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On the rare occasion that I check out Nelson Smith’s Financial Uproar blog (no, not because I don’t enjoy his writing, but because I don’t have much time these days to check out my favourite personal finance blogs), I saw an interesting post called “30 Life Lessons Learned in My First 30 Years“- really enjoyed reading it, knew that Nelson was a person of substance behind that chauvinistic stuff he posts objectifying women 😉

I enjoyed reading it so much that I thought I would share what I have learned in my first 30 years in this world.  I have a few more months to go before I officially turn 31 (and over the hill haha) so might as well make it count, right?

Unlike Nelson, my thirty observations probably wont’ be good enough or interesting enough to print out and put on your refrigerator, but perhaps they will be food for thought anyways.  After all, isn’t it wonderful to gain collective wisdom together?

So here goes!

  • You Don’t Know Anything at 20

I used to think that I had my life set at age 20, and thought I knew it all.  I didn’t.  I still don’t.

  • You Can’t Change Anyone

In romantic relationships, you need to make sure the other person shares your values- otherwise you end up trying to change the other person.  I learned one thing from the relationships I have had in the past 10 years, and it is that you can’t change anyone.

  • Life is going to through you a curve ball

One day something will hit you that will change the way you perceive life, will change the way you perceive your future.  Life will throw you a curve ball.  It makes it more interesting that way.

  • Nothing is Permanent

As mentioned above, although we may want things to stay the same, things always change.  Life is like a river, always flowing, always changing.  Nothing is permanent.

  • Life is about Adaptation

One of my theories is that life is about adaptation and how well you cope with change.  If you have a “bring it on” attitude with positivity infused, you will fare better.

  • Goals are Awesome

Without my goal of having a net worth of $100,000 I wouldn’t be where I am today.  There is always room for improvement.

  • Life is Short

Life is short, don’t waste it, don’t settle, enjoy every moment you have, even it that just means taking a deep breath, enjoying the sun on your face, and the beauty of summer.

  • Start Investing Early

I started when I was 22.  I made a lot of mistakes and learned lots of lessons, but I took the risk.

  • Don’t Trust So Easily

If I had trusted what the Investors Group people said about the mutual funds earning 7% per annum, I don’t think I would be where I am now.

  • Life is Learning

Life is about learning from your mistakes.  Pick yourself back up and practice humility, and try again.  Understand that doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

  • YOLO

You only live once, but you still have to save for the future.  Have that bucket list but do it in moderation.

  • It’s all about Balance

Work, love, life, passion.  It’s all about balance.

  • Follow your Passion- What Makes you Tick?

Life is too short to do something that you don’t love.  If you can afford to follow your dreams do it.

  • Life is about Relationships- Nurture Them

At the end of the day, life isn’t about what you accumulate.  You don’t ‘think back’ to the time you bought that Bentley.  You think back to your relationships and what they mean to you.

  • Enjoy the Present Moment

There is much to be said to be enjoying the here and now.  Have gratitude for where you are today and who you have in your life.  Being satisfied and happy with what you have can do wonders for your happiness.

  • Don’t Live Beyond your Means

Don’t spend more than you earn.  You aren’t a rocker, don’t live the rock and roll lifestyle.  This is really important.

  • Make Mistakes

If I hadn’t lost money in all my investments (like penny stocks, stock tips etc.) I would probably have continued to invest in things like this instead of my dividend stocks and ETFs.

  • Don’t Make Excuses

Yes, we can be dealt sh*tty cards in life, but that sometimes isn’t an excuse.  We have the power to change ourselves.

  • Practice Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification IMO is the marker for success.  The more you can put off that daily latte for longer term goals, like that house or that trip you want to take, the better.

  • Respect Yourself

If you are in a relationship that isn’t working, that isn’t honouring who you are.  It is better to move on than to be settled in a relationships where you aren’t happy.

  • Maintain your Boundaries

We all need boundaries to be happy.

  • Fear Does not Equal Love

I was fearful that I would be single with 10 dogs, I was doing things out of fear that I would lose someone by overcompensating, but I learned that is not love.  I was in two relationships that weren’t right for me because of fear.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Sometimes you have to take the plunge, sure you may get heart broken, but it’s better to have ‘lived’ than to not have lived at all.  Same goes for investing.

  • You Learn about Who You Are as Time Goes On

I didn’t realize many things about myself when I was younger.  I know who I am now.

  • Be Aware

Understand yourself, what you want out of life, and ensure you are living a life of integrity.

  • Think about the Future

Although it’s nice to have YOLO mentality, you have to start thinking about the future.

  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I have made more money investing in solid companies than when I invested in the next hot stock tip or when I was buying and selling so much.

  • Listen to your Intuition

When something doesn’t feel right and you are upset but you can’t put a finger on it, listen to your intuition.  It doesn’t feel right for a reason.

  • Trust the Process

Life is like driving on a dark curvy road.  You can only see a small portion of what’s ahead of you but you have to trust that what is ahead is going to be good.

  • Enjoy your Memories

Memories are great, and they are all we have at the end of the day.  Make them count.

Article comments


I love your list! That was great advice about relationships. Money, not infidelity, is the most common reason couples break up. Unfortunately, a lot of couples aren’t open about money. It isn’t until you start living together until you discover your partner’s spending habits. I’m 30 in less 6 months, so I’ll have to come up with my own list then! Thanks for the inspiration!

Young says:

@Sean Cooper- You are doing amazing!! Mortgage free at 31! 🙂 I can’t believe that people would break up over money but not over infidelity. But I guess it makes sense.

Steve says:

That’s a great list. Growth and change are such important concepts to embrace: you will always make mistakes, learn more, change, evolve, and grow as a person. Absolutely agree on finding someone who shares values and not trying to change a person 😀

Great tips and you can definitely see some themes around your life and the life lesson’s you’ve learned:

1) Change and unpredictability
2) Seize the day
3) Relationship lessons
4) Investing mistakes
5) Self discovery

It’s amazing how much we don’t know about ourselves until we get closer to 30 years old isn’t it?