It’s easy to get so caught up in financial investments like real estate, stocks, mutual funds, and cryptocurrency that you forget about the most important investment you can possibly make: yourself. But for every hour or dollar you invest in yourself, you’re going to enjoy positive returns in perpetuity.
The Importance of Investing in Yourself
We all make investments of time and money on a daily basis. If you choose to binge-watch eight hours of a Netflix show on Saturday, that’s an investment of your time. If you choose to buy a brand new Ford F-150, that’s an investment of your money. Big or small, we’re all making constant investments. But most of the time, these investments are in things outside of ourselves.
While 401(k)s, houses, and businesses can all be worthwhile financial investments, some of the most impactful investments are the ones we make in ourselves. This includes things like:
While some people are certainly born with a high proclivity for intelligence, it always requires work. And if you want to be proficient in a particular subject matter, topic, or niche, you have to make regular investments in your knowledge. This requires you to put yourself in close proximity to the subject at hand.
Knowledge is definitely a key component in most equations, but it’s largely theoretical. You’ll also need to make an investment in the skills required to excel in a particular industry, niche, or area of life.
People don’t typically view their relationships with others as investments, but that’s exactly what they are. And the more you invest in your network, the more opportunities you’ll have in your life and career.
It’s impossible to live up to your fullest potential if you aren’t accounting for your physical health and mental/emotional well-being. Those who do take time to invest in their health reap the rewards.
Making an investment in yourself can be intimidating. It can feel time-consuming and expensive. You might even wonder if you’re making the right decisions. But it’s through these investments that you discover true wealth – i.e. the ability to enjoy choices and freedom.
“Investing in your personal and professional growth will not only yield future returns, it also presents you with ‘right now’ benefits,” entrepreneur Alison Gallagher writes. “The time, effort, and money you invest into yourself will have a direct impact on the quality of life you experience now and well into the future.”
As with any investment, a long-term perspective is needed in order to generate a meaningful return. By putting your time, money, and energy into the right places, you can expect to see a healthy ROI.
4 Low-Cost Investments You Can Make
Whether you’re looking to improve your knowledge, skills, network, or health, there are plenty of different ways to invest in yourself. Here are a few of our favorite approaches:
It’s easier than ever to acquire a skill or expand your knowledge thanks to the explosion of online courses and e-learning platforms on the internet. You can learn almost anything you want with an online course from the comfort of your very own home or office. And in many cases, these courses are free or inexpensive.
Top online course platforms include Coursera and Udemy. In terms of free content, this resource from Open Culture includes a list of 1,700 free online courses from top universities (including Harvard, Yale, and other prestigious institutions).
Continuing education often gets a bad rap as something that you have to do in order to maintain your status or standing in your career. However, it’s actually one of the most important investments you can make in yourself.
And with so many convenient options available online, you can choose the ones that fit your specific needs, personality, and budget. Take the field of respiratory therapy (RT) as an example. It used to be that RTs had to choose from a limited number of classroom-based courses each year.
Today, they can log on to a platform like Last Minute CEU’s and choose from dozens of low-cost, flexible course options that come in a variety of formats (including live seminars and online courses).
Networking and Partnerships
As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know. It doesn’t matter if you’re a garbage truck driver in Indianapolis or a stock trader in Manhattan – your network is everything. (And from an investment perspective, you have to treat it as such.)
Networking should be part of the natural ebb and flow of your life. It’s not just something you do when you attend a formal networking event once per year as part of a work-related conference. It’s something you do on a daily basis.
Whether you’re dropping the kids off at school, attending church on Sunday, working out at the gym, or grabbing a couple of beers on Saturday night, you should always be thinking about ways to expand your network and forge partnerships (whether official or unofficial).
Think about all of the “dead time” you have during the day. Whether it’s commuting into the office, waiting in the carpool line, cooking dinner, or mowing the lawn, there are hours of time each week that you can utilize for learning. And the best way to do this is by listening to podcasts.
Whether you’re running on the treadmill or driving to work, you can always have a podcast on in the background. This gives you an opportunity to leverage every moment as a learning moment.
Give Yourself an Advantage
Truth be told, most people stop investing in themselves after they finish high school or college. They establish a comfortable routine and settle for the status quo. And decades go by before they come to the realization that they’re only living a reflection of the life they want.
If you want to live out your dreams and enjoy a life that’s comfortable yet exciting, it starts with making an investment in yourself. Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of ammunition to use as you invest in your knowledge, skills, network, and health. It won’t always be easy, but it will be rewarding.