In your 20s, you’re likely still finding who you really are. You’re still allowed to be a little selfish and, hopefully, you’ve got dreams. Because of this, no other time in your life will be so perfect to pursue what makes you happy and what truly energizes you over financial success (which is a crapshoot, anyway). Anything creative and risky takes time to become lucrative, and you will never have this much time again in the rest of your life. Later on, you may have a house to pay off and children to take care of. Unless it’s where you see your retirement party taking place, that cubicle can wait.
You’ve heard it a million times before: Millennials have been raised in a “gimme, gimme, gimme” world and they expect everything to be available at their fingertips. Instant gratification. Unfortunately, the only thing even nearing this is technology — relationships, jobs, self-made businesses, artwork, it all takes time, it all takes work, and, more often than not, it takes failure. Success comes with time, and giving up is like walking away right before you reach the ticket counter. Facebook may pop up when you tell it to, but love, money, and happiness? Everyone’s still working on that.
News flash: you’ll be “figuring it out” until the day you die. Everyone you know will be figuring it out until they day they die, too. .1% of your Facebook friends may be millionaires at 24, but that doesn’t mean you’re any farther away from the finish line. We’ve all got our own paths, and you’re on yours. Don’t let the happy pictures and vacation photos give you a negative mindset; that’ll just hold you back from taking the next step. Don’t let those photos and status updates fool you, either — even if you had that million dollars, the grass would always seem greener (and those photos aren’t indicative of reality, anyway).
As we get older, we slow down. It may feel like you’re gonna have this boundless energy forever, this ability to pound down a fifth of José without repercussion, but it’s in limited supply. So before you run out, use it. Go backpacking. Become an expat. Squander a couple thousand bucks on the kind of vacation you’re never gonna take again. Before you know it, you’ll have a family to take care of and job obligations that make these experiences harder to come by. They say “there’s no time like the present,” but really, “there’s no time like your 20s.”
Okay, sure. Your 20s are about traveling and being creative, but they’re not about being dumb. You can be a freelance writer and take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Peru without buying out the strip club and waking up two days later next to Khloe Kardashian. In fact, if you start putting away as little as $2 a day when you’re 20, you’re on track (a graded track, but still) to having a pretty million dollaz at 65. It’s like going from a venti frappuccino to a grande skinny latte for a million dollars in 40 years. Decent trade, right?
We’ve all been there in one way or another — the boyfriend that doesn’t want you to travel. The girlfriend who demands more of your time away from work. The friend group that is content spending three nights a week at the same bar for years. In your 20s, it’s a good time to analyze the ROI of these relationships (the return on investment): if the relationship is bettering you, great! Stick with it. If it holds you back and keeps you from being your best, there’s no reason to stick around. We might like to think that most friendships can and will be forever, but that’s not the case. You only need the people who make you happy, push you, and are right for the long-haul. Everyone else? Not exactly worth your precious time.
Yeah, it’s possible you didn’t have the best education. It’s possible you weren’t born into a wealthy family. It’s possible you have some physical or mental disability that makes it hard to reach society’s perception of success. But whatever your situation, there are a thousand other people in the same spot that are making it work. As much as we like to believe otherwise, we are the only people responsible for our reality. Not that guy who broke your heart and ruined your life, not the boss that hated you, not your mom, dad, or anyone in between. Just you. Your life is what you do with it, not anyone else. Once you take responsibility for it, anything is possible.
Sizing ourselves up against our friends is natural, and there’s really no way to not do it at least occasionally. But if you size yourself up and you like what you see, you’re not doing it right. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. As you get shaped into the true adult you’re going to become, the people around you shape you just as much as you do yourself. If you’re around people that push you, that challenge you, that expect you to be better, you’ll likely rise to the occasion. These are the people you need to be around — not people that needlessly inflate your ego.
No man makes his own success single-handedly. Everyone who is “someone” has had some chance, some opportunity proffered by another individual. Or several individuals. Or hundreds of people at one point or another that spurred him or her onto success. In other words, you need people. We all need people. And the better you treat those people, the more supportive they will be of you in the future. Gossipping and badmouthing and drunk texting and drama, drama, drama may seem like an innocent Friday night, but when you turn 30 and you need a strong network to get your business up and running, to sell your art, or just want guests at your wedding, those nights won’t seem so innocent after all. The more positivity you can put out into the universe now, the more will come back to you in the future when you really need it.
So many of us have been indoctrinated with the formula of life: go to school, get a job, get married, pop out a few kids, buy a house, buy a minivan, die. How they managed to sell us on that, no one really knows. As much as this can seem bland or blasé, the consequences are even worse: stepping outside this belief can be scary to the point that it’s paralyzing. So many people don’t create art, don’t move away, don’t get out of that dead-end relationship because they fear failure. No decision should be made out of fear, much less ones as big as these. It takes many years to learn, but failure is just part of the learning process. Once you learn how to fail, you have a much better understanding of how to succeed. So if you fear failure now, fine. But just cut that crap by 30, okay?
It’s been more than 100 days since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Several red flags were missed, so what can we learn from those mistakes?
The COVID-19 pandemic, which was first identified in Wuhan, China in December, had infected 11,124,651 people globally and 2,808,003 in the U.S. as of Saturday. It had claimed at least 526,003 lives worldwide, 129,476 of which were in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
“Imagine this scenario: It’s October,” said Gregory Poland, who studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and is an expert with the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “The seasonal influenza epidemic occurs. COVID-19 comes back. We’re fussing with China. There’s been a glitch with the Moderna MRNA, +2.85% vaccine trials. There’s another incident with police, and now the riots are inflamed because, after all these years, nothing appears to be fixed, and we’re in the middle of a political campaign ahead of the presidential election in November. This does not have good optics to me.”
This is the first global pandemic since the AIDS crisis. So what key moments led to this point?
China did not appear to take early, preemptive actions. It was far more reluctant to tell its citizens about the suspected virus in those early days last December. The first known person was reported to have contracted the virus on Dec. 1 in China, according to an article in The Lancet. The early spread of the disease was likely helped by preparations for China’s Lunar New Year holiday, when people traveled to visit relatives. Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang said 5 million people had left the city before travel restrictions were imposed ahead of the Lunar New Year.
“COVID-19 rapidly spread from a single city to the entire country in just 30 days,” a Feb. 24 paper on the fatality rates of the disease in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA found. “The sheer speed of both the geographical expansion and the sudden increase in numbers of cases surprised and quickly overwhelmed health and public-health services in China.” Critics have said that the Chinese government could have done more in those early days to alert authorities to both the existence of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and confirm that human-to-human transmission was likely.
It may seem like a lifetime ago, given that the U.S. accounts for roughly a quarter of the worldwide fatalities from COVID-19, and there were delays in shutting down the economies of states across the country. But President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter TWTR, +3.11% on March 9, “Last year 37,000 Americans died” from the flu. “Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,” Trump added. Just 10 days later, the president made a U-turn on that statement: “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won.” He said the virus will “go away” more than a dozen times.
The federal government has been criticized for not rolling out testing nationwide sooner. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while praised for preparing hospitals in the face of a lack of equipment, was also criticized for not taking action sooner to prevent the outbreak in New York City. The World Health Organization’s decision to declare COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic on March 11 only confirmed most infectious-disease doctors’ worst fears that this was now a matter of containment rather than prevention.
After two months of obfuscation over the efficacy of face masks and New York City becoming the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., the Trump administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the WHO and Cuomo, a Democrat, finally agreed on one thing: All Americans should, after all, wear face coverings in public settings. That happened more than a month after the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The public was confused, and some people were upset over the lack of clear messaging.
“ After months of obfuscation over the efficacy of face masks, the Trump administration, the CDC, WHO and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo advised the public to start wearing face masks. ”
On Jan. 29, The New England Journal of Medicine said: “There’s evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December.”
Yet authorities prevaricated on the efficacy of masks. “The virus is not spreading in the general community,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on Jan. 30. “We don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory illness. And we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus.”
Previous studies have concluded that face masks have helped reduce contagion by reducing droplets being sprayed into the air during flu season. It may be that they work in a small amount of cases and/or just wearing them helps to promote healthy behaviors.
President Trump has resisted the recommendation by public-health officials to wear a mask when he is in public. “You don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it and that’s OK,” he said. The WHO currently estimates that 16% of people are asymptomatic and can transmit the coronavirus and, in a similar U-turn to the CDC, also now advises wearing masks.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic in the U.S., Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus. It was aligned to some degree with research that aims to understand if the controversial drug can prevent coronavirus infections in high-risk frontline workers. Hydroxychloroquine, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is not a proven treatment or prophylaxis for COVID-19, but it received emergency-use authorization (EUA) from the FDA in mid-March to be used in certain clinical settings for COVID-19.
“ Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine. This week, the FDA withdrew the emergency-use authorization granted to the drug during the COVID-19 pandemic. ”
Some health experts say that was an unnecessary distraction that wasted valuable time. On Monday, the FDA said that it had withdrawn the EUA granted to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An EUA is not the same as a FDA approval but is a type of authorization that can be awarded during public health emergencies when there are no other available treatment options. The federal agency issued the EUA in March, allowing some patients with COVID-19 to be treated with the drugs when used from a federal stockpile. Since then, the drugs were increasingly politicized following promotion from Trump administration officials alongside questions about safety.
In April, Trump floated the idea of using ultraviolet light inside the human body or disinfectant as treatments for coronavirus, a suggestion doctors called dangerous. “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that,” he said. The suggestion was widely panned, and the next day, the president said he was speaking “sarcastically.”
Trump announced a travel ban from hot spots around the world in February and subsequently acquiesced to pressure that states should effectively shut down their economies to prevent the spread of the disease. He repeatedly warned that efforts to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19 were spiraling the economy into another Great Recession. He said last month that it was possible people would die by reopening the economy. “Will some people be affected badly? Yes,” the president said. “But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.”
Florida, Alabama, Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas have seen a surge in cases in recent weeks as businesses reopen and people relax their social-distancing policies, and don’t wear masks. “The potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences,” Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the CNN.
Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program and a former epidemiologist specializing in infectious disease and public health, warned in May of complacency surrounding relaxation of social-distancing measures. Countries should “continue to put in place the public-health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory, and we don’t have an immediate second peak,” he said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA, +0.27% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.32% were up Friday, after better-than-expected unemployment numbers amid a surge of coronavirus in states that have loosened restrictions.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the last three decades, said he was hopeful that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed by early 2021, but said a more infectious strain may have come to the U.S. from Europe. In an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Thursday, Fauci said, “We don’t have a connection between whether an individual does worse with this or not. It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible. But this is still at the stage of trying to confirm that.”
Wherever you lie on the political spectrum, you can count one thing: The virus does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re an independent, Republican or Democrat. From the seeming unwillingness of China to be more transparent about the seriousness of the disease to the arguments over ventilators between states and the federal government, the response to the virus has been politicized, observers say.
Trump said in April that he had “ultimate authority” on when to open the economy: “Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ was one of my all time favorite movies.” Cuomo shot back, invoking the words of founding father Alexander Hamilton.
“ Regardless of where your political stance, the virus does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat or Independent. The pandemic has been politicized, observers say. ”
The U.S. cannot afford to have a resurgence of the virus either now or in the fall, health professionals say. For one, it’s harder to get people to practice social distancing and stay home again, especially after they’ve already abided by stay-at-home orders for more than 11 weeks. Second, the effect on the economy could push the U.S. into a prolonged recession, even greater than the one already predicted by some economists. Third, the flu season will already be upon us in the winter and those symptoms are easily confused with those of COVID-19. Fourth, only 10% to 20% of the U.S. population at the very most will be immune to COVID-19 next time around, Poland said.
But it’s not just politicians who have sparred. The American public has responded differently to the pandemic along political lines: 62% of Republicans and Republican leaners say the seriousness of COVID-19 is “generally exaggerated,” according to one survey, while just 31% of Democrats and Democrat leaners and 35% of independents say the same. “Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say that the coronavirus outbreak is a major threat to both their personal health and financial situation,” Bradley Jones, a research associate at Pew Research Center, wrote in a recent report.
Poland recommends a nonpartisan task force, akin to the National Academies of Science, to prepare for any possible second wave. “This would be the kitchen cabinet who would recommend what kind of studies we need to do now,” he said.
“I would not waste any of my time sniping politically at anybody else,” he added. “I would be a wartime king, focused on doing everything we can to protect our populace with best practices. I would fund and provide all of the nudges I can to encourage good behavior. I would advocate radical transparent honesty. It would be rocky in the beginning because the public is not used to that kind of transparency, but I think it would very quickly engender trust.”
On Thursday, Trump said he was confident the virus was dying out, despite a spike in nearly a dozen states. “If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was, it’s dying out,” he said.
(Jaimy Lee and Meera Jagannathan contributed to this story.)
How COVID-19 is transmitted
If you got into the credit card habit in your 20s, getting out of this trap can be a serious hurdle. You may have become accustomed to using plastic to pay for what you're income wouldn't cover. That might have made sense for your younger self, but you're older now and it's time to break the habit. The sooner you do, the better life will begin treating you.
In fact, habit is an important part of credit card use. Let's face it, people no longer pay with cash or checks. It's done either with credit or debit cards. And with the generous rewards programs many credit cards provide, it can even seem like a wise strategy on some level.
But that's a big part of the problem with credit cards. They're very convenient to use, and they do provide certain tangible benefits. But they don't call them revolving debt for nothing. At the core, they’re set up to keep you in debt. Sure, you make your monthly payment, but the balance never seems to go down.
This can be a serious financial dealbreaker. While one partner is working to build a better financial future, the other may just be living the good life. One will wash out the other.
Like every other major aspect of a relationship, you and your significant other have to be on the same page when it comes to money. Better still, if you're both working toward the same goal, you'll double your effort and get there faster.
Forbes contributor Ginger Dean recommends “A good idea might be to sit down once a year, and see where you are on the financial spectrum, as well as discuss future plans.”
Use the annual meeting to establish major financial goals. But you should be regularly discussing strategies and tactics along the way, particularly anytime it looks like your financial plan may be about to go off the rails.
Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice. Read full profile
Do you want to be financially secure? Many young adults in their 20s make money mistakes through lack of knowledge, which can result in debt and financial insecurity.
It is important to get on top of your finances now – check out 10 common money mistakes people wish they realized in their 20s.
You’ve found your one and only, and now you want to tie the knot. Awesome! It’s your big day -- but remember it is just one day. Come up with a budget and look at your options carefully before saddling yourself with long-term debt.
Consider this: the average wedding can exceed $31,200. That’s more than half of the median household income of $55,218 and just shy of putting 15 percent down on a median-priced home of $228,700.