Your twenties are an exciting yet mysterious time. You want good relationships, healthy finances and to be in a general state of happiness. Although you have spent decades on this earth and have gathered years of knowledge and life experience, you are still discovering who you are and what you want and need from your life. As a 20-something myself, I feel that this time is a vital tipping point that will set you up for a future of success or a future of failure. Having graduated college in your twenties, you are expected to move out of your parents’ house, get a job, sustain yourself, make responsible decisions, advance your career, get married, start saving for your future and the biggest one of all, make your own doctor’s appointments. While these new responsibilities may seem daunting, it is an exciting time to explore the new adult you! These are the years where you need to invest in yourself, form good habits and learn how to grow into the best version of your adult self.
- Focus on Positive Relationships
Weather it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship, now is the time to let go of any toxic people in your life and focus on your good friends. How do you tell the difference between a positive and negative relationship? Here is a little guide:
|Good Friends||Toxic Friends|
|Celebrate your success||Jealous of your achievements|
|Caring & empathetic||Criticizing & hurtful|
|Patient & respectful||Loose their temper easily|
|Understand you need alone time||Monopolize your time|
|Can have an intellectual debate||Try to win arguments|
|Trust you||Doubt you|
|Call when they miss you||Call when they need help|
|Accept your other friendships||Don’t like your other friends|
|Accept your quirks||Try to change and control you|
|Keep secrets||Spread rumors|
- Grow Your Network
Get out of the office and move away from your computer screen. Meeting other professionals in person can expose you to a diverse environment of various industries and the talented people who work in them. These professionals can teach you new skills and may even offer you lucrative opportunities.
As a 20-something, networking can be intimidating. Something I struggled with is figuring out how I can be of value to another professional person who has been in their industry for decades. Here are some tips I have recently learned:
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. Someone who looks intimidating can actually be very friendly. Remember everyone who is at a networking event is there with a similar purpose – to meet people.
- Harness the power of an introduction. Maybe you will meet a great person who is not a lead for your business and their clients are not in the same demographic as your clients. However, they may be a great lead for someone else you know. If you keep them in mind for introductions, they are bound to do the same for you.
- Impress. Many professionals who have been networking for years are accustomed to seeing other middle-aged professionals in their networking circles. Don’t forget that you are young, bright and you can offer a fresh prospective. They will see you as a young person who is showing initiative by simply being there.
- Yes, You Need a Budget
Creating a budget that reflects your salary, lifestyle and goals is vital. 47% of 20-somethings have student loan debt, 31% have credit card debt and 26% have auto loans. On top of that, you may be leaving your parent’s house for the first time. You will be juggling rent, utilities, groceries and more. You will need to put some money away for various goals and future expenses such as your retirement, a rainy-day fund, a future, home, etc. A budget can help you decide how much “fun money” to spend each month and how much you should be putting away. There are many great apps to help you budget, such as YNAB. Luckily, many employers offer a 401(k) to help get you started on your retirement. If not, there are other options a financial planner can help you with, such as opening an IRA.
Your twenties are a great time to see the world. You’re earning a steady income and you may have not started a family of your own yet. Traveling can help you experience and learn from other cultures. Don’t forget to budget for any big trips and plan ahead. Things such as cultural differences, language differences an currency exchange rates can impact the success of your trip.
- Plan to be Debt Free
While debt can quickly accumulate, especially in your early twenties, it is vital to plan to become debt free. Understand the type of debt you have and its impact on your finances. Credit card debt is the most damaging type of debt. If you have credit card debt, clearing your balances should be your top priority. And while cutting out avocado toast alone may not solve all your debt issues. There are strategies to help you pay off debt efficiently.
- Set Career Goals
Perhaps you graduated with a Bachelors or Masters degree and now it’s time to put it to good use. You may have your sights set on opening your business or working for a specific industry. The important thing while you’re young is to gain experience. You may not get your dream job straight out of college and that is okay! Make a plan to gain the experience you need to get to your dream job or open your own business down the road. Success does not happen overnight!
- Know Who You Are
Your 20s are a beautiful time to explore new places, people and experiences. Figure out what you want from life – both professionally and personally. Work out how you see yourself and how others see you. At this age, you will start figuring out what you value and believe in and what you want to be known for as well as what you don’t want to be associated with. You are a complex and unique individual. Enjoy this time to discover who you are.
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