3 Things Every 20-Something Should Do Now (Or You’ll Regret It Later)

Your Time is Precious.

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Your twenties is the best decade to explore, make colossal mistakes, and then explore some more. You should experiment as much as possible in order to figure out what your interests are, what you’re naturally good at, and where those two things intersect so you can make money doing something you enjoy.

As a 27-year old, here’s what I feel that I will regret the most if I don’t do these things by the time my 30s roll around.

Read More Books

Reading blog posts and news articles are not the same as reading books. We are currently experiencing information overload. But guess what — most of the information we’re consuming is garbage. Everyone has an opinion on something after reading one or two articles on the internet.

In order to accumulate knowledge, we must be willing to devote our time and focus on submerging ourselves into well-written and thoroughly researched content. We have to dive deeper than the 500 word blog post that your friend wrote about an issue. We have to develop true understanding.

Learn How To Manage Your Money

I graduated law school with $50,000 of student loans.

I was lucky and landed a good job after law school, but I jumped on the “keeping up with the Joneses” treadmill and started to spend everything that I earned.

Luckily, I met my significant other who had just finished paying off her student loans. I asked for her help on how to budget, and I started aggressively tackling my debt. That snowballed into learning about investing, building an emergency fund, and how to achieve early retirement.

So many of my friends are terrible with money.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much they make if they don’t know how to properly save and invest that money. I know for a fact that I make a fraction of what some of my friends’ income, and yet I still save way more money than they do. This all comes down to adopting a frugal lifestyle and spending money on things that make me the happiest — like experiences over possessions.

Those who are in their 20s will sorely regret how late they dived into the investing world when they’re in their 40s and 50s. Meanwhile, I hope to hope to retire in my mid-40s.

Expand Your Interests and Skillset

With rising student debt and declining job security, those in their 20s are panicking. Again as someone who fits in this category, I can attest to this.

This is why I’ve started to work my butt off on expanding my skillset outside of my traditional 9-to-5 job.

Personally, I love to write. I hope to eventually earn a full-time salary as an author and freelance writer.

Every single day, I write for two hours.

Every single day, I read for an hour.

I’m not great but through discipline and consistency, I’m slowly getting there.

I love my 9-to-5 job, but anything can turn on a dime. One conversation with HR and I could find myself unemployed within a matter of weeks.

It’s important that you explore now, when you’re free of serious commitments (i.e. children), to explore whatever craft you’ve chosen and work, slow and steady, towards mastery.

Your 20s Matter

If you are in your 20s, now is the time to hustle.

This may mean declining social events.

This may mean staying at home, by yourself, on a Friday night.

This may mean waking up early on the weekends.

But every single sacrifice you make now will pay off in dividends in the future. Don’t play someone else’s short-term game. Focus on your long-term goals.

Make your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond the best decades of your life.

This originally appeared on Quora.

Written by

Productivity, craftsmanship, and the pursuit of excellence at work. Writing now at jennifertchan.substack.com.

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