As we step into our 30s, a place we would have never dreamt of being in years ago, we have to reflect. We have to look back and respond to all of the goals our 18-25 year old selves thought we would have accomplished by now. We have to respond to the ticking time clock that we have created for ourselves stating what we should have done, how much we should be making and what type of material things we should have acquired by now. I am a millennial, I know the “struggle” of “running out of time”, as we had a lot of things that we just knew we would do by now. I am here to tell you, you are just fine. I am not calling the young you dumb, but you may have been a bit ahead of yourself. You are more than likely exactly where you need to be in a lot of ways that you do not even realize.
You must admit, a lot of us are at the point where we see our friends getting married, buying homes, and achieving hashtag life goals on a daily basis on our feeds of thousands of people we call friends. This can be motivating and discouraging at times depending on who you are and how you feel about your current situation. No matter where you are, if you haven’t “gotten there” it is all good as there is still time and being 30 is not the end of goals, chasing dreams and love. The world tells us a lot of things should have been done by now, but who is the world to tell us about us! Step back from time to time and look in the mirror and make sure you are moving forward no matter where you are currently.
Throughout this writing, I will go through some of the places that I feel as if are ok, and that are not ok by this time in life. I’ll hopefully touch a few points socially, financially and as far as your career that you can agree with and that may inspire you to keep on pushing. We are all battling with being young and old at the same time as we enter our thirties. Let’s fight the battle with some very important realizations.
Socially we are at a point in life where we are likely not making many more friends. Let’s just be honest, who you have now is who you got. I feel like a lot of 27-31 year old millennial are still attempting to find new groups, find themselves socially and improve on their “social network”, no pun intended. There are a few things that we must note as a not so young adult.
- You are your circle or network
- Only a few people matter or care
As cliché as the first bullet may sound, it gets truer and truer as we grow older. Evaluate who you are around right now and confirm that they are making you better. If you are over 25 and the people around you have no value or add no value to you, you have little time to exit that arrangement. We are at the age where each and every interaction must better us or help us achieve whatever goals we have. Your friends are an extension of you and how you think of and evaluate life situations. If you and your friends are not on the same wave length when it comes to finances, relationships, career goals or aspirations, or even morals, you will know and feel it as you continue to focus more and more on building things of substance.
Time is our most valuable asset, and we start to notice that as we approach our thirties and get “old”. Time just leaves us, why would you want to look back and realize that you were spending it with people who did not help you build? This can be your relationship with God, your relationship when it comes to love and your relationship when it comes to yourself. Each and every ongoing interaction with people (even in business or your career) should help with those things as we are going into the most pivotal decade of our life.
Let’s make sure we are spending our time with those who care about your successes, your health and your continual growth. As you grow older, or I can speak for me, you continually realize those who are really meaningful and that would go to bat for you if need be. It is very important to realize that those are the people that matter. The few, the proud, the circle. Today’s millennial is at times worried a bit too much about their following on social media, the random people that do not even know your last name and more. Let’s step back from time to time and realize those who matter and socially value ourselves based on the level of people we remain around.
I know, I know, you were going to be a millionaire by 25 if I would have spoke to you at 18. Today you are entering your thirties and you have realized that millions of dollars is a bit of a stretch to have in the next year or so. I think that finances are a very intricate part of our goals. We must begin to, if you have not already, create goals and aggressively attack them to form wealth building habits. Forming those habits will allow you to begin to meet a lot of the goals that you spoke about in those huddles with friends in college or when you were just knowing you’d be rich by now.
Budgeting is something you have to be doing by now, period. If you are almost or over 30 and you do not have a physical budget you can refer to, then you are literally losing money as you are reading this article. Knowing where your money is going is only getting more and more important as you gain age on this earth. Know where each dollar is going and then you will truly know the worth of each and every one of them. Once you begin to know the worth, you will then know exactly what you need, be able to live within your means and only there, and then be able to invest in the future you. I became debt free before 30 specifically by having a budget and living at or below my means, and at this age, it can be a very good habit that allows for saving and those #lifegoals to be met.
Many of us are in the stage where we are thinking about marraige, if not planning a wedding, and we are also looking to buy a home or invest in other large ways. It is even more important to have a budget and a healthy relationship with spending and saving. This leads to all of that being far more easy to accomplish and creates cushion for a rainy day now, as we do not want to enter our 40s with the same goals as we have now due to the lack of preparation. Your forties are where you will earn all of your money based on trends, so you want to create a pattern where at that age you are not simply funneling all of your earnings into debt that was created due to bad budgeting and planning as a 30 something.
It is not too late to start the budget, create a nest egg and begin to invest in retirement, appreciating assets and more. Look at today as a starting line if you have not done some of this already, because when it is too late, there will be no coming back. Time has no restart, time simply is used or isn’t when it comes to living life. I am in the top 20 percentile of earnings, and you are likely a lot higher than you think you are, so make sure you utilize this to your advantage while you are younger now. You would be suprised how much you are making right now and not investing. A lot of the goals that you had as an even younger you can be achieved now and in the near future when truly looking at your earning and saving power.
As stated in the financial section, your forty’s is when you are going to be “rolling in the dough” if you are on the typica career path. Do not be discouraged now if you are not a CEO or six-figure plus earner right now in your late 20’s to 30s. Assess your current career path and know your earning potential, from there you can pretty much see your financial future and what goals will be financially possible. For instance, I used to make $38,000 a year working at a sports company. I woke up one day and realized that I was never going to be a millionaire if I stayed on that career path, or at least not in the time frame that I had slated for myself. I knew my boss didn’t even make as much money as I could see myself making at his age, so my financial goals were too large for that profession. I am clearly not saying it is the time for a career path change, but make sure that you are knowledgeable of your worth, your position standard rates of pay and more. This is what you can build out your next career steps on and link them directly to your financial planning.
Look at your current profession, establish goals for the next three to five years and aggressively attack them. You want to make sure that you are setting your business or career up for scalability as we enter our 30s. We all thought that the 20s were “grind time”, but really it will be your 30s as that will be when you prepare to set your 40-year-old self up to send kids to college, to buy your dream homes and to drive that car you just knew you would have by now.
Do not be let down by your current career situation as you do have time. With these realizations you can quickly avoid becoming stagnant and begin adjusting for some of your career or business goals. There are many late success stories that I can reference, but you are not too late based on the tradition of generating all of the normal American’s wealth after 40 years of age.
The key right now is to find your niche. I know you have talked to many friends who are still trying to find their career path or trying to find what they are good at. This is the time to establish that and monetize it. A jack of many trades is a master of none, so make sure that you truly capitalize on your talents as we are no longer the young guns, but the seasoned veterans in these professions at this point. There is a book entitled “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell that truly speaks in depth about the importance of truly mastering something rather than being a lost soul when it comes to what you truly can be great at. Being great will create more wealth than being mediocre or never establishing a focus on something. I am sure there are some statistics somewhere about that, but it is self explanatory. You do not want to go into your 30s with no established resume in a certain field or a certain expertise. Find your “thing” now and become great at it, as that will lead you to a far more established career in your passion. I say this as an entrepreneur who has found a passion in creativity (making me now a Marketing Firm Lead Designer).
At the end of the day, you are not the young buck anymore. You have to truly take an in depth look into the mirror and establish who you are going to be. This person who you are going to be will be determined in this very important decade of life. This will be a time where you will likely marry the love of your life, buy the house you’ll live in a chunk of your adult life and make some life decisions that will lead to the career you will likely end with. It is hard to swallow, but we are “seasoned” now and it is time to act like it. Go out there and grind! Find the right core group of friends and family and hold each and every person around you accountable to call you out if you are not moving forward with each and every step you make in your 30s.
This is not the finish line, this is only the beginning of all your life goal items. Just make sure that you are setting the pace in what is now the marathon of the “real world”. You were just dipping your toe in the water during your 20s, now it is time to take the plunge – will you sink or swim?