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Things to Do in Your 20s That Pay Off in Your 30s

Updated on September 3, 2018
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Arthur is a blogger, writer, and author who also happens to be a work-at-home dad to two beautiful girls. He loves sharing his opinions!

Your 20s are some of the most carefree times in a lot of people's lives. Calories don't seem to matter yet, you can drink legally, and you don't need to check in with your mom every few hours. It is the first time that a lot of people experience true freedom as they enter into adulthood. While it is a lot of fun and games, your choices in your 20s will eventually spill over into your 30s. While you should take advantage of your youth, there are a few things you can do in your spare time in your 20s that will pay off big time in your 30s.

1. Take Care of Your Body

Those calories seem to disappear as soon as you eat them when you are younger, but one day you wake up, and it is like your metabolism has stopped in its tracks. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy the occasional out to eat meal or day off, but taking steps to take care of yourself in your 20s will pay off in your 30s. A regular exercise routine and sensible diet choice will have you feeling a lot better than your peers who spent their 20s making Taco Bell runs at 2 a.m.

2. Create Residual Income Streams

If I could travel back in time to change only one thing in my life it would be this. The magnificent thing about residual income streams is that they make you money in your sleep, literally. The wealthiest people in the world got there by residual income, and it is not some unattainable thing for all of us. I am always looking for more ways to build residual income and its a slow process, but it works. Self-publishing a book, investing in dividend-yielding stocks, and even writing on Hub Pages are all examples of ways you can start building residual income. Even if you start small in your 20s, you could be looking at a car payment a month or more in extra income in your 30s.

3. Dating

This is not the right suggestion for everyone - I got married when I was 23 - but for some people, their 20s are a time for exploration of self and others. If you don't think you are with the right person, don't waste the prime of your youth stuck in a relationship. Get out and date around to learn what you are truly looking for in a mate. If you don't find the love of your life in your 20s, you will at least know what you are looking for in your 30s.

4. Travel

One of my greatest regrets in life is waiting until I was in my 30s to travel. I always thought that travel was cost prohibitive, but depending on where you go, you can travel all over the world relatively inexpensively. Traveling expands your mind in so many ways and, in my opinion, makes you a better person through sheer experience. Traveling in your 20s will make you a more fulfilled and interesting person in your 30s.

5. Take a Class (or Ten)

Community education classes are one of the most overlooked forms of enrichment there are. These classes are usually affordable and even have sliding scales depending on your income. There is no better way to learn about your self and what you enjoy in life by taking as many community education classes as you possibly can. Imagine taking a course in your 20s that turns into a career in your 30s or winning over a significant other with a home cooked Italian meal.

6. Don't Go Into Debt

A good portion of people in their 20s are paying off student loan debt while paying high rents and trying to have some semblance of a social life. What I'm trying to say is that I understand that in today's society it is nearly impossible not to go into debt in your 20s, but try. Ask yourself if you really need to buy a brand new car, or live in the trendiest neighborhood, or drop a ridiculous amount of money on spring break when you could travel to Europe for half the price. Not having to pay off the decisions of your 20s will be a great benefit in your 30s.

7. Take Care of Your Skin

When I was in my 20s and early teens, I thought I was invincible, so I rarely put on sunscreen. Now that I am in my 30s and can see the effects it had on my skin, I regret it deeply. Sunscreen is so important that they even wrote a song about it in the late 90s. Sunscreen is not the only step you should take though, make sure always to stay hydrated and have a regular lotion routine. Even if it doesn't seem like it is doing anything in your 20s, your 30-year-old self will thank past you.

8. Read

I feel like a lot of people get so beaten down by being forced to read things they aren't interested in at school that they swear off of reading altogether in their 20s. Plus, there is so much good stuff on tv, who needs a good book? Everyone, if we all spent a lot more time reading literature and newspapers instead of Facebook, there would not be the fake news epidemic that we are currently dealing with in the late 2010s. I wish I had time to read more for entertainment instead of work; it is something I am still working on in my 30s and something I should have made more time for in my 20s.

9. Invest in Nice Things

This is hard to do in your 20s, especially if you don't have a lot of money, but it is worth it. I wish I would have spent more time budgeting in my 20s because paying a little extra now has the possibility of saving you a lot more in the future. Putting a little extra money towards more beautiful clothes, durable furniture, and superior appliances now should mean that you don't need to replace them until you are well into your 30s.

10. Start Weeding Out Friends

It may sound harsh, but it is necessary. The older you get, the more you understand that not all of your friends are life-long. Some friends are damaging; some go in different life directions than you. If you are still trying to keep all of your friendships from childhood, you are going to end up with none by the time you get to your 30s. Start weeding out your friends now to get down to a core group of close friends that you know will be with you through kids, divorce, illness, or whatever else life may throw at you.

© 2018 Arthur Thares


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