Why you should SEIZE your golden years (18-25.)
Most people seem to concur that your late high school years+college are the BEST years of your life.
I respectfully disagree. If you get your shit right, your life should improve continually:
-More high quality relationships
-More stories to tell
-More life experience and confidence
However, I will concede that they are THE MOST IMPORTANT YEARS. Those are your first years as an adult. Your results no longer depend on your parents, but on YOU.
This is true all of your adult life. However, in those years, you have the stars lined up in your favor:
1. Relative lack of responsibility
2. Physical/mental energy
3. Compounding ROI (Time is your ally.)
Now, If you are reading this at 26, 30, 35, 40, does that mean it's game over? NO!
You can STILL do well, you can improve your situation. Having said, I would be lying If I said it won't be EXPONENTIALLY harder.
Can a team who dropped the first 2 games of an NBA playoff series at home still win?
Yes, but they will have to work 10X as hard to snatch those wins on the road.
Compare that to HANDLING BUSINESS and winning the first 2 games on the road, giving you room to consider resting players and taking a more relaxed approached to the rest of the series.
Hint, you want to be the latter.
I will cover the 3 aspects above and lay out how you can end up the winning camp.
Let's get started:
1. Relative lack of responsibility:
During your earlier years (under 18.), you have little to no responsibility, but you have limited autonomy. You tend to lack money (of your own.), you are not legally able to do much without your parents and you don't have a lot of common sense that comes from life experience.
On the other hand, after 25, you HAVE autonomy and experience, but more responsibilities:
As a result, you have more limited mobility, limited risk exposure capacity, and a smaller window of free time.
That time window between 18-25 is the best of both worlds:
-You are legally an adult
-You can have money IF you do things right
-Your responsibilities are limited (School and work at most for the vast majority.)
-Failure is not DEADLY (Losing money might mean losing your spring break fund at most vs. not making rent with a family depending on you.)
You have opportunities at your disposal...If you choose to seize them.
Unfortunately, many will focus ONLY on "having fun and worrying about things later", letting opportunities slip between their fingers. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having fun. You don't want to become a depressed work slave.
However, the party will eventually end, and those who don't handle their business early will find themselves struggling when things REALLY MATTER.
On the other hand, those who get things done early will find their lives seeming to get gradually easier, EVEN WITH INCREASED RESPONSIBILITIES.
Those people were typically VERY strategic early on. They had a tunnel vision and a CLEAR plan for where they wanted to get to, holding themselves accountability to put in work DAILY. Building those foundations brick by brick. By the time life got real (children, marriage, illness, etc.), they had a solid foundation with which to respond to life's challenges.
-Avoid falling in the hole so you can remain relatively responsibility/liability-free (unplanned pregnancies, addictions, legal issues.)
-Set up time for self-development EVERYDAY
-Set up time to HAVE FUN in between
2. Physical/mental energy
You have probably noticed it with your parents. They are not as energetic as you remember them. When you were kid they chased you around and kept up with you at the park, now they seem to get tired more easily.
It's natural. Your body doesn't respond in the same way it did in your 20's when you are 40. Normally, this begins to show up in your 30's, however, as society becomes increasingly more sedentary, I notice this happening a couple of years after college.
Think about it:
You are no longer feeling pressured to look good for spring break, stay in shape for sports or have a campus gym at your disposal. Furthermore, as schedules become tighter with a full-time job, people will turn to fast food, expediting the downfall.
Not to mention that all-nighters and hangover REALLY take a toll on you now.
On the other hand, at around 18-25, your body is in a "grace period":
-You can recover quickly from heavy workouts
-You can stay up late and get by on 4 hours of sleep the next day. (Not ideal.)
-You can survive dreaded 12-hour work shifts consistently.
-Most people can be in the best shape of their life.
SEIZE THIS GRACE PERIOD.
If you want to make it to the top, you will HAVE to make sacrifices. PERIOD.
-80+ hour work weeks
-Potential frequent travel
-Heavy studying (in younger years.)
The dues HAVE to be paid. Once they are paid, you make a name for yourself, and your money works for you, you can let go a little of the gas pedal.
Ask yourself this:
When would it be easier to pay your dues:
As a 21-year-old with all the energy and strength in the world?
As a 35-year-old worn out from family life and naturally decreased energy
We both know the answer:
Take advantage of your body's ability to take a hit so you can be comfortable when your body simply CAN'T take hits anymore.
-Begin hustling sooner rather than later
-Treat your body like a temple (The 30's example I gave is not definitive. You can slow the decay If you take care of yourself.)
-Set up good habits (It will be 10x harder to change from couch potato to active at 35+ vs. 21.)
3. Compounding (Time is your ally.)
If you have taken finance classes, you will be familiar with the concept of compounding interest:
You leave a set sum, and as the amount begins generating interest on interest, it grows EXPONENTIALLY higher.
TIME BECOMES YOUR GREATEST ASSET.
The concept of compounding ROI is the foundation of retirement planning, but it goes WAY deeper than retirement planning, it's the foundation of building mid and even SHORT-TERM wealth.
Think about it. There are many ways to invest in your future:
-Going for an MBA (If you deem it profitable.)
Most people mess up by going into needless debt early on. They tie their hands financially for years. By the time they are "free", they are merely playing catch-up.
On the other hand, those who act early can earn EXPONENTIALLY more than their counterparts. Resulting in a significantly more comfortable life.
Now, to remain loyal to theme of the post:
How damaging can 1-2 years really be?
Keep in mind that's just in financial investments, it goes DEEPER than this.
Compounding plays out in many areas of self-development beyond money:
I will use myself as an example:
When I was a freshman, I transferred colleges. (Better program, lower tuition, closer to home, etc.)
Unfortunately, I couldn't transfer some credits. Furthermore, in the process, I missed a deadline which delayed my admission one semester.
I LOST 1 year!
What was the impact?
(Note: I used the ROTH calculator merely to highlight the concept of compounding. The same could apply for Real Estate investments, 401k, etc. Feel free to play with the numbers:http://bit.ly/rothret)
This reflects my real numbers. I am contributing roughly that amount to my retirement (I want to at least milk the employer match.). I chose 6% as a conservative ROI.
I graduated at 23, after that 1-year delay.
You read that right. Based on the numbers above, that 1-YEAR delay costed me roughly $71k in retirement money.
When you factor in things like missing out a year of salary, extra college costs, that delay's cost jumps into the 6-figures.
However, let's dig a little deeper.
Not only did I lose money. I lost a year of EXPERIENCE compared to my peers. I could have been out there learning and growing 1 year earlier instead of playing catch up in college, putting me WAY ahead of my current skill level.
Here is what I lost in REALITY:
-The amount of money from potential investment ROI
-A full year of salary
-A year worth of skills and learning
Now, did that KILL ME? No, I am doing well and even ahead of the curve when compared to others. However, I can't help but think what it COULD HAVE BEEN.
Furthermore, keep in mind, I am talking about a 1-YEAR FUCK UP.
Many will handcuff their finances/career past the wrong end of 25, facing a grimmer picture, where time becomes their enemy.
On the other hand, a handful work HARD and EFFICIENTLY early on, and by the time they reach 25, their landscape is friendly. They didn't do anything special.
They just acted A LITTLE BIT earlier.
-Expedite your growth early on (don't hang on at a dead-end role for "loyalty" or "hoping for a promotion.)
-Begin making strategic moves sooner rather than later
-Become experienced EARLY on (through formal or informal education.)
If you followed along, you will notice the current theme: The actions you make in your late teens and early 20's will serve as the foundations for next 40 years of your life.
I want to re-emphasize, you CAN make it, even after that stage. You SHOULD keep pushing. However, understand you will face a tougher road.
Instead of worrying about putting out a fire, why don't we prevent it from starting in the first place?
That is it for this week.
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