3 things you definitely need to figure out before you’re 35

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1. Knowing the kind of work that you enjoy

Millennials have earned the title of “the job-hopping generation”, perhaps fittingly. However, “job-hopping” or “role-hopping” no longer gets the same bad rap it used to (rightly so according to this millennial author). After all, now that we’re spending more time working than before (even with flexible work arrangements), the trade-off between soul-crushing work and money isn’t quite as appealing. So, if most of your waking hours are going to be spent working anyway, you might as well spend them doing things that you enjoy. If you haven’t quite found the gig for yourself, experiment and expose yourself to as many opportunities as possible and don’t settle until you find the role that brings a spring to your morning step. 35 is the new 20.

2. How to save or invest your money

Now that we’re working more than ever, all evidence strongly suggests that millennials will be working wayyy past the traditional retirement age. Despite being the most educated generation in history, we’re on course to earn less than previous generations – oh, the irony. Reports from the US and UK illustrate that millennials currently earn less than boomers and Gen X-ers at the same stage of life (and we can see this everywhere, not just in the West). There are a multitude of reasons for this, not the least of which has been the global economic environment for the past decade. So, you’ve got two choices: 1) scrunch up in a fetal position and rock back and forth in a corner and accept your future hobo state or 2) take matters into your own hands, be disciplined and start investing your money early. If you do choose to invest, there are two things you must have figured out before you’re 35: 1) understand your risk tolerance and; 2) understand the assets (and companies) you invest in! Knowing how to invest your money isn’t as hard as you think. You needn’t be Charlie Munger, but you do need to understand the various investment options in front of you. Ultimately, your goal should be to work because you want to, not because you need to.

3. How to say “no”

One of the top things you need to figure out as soon as you can in life is to learn how to graciously say “no”. Early on in your career, saying “yes” is a fantastic way to make friends, build your network, and expose yourself to new opportunities. However, as you progress, you’re less likely to find time to say yes to everything that comes your way. Saying yes perpetually is a sure way to burn yourself out. How you choose to say “no” to people and opportunities is personal, but there are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to arrive at an answer immediately. Here’s a simple decision tree tool from SmartCrowd to help you say no, in case you’ve been having trouble.

How to say “No” decision tree:

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