Why It’s Okay to Not Settle Down in Your 20s

“When are you going to settle down? Whenever I login to Facebook it says that you’re in a different country.”

Some of my friends always want to know when I’m going to find a serious girlfriend to settle down with. People around me want me to settle down because that’s what you’re supposed to do. When I first started this blog I had a serious girlfriend and I wanted to document my journey as I tried to save a few bucks. Now I have the money saved and am loving the single life.

I’m here to tell you why it’s okay if you don’t want to settle down in your 20s.

settling down

Weddings are a blast. Open bar. Good friends. Dancing. Lots of laughter. Everyone in a fantastic mood.

What could go wrong?

Well, your family usually starts asking you about when you’re going to settle down like your friend. You then feel guilty.

You don’t have to settle down in your 20s. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to be a little selfish and to do what’s best for you.

[We just looked at another major step in your 20s. Check out how you can buy your first property.]

What does it mean to settle down?

“For the generation of people I interviewed in the New York City retirement community, the average age of marriage was around twenty for women and twenty-three for men. Today the average age of first marriage is about twenty-seven for women and twenty-nine for men, and it’s around thirty for both men and women in big cities like New York and Philadelphia.” — Aziz Ansari

I still don’t have a clear definition of this. I imagine that settling down involves some of the following:

  • In a relationship that’s going somewhere.
  • Living together.
  • Planning a future.
  • Engaged or married.
  • Working a stable job.
  • Totally done with the single lifestyle.

Settling down varies depending on who you’re talking to. There are also many benefits to settling down and moving on to the next stage of your life.

The problem is that sometimes settling down refers to giving up on your freedom and your dreams.

“Enjoy your trips now while you can. It all ends when you get married.”

I can’t even begin to recall how many of my married friends have told me this. That terrifies me. I can’t imagine a life where I can’t travel as I please. I just booked a weekend in NYC for July so I can experience the 4th of July in America for the first time in my life for the fun of it.

Why it’s okay to not settle down when you’re young.

“Do nineteen-year-old bridezillas pissing their panties for a wedding know it’s an hour-long vent and marriage is for life? A 50 percent divorce rate shouldn’t shock anyone; without process, it’s just two delusional people sharing expenses and suffocating under the shortcut scam.” — MJ DeMarco

You can move out on your own.

I’ve had older friends actually tell me that they got married just to move out. Back in the day, you didn’t really move out until you got married. This is what I’ve been told at least. These days it’s very common to see independent women move out to live on their own. The same for goes for the fellas.

You can move out before getting married. You can move across the country to try a new job. You can freelance and travel the world as you grow the business. You can buy a property and rent out your spare bedroom on AirBnB.

You don’t want to live with any regrets.

I cited a study once with how most people die with regrets. There was that one story of the guy who wasted his life. You don’t want that to be you. You want to get it all of out of your system. You want to try everything and do all of those things on your bucket list before you tie yourself up.

There’s so much to see in the world.

I try to travel multiple times per year. I feel like I haven’t seen anything yet. I want to keep on traveling and exploring. There’s so much to see and do.

This isn’t to say that couples can’t travel. However, it’s important to go through that phase where you travel on your own and see what’s out there.

You need to take the time to figure out what you want to do.

I’m not a hippie but I believe that these days everyone can do something cool.

You owe it to yourself to take the time to figure things out before you rush into settling down just because your uncle pressured you after six shots.

I tried pro wrestling, I got into submission grappling training, and overcame my fears of traveling alone. If I was settled down, none of this would’ve happened. I’ve forced myself to step outside of my comfort zone.

You don’t know what’s going on with your money.

Most people have money issues in their 20s. Most people flat-out suck at personal finance when they’re young.

The last thing you need is to get caught up in a relationship where you have to deal with joint finances and trying to get on the same page.

I see friends rush into financial disasters with a new relationship. They buy a car together or they move in right away. They buy a place before they’ve even gone on a trip together. This kind of stuff never works out.

While it’s fun to see intense romance in the movies, in real life the bills come in.

Figure out your finances. Pay off your debt. Work on your credit score. Take some time to work on that side business. You don’t have to rush into anything.

It’s okay to be selfish.

“You’re so selfish. How are you going to get married ever?”

My buddy Mike D almost snapped on me in Colombia when he realized how selfish I was. I didn’t even want to commit to a time for eating (I do the intermittent fasting).

It’s alright to go through a selfish phase. You have to do what’s best for you.

For example:

  • You want to save up to buy a condo?
  • You want to grow your business to six figures?
  • You want to give freelancing a shot?
  • You want to buy a boat?

Do it now so that you don’t live with any regrets.

You shouldn’t force the next major change in your life.

I’ve seen friends rush into settling down just for the sake of it. That has to be the worst idea.

I hear from so many married friends who can’t even get out on a Friday night with their lifelong friends because their partner won’t let them. How pathetic is that?

Major changes will happen. You’re going to switch jobs, buy a place, move to a new town, and get married. There’s no sense in forcing any of these.

You wouldn’t buy a home if you didn’t have the money. Why would you get married if you’re not ready?

You haven’t reached your full potential yet.

“To date a quality person, you have to be a quality person.”

I explained this to a friend who was upset with his dating options.

This one is going to be harsh. You’re going to hate me for this. Chances are that you’re not as interesting as you think you are.

Why not try reaching your full potential first before you throw in the towel?

Take some time to improve yourself. Work on your physique. Take those salsa lessons. Become better at socializing. Grow as a person so that you can marry the partner of your dreams.

You have to figure out what you like.

I used to like going to clubs. Now I don’t care so much for clubbing. Your interests will change and you’re going to grow as a person. You have to see what your values are. You have to figure out what you like.

Does it make sense to settle down early?

With everything that I just said, if you’re happy with how things are going then keep at it. Don’t call your marriage or engagement off because of a blogger.

There are many benefits to settling down early in life. My parents had me at 21 and 27. Now they are in their 50s and all of their kids are established. I have friends at the gym who are first time parents in their 40s and they definitely don’t have the energy for it. I fear that I’ll be in that position one day. I don’t want to be the dad that looks like a grandpa.

I’m not against settling down at a young age.

If you’re happily settled down, then I’m happy for you. Chances are that you stopped reading after the first few paragraphs. If you’re still reading, then it’s because you’re fed up with being pressured about getting married.

What if you’re not ready?

Planning your weekends is difficult enough. Personal finance should be easy.

What if you still want to work different jobs, start a business, or travel the world? What if you want to date different people?

I give you permission to work on yourself.

You have to explore and get everything out of your system. You have to save some money.

Settling down won’t solve all of your problems.

Try everything that you’ve always wanted to do. You don’t have to force yourself to marry the next person that you meet just to make your parents happy. It’s your life. You have to deal with this person.

We’re living in the best time period in history. Make the most out of it. Try to limit the amount of regrets that you have when you look back.

“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” — Will Ferrell

3 thoughts on “Why It’s Okay to Not Settle Down in Your 20s”

  1. Vickie Micallef

    Wow.. Getting married doesn’t mean being in a straight jacket. It depends on the agreement. I have been married 46 years and still feel independent. We had a few guidelines.
    1. We each had our own career to look after. We supported each other.
    2. It is OK to go out with the girls, or boys. Funny it started out boys night out and over the years it became girls night out and boys night home.
    3. No need to stop travelling. We found it more interesting to live in different countries, then we found out what the culture was about. Travelling can be done through picture books. It is the people that makes the difference.
    4. Children do not mean you are stuck in one country. All the expatriates we met overseas had children but us. I love kids, so became the neighbourhood “Auntie” People us kids as an excuse for not taking risks and having adventures.
    5. No need to stop learning as you go through the stages of life. Each day I look for a new adventure, even if it is only discovering a new product or a new store. Stop learning and you die.
    6. Equal opportunity relationships work. My husband was a sailor, he can mop floors, cook, sew, do laundry. Whoever is home gets to do what needs to be done. Your job, my job ruins the relationship. Although I do hate going to the beer store, so he did that most of the time.
    7. “Settle down” might be the wrong expression. Sharing life experiences might be a better expression. That is what we did.

    Have fun in the way that it suits you best. Forget about social standards except the one about respecting other’s way of life.

    1. Its just that you are not a millennial. Our struggles are different than what people born in the 80’s, and above face.

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