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Mistakes are made by teens and college students. By the time young adults reach 25, they have matured and their “mistake years” are over – not.There are still plenty of mistakes “out there” to be made, and, unfortunately, some of them have more lasting consequences than flunking that course or totaling that car. Here is a list of 10 mistakes you will want to avoid at this pivotal time in your life.
Common Mistakes 25-Year Olds Will Make
1. You stick with a job that is unfulfilling.
Face it. There may be security in the job you have, but you are not challenged, and you are not stretching yourself in any way. This is like a bad relationship that has ceased to be rewarding. You are comfortable, however, because it pays the bills, and provides a decent vacation every year.
If you stay where you are, you will hate yourself and your life by the time you are 40. To avoid this, have a conversation with yourself. What would you like to be doing? What kind of job would be fun? How could you get a job like that? Put in writing what you must do to get that job, and take steps toward that goal right now. You can afford to take risks and try something new while you are still young.
2. You stick with the same friends who aren’t adding value
There may be a lot of friends you had in high school and/or college who have not grown much. They are content in their stagnation and want you to be as well. You can choose to stay in that box with them, or you can choose to get out and develop friendships and relationships that force you to grow and to challenge who you are.
Join some groups or organizations whose members are achieving more than you are right now. These are the people who will encourage you to grow and who will support your goals and dreams.
3. You stay addicted to screens
TV, video-games and Facebook have their places in your life, but these are passive activities. They don’t push you in new directions. It’s time to develop the habit of reading.
Read anything – fiction, non-fiction, history, biographies. You become a more well-rounded person, you will be exposed to new ideas, and you will develop a solid general knowledge that will serve you well socially and professionally. The Internet can be a source for reading, of course, if you make a decision to use it for that purpose.
4. You have not started saving
In the 1930’s, a book was published, titled The Richest Man in Babylon. Three friends were nearing the end of their working years, and one of them had accumulated great wealth. The other two, who were still barely making it, asked their rich friend how he had become so wealthy. He explained his seven rules of wealth building. The first rule was “Pay yourself first.” By this, he meant to regularly save a portion of your income for later in life.
This is the time in your life to develop the habit of saving and investing. Whether you participate in the 401K at work or set up an IRA, you need to start now. If you wait until you are 40 or beyond, you will have lost 15 years of earnings, and that’s a lot of money. Aim for 10% – that’s what the richest man in Babylon paid himself.
You might also buy the book. As old as it is, many financially successful people swear by it.
5. You are hesitant or fearful about going back to school
Think about that job you really don’t like. Then, think about what you would love to do for you life’s work. How can you get there? Maybe you are a high school grad who should look at 2-year degrees; maybe you are a college grad who realizes you majored in the wrong thing; perhaps you are dreaming of a graduate degree. You don’t have to drop everything and go to school full-time – there are online degree programs, weekend colleges, and evening courses. With all of these options, you owe it to yourself to pursue those dreams while you are still young enough to do so.
6. You are not taking care of your health
You are still living the life of a teenager – pizza, fast food, soda, and beer; you are also spending a lot of your free time in front of screens. As you age, your body will begin to rebel against this lifestyle, and you will find yourself putting on those pounds, having less energy, and getting sick more often.
It’s time to get a healthier lifestyle. This means eating those vegetables like your mom said; it means finding regular physical activity. Developing the habit of nurturing your body now will pay off in the long run, and you won’t be dealing with blood pressure, cholesterol, or weight issues later in life.
7. You don’t take reasonable risks
At no other time in your life will you be able to take risks like you can right now. Maybe you have dreamed of having your own business or becoming a lawyer; maybe you yearn to travel. Time is on your side now, so take those chances and enjoy the pursuit.If you don’t, you will regret having had something on your bucket list that you could have scratched off now but chose not to out of fear or what others might think.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer, philosopher and author, once said, “Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?’”
8. You squander money on little things and forego the larger pleasures.
Do you have to have another new pair of shoes? Do you really have to eat out 5 days a week? If you sit down and take a long hard look at your spending habits, you will probably discover how much money you are spending on “things” that won’t matter a year from now.
Bet into the habit of spending your money on experiences, not the eye candy. If you think back to your childhood, chances are you cannot remember much about the birthday and Christmas gifts you got. But you probably remember the family vacations you took. Where would you like to travel? This is the time. Start a travel fund with the money you are no longer going to spend on things.
9. You get into a committed relationship before you are ready.
Some young adults at 25 are ready for a serious relationship and marriage. Are you? Think long and hard about your readiness before you dive in, and remember that over 50% of marriages end in divorce. If children are added to that mix, it is even tougher. There is no need to rush. Spend time getting to know yourself and pursuing your personal dreams before you take on the responsibility of a permanent relationship.
10. You rack up credit card debt
It’s so easy to do. Take that vacation with your friends; buy new furniture for your apartment; get that great leather jacket and that huge smart TV. Pretty soon, you have 2-3 credit cards maxed out, and, with those student loan payments, you are up to your neck in debt. The sooner you will start to think about budgeting the better.
It’s time for a huge reality check. Making minimum payments will get those cards paid off in about 20 years. Cut them up and put one in the freezer for dire emergencies only. Then, figure out what you are going to give up so that you can make more than the minimum payments and get it all paid off. This is a hard lesson, but you’ll recover. At 50 you won’t.
You are 25. Your life is just beginning. Never again will you have the opportunities and the options that present themselves now. If you can avoid these mistakes (of fix them now), you can go after those goals and dreams and “play your music.”