To be nearing 30 with no sense of accomplishment. It just plain sucks. It’s that point in your life where reality kicks you hard in the balls and leave you . Forget quarter-life crisis. 30 is the new 40, methinks and the epiphany of answering the “What have I been doing my life?” question just eats me.

Here are a few things that I wish I would’ve learned years before when I was just starting out. Fresh from college. Bursting with fruit flavor. Here I am. Not yet 30 and I feel wilted and ready for retirement yet totally unprepared and unabled.

Invest and diversify the soonest you can. And it can be done with a typical paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle common with fresh graduates. If only I had invested in mutual funds, stocks, cooperatives, and insurance policies, I wouldn’t be too worried about finances right now. Too bad, I had to “help” family out.

Renting is idiotic. With the sudden high-rise boom, there’s plenty of affordable real estate lying around. And it’s so easy to have them pay for themselves quick. Too bad I missed out on a lot of opportunities and I’m at a point where I can’t just readily opt for one. I’m getting married in 2012 and Rish and I still have yet to decide on where to locate ourselves. Factors like finances, distance to work, short and long-term plans do matter. Would’ve been sweet to have a place to call my own though.

Family can be a myth. It really sucks that Filipinos are conditioned to take on some responsibility. If it’s helping parents out, sure. It’s a way of paying them back for your living expenses for the past 20 years. Take a quick survey of the people in your life and identify who are the ones who gives you a decent return on your emotional (and financial investment). If your life is filled with leeching family members, I say screw them. Look out for numero uno first – yourself.

Cut losses quick. Throwing good money after bad seems like human instinct. When investments don’t work, forget about sunk cost. I wish I had more backbone a few years ago and put my foot down with regard to independence. That’s a half-a-million-peso lesson for me. Only deal with people who are properly invested. People who aren’t properly invested will only be there for the ride. And often times they will take you down with them.

Some professions will earn more. Yes, there is such as thing as an earning curve. Sure, I’ve started earning ever since my last year of college but the bottomline is that depending on you industry, you can hit a flatline one way or another. Sure, my lawyer and doctor friends envy me for having some amount in my bank account but that took me five years to save – the time they spent learning their trade. That’s nothing compared to what they can earn in a year or two practicing their field.

Technology still is the future. Financial circumstances have forced me to ditch my plans to be a lawyer right after graduation so I decided to take. Evaluate the real value of education. It took me five years to finish my master’s degree. Given that I was doing a hell lot of other things. But aside from a guarantee that I can teach . It’s pretty defeatist to think about that. If you’re going to learn a new skill, make it technology related. Learn how to do multimedia or how to program.

Always have an exit strategy. There’s no such thing as too big to fail. Bubbles burst. Diamonds don’t last forever. It’s a fact. So do a lot of other things. So be sure to have contingencies and fallback options. Unless, of course, it’s  marriage we’re talking about. 😀

So long, 2010. You bitch of a year.

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