What are some good habits to be acquired in your 20s that will impact your whole life?

I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 415.7 million views in recent years.

In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:

  • What are some good habits to be acquired in your 20s that will impact your whole life?
  • Is 90k GBP enough for a family of 4 to live in London, UK?
  • Why does Dubai attract so many expats?

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What are some good habits to be acquired in your 20s that will impact your whole life?

Imagine you are going to be in a race today. Would you accept it if the referee allowed the other players to get a head start?

I imagine no, as it puts you at a disadvantage, but many people do this to themselves.

Therefore, the first thing I would do is to list any bad habits which are putting you at a disadvantage. That could be excessive drinking, too little sleep, not reading enough or many other things.

Try to change those habits over time. That doesn’t mean that you need too lead a perfectly healthy, or productive life, but certainly reducing such habits will give you more energy, productivity and personal benefits.

I have run out of the number of people who saw incredible increases in productivity after giving up drugs, smoking and/or alcohol for a year.

Beyond that I would suggest these things :

  1. Take as many calculated risks as you can at this age. Assuming you don’t already have kids, you can fail, get up again, and come back. You are taking risks for yourself, whilst your cost of living is lower. If you get married and have kids, you are taking risks for the whole family. Consider what you are good at, are interested in and what the market needs. Then focus on taking calculated risks. That could mean getting a job first and then starting your own business once you have experience, being paid on performance not salary or many other things. Just don’t play it too safe at this age.
  2. Youth is an advantage, even if it doesn’t seem to be at the time, when you are surrounded by older people, who often have more money, experience or skills. In much the same way that it is easier to take calculated risks when you are young, you can also focus on the benefits of compounded investing returns when you are young. Becoming a multi-millionaire by middle-age isn’t as difficult as you might expect, assuming you start early.
  3. Excessive amounts of bad foods, alcohol and lack of good sleep rub you of productivity, in a very obvious way. One of the “silent killers” of dreams and productivity is hanging around toxic and negative people. Focus on real friends, and networking with those you want to become.
  4. Take care of your health, including your posture if you work on a laptop, whilst it is still easy to fix issues and stop them from happening to begin with.
  5. Travel and experience as much as you can whilst you are younger. Ideally, have at least a year overseas, so you can combine work and travel. This makes it self-funded, and you can see beyond your own country.
  6. Change your scenery if you are stuck in a rut. Even if you can’t emigrate, try to find a job in another town or city in your home country.
  7. Don’t allow society, or your parents, to define what success is. Only you can answer that question.
  8. Get yourself out of your comfort zone. Afraid of heights? Try to change that. Afraid of losing money on a business venture, but deep down want to start your own business one day? Change that by starting small.
  9. Don’t be in a rush to do things by age X or age Y. Graduating at 21, 22 or 23 won’t make any difference at 35. Quitting that job at 25 probably won’t either. Success isn’t linear in most cases. You will see some people peak early, and then fail, and others who come out of nowhere at 40 or 50.
  10. With number 9 notwithstanding, being focused is very good, but that doesn’t mean it is a big deal if you try and fail at things.

Basically, live for today but with an eye for tomorrow, take calculated risks, experience a lot, care about your health and wealth and so on.

Is 90k GBP enough for a family of 4 to live in London, UK?

The simple answer to your question is yes, but remember something important.

The UK taxes individuals, not families. Therefore, if two people both earn 45k each, the taxes are lower than if one person earns 90k.

If you are self-employed and earn the 90k from dividends, your taxes could be lower, but then your entity also pays corporation tax.

90k also won’t be a grand living in London for a family of 4.

After-tax has been paid, you will probably need to spend:

  • 25+ a year on renting and bills unless you live in the outskirts.
  • A few thousand on commuting costs unless you work from home
  • Of course food and other costs

90k might seem “unlivable” if you are from an area where you are used to a lot of space.

Let’s say you are from a part of the US where you are used to huge houses.

In that case, you would struggle in London, even if you leverage yourself up with a mortgage.

Why does Dubai attract so many expats?

It is simple:

  1. Low taxes – sometimes zero taxes
  2. A good lifestyle, especially for younger people, if you move to Dubai in particular
  3. Good for networking and certain business opportunities
  4. Multicultural, expat-friendly, culture – at least in certain ways. It isn’t like moving to a place with a tiny ex-pat population. It is easier to move to Dubai than to a small city in China or Cambodia.
  5. English is widely spoken
  6. It is relatively easy to get an ex-pat visa. Some places, like Singapore, require investors to put down $2m+ for an investor’s visa. In the UAE, you can get a visa and company incorporation relatively easily
  7. It is good as a hub, as it is in-between Europe and the Far Easy. So, if somebody wants to travel for business into Africa, Europe and the Middle East (MENA), alongside the Far East, it is an ideal location
  8. Plenty of multinationals send staff to the UAE.
  9. It is opening up its legal system to be more progressive. It is now easier to do more things than before, including getting permanent residency
  10. Familiarity. Many people already know other friends or family members who live there.

It is similar to the reasons why plenty of people want to live in Switzerland or Singapore.

There are always positives and negatives of each ex-pat location though.

If somebody wants to learn new languages and cultures, sometimes you will learn more in those “off the beaten track” locations.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 417.7 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon

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