Your 20s is a time to have fun, start your careers, and create memories that will last a life time! It’s also the foundation for the rest of your adult life. Making smart decisions now can have lasting impacts for years to come! With that in mind, here’s a look at thirty different things you should do before you turn 30.
1. Improve your Credit Score
Your credit score affects your ability to get a mortgage, qualify for personal and auto loans, and can even be viewed by landlords or employers. Having a good credit score makes it easier to qualify for lower interest rates, which in turn saves you money. Start working to get a good credit score in your 20s by paying your accounts on time and not maxing out your credit cards. If you don’t have any credit, consider getting a credit card so you can build up a score in case you ever want a loan or a mortgage.
2. Change Up your Look
Have you always wanted to try a different hair style, get a tattoo, or wear a new style of clothing? Take the opportunity at least once during your 20s to change up your look – whether it’s something small, like trying a new nail polish color, or dramatic, like getting a brand-new wardrobe. You may be surprised at how much your new look feels like “you,” and if nothing else, it will give you something to remember about this decade!
3. Save for Retirement
Retirement may seem like a lifetime away, but the sooner you start saving for it, the better it will be in the long run! Look at different retirement accounts, such as Roth IRAs or 401(k)s. If your employer offers a matching 401(k), be sure to take full advantage of the match. Saving as much as you can for retirement will give you an enjoyable cushion during your golden years.
4. Learn to Cook
Not everyone learns to cook while growing up, but even if you’ve never cooked before, you should start in your 20s. You don’t have to cook a lot, but try to master at least 2 or 3 different meals (and not just ramen noodles or instant mac n cheese – actual meals with protein and vegetables). Cooking is an impressive (and often enjoyable) skill to have, but it’s also practical – you can save a lot of money by cooking at home instead of going out. You may even find a new favorite recipe!
5. Build Up an Emergency Fund
Emergencies tend to happen at the least convenient times, whether that’s an unexpected car repair, job loss, medical bill, or other expense. In order to be better prepared for what the future may hold, build up an emergency fund and keep it in a savings account that is easy to access if the time comes. It’s generally recommended to save enough for three months worse of utilities and expenses, but of course everyone’s needs differ. Regardless, starting an emergency fund in your 20s is a smart financial move.
6. Pursue your Passion
The person you are now is vastly different than who you were as a teenager, and perhaps even different than who you were in college. Your life plans now may have wildly changed since when you first made them. Use your 20s to pursue your passion, whether that’s a specific career, a favorite hobby, or an enjoyable activity. Dedicate time in your life to what makes you feel fulfilled. If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve found your passion – don’t worry! Keep trying new things and accept that you can have multiple passions in your life – and those passions can change at any time!
7. Buy a House
If you pay rent, you’re just lining your landlord’s pocket. Mortgage payments are often similar to (and sometimes even cheaper than!) rental payments, and when you pay off a mortgage, you’re building equity in your home – an asset that you can benefit from when you sell your house, or when you take out a home equity loan. Buying real estate can be a wise investment, especially during your 20s. Take advantage of low mortgage rates and start comparing lenders today!
8. Get Educated
Most people in their 20s find themselves not in school for the first time in their lives. However, it’s important to never stop learning. Whether you take a class to learn a new skill, or go back to school and get a new degree, continue to expand your education and learn new things!
9. Start Investing
Make the right investments now and it could pay off big time in the future! Learn about the financial industry and try making a couple of investments. If you’re not sure where to start, you can consider short-term investments such as these, where you could see a return on your money in just a few months!
Giving back to the community is both important and fulfilling. Find ways to volunteer and help out charitable organizations in your community.
11. Plan Your Budget
Do you know how much you spend on a monthly basis? The general rule is 50% of your income should be spent on necessities, 20% should be used to pay off debt and save for the future, and 30% can be used for things that you’d like. If you haven’t done so already, take a close look at your budget and see how you’re spending your money. Maybe you’re not saving enough, or maybe you need to find ways to trim down on necessity costs. As your situation changes, keep coming back to your budget to make sure you’re being financially responsible.
12. Develop Healthy Habits
We’ve talked about financial investments, but what about investments in your health? Start living a healthy lifestyle now so that it becomes habitual in the future. Flossing, exercising, eating healthy, going to the doctor regularly – these are all important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
13. Pay Off your Debt
Most people in their twenties are dealing with some form of debt, whether that’s student loan debt or credit card debt. However, having too much debt, especially early on in life, can send your finances down a black hole and make it difficult to save money for other things. If you have high-interest debt, try to pay it off as early as possible to avoid spending even more on interest payments, and avoid racking up too much debt.
One benefit of becoming an adult is the freedom to do what you want with your time. Be sure to travel in your 20s – either with friends, family, or alone (traveling alone can be a very enlightening experience, but be sure to stay safe!). Create a list of places that you’ve always wanted to go (or places that you’ve never heard about before) and cross some of them off!
15. Start a Side Hustle
Lots of people have side hustles, whether that’s driving for a ride-share company, selling handmade crafts, or coming up with a brand-new business idea. Whatever it is, side hustles can be a great way to earn a little extra cash – and some side hustles turn out to be very profitable, causing people to choose them over their main job! Pursuing a side hustle also gives you an opportunity to branch out, expand your resume, and follow different interests.
16. Focus on Relationships
Between working, hobbies, and responsibilities, it can be hard to find the time to have a social life. Be sure to spend time focusing on your relationships, whether that’s with friends, family, or a significant other. Build memories with the people you care about that you can cherish for a lifetime.
17. Save for your Kids’ Educations
You may have just gotten out of school yourself, but it’s never too early to start saving for your own kids’ educations. Consider a 529 plan or other higher-education savings plan, which often have tax benefits and can be opened as soon as you know your child’s name and social security number. If you don’t have children yet but might someday, you can contribute money to a regular savings account in anticipation of future child-related expenses.
18. Meet New People
Many lament that it’s hard to meet new people once you get out of school. However, it’s important to break those social barriers and get in touch with those around you. Meeting new people from all different backgrounds is a great way to expand your worldview. Ways to meet people include hobby groups, volunteering, new jobs, and traveling!
19. Write a Will
Planning for the future also includes planning for events that you don’t want to happen. Even though a will may not seem like a necessity in your 20s, it can be incredibly important if something happens to you. What will happen to your house, assets, kids, even your pets? Having a will that expressly states your wishes can give you peace of mind in case anything happens to you.
20. Take Care of your Mental Health
As fun as it is to be in your 20s, it also comes with many mental and emotional challenges, and most adults are dealing with stress or trauma of one form or another. Take the time to develop healthy mental well-being practices. This might be getting regular therapy, giving yourself free time to relax, learning to meditate, or settling down with a good book or movie. Everyone flourishes in different ways, so find the practice that benefits your mental health the most and stick with it.
21. Get a Life Insurance Plan
A life insurance plan is meant to help provide financial support in the event of your death or permanent disablement. Most often it’s used by people who are worried about their spouses or kids, but a life insurance plan can also be used to cover mortgage payments and pay off other expenses. Some life insurance plans can also fund other investments and build cash value, which makes getting them in your 20s particularly attractive. Consider whether a life insurance plan is smart for your financial situation.
22. Start a Journal
How well do you remember your life when you were 9 years old? Or when you were 14 years old? What’s normal and routine for you now may be completely forgotten in the future. This is why journaling can be a smart idea – it lets you capture the moments you’re living for your future self to revisit. If you don’t like writing, you can journal in other ways – voice memos, video recordings, photographs, even collecting different objects! Anything to help you remember the important parts of your life.
23. Figure Out what you’re Afraid Of – and Challenge Yourself!
Facing your fears can be exhilarating and liberating – you may feel a rush of adrenaline or a new found sense of confidence, and you might even gain new skills! Think about what you’re afraid of and push your boundaries – if you don’t like public speaking, take a class on giving speeches! If you’re afraid of heights, visit a skyscraper! If you have trouble talking about your emotions, try writing them down instead! Grappling and overcoming your fears can let you see new sights that may have held you back before.
24. Treat Yourself
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do or to buy, but something has stopped you in the past? Find time in your 20s to treat yourself to something that you’ve always wanted – maybe a new car, or a vacation, or a gaming system. If it’s expensive, give yourself a savings goal and treat yourself once you reach it! After all, being financially successful doesn’t mean denying yourself luxuries – it just means spending and saving wisely, while happily living your life.
25. Go to your Highschool Reunion
Most people will have a 5-year and a 10-year high school reunion while in their 20s. Going to your high school reunion is a great way to catch up with old classmates and even some teachers! It can be a networking opportunity as well as a way to reconnect with old friends. If you’re unable to go to your high school reunion (or just don’t want to), try reaching out to friends you’ve lost touch with, or taking up a hobby you were once interested in but stopped doing. Reconnecting with your past can be both comforting and enjoyable.
26. Get a Pet
Perhaps you had a family pet while growing up, but owning a pet as an adult is a whole different story. Often people are closer with the pets they get as adults, since they are the primary caretaker and can choose for themselves which pet they want. Owning a pet can be incredibly rewarding, as well as comforting and enjoyable. If you can’t make the commitment to owning a pet, considering fostering – lots of animals need temporary homes and shelter! And if animals just aren’t your thing, look into decorating your home with house plants instead.
27. Hire a Professional Cleaner
Keeping up with dishes, laundry, and other chores can be tedious, especially when there are many other things you want to be doing. At least once during your twenties, hire a professional cleaner to give your home a thorough cleaning. It doesn’t have to turn into a regular occurrence (although it certainly can be!). Enjoy the feeling of having a freshly scrubbed and tidied home, and especially enjoy the fact you didn’t have to do it yourself.
28. Try Something New
Routines are comforting and familiar, but they are also limiting. Push yourself to try new things, whether that’s new food, new activities, new types of shows – it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re experiencing something different! You might find something that you can’t believe you’ve missed out on for so many years.
29. Learn to Say No
Your 20s are a perfect time to learn how to stand up to yourself and say no. You can’t please everyone – you’ll wear yourself out that way. Instead, focus on making yourself happy, and saying no when you have to. Perhaps that means you’re not always available to hang out or help someone move, or maybe you have to turn down a responsibility at work. Either way, don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
30. Come Up with a Bucket List of 40 things to do before you turn 40!
Now that we’ve explored 30 different things you should do before you turn 30, come up with another bucket list of 40 things to do before you turn 40!