Connect with us


Finance: Advice for my 20-year-old self



PHUKET: I know most people in their twenties are typically not interested in planning financially for their futures. Often, they are not very interested in planning for anything other than Friday night – I remember the days when I thought the same way.

What advice would I give myself now if I could go back and make decisions based on the lessons life’s experiences have taught me?

One thing this thought process does is make me feel quite happy with some of the tough decisions I made early in life.

The best one was moving to Thailand while still a young man. Surprising to many, Asia has always felt like more of a land of opportunity than my home country ever did.

I encourage all fresh graduates from university to get some international living and working experience as soon as possible.

In fact, when it comes to university, I would probably do the entire thing part time while working, if I were to do it again. Maybe I would try to find a company to help pay for it, or transfer credits from a cheaper university to a degree at a more expensive one.

The return on investment in lifelong earnings from a university is in a steady downward trend, and many programs already have a negative net present value. In layman’s terms, they’re not worth it.

I would also have tried starting side businesses at a much earlier age. I think that developing entrepreneurial skills will become an increasingly important factor in determining success in the future, as knowledge gradually becomes commoditized.

A piece of paper from an educational institution doesn’t mean what it used to in terms of the security of your future.

The most important thing I would have done differently is recognize the power of long-term compounding. I would have set aside 10% of everything I earned in my life and put it into an account (interest bearing or investments) specifically for retirement.

If I had followed this strategy fresh out of university – even given the crazy ups and downs of the markets and the financial crises we have been through – I would be so much better off.

It is now unpleasant to think about the opportunities I have wasted.

To summarize, the four most important things I would advise someone in their early twenties to do are as follows:

1) Work during university to gain entry-level work experience and reduce the cost of education, which is increasingly becoming a bad investment
2) Experience life abroad
3) Gain entrepreneurial experience
4) Begin saving for retirement

There is no holy grail amongst these simple recommendations. However, if taken together and followed seriously, I believe that they can significantly increase the amount of happiness you experience over the course of your life.

Plus, you will reach your retirement in a much better financial situation.

David Mayes MBA resides in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. He can be reached at or 085-335-8573. Faramond UK is regulated by the FCA and provides advice on pensions and taxation.

— David Mayes


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime14 hours ago

Fans stage simulation of Tangmo’s death in protest of law activist’s defamation case

Thailand14 hours ago

Thai road sweepers get safer new uniform for work

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Police patrol Pattaya Beach looking for guns, booze, prostitutes

Sponsored23 hours ago

Starting a business and obtaining SMART Visa in Thailand is easy with Startup Booster

Phuket15 hours ago

4 Chinese fishermen lost at sea rescued near Phuket

Pattaya15 hours ago

Two lost children found on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Guides15 hours ago

5 underrated apps you need to use in Thailand this year

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket15 hours ago

Cheeky Taoist procession spices up Phuket’s veggie fest

World16 hours ago

Avalanche strikes mountaineering team in Indian Himalayas, 4 killed

Cannabis16 hours ago

Can foreigners legally grow cannabis in Thailand?

Tourism16 hours ago

1-billion-baht tourism stimulus back on track

Thailand16 hours ago

Ordination ceremony concert goes on despite flood

Hot News16 hours ago

Flooding may impact Thailand’s tourism recovery

Road deaths17 hours ago

Young woman killed in hit-and-run in Chon Buri

Hot News17 hours ago

Myanmar youth artists hold art challenge to raise awareness of country’s plight

Entertainment17 hours ago

“One For the Road” film is Thailand’s 25th Oscar attempt

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11