Things I know in my 30s that I wish I knew in my 20s

TheFinanceNewsletter.com
4 min readMar 10, 2024
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Things I know in my 30s that I wish I knew in my 20s:

1. Your relationship with money is crucial.

Bad money habits now will be hard to break. Your choices now shape your future — so choose wisely.

2. Knowledge is power. Invest in yourself through continuing education and learning new skills.

Your 20s are for learning, and your 30s are for applying.

Stay curious and ask questions. Never stop learning.

3. Start saving for retirement as early as possible — even small amounts add up huge over time thanks to compound interest.

4. Start building an emergency fund with 3–6 months’ expenses.

If you have high-interest debt, make a plan to get rid of it ASAP.

5. Live below your means. Lifestyle creep is the enemy of wealth.

Budgeting early on sets the foundation for financial stability.

6. You don’t need to go to a prestigious school to be successful.

Grades aren’t everything.

7. Network and build connections early on — it will open up doors a college degree cannot.

Build meaningful connections with people who inspire and support you, personally and professionally.

8. Pick your partner/ spouse very carefully. Wrong choices set you back years.

9. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Don’t let work consume your entire life.

Make time for your personal life and relationships.

Don’t settle for a job you hate.

10. Your physical and mental health should be the top priority. Everything else is secondary.

Exercise regularly and eat healthy — it gets harder to start good habits the older you get.

11. Read a lot. Reading expands your mind and knowledge.

Be a lifelong learner. Never stop learning and growing.

Continuously seek out new knowledge and experiences.

12. Learn to communicate effectively. Good communication is key to building strong relationships and achieving success.

13. Time is your most valuable asset. Use it wisely; you can’t get it back.

Learn to manage your time and prioritize to help you make the most of each day.

Use a “stop doing” list to avoid wasting time.

14. Set both short-term and long-term goals for yourself. This will help you stay focused and motivated.

You’re not entitled to anything, work for what you want. Nobody owes you anything.

Success is earned, not given.

Create a “vision board” to visualize your goals.

15. Don’t be afraid of failure. You’ll make mistakes, learn from them.

It’s a natural part of life, and it’s how we grow and improve.

Make mistakes, get back up, and keep learning.

Failure isn’t a reflection of your worth; it’s feedback for growth and improvement.

16. Learn to delegate. You can’t do everything on your own.

Learn to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others.

17. Be proactive. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Go out and create them.

Your 20s are for taking calculated risks. Don’t play it too safe.

18. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s journey is different.

Focus on your own progress and growth.

Most people are just winging it and faking it. You’re not alone.

It’s okay to not have everything figured out — life is a journey.

19. Be patient. Good things take time.

Be patient with yourself and with the process.

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do yet. Most people don’t.

20. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay.

People’s opinions of you aren’t as important as you think.

21. Say ‘no’ more often to protect your time and energy.

Don’t overcommit yourself out of guilt or a need to please others.

You can’t please everyone so stop trying.

22. That toxic friend/partner? Cut them off sooner rather than later.

You can’t change others, only yourself.

23. Most of your friends from your 20s won’t stick around long-term. And that’s OK.

You’re going to lose friends as you get older.

24. Spend more time with your parents/family. You’ll regret not doing it more.

Invest in relationships — friends and family are priceless.

25. Social media is mostly people’s highlight reels. Don’t compare your life.

Comparison is the thief of joy — focus on your own path.

26. Floss daily and go to the dentist regularly. Dental issues are expensive to fix later.

27. Life is unpredictable, learn to adapt. Let go of what you can’t control.

What’s meant for you won’t miss you.

28. Be open-minded. Be willing to consider different perspectives and ideas.

Change is inevitable and essential for growth. Embrace it.

29. Practice gratitude by journaling and writing down three things you’re thankful for daily.

Use a “done” list instead of a to-do list to track your wins.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Appreciate the little things in life.

30. Travel Often. Explore the world, gain new perspectives, and create lasting memories.

Memories last a lifetime. Invest in experiences over material possessions.

Embrace the lessons life has to offer and use them to become the best version of yourself.

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TheFinanceNewsletter.com

I write TheFinanceNewsletter.com for 50,000 subscribers. My expertise comes from real-world knowledge, sharpened by 15 years working on Wall Street and Banking.