How to invest in yourself
By Pauline Muindi | November 15th 2020
As any finance expert will tell you, investing is a crucial part of wealth-building. You will hear about investing in stocks, money markets, real estate and other assets. But what some might forget to mention is that you should be your most important investment.
Money, time, and effort invested in yourself is always money well spent and it comes with high returns in many ways.
Investing in yourself increases your earning potential. With a higher income, you will have more money to save and invest- making your journey to financial freedom easier and faster. Also, rather than endlessly chasing money, investing in yourself makes your life more meaningful and fulfilling.
But there’s an even more compelling reason why you should invest in yourself: because no one else will. Only you have the ultimate say in your life and its outcomes. If you don’t invest in learning new skills, meeting new people, adopting new hobbies, building relationships and expanding your creativity, it simply won’t happen on its own.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of ways to invest in yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Pay yourself first
Many people live paycheck to paycheck. This means that every penny they earn goes towards paying bills, and none is saved to invest in themselves or material assets. The first lesson in investing in yourself is to always pay yourself before paying other bills.
The money you pay yourself can be for your saving accounts, for luxury vacations and other purchases, or even pay for classes and buy books.
To ensure that you always pay yourself first, set an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account. The goal is to have a certain percentage of your paycheck going into your savings every month. This money is only to be used for the purpose of investing in assets or yourself.
Take a Class
The best way to enhance your professional marketability is by taking classes or attending relevant workshops. By advancing your skills or learning new ones, you increase your chances of getting a promotion or pay raise at work or being offered a better-paying position at another company.
If you are a business owner, learning new skills can help you run your business more effectively and make more profits.
A good place to start is by looking at continuing education evening courses at local universities. If you’re worried about time, scope out online courses that afford you more flexibility. Go for something that teaches skills that are relevant to your job or side hustle.
However, if you’re interested in switching career paths, it is advisable to spend on a mentorship program or course. That way, you will minimise the risk of wasting time, money, and energy as you try to figure it out on your own.
Hire a business or career coach
Whether you’re looking to advance your career, switch to a different one, or build an action plan for your business, working with a coach who has expertise in that area makes it much easier.
Many people have an aversion to paying someone coaches – which is understandable because there are many self-proclaimed coaches who might turn out to be a waste of money. But if you do your homework when selecting a coach to work with, it can be one of the best decisions you make towards investing in yourself.
A coach will give you personalised advice in aspects of career or business that are particularly challenging for you. For example, they might help you write a better resume, coach you on how to expertly answer interview questions, or make presentations at work.
You can get plenty of information through Google search and YouTube, but a coach personalizes the advice to suit your specific situation. Paying them will also motivate you to dedicate time towards the learning process.
Your coach will be an expert sounding board for your ideas, giving you valuable perspective to aid your progress. Unlike your friends and family, a good coach will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear – pushing you to make necessary changes for success.
Take time to read
Leisure reading has been on the decline, perhaps due to the growth of the internet, social media, and streaming services such as Netflix. A 2019 study in America found that individuals aged 20-34 spend a mere seven minutes a day reading. These statistics are appalling, especially when you the worldwide average of time spend on social media per day is 144 minutes!
Reading is an important habit to develop if you want to build wealth and live a more fulfilling life. Don’t take my word for it, many billionaires credit their success to reading.
When he was interviewing some of the world’s richest for his book How Rich People Think, Steve Siebold said that most of them bypassed mindless TV watching for knowledge-enhancing books.
“Walk into a wealthy person’s home,” Siebold wrote, “and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful.
Some of the richest people who are known to be voracious readers include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Reading is not only a relaxing activity; it opens your mind to different ideas and give you a sense of curiosity that might lead to innovative wealth-building ideas. As Bill Gates says “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently. Reading fuels a sense of curiosity about the world, which I think helped drive me forward in my career.”
Allocate funds in your budget for buying books that will build your knowledge and skills. Material investments are destructible, but what you put in your mind is yours forever.
Invest in health and wellness
As a popular adage says, your health is your wealth. It starts with simple daily habits such as getting adequate sleep, eating right, taking enough water, managing stress levels and exercising regularly.
Not only will these habits ensure that you’re in great shape to work on your goals, they are all preventative measures that will save you spending on big medical bills or dying prematurely.
In addition to adopting healthy habits, take a comprehensive medical cover. Health insurance might seem expensive, but it will save you in case of huge medical bills.
It also means that you will get prompt and high-quality healthcare whenever you need it, meaning a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life.
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