Most of your parents, in all likelihood, were expected to have settled their lives by their mid- to late 20s. And this would have had to be the whole package—not just, say, their careers. Marriage, stable jobs (preferably with the potential for steady earnings growth), a car—they had to have all of these well before they hit the dreaded third decade (not to mention children and a house of their own), or risk being viewed as failures.
And then in their 30s, it would have been time to just carry on in the same vein (more children, bigger house, better salary, newer car). But things are different now.
1. Your 20s are actually an opportunity to explore
You should never stop trying to learn, to seek out new experiences and to grow as much as you can. This applies to every decade of your life. That being said, your 20s are the best time to do all of this—you shouldn’t throw that chance away.
While the previous generation of 20-somethings may have been expected to be completely independent, the fact is that you are likely to have a safety net of sorts in the form of parents, family and friends. Use this to your advantage—spend more time learning, more time doing work that may not pay well in the short term but will help you grow.
Eventually, all that hard work will pay off and you’ll be in a far better position when you turn 30 than your parents ever were.
As we’ve already seen, the older generations had to make a number of long-term life decisions by the time they were 25 or 26, or even before. Now, while someone in their 20s is definitely no longer a child, they still aren’t quite ready to handle this sort of pressure.
By the time you hit your 30s, though, you’ll have accumulated enough experience—of relationships, of success, of failure, of life in general—that you’ll have the know-how and the confidence to make better decisions.
3. Financial stability
That safety net we talked about just now? Apart from giving you a chance to experiment, to take a few risks, while you’re still in your 20s, it also lets you spend a few years building up a foundation for your career. Hold off on the long-term stuff until you’re in your 30s and on firmer ground, financially speaking.
Loans (for a shiny car and a fancy house, apart from your education), child-related expenses and, of course, saving for your own eventual retirement are all very heavy burdens for 20-something to bear. Once you’ve achieved financial stability in your 30s though, you’ll be better placed to take a call on all these things.
4. Emotional stability
It’s not just what you or how much you earn that can hamper your ability to take long-term decisions. Most people in their 20s, quite frankly, aren’t emotionally mature enough to handle responsibilities like parenthood.
As a result of your experiences and your relationships with those around you, you will (hopefully!) have gained some degree of wisdom by the time you’re 30. Psychologically speaking, the wild ups and downs of your 20s will have smoothened out over the years, meaning you’ll be more capable of dealing with hardship and difficult situations (and tactfully at that).