Life Lessons Every 20-Something Should Learn

Kseniya Korneva is an ex-civil engineer turned real estate agent in Florida. She blogs about real estate and personal finance on The Money Minimalists. You can also follow her on Instagram

Do you ever wish you could write a letter to your past self letting her/him know everything will be okay? 

Well this is my letter to you, my fellow 20-something. Many of these life lessons required massive mindset shifts that I am still working on, but that’s what life is all about, right? 

So grab a coffee, and your journal, and let’s get to it.

Stop Chasing The Next Milestone

In highschool I worked towards a full college scholarship- I got a full ride to Clemson University. In college I fought to be top of my class- I got the Outstanding Junior and Senior award. When I graduated I wanted to own a house by 25 – I bought one last year at 25. 

Every single year since I can remember I have chased a milestone. But, instead of feeling proud and accomplished when I reached them, I found myself thinking “what’s next?”

After graduating college, the milestones became harder to achieve and this has led to me feeling unsuccessful at times. I stopped focusing on what truly mattered and got hung up on chasing the next milestone. 

This year I’m giving myself the opportunity to let my life flow and not set arbitrary deadlines for myself and my progress.

Done Is Better Than Perfect

When I moved to Tampa, I dove right into real estate. I didn’t know a single soul yet I jumped straight into a career that is typically based on established relationships. While my first year was a struggle, I learned so much about myself and being an entrepreneur. 

Oftentimes I see talented people around me pick apart their ideas and go into “analysis paralysis.” At a certain point you need to just take messy action and dive right in. Whether you’re launching a new business or are reaching a milestone at work, you just have to go for it and learn along the way. 

Hustle Culture Is Overrated

When you’re an entrepreneur (especially one working from home), it can be hard to clock out. There is always something you can be doing and the need to feel productive can begin to run your life. It wasn’t until my second year as a Realtor when I realized most of what I had been doing was busy work. 

I’ve learned that working harder doesn’t necessarily yield the same results as working smarter. Now I’m all about prioritizing the right things and giving myself time to breathe.

Learning to unplug from the hustle culture has been one of the hardest things for me and I’m still catching myself doing errands and working on my hobbies when I should be relaxing… It’s a work in progress.

You Will Be Underestimated 

I can’t count the number of times potential clients couldn’t see past my age. They looked at me and immediately assumed I was inexperienced and wrote me off. Has this happened to you?

Learn to use this to your advantage. As a 20-something, people tend to expect you to fail. Use this as inspiration to always over deliver and outperform your colleagues. 

One of the most important things I learned from this was that other people’s opinions have very little to do with your success. Everyone has something valuable to offer and once you figure that out, no one can truly underestimate you.

There Are No Shortcuts To Success

Oh boy how I wish there were! Over the years I have fallen for so much predatory marketing. I wasted my money on so many things that I thought would elevate me, when I just needed some time to gain momentum. 

As an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things is to stay patient, consistent and watch your business grow. All of us want immediate success and unfortunately there is no way to skip the growing pains.

Struggling Does Not Make You More Successful

have always attributed struggling with success. If something comes easy, I tend to discredit the accomplishment. This has led me to create struggles where they don’t exist. 

You do not have to suffer and struggle to be successful. Don’t create struggles for yourself to make your success “more meaningful”. 

Stinginess Won’t Make You Happy

I’ve always been a huge saver. But, as I grow older I’m learning that saving doesn’t mean being stingy. If I will truly enjoy an experience or a new blouse then it is worth the money. Budgeting does not have to be restrictive! Saving money doesn’t mean keeping yourself from spending money on what you love. This is one of the reasons I started my blog, The Money Minimalists – to help others understand that they can enjoy their lives and become wealthy.

Dear 20-something, above all else, learn to give yourself grace.

Kseniya is a licensed real estate agent in Tampa Bay and founded The Money Minimalists to teach others how to achieve their financial goals (like buying a house!). Her blog focuses on real estate, budgeting and personal finance tips. You can also follow her on Instagram.