Why everybody say that I HAVE TO enjoy my 20s?

I really want to go IB to make money to live a good life for the rest of my life. 

But many people say "enjoy your 20s", "you will regret" and the one that scares me the most "the 20s are your best". 

I'm 22 yo today.

I have no gf because I am to ugly/poor to have a girlfriend that I really love. The few girls that I had was disappointing. And it is really time consuming to find a girl... 

So I want to say that sex is OVERRATED.

The different travel that I did in my life was not really incredible. When I go to Barcelona/Bucharest with friends, the only thing that we do was drinking and trying to kiss random girls in a nightclub. I don't really like this honestly. When I travel alone it is just annoying, I speak with people about the weather and other shit like that.

So travel is also OVERRATED (and really expensive for a poor 20s).

Honestly, the only time I feel happy is when I see the percentage of accomplishment of my different goals (which are IB/health/poker-related) increasing in my Excel sheet.

So why "the 20s are your best years"? 

What I can do at 20s that I won't be able to do in my 40s? 

Comments (70)

May 15, 2021 - 11:21am
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't like the comparison because I don't say that I won't "look back" at sex and travel. I just say that when I will have money I will have better sex and travel.  Like if the fox build a ladder to get the grapes. And that is only a question, maybe I'm wrong.

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 15, 2021 - 11:46am

I just say that when I will have money I will have better sex and travel

You know the expression "thirty and thirsty"? It basically refers to all those men who thought that working hard would magically get them girls when they're older. Then you find them in clubs and bars, hitting on 20-something girls who find them creepy because they ooze loser vibes and have no social skills. Investment banking and poker won't make you rich. Do you really think a girl will start looking at you because you make €100K/year? €200K? That's nothing, and you'll find in any city men who make much more than you. Truth is, if you consider yourself ugly, money won't help. Even billionaires have to pay escort girls - money is not gonna make you good looking.

May be true for travel, but travelling is only pleasant when you do it with people who appreciate you. Sadly, money won't get you friends neither.

May 15, 2021 - 11:24am
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Even if I only feel good in this cubicle ? 

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

May 21, 2021 - 12:54pm
Mesutozil10, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would take the time to try as many things as possible but if you do find that your only happyvin the cubicle then more power to you.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 15, 2021 - 12:39pm

Personally, I hope it's not true that your 20s are the best time in your life. I love traveling and generally like dating but I think every age it gets better. Maybe my 20s are what I tell my stories about when I'm older but I'll be so happy at 60 telling the stories to the family that I will have built, in the big house I will buy.

Point is-probably won't be THE BEST, but it is an exciting time. No other time in your life will your friends be so close in proximity, have money to blow, have (some) free time. Also, on the whole sex and traveling thing-those things are like any other thing in life. There is a chance you will have a sucky experience but also many chances you'll have an unforgettable one. A lot of these things are 100x better with a good group of friends you feel comfortable and connected to (same goes for relationships with a decent person)

May 17, 2021 - 10:09am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Point is-probably won't be THE BEST, but it is an exciting time. No other time in your life will your friends be so close in proximity, have money to blow, have (some) free time. Also, on the whole sex and traveling thing-those things are like any other thing in life. There is a chance you will have a sucky experience but also many chances you'll have an unforgettable one. A lot of these things are 100x better with a good group of friends you feel comfortable and connected to (same goes for relationships with a decent person)

I am not saying this is you but,  I know my friends who are blowing cash and not thinking about the future.  Hence the care free lifestyle that leads to the "20s are the best years"  because when they hit 30 the music stops playing and they have to sober up. Then the next 30 years "suck" because they are trying to play a little bit of catchup by locking down a spouse,  saving a down payment and retirement,  and trying to build up thier careers.  

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 21, 2021 - 2:27pm

For sure, I have friends like this too. Some making much less than me and spending it at a faster and higher rate. I personally come from a family that didnt have much money growing up, and did the whole hard working immigrant right of passage thing and have made a great life for themselves. I definitely see the merit in putting your head down and sacrificing for your and your family's future, but I also think that my parents did these things because they wanted their kids to live an easier life so we could have the fun experiences they had to sacrifice (and hopefully I can do the same for my kids). Now I'm not going out and blowing my bonus but I am not going to guilt myself over $50 concert tickets once in a while. There is a different balance for everyone and I see what you are saying with the whole "playing catch up" thing but I also don't want to be playing catch up at 35 trying to find the right partner/having close friends. Lots of the softer things also build character in addition to being fun. Sorry for the rant--just a discussion topic I think a lot about

May 15, 2021 - 1:46pm
EatClenTrenHard, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I can eat shit off a 20 foot cliff snowboarding, tomahawk down 300 feet of vert and be completely fine the next day. Don't think I'll be able to do that when I'm 40. Tbd.

In all seriousness though, your hormone levels are primed in your 20's. Aka you're more sharp for a longer period of the day, have more energy, take longer to tire and are generally more healthy than in your later years. Health is something money can only buy to an extent.

  • 3
  • Prospect in IB - Cov
May 15, 2021 - 2:25pm

You should probably go to therapy dude. Live to work, even if you say it will only be through your 20s, is not a healthy lifestyle. You need to find a sense of joy other than achievements. This is coming from somebody who is working through a similar dilemma.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Restr
May 15, 2021 - 3:14pm

Feel free to grind it out in IB to set yourself up to have a good career and be wealthy, but don't foreclose actually living your life.  You listed IB, health and fitness as places you've placed your goals - having placed great importance on all 3 myself...If you have no real relationships in your life, you may get those bottom 2 abs to fill out your resting 8-pack, and it'll bring you no lasting satisfaction.  You may be able to buy a car that you've always wanted w/ $10k bands that you've saved from poker winnings, and it'll bring you no lasting satisfaction.  You may make top bucket and get paid a bonus that exceeds your dad's annual salary, and it'll bring you no lasting satisfaction.  

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 15, 2021 - 3:41pm

It's older people coping with being unhappy and remembering their 20s with rose-tinted glasses. Young people nowadays have so much FOMO it's unreal. FOMO for not "enjoying themselves" enough and on the other hand FOMO for not working hard enough to secure a good future. No wonder young people have so many mental health problems now. Focus your own life and don't think about what other people think you should be doing

May 17, 2021 - 11:58am
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well imagine all your big life decisions happen in one decade of your life.  The rest of the decades are going to feel empty comparably. Does that mean they are no.  I just think a lot of people loose motivation and start to get lazy.  

  • VP in S&T - FI
May 15, 2021 - 6:35pm

If you are going to take this approach, all I have to say is make sure you are in incredible shape for your 30s and 40s. You better be eating right and exercising everyday. To be honest, the best thing to do is probably find a balance between the two approaches. As others have said in this thread, if you don't look good in your 30s and 40s, going to be pretty rough even if you have money. 

May 15, 2021 - 7:24pm
Dick Steele, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You have to enjoy yourself a little bit. If you don't want to hook up and just have a serious gf or wife then that's fine. But don't think you'll grind away your 20's and magically find happiness 10 or 15 years down the line. Im the same age as you and I can't imagine the only thing I'll think about when I think about my 20s is work, that is just incredibly boring. Even though I really enjoy CRE and will obviously dedicate a large portion of my time to it, other hobbies are important, healthy relationships with family and friends are important. It's all a balance.

Banking won't make you rich either, you'll be well paid and live well, but you won't be "rich rich." Dedicate some of your energy into improving your self-image. Work out, pick up hobbies, meet new people (should be easier as we go back to normal). To give you a personal example, I've reconnected with some old friends from high school who I hadn't seen for the better part of four years. Hanging out with them bought back so many good memories and now I plan to not let those friendships fizzle out again. It's all a balance at the end of the day, dedicate time to your career (you'll have no choice lol) but don't be a loser, a career is not a personality  trait.

May 17, 2021 - 9:28am
The Philosophical Financier, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd say you should view your 20s as an experiment. If you believe that grinding to make a ton of money with the goal of eventually becoming happy and spending it then good, YOU'VE GOT A THESIS.

For the next year, stop writing about what you think is right or wrong and GO DO IT. You need to test that thesis and collect data.

Then come back to this post in 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and compare your mentality now vs then. Use that data to inform your opinion on whether your thesis was correct or if it should be adjusted. The underlying principle here is Bayesian Testing.

May 17, 2021 - 11:30am
ChanandlerBingo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am like you.

I'm 24, kissless, not a virgin because I paid for it. Never really enjoyed college or my early 20s because

- Getting girls seems so overwhelming. It's not about whether I'm ugly or not. I just (1) lack so much of the social skills to make it (2) the idea of starting with the ugliest then upgrading as I get more proficient is daunting and (3) points 1 and 2 make me overridden with anxiety whenever I actually get down to doing something about it

- My AHDH makes me hate studying so I wanted to finish college as soon as possible

- Never traveled around the world like my peers for fearing the discomfort of not having much money and the bureaucracy around it

I know I should do therapy, and I have for the past few months, but it's tough to apply what I'm learning if I'm locked in a third world shithole ravaged by this fucking pandemic. My therapist recommends focusing on improving myself professionally, but it's still terribly lonely.

Sorry I don't have any answers. Just ranting a bit because I'm in the exact same position as you and it frustrates me how powerless I feel to change that.

May 18, 2021 - 5:05pm
ChanandlerBingo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You know exactly what I meant. 

- That's how most guys (even the chaddiest) approach this

- I'm talking about just fucking around, not starting a relationship. At that level, everything is superficial

- I didn't even say I agree with this idea

- You seem to imply that (1) I objectify women and (2) objectifying them prevents one from starting relationships.  And neither (1) or (2) are true. (1) is not true because I try not to objectify women and (2) is not true because plenty of men (arguably the majority) objectify women and are able to pick up a lot of girls and start relationships. It's a huge fallacy to state that one should stop objectifying women to be able to date them.

May 17, 2021 - 12:23pm
George_Banker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bro its just like jazz, more about the journey than the end result.  Maybe try to kiss ugly girls now, maybe try drinking some wine, try fishing (I bet you have never been fishing).

May 17, 2021 - 12:46pm
Leeeeemmmmm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think some reasons you should try to enjoy your 20s (a least a bit) are:

  • You have more energy.
  • Less responsibility (assuming you decide to start a family).
  • You are (probably) more attractive at a younger age.
  • The experience of meeting various people outside work can help give you more confidence and broaden your understanding of other's perspectives which can actually help excel your career.

On the other hand, I know many people who sacrificed their 20s to chase the $$$ and they are all very happy, and are able to do much more of what they love now than they would otherwise have been able to.

May 17, 2021 - 11:12pm
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On the other hand, I know many people who sacrificed their 20s to chase the $$$ and they are all very happy, and are able to do much more of what they love now than they would otherwise have been able to.

I feel like this is the  the case because at some point you have to buckle up and save for retirement and spend for your family.  If you use your twenties wisely you can break what might feel like slavery to the mounting bills for the rest of your life.  

May 17, 2021 - 1:29pm
Engr2Bnkr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The problem here is that your goals and how you spend your time do not align.

The first thing you need to do is make up your own mind about what you want now (in your 20s). Then reallocate your time. 

Also money won't get you girls. Investing time and effort in cultivating relationships will. You don't even need to spend that much money (so many girls are on that lets-split-the-check-vibe).

  • 1
May 17, 2021 - 8:02pm
queso, what's your opinion? Comment below:


so many girls are on that lets-split-the-check-vibe.

Haha... I've only read about this on the internet. Would love to see this in real life 

(note I'm more talking about first dates, not once the relationship is established)

May 18, 2021 - 11:31am
Engr2Bnkr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah, I guess for context I live in an extremely liberal area. But I've had girls pick up the entire tab on multiple occasions. 

May 17, 2021 - 9:38pm
PVCmang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Give yourself at least the time to meet a few friends and learn what makes you happy/the kind of person you want to be when you're older. Many personalities are shaped at this time of life and you'll be sad if you hit your 30s/40s and have no personality or interests to share with other people, family/kids, clients, or business partners (these don't need to be night clubs abroad and/or kissing strangers. But gaming, reading, climbing, painting, fitness, writing... geeze anything you can dream up... are okay interests to have).

I personally don't look back at my 20s and say "it was the time of my life" (though I def enjoyed them)... its more, "wow I learned a ton about my adult self, what I value, and what I'm passionate about during my 20s. I have a wife I love and admire to share the next few chapters with." And.. only a very very few of those learnings were made in a bar or in a bed.

May 18, 2021 - 8:19am
Jamie_Diamond, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

May 18, 2021 - 11:24am
TradingFloorLyor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bro you definitely should, I older than you and I have way too many IB friends thinking like this until it was too late.

Your company will never care about you, and the intense hours added to the lack of social skills could do permanent damages. Their might not me a lot left of you if you are not careful. 

May 18, 2021 - 6:21pm
BAIIPlus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Firstly, I agree that one should enjoy his/her 20s and that some things (I would not say you can't do) but are not the same later in life. And although there is always some opportunity cost, one should try to live a life which minimizes regrets in the long-term.

However, that being said, it seems to me you jumped OP slightly too hard. His rationale may be a bit clumsy stated, but basically he wants to go to IB for the money - isn't that something that 90% or more of this sub-section does?

It's a bit funny that someone would write on this thread something like "don't go to IB its not worth it" then in other thread when someone states his net worth or annual bonus after few years in ib -> pe/hf, would comment "nice dude, have some advice how to get there?"

Individuals have different utility functions and sometimes sacrifices do make long-term benefits, but of course one should be aware of what he is giving up.

May 18, 2021 - 6:38pm
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I want to be aware of what I give up, my question should have been " What I give up by working a lot during my 20s ? ",

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

May 18, 2021 - 7:49pm
queso, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are some things that you should be doing during your 20's that aren't as available later in life. Note that these are just averages, I dunno about your circumstances as maybe you really would do better as a late bloomer. 

- building relationships: this is easier in your 20's, and just gets exponentially harder later in life. true of both finding friends and gf

- working on your health: same logic. your health decays. if you're fit in your 20's, it'll decay slower, all else equal

- fun: there's just some stuff that's best done in your 20's. backpacking around the world is a good example. do you want to be the old guy in the hostel nobody wants to talk to? 

and no offence but sounds like you also have sub optimal social skills. that shit compounds over time. best to improve on that now. 

Maybe it'd be best to write down a list of your goals in life. Then ask yourself how much working your 20's away and having more money would help and how much it would hurt. 

May 19, 2021 - 5:28am
michael phelps, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hopefully your 20's aren't the best years of your life, then you would have a pretty shitty life. No adults (who actually have a meaningful life with a family and good career) actually think that their 20's was the greatest period of their lives. The reason why you don't enjoy your life isn't because you need more money, thats a shitty idea, and if you eventually do get rich, that is not what will make you happy. Maybe try to get a life outside of the cubicle and make some meaningful relationships, they will matter much more than winning another shitty poker game. Maybe the reason you can't get girls is because you think like this. No girls want a man who thinks he's ugly and poor and blames all his misery on that.

May 19, 2021 - 8:51am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You sound like an ugly and poor dude dreaming about how you will score big through "confidence". Get off your chair and go to the gym. Keep networking and recruiting to get a good role in the industry. 


  • 1
  • VP in IB - Cov
May 19, 2021 - 1:41pm

There is always a trade-off but sacrificing a bit in your 20s can set you up to be very, very happy in your 30s and 40s. 

The anecdotes about how "no one on their death bed regrets not having spent more time in the office" are also incredibly biased. This question is only going to be asked of people whose responses would be worth something, ie people who built up good lives for themselves and are now going in peace. No one is going to ask this shit of people who are miserable or working in their 70s and 80s, who may very well be the same people who wasted away their formative years or over-leveraged themselves in late adulthood because they didn't build up their careers. 

Don't toil away in your cubicle for optics' sake but do work on building a solid career for yourself. It's incredibly hard to catch up once you hit your 30s, as is evidenced by the occasional post about if 31 is too old to be an analyst

May 19, 2021 - 5:17pm
tackytech, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was going to make a long-ass post about things that were awesome in my 20s, but to keep it short: Lot's things were just more fun, because you and your peers were in the same stages of life. Things were easier due to less responsibilities, less experience, and more youthful naivety. You can still do all the same things in your 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. but there's really no guarantee that the magic will be there. 

May 20, 2021 - 2:23am
laurrrrrrrrren, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm in my 22 too. I got to tell you that I envy you so badly for all the stuff you view as meaningless. 

I seldom travel but do internships all the time to make up my bachelor shit. The tedious works have already driven me crazy. 

I think 20's also means doing all the fun stuff squandering your youth and concluding it as bored and pointless.

You are having your classic 20's. And from my perspective, you are lucky bro.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 20, 2021 - 11:59am

Dude, in your 20s you most likely still have a full head of hair, a good working d**k, and way fewer worries (Your parents still alive, probably no kids yet, etc)... Yeah, you can have health and wealth in your 40s, but trust me it will NOT be the same. All it takes is one event to ruin the joy of your life which are inevitable parts of life as you age.

May 20, 2021 - 5:05pm
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, I have a full head of hair. 

Sticker risitas sueur valls gene malaise sfu

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

  • 1
May 20, 2021 - 12:15pm
IhateKetchup, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your post is surrounded of impressing others. First of all, you don't need money to get girls. If you're insecure about yourself: go hit the gym everyday, change your diet, etc.

Focus on yourself and things you enjoy but don't do things bc you want to fit with society. If you do all these things that you love doing, girls will come to you and you won't have to chase them. And I agree; working hard during your early 20s will allow you have a more comfortable lifestyle in the future as far as being materialistic.

May 20, 2021 - 5:18pm
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I already go to gym everyday, have a great diet...

But you point out something : I haven't something that I really enjoy... 

And as far as I can remember, everything that I did in my life was to impress others.

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 20, 2021 - 12:57pm

IMO you feel this way bc you haven't found a crowd of people you enjoy surrounding yourself with. You said that even during travels all your friends wanted to do was party and hook up with people but you weren't into it. What do you enjoy doing? Join a fitness club or a book club or an underwater basketweaving club or whatever. Put yourself out there and find people that you enjoy spending your (limited) free time with

May 20, 2021 - 1:48pm
Mephistopheles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have been a rich man and I have been a poor man and trust me, it is far far better to be a rich man. 

While I question your motivation somewhat (to be blunt it sounds like you need to work on your self confidence, etc.), your sentiment isn't entirely wrong. Life is a game of pay me now or pay me later. IB or any high finance field is no guarantee of becoming wealthy, but it is a good start if you have the affinity and talent for it. I had people tell me the same thing when I was younger, and the experiences I can and have been able to afford by sacrificing a few years up front are ones I would not trade for the world. Funny enough, my friends who emphasized free time, etc. when they were younger are the ones saddled with an older spouse, kids they don't really want, and a mediocre life that makes them miserable and wanting for a chance to do things over. Those who balanced things out, worked hard, but didn't dedicate 100% of their life to work are generally happy, many have families (some do not, it's not for everyone), but in general I do not know any successful person who says "man, I really wish I would've played around more and worked less when I was young and full of energy". The key is to make sure you don't do this forever. You do not want to wake up in your mid 40's having lived in an office your entire life and knowing nothing other than work. I still work ~55 hours a week, but have a full and rich life and generally spend 2-3 weeks a year traveling abroad to various countries, have hobbies I regularly engage with, and have a good friend/family set that I usually go out with 3-4 times a week. Do I wish I worked less in my younger years? Absolutely not. I wish I had buckled down and developed discipline sooner. 

For you, I would say there is nothing wrong with wanting to trade time for money and professional experience now. However, I would seriously work on your frame of mind as that will continue to poison your life no matter how successful you are. 

May 20, 2021 - 3:35pm
.22longBiffle, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You seem insecure

Excuse my French ! (and my English also)

May 20, 2021 - 7:01pm
KanxLokcart, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dude, you're the one saying you can't get with any girls and that you have always lived your life trying to impress others. If anything the person that seems insecure here is you.

I would honestly go see a therapist or have a open heart conversation with a friend. You will end up living a very unhappy life with your current line of thinking and being so judgmental.

  • VP in IB - Restr
Jun 16, 2021 - 1:19pm

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Jun 16, 2021 - 2:33pm
GoldMen's Sacks, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Aug 30, 2021 - 3:40pm
Brio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Aug 30, 2021 - 3:46pm
Engineer Monke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Intern/Summer Associate (83) $150