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Should You Go After Your Passion or Money in Your 20s?

by Siti Aisyah. |

"Do you want to spend your life doing things you are passionate about or do you want to make as much money as you possibly can?"

The age old question that knows no age limit. The fact is, not everyone ponders this during their early 20s; but they should. The earlier you start asking yourself about your priorities in life, the better your chances are of achieving them.

Now, as someone who recently passed the critical 20s, the answer to this question comes easily to me. This was what I wish I had done and realized much earlier. Of course, everyone has different aspirations and goals in life but I hope these inputs can help you determine your next move in navigating your life and career.

So, back to the question, "Should I go for my passion or money in my early 20s?" My answer is money, but I’m not saying to give up on your passions altogether, read on and you’ll understand why:

1. You need good money to invest

Investments are not just reserved for bankers, millionaires and economists. Anyone can and should invest in any investment portfolio of their choice. The earlier you start earning money and saving it into investmen accounts, the earlier you will be able to focus on your passion, full time. Compounding is a great way to grow your money in the long run. Ask any adults out there on what they wish they had done sooner and believe me, investing early would be one of the top answers you will get.

2. You need to buy big ticket purchases early

If owning a house is one of your goals, you’d best start visiting show galleries in your 20s. Your age is one of the deciding factors of how much loan and term you will get from a bank. Usually, financial institutions will try to limit the home loan tenure based on a person's age and other factors. You might be afraid to take the plunge and risk your freedom in your 20s, but doing it at a later age is far more stressful than you might think. Not only would you feel like you are running out of time, you will also wish you had done it sooner.

3. You can gain experience and a mentor

Whatever your passion is, there is probably someone out there that has already been there and done that. Find a job that would expose you to the field or industry that you are interested in and you’ll have the opportunity to learn from people with far more experiences than you. It is easier to start something when you have a solid foundation than starting something from scratch.

Think of it as skill investments for the future; once you’ve gained ample skills and experience in the related workforce, you will have a clearer picture of what it takes to pursue your passion and eventually be capable enough to do it full time.

4. You will learn to build character, rapport and network

Earning money is a serious business and requires perseverance. If you can wake up every morning, brave the crazy peak hour traffic, manage stress, solve issues and survive to tell the tale, you have what it takes to go after your passion. Knowing what you are passionate about is not enough; think of your ‘earning money 20s’ as a training ground to build a strong character, rapport and network with as many people as possible, you never know who could help you along the way.

5. You can work on your passion part time

This is the ultimate test of passion. If you are willing to struggle and juggle your passion with a full time job, you are serious and ready to do whatever it takes to turn it into a reality. Some people know what they like but they are not willing to put effort and hours into it. Stabilise your income in your 20s, with a plan of turning your passion into a full time gig by the time you reach your 30s or 40s. Look at it as a delayed gratification: suffer now to reap the rewards later. I hope whatever you choose to do, that path is the one that is best for your future and makes you happy. Passion is great but alone, it is not sustainable long-term, unless you can make a living out of it. If you choose to pursue your passion in your 20s, I wish you the best of luck and a heart made of steel as it is not an easy road. However, once successful, it will be a path that will bring the most satisfaction.

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