7 Financial Goals You Don’t Need to Achieve in Your 20s

7 Financial Goals You Don't Need to Achieve in Your 20sIf you get 20 cents for every “Financial Goals You Need to Achieve by 30” article that exists on the Internet, you’d probably surpass those lofty goals with flying colors.

Don’t get me wrong, setting goals is important.

But to me, building financial confidence is even more crucial. And pressuring people to achieve certain milestones can sometimes backfire and damage that confidence.

When it comes to money, most of us feel behind, insecure, and that we’re not doing enough. And that feeling is why far too many people find personal finance so intimidating and anxiety-inducing that they would rather not think or do anything about it, thus kickstarting a vicious cycle of financial apathy.

I take it upon myself to reassure everyone who would listen that it’s okay if you don’t have your proverbial financial house in order by the time you reach 30.

So what if you’re still paying off your student loans?

So what if you haven’t started saving for retirement?

So what if you blew $550 on a dress you only wore once? (Yup, that totally happened to me)

Let’s tuck those grandiose goals away for now, and embrace the fact that you’re meant to make a couple of “oopsies” in your 20s.

Speaking of which, here are 7 financial goals you totally don’t need to achieve in your 20s.

1. You Don’t Need to Become a Homeowner

Not sure if you’ve looked at the housing costs in North America lately. They’re not pretty.

The average Canadian home now costs CA$504,350 ($375,564).

The median single-family home price in the US is $274,600 (CA$368,657), which doesn’t seem prohibitively high until you take a closer look at home prices in larger metro areas.


You don’t need an affordability calculator to show why millennials aren’t snatching up houses left and right.

Since this is a common issue that plagues most young folks, the inability to buy a home is no longer a reflection of your financial capabilities, or the best predictor of your financial future.

As long as you save aggressively and invest your money wisely, you will be doing a-okay.

Financial considerations aside, owning a home is a lot of work.

Your 20s are arguably the most precious years of your life. It should be spent romancing cuties who swiped left on you, sharpening those in-demand job skills, and doing silly things you will laugh about decades later.

Hauling bags of mulch from Costco, fixing the irrigation system, and caulking the master bathroom? Not on your average 25-year-old’s wish list.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy a house in your 20s. If you could afford it and it makes sense to do so, by all means, call your favorite realtor. But it’s just not that big of a deal if you can’t label yourself a homeowner any time soon.

2. You Don’t Need to Make Over $100,000 a Year

We all want to make over $100,000 a year as soon as humanly possible.

But what if your calling just happens to be in a field that isn’t high-paying?

What if you’re on a career path that will never lead to a 6-figure salary?

Should you abandon your professional dream altogether to take a course in app development or acquire whatever credential that commands a super-duper high starting salary?

Absolutely not.

There is way more to life than earning the highest possible salary and year-end bonuses. As long as you’re growing and thriving, that’s all that matters.

3. You Don’t Need to Combine Your Finances With Your Partner

Every couple has different comfort levels around money, so who are the rest of us to judge?

If you and your partner are on the same financial page, and are absolutely transparent and honest with each other about your spending, debts, and savings, it doesn’t matter whether you have a joint bank account or not.

4. You Don’t Need to Take More Financial Risk

Indeed, you could more easily bounce back from a financial setback when you’re young.

It’s equally true that higher risks are positively correlated with higher rewards.

But not everyone is comfortable with risks. Period.

The stock market is not for the faint of heart – especially if you check your portfolio regularly (like I used to). And real estate is not a surefire path to profit either.

There’s no need to stretch your risk-taking boundaries if the mere thought of losing money makes your stomach turn.

You might be better off sticking to more secure investments like government bonds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), certificates of deposit (CDs), and high-yield savings accounts. At least your blood pressure will thank you.

5. You Don’t Need to Consult With a Financial Advisor

There is no shortage of so-called financial advisors who talk a big game and lure you in with promises of riches and financial freedom only to sell you a load of expensive financial products you can’t cheaply get rid of. They prey on your lack of financial knowledge and eagerness to grow wealth.

Instead of acting like an ally that swoops in and saves the day, some financial advisors put their own interests – that aren’t perfectly aligned with yours – first. In the end, they could do more damage than good for your future.

Are there responsible financial advisors who uphold their fiduciary duties? Absolutely.

The thing is, to tell the good and the bad financial advisors apart, you need to know enough about personal finance.

But when you know enough about personal finance, you probably no longer need a financial advisor.

You might never become a financial expert. But no one else cares about your financial future as much as you do, which means you’re the ideal candidate to be your own financial advisor.

Unless you’re dealing with a complex financial situation (ex: inheriting a large estate, financial planning post-divorce), your best bet is to get your financial education from unbiased sources.

6. You Don’t Need to Have a Will

Having a will is a very grown-up and responsible thing to do, I’ll give you that.

But do you need one at this early juncture? Not really. You probably don’t have any dependents yet, or a lot of assets to worry about.

Even if you create a will now, chances are you will have to update it later (which costs money).

A will is a nice-to-have in your 20s. But if you don’t, don’t sweat it.

7. You Don’t Need to Have Everything Figured Out

The only constant is change.

As you continue to learn and discover your place in the world, the life you envisioned for yourself might turn out differently.

You might decide to switch careers. You might relocate to another part of the world that isn’t even on your radar right now. You might join the Peace Corps. Or you might travel the world full-time in an RV.

Your 20s are for experimenting, learning, and growing.

If you accidentally trip and fall, you still have plenty of time to dust yourself off and walk a different path.

Naturally, you don’t have everything figured out yet.

And quite honestly, life is way more fun that way.

Onward and Forward

We can’t predict the future. The best thing you can do is enjoy your 20s, and do your best to not jeopardize your financial future.

Don’t beat yourself up over regrets or mistakes. Look ahead to a brighter future that the older and wiser you will totally learn to embrace.

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Category: GeneralMoney For Beginners


  1. Great list! And number 5 really hits home for me. I’ve heard too many horror stories about people trusting others for their financial future and it not going well.

  2. Yeah, you are correct here, Flora. If you are in your 20s, then there is no need for you to achieve these seven financial goals. You can just move on with your life without overthinking about all of this.

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Article by: Flora Pang

Flora Pang aspires to become someone who plants trees in their spare time, writes thank-you notes to strangers, and serves in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. But to date, blogging about personal finance remains her only contribution to society. You can catch her rambling about money on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (to a lesser extent) Pinterest.