Ten things to master during your 20s

Aim your career trajectory

Your 20s are the perfect time for career mobility and self-exploration. Even though it’s always possible to change careers down the line, your 20s may provide an extra bit of freedom that’s hard to come by later on given the obligation of moving out, taking on a mortgage or starting a family.

Take this time to really discover what you’re good at, what you really love, and even what makes you miserable. Your future (and employed) self will thank you for it when you settle into a stable and fulfilling career.

Start a savings plan

Like most bad habits, careless spending usually starts at a young age, so there’s no better time to start honing those financial skills. You don’t need to set yourself a monumental task like saving up for a home – at this stage, it’s simply about learning to put aside some income and cut back on unnecessary expenses. This will help you develop better spending habits and achieve your future financial goals.    

Make and lose friends

It’s very likely that your friendship group will shrink as you get older. This tends to happen as people move away, lose touch due to family obligations, or simply turn into someone we no longer click with. That’s OK – doing the friendship churn in our 20s means we’ll eventually discover who our closest and most loyal friends are. So, hang out, meet new people, and let your social circle naturally evolve.

The ins and outs of superannuation

We may be decades away from accessing our superannuation but it’s still important to plan for that dreamy retirement lifestyle one day. According to the ACMA, people in their 20s change jobs every 18 months on average. That means we could go through at least seven jobs during our first decade of adulthood, so it’s a good idea to keep track of all your super accounts or try to stick with a single provider to avoid multiple fees. 

Learn to fail

Whether you fail to get your license right away, fail to impress someone you like, or your new business doesn’t take off as intended, it’s important to understand that reality won’t always be kind to you. You won’t always get what you want and you’re likely to make plenty of mistakes along the way. There’s nothing wrong with that – this is the natural process of growing and learning. Aim high, give it your best, and be prepared to fall short. What matters most is how we move forward and learn from it. 

Develop an exercise routine

Most people find that exercising becomes a lot harder as they get older, which could lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This is the perfect time to set ourselves up for optimal fitness by channeling all that extra energy it into a consistent workout routine. Not only will we improve our short-term fitness, but we’ll also be developing good habits to follow in our later years.

Preparing to vote

In Australia, voting is compulsory for anyone over the age of 18. This means that you’ll be getting a few reminders about giving up your Saturday morning to cast a vote – otherwise you may be fined. First, make sure you are enrolled to vote and that your address and contact details are up to date with your local council. It’s also a good idea to start researching which candidates or parties align with your views so you can put your vote towards the best possible option.

Finally, it won’t hurt to learn the social etiquette around voting in Australia – it’s customary to get yourself a sausage roll (known as a democracy sausage) while you line up.

Keep your social media accounts under control

Unsurprisingly, we have more social media connections than any other age group. Australians in their 20s have an average of 400 Facebook friends, and that’s not even counting the ones we have on other platforms. That list of virtual friends can grow bigger over the years and take even more time away from our real-world relationships. Plus, giving so many people access to your profile could also pose a privacy risk.  

Own your outcomes

After a lifetime of dependency, it’s tempting to keep relying on other people for what happens in our lives. That’s why one of the biggest lessons to learn in our 20s is self-accountability. Remember that you alone are responsible for your success now. It’s OK to ask for help, but when things don’t go as planned, we can no longer blame other people. Instead, ask yourself what you could have done better.

Consider any insurance you might need

While we don’t tend to think about it when everything’s going well, your health is a critical factor when it comes to enjoying a good life. It’s important to consider how you would cover the cost of medical treatment if you were to become sick or injured. Not all medical bills are covered by Medicare, so private health insurance can be an option to help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. You can even select cover options for singles, couples, families or single parent families.

Find out more about Real Health Insurance.

This article is an opinion only, provided for general information purposes and shouldn’t be considered or relied upon as professional or personal advice. If you have legal, tax, or financial questions, you should contact an appropriate professional.