If You Haven’t Done These Things By 30, What Are You Waiting For?

It’s great to live in the moment—life is stressful and sometimes all we have in us is to take it day by day. Still, sometimes you need to step back and view the larger picture. Don’t end up with regrets later because you didn’t cross these 10 things off your bucket list in your twenties.

Start contributing to a 401K.

I used to have a coworker who would beg me to take my retirement savings seriously so we wouldn’t end up eating Alpo together when we’re old. It’s hard to conceptualize the far-off future now, but any little bit you put aside will count and build up over time. Your senior citizen self will thank you later.

Live alone.

It amazes me how some people go straight from their parent’s house to a college dorm room to living with roommates then married. I get that in this economy, it might not be financially feasible to do it all on your own, but learning how to enjoy solitude is an invaluable experience. Not only do you realize how capable and self-reliant you can be, but you also get time to discover who you are outside of your relation to others. You need to establish an identity before you become a divorced or widowed empty-nester later and have a whole crisis when you need to start over.

Be single for an extended period.

Hopping from one relationship to the next will not serve you well in the long run. You need time after a breakup to process and heal. Being single will give you a chance to focus on self-improvement. This is a good time to live your best life and do the things you can’t do when you have someone else to consider or a family to come home to. Enjoy this freedom while you can.

Set aside an emergency fund.

After a certain age, it’s no longer cool to constantly bum off and borrow money from others unless it’s a major unexpected crisis. Dave Ramsey suggests having an emergency fund of at least $1,000. It’s smart to assume something is always liable to happen and better safe than sorry and have that net to fall back on if and when it does. Don’t learn the hard way and wind up in a jam.

Make a LinkedIn account/have an ongoing updated resume.

According to Gallup, millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs. Always keep life simple by having a current version of your employment history saved somewhere. Starting a LinkedIn now will also allow you to slowly gain connections over a longer period than if a future employer asked for your site info and you had to make one last minute. You may also position yourself to be seen by more companies and possibly be recruited for your talents.

Establish credit.

Credit is a necessary evil in modern society. The safest route, of course, is to avoid it altogether. But do you really expect to pay cash for an entire home? Just because you don’t have bad credit does not mean you automatically have good credit. You do have to start borrowing some money to prove you can responsibly handle it. If you want to play it safe, there are credit builder loans or secured credit cards that will accomplish this task. Otherwise, if you’re up for the risk, there are plenty of great incentives that come with credit cards these days, like earning travel rewards.

Get your heart broken.

You may be scratching your head as to why this would ever be a goal. But seriously, we’re not all lucky enough to marry that elementary school crush we’ve been dating since the 7th grade. Avoiding relationships and remaining guarded can be just as bad as serial dating. If you’ve gotten this far in life and can’t boast one world-shattering split, then chances are you’ve never put yourself out there and given love a shot. Everyone should know what love feels like and it truly is better to have lost than to never experience it at all. You weren’t put here on Earth to just go through the motions on autopilot. Just take the risk.

Travel, preferably overseas.

There is literally a whole world out there beyond the town/city you grew up in. Even if you get a chance to go on vacation later in life, it’s not going to be the same experience when you’re responsible for your spouse and kids tagging along. Traveling is a great way to expand your knowledge of culture, language, lifestyle, and nature. You can learn so much, see more, and add new experiences to what you know regularly. Make a point to stop limiting your horizons and get out of your zip code every now and again.

Create a storage system for/organize important documents.

Chances are if you’re on this site, you’re too old to expect Mom to still be keeping track of your social security card and birth certificate. These proofs of identity are critical to keep on hand for everything from renewing your driver’s license to starting a new job. You should also think about keeping receipts, vehicle maintenances records, health history, and copies of your annual taxes. Staying organized can save you a lot of hassle and potentially protect you against unforeseen legal issues. Don’t let being negligent about serious papers catch up to you.

Establish a solid medical care team.

Say goodbye to your pediatrician. The best practice for health care is to be proactive. The older you get, the more screenings you should be doing for early detection. At the very least, you should have a regular dentist, primary doctor, OBGYN, and a pharmacy you visit annually.

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