Tips For Your Twenties
You twenties are the springboard to the rest of your life, starting a trajectory towards the person you are becoming. Now a legal adult, the choices you make in your twenties will affect the rest of your life. Making wise choices now will pay in dividends later and help solidify a life you can look back and be proud of.
1. Don't Get into Debt
Those shiny credit card offers you get everyday in your junk mail seem very alluring, almost irresistible.
Why not get what you want now and pay for it later when you make more money?
That is the father of all financial lies, intended to trap you into a lifelong slavery to the credit system. The problem is that every time you overspend, it becomes easier and you feel less guilt over it. Just swipe that little card and you can have anything you want! Better yet, you can pay it back $25 at a time. Great deal, huh?
What seals your bondage to your bank is the high interest rates. Your interest begins growing faster than you can pay it down, exponentially increasing the hole you are trying to dig yourself out of. Unfortunately, it is possible to accumulate more debt in your twenties, than you can pay off in your lifetime. Maybe it was for good reasons, like education. Do you know that student loans are ineligible for bankruptcy? Work six jobs, if you must, to avoid taking out large student loans. A few sixty hour work weeks in you twenties can save you decades of sleepless nights over your debt.
Credit Score Booster
- Always pay your bills on time
- Keep a low ratio of available credit to debt
- Don't open numerous credit accounts or close them down
- Pay off balance every month
2. Protect your Credit Score
Three numbers can do more good or harm to you than any number you've met before. It is one possession that you can not buy, shows no mercy, and doesn't do well at forgiving and forgetting. It is more powerful than your "hotness" rating from the opposite gender, your bank account, your yearly wadge, or your GPA. It like your social security card, you can't exist in this society without it.
To rent an apartment, buy a car, or purchase a house, your credit score will determine if you are eligible for the loan or rental, and how much you will pay in interest.
Why Not Take A Mini Retirement?
3. Don't Put Off Saving For Retirement
The earlier you start saving for retirement, the fewer dollars you have to save, due to the principle of compounding interest. The cost of waiting a couple of years to begin saving could cost you several hundred thousand dollars in opportunity cost.
If your employer offers you a 401 K, do whatever it takes to fund it. If your employer has a matching program, meaning for every dollar you put in they contribute a dollar into your account, then put in as much as you can afford because its free money.
You can also open an Individual retirement Account, or IRA, and reap the benefits of tax breaks and deferments. There are two main types of IRAs, Roth and Traditional.
With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the income you contribute now, but are able to grow that money tax-free. One huge benefit is that you are not penalized for taking out your principle contributions along the way.
In a Traditional IRA, you don't pay taxes on the money you contribute, but are taxed when you take it out. If you were to need that money before retirement, you would face heavy penalties for every dollar you take out.
4. Be Respectful to Authority
Past eighteen, you will be now held accountable for all of your unlawful actions, some of which may follow you to your grave. A DUI, a felony, or possession of an illegal substance may have consequences later in life that you cannot see now.
Not only is it extremely hard to convince an employer that you are not a criminal, your mistakes now may hinder your ability to drive on your kid's field trips, keep your driver's licenses, or purchase a firearm. Even traffic violations, stay on your record for several years and increase the cost of your car insurance.
Another authority to respect is your boss and the supervisors over you. Your reputation of a strong work ethic will be beneficial to you, no matter how tyrannical your current boss is. Regardless of how they treat you, you must respect them, and in doing so, you will be respected by others. Workers showing great character, a strong work ethic, and upstanding morals are very rare and will make you stand out from the pack. Do not give into the temptation to even be verbally disrespectful behind closed doors. Gossip always finds a way to tickle the ears of your boss.
The years of belligerence towards your parents are over. Now is a great time to start seeing your parents as mentors and peers, rather than tyrannical authoritarians. You might just discover that they have a lot to offer you in terms of wisdom and practical advice for navigating rough waters.
5. Create Healthy Habits
Gone are the days of pulling all nighters and eating animal style fries from In-N-Out, while studying for an organic chemistry final. The zombie like, sleep deprived days need to come to an end.
The healthy patterns you set into motion now will either give you a heart attack by forty or be competitively bowling in your eighties. You get one body take care of it. You may not appreciate properly working body parts until they stop working properly.
Habits to start:
- Excersize for 30 minutes a day
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night
- Take care of your teeth
- Eat a balance diet with a limit on processed foods
- Drink plenty of water and sparse amounts of other drinks
6. Travel Your Heart Out
Your twenties are the most free years of your life. You've gained legal freedom and the world is at your doorstep. You're young, healthy, and untied down with kids and mortgages.
Use this opportunity to see the world on your own terms. Study abroad, work as an international nanny, take a wine making class in Italy. Until retirement, you may not get another chance to wander the planet as a free person.
Unhindered from your parents ideals, your twenties are when most people figure out their world view for themselves. The places you travel to, and the cultures you come across, will have a profound mark on your worldview. It would be ignorant to create a worldview, without first seeing the world.