The best part about your 20s is that you can recover quickly from the inevitable mistakes you’ll make as you figure out how to make it in the real world.
That said, there are some poor choices that have lasting effects — like not starting to save money and neglecting your health — that are easily avoidable.
We’ve sorted through a variety of advice from entrepreneurs and writers on Quora and found recurring themes.
Here are 15 things successful 20-somethings don’t do:
They don’t think education and talent are enough to become successful.
High intelligence, natural talent, and degrees from elite universities are all good things to have, but they do not guarantee that you will land a great job — and they mean nothing when not paired with hard work.
“I spent my 20s in corporate environments, and I remember them for working nights and weekends,” says Sylvie di Giusto, founder of Executive Image Consulting. “Sweat, hassle, pain, as well as diligence, perseverance, and an enormous amount of effort and energy characterize my career at this point. I’ve learned that there are very little short cuts when it comes to career success. Success doesn’t ‘just happen.’ Never.”
They don’t neglect their health.
As you get older, you’ll learn pretty quickly that you can’t party like you did in college.
“Your hangovers will be so bad at 28 that the idea of staying out drinking all night will be hilarious to you,” Meggie Sutherland Cutter writes on Quora.
And the more years out of school you get, the more excessive drinking, smoking, and even an unhealthy diet go from acceptable behavior to dangerous habits.
Communications professor Michael Weston says that 20-somethings also need to pay attention to their mental health, since any potential issues usually arise in your 20s.
They don’t spend all of their disposable income.
A 2014 survey of 1,003 people from Bankrate found that 69% of those ages 18 to 29 had no retirement savings.
Your retirement may seem far off, but you’re doing yourself a major disservice if you don’t recognize the importance of saving as soon as possible.
Entrepreneur Aditya Rathnam says that there’s no need to start investing too much, since you’re just starting out, but it’s essential to take advantage of your company’s 401(k) matching program, if one is available, and/or open a Roth IRA account.