I found an article the other day on the Huffington Post that really resonated with me. It was an article by Danny Rubin entitled 25 Things every young professional should know by age 25. Considering I’m only 26, I took a look and honestly loved the list. By this point in our lives, we’ve figured out a couple things. Or at least, I’d like to think I’ve figured out a couple of things here and there. The problem is, I think that some of these things might not be as evident to everyone as they should be. Take, for example, number 24:
“24. Read an apartment lease before you sign. All of it.”
By the time you’re 25, it’s my hope that you’ve moved out and rented an apartment. But you know what? No on reads the lease documents. I mean, I do but only because I learned the hard way that you’ve got to. But other people? It isn’t as evident and most people wouldn’t think twice. They’d see the rental amount and sign on the dotted line. Still, I like this one. But to me, it applies to everything. Read the damn contract! Buying a car? Renting a car? Read the contract! Try to understand it and if you don’t, ask questions. It may seem embarrassing but unless if you went to law school or paralegal school, chances are you don’t know what some of the stuff means. So ask.
Then there are two that I love, numbers 20 and 2:
“20. The days of a college syllabus are long gone. If you’re waiting for someone to give you direction, have a seat. You’ll be there a while.”
“2. The only failure in your 20s is inaction. Everything else is trial and error.”
These two go hand in hand for me. You spend 16 years getting educated, always getting told what to do, where to go, where to sit, line up walk here blah blah blah. Now, you’re free. You need to make your own life choices about the career you have, where to live, who to love even. Taken along with number 2 and you see that this decade is where we’re supposed to screw up because we’ve got time to rally back. And it’s the truth. If you look at life from a personal finance standpoint, if you’re going to screw up now is the time. You’ll still have time to fix things and make huge life changes without having to force the kids to changes schools or sell that house for a loss. You’ve still got time.
The thing I really took away from this list is that, while the first half of this decade was tough, the second half is going to be just as difficult. We’ll still all have to fight for recognition and accolades at our jobs, we’ll still have to work our way from minion to senior minion. But in the long run, it’s worth it. And we learn from it. And that’s the big thing, isn’t it? Never stop learning.