You’ve probably heard your Mom or Dad use the expression -“Youth is wasted on the young.” When you’re young and time seems to drag its feet, a minute feels like an hour and whatever your parents say really doesn’t strike a chord. But once you’re out of college and are settled in that great first job you landed, you come to the realization that there might be something to what they were saying.
Once the thrill of the new job wears off, you begin to realize you spend over eight hours a day doing underpaid work on a job you don’t even love. What happened to all that “me” time you used to have? Those minutes that seemed to last forever now fly by and all you’re left with (if you’re lucky) is a measly four or five hours after work.
It’s time to set some goals. You have to plan your future. This is no time for idling, because what you do in your 20’s can affect a huge part of your future. Not sure where to start or what to do? Here’s a guide to help you live life fully before you turn 30.
1. Pay Off Your College Loan
If you want to enjoy your life and live out your dreams, you need to have money. And the sooner you pay off your student loans and all your other debts you might have incurred, the faster you can use that hard-earned money to enjoy whatever makes you happy.
Most millennials today have trouble being financially independent. And this is because they’re still having a hard time repaying their college loans. According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of Cappex, the average student debt for 2016 records to $37,173, and this is more than 5% high from last year.
Here are some things you can do to easily pay off your college loan:
- Cut the principal down quickly to get lower interest charges. For example, instead of paying around 300$ a month, double it down to $600 if you can afford it.
- Work part time on a job you love and use the money to pay for your student loan.
- Live cheaply and give up a few luxuries during the years you’re paying your debt.
- Work for a company that offers student loan paydown plans.
2. Invest Your Money
Once your debt is paid off, it’s time to think about investing your money. Financial experts believe that during your 20’s is the best time to invest aggressively. This is the phase where you can take huge risks and start building your wealth.
Try learning about investing your savings and how to make your money grow while you sleep. I recommend reading Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke or If You Can : How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly by William J. Bernstein. With the money you earned from your investments, you could improve your wealth a few years down the line. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Start saving. If you’re just 22, you probably won’t have enough money to invest in something big. But you have the opportunity to do so. Even if you set aside 10-20% of your income every month, that amount can grow in time.
- Invest in your 401k. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to save for your retirement.
Invest in yourself. If you haven’t yet – go to college. Take up courses to hone your skills and improve your financial situation.
- Or you can start a business or a money-making blog about things you’re passionate about. Make sure that you consulted experts before setting up your business and you’ve armed yourself with useful tools to manage your blog.
3. Take Steps To Improve Your Health
Now that you’re “adulting”, take a good hard look at your eating and exercising habits. Staying healthy can save you tons of money and you’ll thank yourself when you reach your golden age.
Easier said than done, getting into a healthy routine can be hard for most of us. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are ways to manage a healthful lifestyle:
- Commit to a regular exercise routine so you can maintain a healthy weight. If you’re having a hard time you can start off by simple half hour walks every afternoon or early morning jogs before you get to work.
- Start learning how to cook your own meals. Use more healthy ingredients instead of preservatives.
- Maintain a circle of supportive family and friends. Good emotional health is as much important as physical wellness to your overall well being.
4. Get Serious About Your Love Life
Remember those minutes that seemed to drag on forever? Well, they aren’t now. And, there are several other clocks ticking too. If you’ve neglected your relationship status, or just haven’t had the time to look for a partner, it could be the time you made a serious commitment to being committed. Time flies you know, you don’t want to be that little old lady with a bunch of cats, now do you?
Learn to focus and appreciate the positive aspects of your partner or the guy you’re dating. Practice open-mindedness. Stop being a Negative Nancy and see good in people.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable and to trust your partner. If you want an intimate emotionally connected relationship, you have to open your heart to your special someone.
5. Explore and Live Life Fully
You’ll be surprised at how many people are so busy trying to get ahead that they forget to have fun. It’s important to enjoy your life as you’re trying to build it. Don’t forget to do the things that make you happy. Whether it’s a hobby, a sport, traveling, go out and explore the world and enjoy every minute of it.
Make time for things you love doing every day. Plan your time so you can schedule days for having fun with friends or traveling with your partner. Once you start having kids, it’s going to be hard to find time for yourself.
Whatever goals you have, make sure you set an achievable timetable to them. Being over ambitious and over-reaching will just make you anxious.