Maximizing Life in Your 20’s

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Those of us in the throes of our 20’s might feel a bit overwhelmed with so many life transitions going on around us. It can be downright stressful to face many decisions that will likely affect the entire course of your life, day after day. Perhaps this famous Charles Dickens quote sums up this feeling most accurately: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

But people on the other side of this decade tend to look back on it with a certain fondness—recalling the relative freedom they had to explore, travel, make choices and make mistakes.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to maximizing life in your 20s, there are certainly ways to prioritize growth in the areas of personal life, personal finance, career, etc. Here are a few tips to consider.

Work on Yourself—Outside of Work

It’s easy to become hyper-focused on your career in your 20’s. After all, you’re just starting out, so the journey upward seems particularly daunting. It makes sense you’re eager to get started, prove your worth and put all the learning you’ve done to good use.

But getting the most out of your 20’s means working on yourself as a person completely separately from how you relate to work. In order to become who you really want to be, you’ll need to take stock of who you are internally—then evaluate how your external circumstances are or are not facilitating that growth. Practicing meaningful hobbies is a must, new and old. Setting aside time each week to be alone is a great practice; bonus points if you’re able to turn off your technology for a while.

If you work on a computer all day, it’s especially important to try out some hands-on skills: pottery, gardening, sports, cooking, baking, crafting, painting, whatever. Funnel as much energy into becoming someone you’re proud to be as you do plotting your career trajectory. Cultivating your sense of self now will help you stay active, grounded and open-minded.

Learn the Art of Negotiation

In your 20s you’ll start to take the reins on your own life. Suddenly people are asking you to sign on the dotted line for all kinds of things: a vehicle, an apartment/condo/house, a job offer. Knowing how to negotiate—and advocate for yourself in general—will help you ensure the best outcomes. Learning to negotiate while remaining polite will be a huge asset for years to come.

Build a Financial Foundation A.S.A.P.

Your 20’s are quite literally the foundation for your financial future. Here are three priorities every twenty somethings should have, regardless of specific income level:

  • Fill Your Emergency Fund: Living paycheck to paycheck works… until it doesn’t. Prepare for unanticipated expenses now by filling your emergency fund one deposit at a time. Keep going until you’ve amassed at least three months’ worth of living expenses, but preferably six to nine.
  • Pay Down Debts: You may find yourself carrying debt by your 20’s, and it’s a good time to pay them down before they get out of hand. Consider do-it-yourself approaches to debt relief, credit card balance transfers, taking out a consolidation loan or, for serious debt, trying a settlement program like Freedom Debt Relief. Taking the time to pay off your debts now before life gets even more complicated will help you achieve future milestones like traveling, getting married, having kids, adopting pets, buying a home, etc.
  • Start Saving for Retirement: It may feel early, but you want to start as soon as possible so you can increase how much compound interest you’re earning. Set up auto-withdrawals to go into your 401k or Roth IRA; this’ll make it easy to keep saving without a second thought.

The financial choices you make now will affect your future, so take the time to prioritize your emergency fund, debt elimination and retirement investments.

Enjoy the Relative Freedom of Youth

Last but not least, enjoy your 20’s for what they are. Determine what’s non-negotiable to you in all aspects of life. Say yes more, but don’t be afraid to say no when you need to draw boundaries. Anticipate failure, but also appreciate success in its myriad of forms.

Only you have the power to create a blueprint for your life, then act to make it a reality. Start by taking these tips for maximizing your life in your 20’s and really make them your own.

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About Kristin

Master reviewer of all types of products. Love XL Fountain Sodas!! Cheer Mom extraordinaire. Socialite to all things small town and founder of ItsFreeAtlast.com. Come socialize and connect with me.

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