In your twenties, every decision you make can feel huge. Which makes sense! This might mark the first time you’re completely on your own, and that means you could be making some big choices on your own for the very first time. This isn’t intended to put undue pressure on you, of course—your twenties are a time to have fun and discover who you are. But, it’s also important to keep in mind that many decisions you make now —including ones that don’t seem directly financial— can have financial repercussions.

Here are some life decisions that you might make in your twenties that could have financial implications later in life.

Where You Choose to Live

When you’re deciding where to go to college or where to live after you graduate, you might be making a huge financial decision. There are benefits and drawbacks to every choice, of course, whether you decide to live in a big city, a small town, or somewhere in-between.

“Where you live impacts not only your educational and future internship and employment opportunities, but also who you befriend and network with — all of which will ultimately impact your finances,” Janet Alvarez, the financial expert behind Wise Bread, explains.

According to Forbes, many young professionals are still choosing to live in larger cities — although, as the New York Times reports, big cities may have reached “peak millennial” in 2015, with moves to big cities by millennials slowing after that. According to a recent survey by Bankrate, the reason is straightforward: There are more job opportunities for young professionals in big cities. Research from the University of Virginia’s Demographics Research Group found that per capita income is highest in major city centers and that those cities are attracting more and more young professionals—especially those with college degrees.

However, according to, some young people are eschewing big city living in favor of small towns, a trend made increasingly possible by the growth of telecommute and remote jobs.

Even though the internet might make it possible to do your big city dream job from a small town, however, that doesn’t mean the pay will be the same. Many companies that allow for remote work offer pay based on where the candidate lives, not where the company is based—meaning that you won’t necessarily earn the big city paycheck you would earn if you worked in-office.

Daniel Tobias, a certified financial planner who, along with his wife, saved for five years in order to take two years off to travel the world, says that the real key is determining your future goals and choosing a place to live that sets you up to meet those goals.

“The ‘why consider my financial future’ question dovetails with understanding your future goals,” he explains. “If you want to have a big family, living in New York City might not be as conducive to a lower cost alternative where you could have more space for that family. Ultimately, it’s important to set your goals, even if in broad strokes, and ask what impact the decision to live in place or take up a hobby will have on that decision. Everything in our financial lives is about trade-offs, we need to consider our financial future to understand those trade-offs.”

What Hobbies You Choose

It might seem like what you do in your free time doesn’t impact your bank statements, but the truth is, it can. Some hobbies might be more expensive than others, of course—hiking can often be free, while taking up a hobby that requires classes, like dance or martial arts, might cost a monthly fee.

But it’s not just the cost of participating in your hobby of choice that impacts your financial bottom line — some pastimes can even turn into careers.

“Your choice of hobbies too could yield contacts or opportunities that can benefit your employment prospects and/or future financial opportunities,” Alvarez says. “Some hobbies, such as coding or writing, can lead to lucrative second careers.”

Even if your hobby doesn’t lead to a second career, it could provide a secondary stream of income. According to Good Financial Cents, some hobbies, like blogging or photography, can even be monetized. Today, what started out as a hobby, has the possibility of blossoming into a full-blown career.

How Early You Choose to Settle Down

Even deeply personal decisions like how to handle your romantic life can end up impacting your career and financial future.

“Getting married and/or having kids in your twenties might mean being less able or willing to relocate for a new career,” Alvarez explains.

On the flip side, settling down younger and even starting a family might have a positive impact on aspects of your financial life, too. After all, two incomes can be bigger than one.

“Many of the financial habits of your partner will likely become evident while dating,” Tobias says. “The items you really need to discuss, that are financial but don’t seem financial, are your goals for the future. How many children do you want and what are your career aspirations? For some, becoming an executive or partner at a large company is a big goal, ahead of having a family or traveling extensively while young. That may mean putting off children for a while or planning for full time childcare. For others the goal may be to retire early, have a big family or live abroad, which may mean less income or spending in the short term. Some of these goals may not be easy to reconcile 10 years down the line and knowing them up front can make a big difference.”

There’s no wrong choice when it comes to choices about settling down or getting married (just like it’s also not wrong to choose to never do those things); it’s all about understanding the impact the decision might have on your future finances and planning accordingly.

How Healthy You Stay in Your Twenties

You know that your body is your temple and all that, but really, yogi-isms aside, how healthy your choices are in your twenties might impact your financial future.

“Staying healthy through your twenties means you’re likelier to have the stamina needed for your peak earning years in your thirties and forties,” Alvarez explains. “It can also mean having a longer working career, period, which yields great financial dividends over time.”

While it can be true that lifestyle choices might impact your finances — for example, according to the Mayo Clinic, exercising regularly can be a great way to keep you in good shape — there are also lots of factors when it comes to health that can be utterly beyond our control. No lifestyle choice comes with a guaranteed financial return; it’s just that some of them might impact finances even when they seem totally unrelated to your bank balance.

At the end of the day, it’s all about striking a balance between enjoying your youth (which you absolutely should be doing!) and planning for your future.

“Think about where you want to be a few years from now, and work backward to develop a plan that will get you there,” Alvarez advises. “Living in the moment is forgivable when you’re a twenty-something, but a little planning can help you enjoy every moment better once you’re in your thirties and beyond. If you’re tired of being broke and want your student loans paid off, make a plan and budget. To get where you want to go, you have to act accordingly today.”

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