9 Things To Do In Your 20’s To Avoid Regrets In Your 30’s
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I want to begin with discussing my inspiration for this article today.
Lately, I’ve seen so many articles titled “what to do in your 20’s or 30’s to be a millionaire/rich/whatever in your 30’s or 40’s or whenever”. They all are full of good ideas, but they’re mostly all the same good finance ideas recycled over and over again.
And when you think about the implementation of them, none of them address that there’s more to life than searching for money.
Yes, I think wanting to be financially stable/independent is an AWESOME goal, but there are lots of other things to focus on in your 20’s that are just as important as finances. Here are some things I am doing now in my 20’s that I hope will pay off in my 30’s and beyond:
1. Investing In Stocks/Bonds
Yes, I know there are already exactly 10,000 other articles devoted to this topic out there today.
So I’m not going to completely beat you over the head with it. Just know that that $100 you have will earn you significantly more in the long run if you invest it today (in the right assets) when you’re 22 versus if you invest that same $100 when you’re 32. If you want more info on getting started investing, then check out my article on stocks and basic investing here and my article on passive index investing here.
2. Investing In Books
The best investment I’ve made is in books.
Buy and read books! Or borrow and read books!
Your investment doesn’t have to be monetary, it could just be an investment of your time. There is so much to learn, and books can help so much in that quest.
Get started with some book lists here: 40 Books To Read Before You Turn 30, 10 Books From High School You Must Read Again, Must-Read Books to Survive Your Quarter-Life Crisis, The Best Personal Finance Books To Read In Your 20’s.
Or check out my own personal nonfiction favorites here!
OR just check out my very personal favorite book, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
3. Continuing In Your Education
Going along with books, is the idea of continuing your education. I don’t mean you have to go back to college (though you totally could if that’s your thing), I just mean keep that desire and interest in learning new things alive. You don’t have to spend any money, there are so many amazing, informative articles and videos out there.
I love Youtube and TED talks.
Even if you just have 20 minutes, you can still watch a video or two about a new topic and learn SO much. For example, yesterday, I watched a TED playlist about de-extinction, (yep, as in Jurassic Park style), and it was absolutely fascinating for a science nerd like myself.
4. Investing in Yourself
While you’re working hard on all these other types of investing, don’t forget about investing in yourself.
If you have an idea about something you think you’d really like to do and be good at, then throw some money at yourself to go do it.
(Obviously, don’t refinance your home to fund a stupid idea, keep things reasonable here.)
5. Don’t Make Excuses
If you want to do something, then channel your inner Nike and just do it (my favorite slogan of like all time, by the way). There are those who say it’s hard, yes it is hard, if it was easy every loser would be successful, success is reserved for those who persevere no matter what obstacles come their way, they wake up with determination to create a better life for themselves.
6. Exercise And Proper Nutrition
These are both so important. Here are 12 Reasons Why Exercise Is Important, Regardless of Weight Loss. And don’t forget about proper nutrition while you’re out there exercising, here are some Reasons Why It Is Important To Eat Healthy Foods. You’ll thank yourself later in life.
7. Value Your Relationships
Spend time with your friends and family.
Not to get morbid here, but you really never know how much time you may have left with someone, whether they’re 20 or 90 years old. Not only does it improve your mental health, but again, there is so much in this world for you to learn, and other people have a lot to teach you.
If your friends and/or family are successful people, study them and their habits and ideas. Ask them questions. Likewise, if they’re not successful, study them just as hard. Why do you think they’re not successful? Have they just had a bit of a rough patch or are they lazy/unmotivated/etc?
You can learn from everybody, if they’re successful, you can try to emulate them, if they’re not, you now know what not to do.
And remember, just because someone is successful career wise, that shouldn’t necessarily mean that you need to do everything they do. Maybe your friend is only the CEO of that company because his dad owned it before him and just gave him the job and he’s actually the laziest, close-minded person on the planet. Maybe he’s “successful” on paper, but do you really want to be like him? Or maybe he is actually great at his job, but maybe he hates every second of it and so he’s always miserable. So maybe you want to emulate his drive to excel at work, but not emulate any other features of him.
Everything is an opportunity to learn and work on improving yourself.
8. Don’t Lose Hope
The world can feel all dark sometimes in this day and age. The only news on is bad news.
And this can create apathy, especially with millennials.
Millennials are statistically the least likely demographic to vote in elections.
I think one explanation for that is that we feel our voices aren’t heard. But times are changing for us. What we want is beginning to be reflected in politics. So I think it’s important that we try to stay positive, that we don’t lose that hope that we can change the world for the better. That we remember we have a voice and that we have power and that we need to stand up for those who don’t.
On an individual level, also hope for better days for yourself. Believe in yourself and believe that one day you will be better off than where you’re at now. If you think you’ll be stuck in your meaningless, low paying job forever, then you will be. You’ll never leave because you’re just breeding complacency in yourself.
Complacency is the enemy.
9. Don’t Forget To Have Fun
Sometimes we get so fixated on whatever our goals are, that we lose sight of why we even have them in the first place. Let’s say that your goal is to save enough money that you can work less in 10 years and spend time with your family more. You work 10+ hour days, 7 days a week, in order to achieve this. You miss all your family events. You miss breakfast, lunch and dinner with your kids. You never see your family, you never know how anyone is doing. Your goal is honorable, but haven’t you missed the whole point? Wouldn’t it be better to work a normal 8 hour day and achieve your goal later in life, but never miss your son’s soccer game? Wasn’t that all you wanted this whole time? It’s great to know the what and how and when of goals, but I think the why is just as important too. Goals are great, but don’t take it so far that life isn’t fun anymore, at least not in the long-term.
So there are my top nine areas of focus for now! Has anyone already been focusing on any of these areas? And if you have, do you have anything helpful that you’ve learned that you’d like to share with the rest of us? 🙂