The worst thing you want is to be teetering around at 30 and wondering where your 20s went. If you are just entering your 20s or mid-way, then NOW is the best time to start making intentional decisions.
Although there is not a fixed time period to accomplish certain things, your 20s are your prime years to get a head-start with your future goals.
Ready to take some steps to charge your 20s?
I would like to share five (5) invaluable tips that will make you re-think every drunk Friday night that ran into Saturday and probably Sunday morning mistake that you once called a decision…:)
Oh and yes – I was once like this. No shame! I’ve grown so much.
Figuring out these 5 things before you reach the big “3” ”0” will certainly save you money + time + money.
1. Have a vision: I know – your 20s are the fun years to let loose and your ultimate goal is to hook-up, travel, party and enjoy life. Nevertheless, you can do all of these and simultaneously have a vision for yourself.
Ask yourself these questions – what are my career goals? Do I want to go to university or work? Where do I want to be in 5 years? Do I want to work for myself?
Knowing what you want early will save you money and allow you to spend more time doing what you love (and getting paid for it) and less time in jobs that do not yield any satisfaction.
Anecdotally, your 20s is the period to gain clarity about what you want to become. Identify your skills and core competencies. I remember being nineteen (19) like it was just a few years ago, I had just graduated college and overzealous because I wanted so many things. I did not have a clearly defined plan. However, I had a vision and started working towards it. Today, as I am slowly approaching the big “3” “0”, I can say I am still work-in-progress.
Create an actionable and realistic plan inclusive of targeted timelines and expected challenges. Start by writing your thoughts down – think about who you are as a person, your past failures, lessons, future aspirations and changes to your daily habit that can improve your progress.
2. Grow your network: Friendlier people are automatically more attractive since they are easier to approach. If you like to smile – use it to woo people and build your professional network. Be tactful yet kind when scouting places and people to connect with. Find those who are in a similar niche as you are.
When you network, you form allies with people who can become lifelong friends and even mentors. LinkedIn is super awesome. I have had a few persons who have reached out to me through my LinkedIn profile. Some people have grown their network during university, through business conferences and events. These are where pools of professionals in several disciplines frequent.
3. Take risks: If you had the opportunity to choose between steady income and risk taking a more challenging yet unstable job, which would you choose?
If you get three job offers, each in an entirely different background from what you studied, which one would you accept?
Would you quit a job without having any new prospects, in an effort to salvage your peace of mind and sanity?
Sometimes the things that scare us most is what we ought to do.
Some might brand your “crazy”, they will not understand nevertheless, you know your plan – stick to it.
Truth is, I have had all the scenarios within the last five (5) years. I took calculated risks and I chose a job I had no experience to feed my need for new challenges/experiences. I did make mistakes in between but I certainly learned a lot. I quit a job that was stressful and depressing and I stayed at home (relaxing and sleeping for an entire month). During this time I did in some deep reflection – I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses from each professional experience then re-evaluated myself to see if I am in line with my vision.
It was hard – sometimes I doubted my decisions but in the end, I felt relieved. Not everything that seems good is good for you. Money is not all but is a means to an end.
Having a vision will guide you when you are placed between a rock and a hard place. Taking risk is part of the process. Take risks in your 20s when you have less liability and more time.
4. Create a savings plan:
I remember saying that I want to have fifty grand by a certain age. I’m approaching “this certain age” and nowhere close to my financial goal. It’s amazing how times flies, circumstances changes and we get thrown off the bus unexpectedly. What is your big plan when you hit your 30s? Do you even plan to settle down, build/purchase a home? Do you have adequate security or you’re drowning in debt?
At the tender age of 17, my Dad opened an account with $5,000.00 and handed me an ATM card. He told me to budget and pay for my college living expenses (transportation and personal expense included). You can imagine the excitement. After all college expenses were covered – the remainder was spent on partying. I swear I was richer at 18 than I am now.
When I landed the job of my dreams (back then) at 19, I knew I needed money to further my studies so I started a 3-year saving plan to contribute towards my lump sum for the university. This helped with moving expenses and airfare. Every little penny meant something.
Many people have experienced a dry spell or are currently experiencing it – living paycheck to paycheck due to unexpected expenses and increasing debt. They come from nowhere, whether it’s unemployment, health issues, funeral expense or dependents.
Saving when responsibilities are less will certainly cover rainy days. Research has shown that people who start saving at an early age develop a habit of financial stability.
Do you have what it takes – good financial acumen? Finance Focus has some great tips on financial management. When you get a chance to visit their page for more tips on how to get started.
5. Manage your time wisely: Have you ever wonder “how does the president find time for the country (work) – family life and fun?” Balancing work + life require a high level of discipline and excellent time management skills.
Time is considered a luxury – so be deliberate with whom and how you spend your time; look at the opportunity cost by comparing the time spent sleeping, exercising, working and unwinding versus time spent doing nothing. Invest more time in activities which grow you and less in those that drain you.
Success comes with sacrifices – and some things are time bound. Explore the opportunities now whilst you are young and single, not when the family arrives. When they arrive – they need equal time as well.
When I started this project – I knew everything depended on time so, I created a schedule. It was challenging for me to commit that is why I stopped blogging three years ago until I was prepared. I have had to sacrifice my evenings and weekends to writing, working on freelance work for clients and personal time. I could be lounging on my porch sipping red wine – but I have goals which require consistency. My PassionPlanner is always nearby (it is not always full). Today, I still struggle to maintain my consistency but I have to – the start-up phases is the hardest.
Remember to make time to unwind because work without fun will turn you into a cold potato – allocate time to your loved ones as well. Just make it realistic and unplug when you have to.
I hope these hacks will help you re-evaluate your 20s. It would bring a BIG smile on my face when you start saying yes to your 20s – and do things that will make your 30s brighter. It’s never too late to start.
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What are you doing now that will bring you closer to your future goals? What do you think are the best hacks to do in your 20s?