If you are the type of person who likes to plan ahead, there is a good chance that you already have a good idea of what you’ll be doing by the time you turn 25. It’s the unofficial threshold of adulthood, when you should be taking life more seriously and planning for the long term: a career, a family, maybe taking out your first mortgage. To help you get started thinking on the future, here are a few things that you should have done (or should start doing) by the time you celebrate the Big Two-Five:
Take out a mortgage
There is no better time to get your own home than when you reach your 25th year in life. While it has become harder for recent generations to own property, starting early with property ownership can also mean you reap its eventual dividends later. The average loan term is about 30 years, so (assuming you stay in the same place), you’ll be done just in time for retirement age. Its subsequent resale can also give you the capital to move around, depending on where in the country work or family will take you.
Working backward, though, you may want to start with a very small property, and/or work on improving your credit score the moment you hit your 20s. This will improve your chances of getting a home loan. And remember to shop around — if you opt for a home loan in Salt Lake City, for example, discuss your options with several firms to find the best mortgage rates in Utah.
Travel to another country
Many Americans have never left the country, which doe lend itself to a pretty restrictive world view. While cost is a major factor that holds many would-be travelers back, there are cheap options, if you’re willing to backpack, and there are also many organizations that let you volunteer abroad. It will definitely expand your horizons, giving you a better understanding that there is a bigger world out there, and lets you appreciate the life you’re living back home, even while you’re doing something to help out those in need.
Learn to cook
If you crunch the numbers, you may be shocked at how much money goes into your mouth. If you find that you are spending too much money on food, you can save money by learning to cook your own meals, and equally important, how to save money at the grocery. You can always attend a cooking class (a formal one, or in mom’s kitchen), just wade through tons of how-to YouTube videos. You might find that, aside from being cost-effective, cooking can also be an enjoyable activity.
Have a fitness plan
The body’s metabolism usually starts slowing in your 30s. To counteract this, you’ll need to maintain muscle mass and develop an active lifestyle. Your mid-20s is the ideal time to get those habits started, and make them a permanent part of your life—these will pay off in your 30s and beyond. While you still have the ability to binge (whether it’s food, alcohol or partying) without long-term effects, you should start thinking of how your activities now will affect you five or ten years down the line.
25, according to some psychologists and sociologists, is the new 30. At this stage in your life, getting started on your long term plans will pay off in terms of your development, not only financially, but also as a person.