Wouldn’t it be great if at any one point in our lives we could go back in time and talk to our younger selves? What would we say? What advice would we give them? What would we have done differently?
Recently I was in a meeting with a client who is heavily involved in leading the strategic plan for within the company he works for. We got talking about the future and all sorts of wonderful topics such as population, the property market and growth sectors here in Australia. Interestingly, he then turned and asked me a question.
‘What advice would you give yourself if you were 21 again?’
This question was a really good one for me, and one that caught me off guard. There was an awkward silence for some time while I was winding back the clock in my head to answer the question. As my little sister turns 21 in less than five months, I have given a lot of thought to this question over the past few weeks.
So here was my answer….
Invest in your superannuation
When I first started working I had multiple superannuation fund accounts and never really took an interest in it, I just signed up with the employers fund because it was easier. Your superannuation is key to your retirement and one that sets up your future.
Fact: Did you know if you invest an extra $25 a week into your super from the age of 18 that you will have an extra $139,177 in your super fund by the retirement age of 65?
Buy into the property market or start saving for a house deposit
For many people saving for a house deposit seems like a huge challenge in itself and one that will see you living off baked beans to achieve. Most people overestimate how much they need to save and how long it can take. Rent has become increasingly high over the last 5 years and if you think about it correctly, mortgage repayments aren’t too far off. You need to recognise it is achievable, be smart with your money and cut back on ordering the lovable ‘Avocado on toast’ for breakfast every Sunday.
A career is a marathon, not a sprint
When I was younger it was so important to me to find a career, and one that I loved. I remembered at school it was drilled into us that after we graduated you went straight to University, finished your degree, started as a graduate and worked your way up the corporate ladder to be successful. This was the stigma of what being successful would look like and it all seemed so rushed. Allow yourself the time to work out what you want to do, what you enjoy and what plays to your strengths. I had four different jobs before I finally worked out where I wanted to be, and was lucky enough to end up in a profession that I love. You do not have to achieve everything overnight.
These days, taking a gap year is becoming more common and people are entering the workforce fulltime from a younger age.
Don’t be afraid to travel
Looking back, this is something I wish I did more of in my early 20’s. Open your mind to new experiences and opportunities, to see the world, experience different cultures and working overseas. There are even greater options of overseas study, if you don’t want to take that ‘gap’ in your career.
Hard work won’t kill you
Be open to change, be flexible and versatile. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up for things that scare you, take a risk and don’t be worried about putting in the hours. It will pay off in the long run and you will be the one walking your way into the CEO position
So while these are just a few of my thoughts, I am sure there are many more, and different pieces of advice to give. If you are lucky enough to have passed the age of 21, take a minute and ask yourself, “What advice would I give myself if I was 21 again?” Take your answers and make them apart of your everyday life, because aren’t we forever 21?!
Mikahla Smith – Team Leader