My 31st birthday is next week and I’ve been reflecting on my 20s. As I watch family members graduate high school and enter the next phase of life, there are so many things I wish I knew. I’ve shared a few thoughts below for career and financial. If you have any additional advice, I’d love to add it! Just leave a comment below.
- Learn as much as you can. And don’t complain. You’ve got a looooooong career ahead of you and you’re working with (believe it or not) people who are much more experienced than you. Coping skills are important so you don’t quit your job every 1-2 years.
- Build relationships. Be kind to everyone. You never know what connection you’ll need to leverage in the future. I can’t tell you how many times an old colleague has referred me.
- The term “success” is subjective. Each person has their own definition of success. Could be financial. Could be personal awards. Could be 50+ hours a week. Don’t strive to be a success, but rather to be of value. A person of value has ethics, morality, decency, integrity, principles, and honesty. All those things one should strive to attain.
- Invest in a 401k as soon as it is available (or start a Roth IRA). These terms can be intimidating as a non-finance major, but they’re REALLY important for the next 40-ish years. Have you ever heard the story about compound interest? About the 25-year-old who put $1,000/month away for 10 years versus the 35-year-old who put $1,000/month away until he retired. Guess who had more money in the end? Read here. Bottom line: start saving early.
- Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. And do not open retail credit cards. In college, I wanted all of the new clothes that my friends were getting. Since I was over 18, I decided to get a few retail store credit cards. Of course, I racked up more than I could pay. Long story short, don’t feel pressured to be on the same page as everyone else. You’ll be fighting that battle your whole life.
There are a few other personal things I’ve decided to leave off of this post. Maybe I’ll share another post with some more advice. If you have anything to add, please share in the comments below.