as books, Youtube, and even talking to other adults is a great way to get started in learning.

Always learn… always educate yourself. Even past high school and beyond.

Look Into Colleges

Just because college is 2 years away, doesn’t mean you can’t start looking at your options.

There are a few things to consider here…

Do you want to go straight to a 4 year university or start with community college? Will you need to study for the SAT?

Definitely consider community college for your first 2 years and then transfer. Here’s why…

  • Classes are cheap/free
  • Avoid paying rent
  • More freedom to work on yourself
  • Don’t have to take the SAT
  • Stay near friends in your town
  • Get used to college before the real headaches
  • Most teens don’t know their major yet

It’s a really great way to ease into university!

If you want to go straight to a 4-year college, start downloading SAT prep apps and begin evaluating worthy colleges to apply for.

Related Post: College vs No College (Pros and Cons + Statistics)

Gain Some Experience

Now that you have a car, it’s time to gain a bit of experience and test out new things in life.

Go on adventures, meet new people, and make the most of life while still being safe. It will help you overcome fears and learn more about yourself.

There’s no shame in getting out of your comfort zone! Plus, you can legally consent to have sex with teenagers your age (you heard nothing).

Stay away from drugs and alcohol though. It’s only a distraction from enjoying the real beauty of life.

Get an Adult Passport

You can legally get an adult passport at the age of 16 and it will last you until you’re 26 years old.

Make sure you apply for one before the next time you travel out of the country and keep it in your possession!

Invest in Yourself

The importance of investing in yourself will carry on with you for as long as you live. If you start early, you’ll be in a much better place.

When you turn 16, you have a responsibility to take care of… yourself!

Skin care, hygiene, fitness, and educating yourself constantly are just a few of the things you should start looking out for if you aren’t already.

It requires a bit of a financial investment, but it’ll be the best money you ever spend.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so take the time to focus on both.

It will help you become more comfortable with yourself as a person in the long run.

Actively Search for Hobbies

Hobbies aren’t always easy to get into. But one thing is for sure… it always starts with an interest.

If you’ve EVER been even slightly interested in some sort of hobby, I highly encourage you to do some research on it and give it a try.

You have to actively look for them though, otherwise they won’t just randomly show up (especially at 16).

There are plenty of inexpensive hobbies as well (a lot of them being completely free). Here is an extensive list of hobbies for teenage guys and teenage girls.

You never know, maybe one day that hobby will turn into a real business or side hustle!

Learn the Value of Gratitude

Being grateful is a priceless trait to have at such a young age.

It comes with a ton of benefits:

  • More optimistic outlook on life
  • Better immune system
  • Better relationships
  • Improves physical health
  • Increases work ethic
  • Keeps you from being materialistic

As you can see, it boils down to a lot more than just appreciating life. There are literal health benefits to being grateful!

Practice gratitude by saying 2 good things that happened to you today. Even if they’re as small as the fact that you woke up in a comfy bed.

Related Post: Easy Full Body Workout for Teenagers at Home

Start Finding Happiness

Life really comes down to one thing at the end of the day… happiness.

If you’re a stressed 16 year old, it might seem impossible to find happiness throughout your day.

Your mental health is extremely important, which is why you have to start taking time out of your day to do things you love.

If it makes you happy… do it. There will be roadblocks along the way, but just remember that happiness is the end goal.

Do everything in your power to get closer to that goal. Gratitude is an excellent first step!


Hopefully these 16 things to do when you turn 16 provided you with enough insight to be a better version of yourself this year!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions leave them down below. Thanks for reading!

  1. Hi Daniel…I’m not sure you’ll see this but anyways..ever since I turned sixteen I haven’t really been happy with myself. So I’ve been seeing people my age becoming influencers and celebrities with millions of followers and I’m like why not me. I’ve always loved writing but I never seem to know how to get my writing out there. I’ve also wanted to go into the fashion and modeling industry but I don’t seem to know the first step. I’ve lost my confidence and I feel bad whenever I see someone my age successful..I know I should be happy for them and I really am happy for them but sometimes I tend compare my self to them and it makes me feel really hurt and useless about myself..you got any advice for me . By the way my name is Christine

  2. Hi Christine!

    I always read comments so your messages will never go unread 🙂 Sorry you’re feeling that way… it’s very common for teens to feel the same exact way so just know that you’re not alone.

    Here’s my advice:
    1) Understand that everyone goes about life at their own pace
    2) You’re SOOOO young, so take a step back and realize you have time to grow
    3) There will be people who are more famous than you at any age, so…
    4) The only person you should compare yourself to is… you.
    5) Take a break from social media (it’s easy to get in our heads seeing everyone’s fake, but perfect life)
    6) Think about what types of things your “full potential self” would be doing and make yourself a little map on how to get there
    7) Don’t compare your life to everyone else’s “highlight reel”
    8) You might find this post useful!

    I hope this answers your question! Feel free to email me if you want to go in more depth 🙂

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