With my 30th birthday next week I had to share my best advice for my 20 year old self. I can’t believe it, my twenties are coming to an end. How am I almost 30 years old?
I use to think that turning 30 would be weird but after a great 29th year I am excited about the future.
Most of my 20’s (and most people) spend their 20’s trying to figure out what they want out of life. Sure, some of it will change but I know that I want to follow my passions, be an entrepreneur, and help inspire others to live their best life possible.
Finding my passions was just one of the many lessons from the twenties. Here are the 20 biggest lessons from my twenties.
A lot of this advice is from my book, Advice for My Younger Self, which is now available on Amazon. This post and the book are broken down into four main areas of life; finances, health, professional, and personal life.
School failed us. I didn’t learn anything about personal finances when I received my bachelor’s degree. Instead, I learned about pointless subjects like mythology, astrology, and anthropology.
Why couldn’t go those pointless general ed classes be replaced with courses like money management, paying off student loans, investing, or ways to save money? But it forced me to start learning about these subjects and start this blog so it wasn’t all bad.
Here are my big finance pieces of advice for my 20-year-old self:
Establish an Emergency Fund
Establishing an emergency fund should be your #1 priority in your financial life. An emergency fund will be there to save you in case you lose your job, car breaks down or have an unexpected expense.
Contribute to Retirement Accounts (401K & Roth IRA)
Your 401K will be through your employer and pre-tax dollars are used. This means you’ll be taxed once you withdraw the money in retirement.
A Roth IRA is an account you will set up with a brokerage (I recommend Vanguard) and uses post-tax dollars. This means you won’t be taxed again when you retire.
If possible I recommend investing in your 401K /IRA as each will have their own unique advantages and disadvantages for your future. Just start, don’t wait until you are any older.
The longer you wait the more you will miss out on compound interest.
Earn a High Credit Score
Worry about your credit more than your GPA, it will have a much bigger impact in your future than your degree.
Your credit score will follow you through life and determine if you can secure a loan for an apartment, car, house, and credit cards.
Make sure to not max out your cards, never miss a payment, and don’t use them to spend money you don’t have in your savings. The higher your score, the lower your loans will be and you will save thousands in your lifetime.
Use a free site like Credit Karma to monitor your credit and find ways to increase your score.
Create A Budget
With apps like Mint and Personal Capital, it’s much easier to track your money than when I was 20 years old. When you’re in your 20’s make sure to always keep a budget and learn to live on less.
The only way to become wealthy is to earn more than you spend.
If you earn $100,000 and spend $95,000 you’re now in a worse position than someone who earns $70,000 and spends $50,000.
Use Balance Transfers
I started using zero percent credit card balance transfers when I was 23 years old. I had no job, just graduated college and less than $2,000 to my name. By getting a credit card with 0% interest I was able to buy necessities without having to pay interest for 12 months.
Some people will disagree with using them. But, if you’re smart with your money and pay off the balance you basically get a free loan from your credit card provider. Why not, they take advantage of people all the time!
Just be smart with your balance and make sure you never miss a payment. I still use them today when it comes to buying big items like furniture, computer, or TV.
Track Your Net Worth
I’ve written extensively about tracking my net worth and dedicated an entire chapter of my book to the topic. I think this is such a great way to stay on top of your finances and understand your habits month after month.
Tracking your worth will also help you set goals for yourself, save money, quit excessive spending (sorry Amazon) and give yourself confidence about your money. If you need a net worth tracker please download my version here.
I started my 20’s without ever going to the gym and being 30 pounds overweight. But I found fitness and have learned there are so many more benefits than just looking good. By starting a good fitness routine in your 20’s you’ll establish a lifelong habit and have more energy than ever.
By staying healthy longer in life you will also spend less on medical bills, keep doing what you love, and complete your bucket list. Here is my top fitness advice for my 20 year old self:
One of the best ways to maintain your health over time will be going to the gym consistently. If you start in your 20’s it’ll much easier to maintain than waiting until you are 30.
If you don’t like working out find a class, run, or bike. Find activities that you like so you are more likely to stick with them.
Not only will you feel great, I find that when I workout constantly my appetite is suppressed, creativity is heightened, and have much more energy.
Learn To Cook & Meal Prep
If you need any help check out my newest e-book: Low Carb Diet & Recipes. This has allowed me to get in the best shape since I was 20 years old. I’ve lost 15 pounds in 8 weeks, 4% body fat and have a TON of energy!
Your 20’s are the time to start your professional career, establish connections, and learn as much as you can. Spend time fostering relationships, not burning bridges, and trying different types of jobs.
Find Your Passion
It’s taken me years to truly find my passions in life and it took a ton of hard work looking for it.
Make sure you don’t spend your 20’s sitting at a job you hate or don’t love just for the money.
Once I found my passions I quit my six figure job to blog, am trying to play professional golf, and be a full-time writer. Life’s too short to be chained to a desk, spend time finding out what you are passionate about.
Make a plan like I did and live your life, don’t let it go by without going after your dreams. Learn more about finding your passions here.
Make Money – Save Money
From ages 20-25 I earned VERY little money. Believe it or not a pizza delivery driver in college, barely paid intern, and call center rep doesn’t pay very well.
But once I got into sales I made a lot of money. I can already hear people saying “I don’t like sales. I don’t like selling.”
Guess what? You sell all the time you just might not know it. You sell friends on going to the movies, vacations with family, time off of work, or 100 other examples.
Learning to sell is an asset I will have forever. It gives you the opportunity to make a lot of money, teaches you persistence, tenacity and the ability to learn and read people
All these skills will help you for the rest of your life.
You’re more than likely going to job hop and meet a ton of people in your twenties. Make sure to keep a positive image when people think about working with you. When you leave a company don’t burn bridges, stay in contact with co-workers, and build your network online.
Ensure you have a professional Linked In account as it will likely be more useful to find a job than a traditional resume in the future.
Start a Side Hustle
I’ve written extensively about the values about starting a side hustle outside your normal job. Not only do you earn money you also get to spend time doing something you are passionate about.
So many online entrepreneurs started out side hustling to being able to grow it to the point of their main income and live almost a fantasy life.
Here are 11 ways to channel your passions into a side hustle and don’t require much money to get started.
It’s amazing how much you will change from age 20 to age 29. I barely recognize my 20-year-old self. I was overweight, broke, partying constantly, had zero ambitions, and no vision for my future.
Granted it is easy to fall into these traps in your 20’s you need to spend time finding out what you want to do in life. Here are my top tips to grow as a person in your 20’s and conquer your dreams.
I was pretty good about traveling in my 20’s but could have done more. Traveling will never be easier than it will be in your 20’s.
In your 20’s you can travel cheaply as you might not have a family or need to stay in super nice places. Travel as much as you can so you can always learn how others live around the world.
You’re bound to make amazing memories that will be better than any new toy you can buy.
Lastly, as soon as you return from a trip book another one when you return. This will keep you motivated and excited for the next adventure in your life.
The world can a negative place. The news is almost always some horrendous story and the same with clickbait website titles.
Social media isn’t much better. A lot of people whining and trolls ready to bash anything you post.
Last year I started following social media accounts that had positive quotes. Good inspiration in my life.
I now have a Youtube channel of movies, tons of accounts with a positive message and tune out negativity.
It’s easy to get stuck in a negative world. Feed your brain positive, uplifting messages to help you accomplish anything.
Negative thinking works almost 100% of the time, don’t do it!
Related Read: 6 People To Inspire Greatness
As Tony Robbins said, “People aren’t lazy they simply have impotent goals.” I didn’t spend nearly enough time in my twenties setting goals.
Set goals in all aspects of your life to always have a target. From how much you want to earn, what weight or body fat, and what you want to achieve by certain ages. By writing down all these goals you will be much more likely to achieve them.
If you can start a habit of being organized in your twenties you will set yourself up for success. Being organized will lead to establishing a good routine each day, week and month.
Being organized and setting goals are some of the habits that successful people share. Start by planning your week on Sunday.
Figure out when you will exercise, what meals you will eat, and what you want to accomplish each day.
Spend time learning new things by reading books, blog, business websites, listen to podcasts, or go to seminars. Remember as Jim Rohn said, “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Learn how I started investing in myself here.
One of the best habits to start in your 20’s is getting up earlier than your friends and coworkers.
I was way too good at sleeping in from ages 20-26. College was filled with late nights where I didn’t wake up until noon. Now I can’t sleep in past 6 am even if I was sedated.
I’ve found that once you wake up earlier, or as Arnold Schwarzenegger says “Sleep Faster” my productivity has increased exponentially.
When you get up earlier there seem to be unlimited benefits:
- Best time to exercise by running or going to the gym.
- Time to work on any side hustles before the business of the day takes over.
- More time to get ready, eat a good breakfast and not be flustered to work
Conquer Your Bucket List
I highly recommend creating a bucket list for what you want to accomplish in your 20’s and your entire life. Without it, it can be hard to stay motivated. When it comes to creating a bucket list think about these items:
- Travel (visit all 7 continents, take a trip every year, etc)
- Experiences (go on a cruise, backpack Europe, etc)
- Events (musicians or sports team you love)
I also recommend creating a financial bucket list so you can reach all your financial goals such as buying a car, buying a house, investing and saving for your future.
When you’re in your 20’s it’s easy to not think about giving back since you might not have much money. But I’ve found that giving back helps others as much as it helps you.
By giving back, either volunteering or donating, you will get more satisfaction than partying or watching Netflix.
If you’re doing good financially donate a small percentage to a charity you believe in. If you don’t have much money yet volunteer your time. It could be at a soup kitchen, senior citizen home or animal shelter.
My last piece of advice for your 20’s is to appreciate life. It’s easy to get caught up in social media, your career, friends, and family without appreciating it all. Spend time every day, week, and month being thankful for your life.
I’ve known co-workers pass away in their 20’s, friends become diagnosed with cancer and other tough situations to people I know. You need to appreciate everything in your life.
The more you appreciate your life the better your life will be. Keep a positive attitude, know that you have a lot going for you and that your life is just getting started.
Advice For My 20 Year Old Self
Hopefully, this was helpful for all you twenty somethings. I’ve loved writing on these topics so much I published a book, Advice for My Younger Self, available on Amazon. If you like this post buy my book to expand on all these ideas and provide even more helpful tips to succeed in life.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in one decade. Spend your time wisely, hang out with people that make your life better, and enjoy every moment. Your 30’s will come up soon, enjoy being young.
You only get to do it once, make the most of your twenties!
Any other advice for your 20-year-old self? Let me know in the comments!
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