If you’re looking to carve a path to financial freedom, some experts encourage investing in the stock market, bonds, real estate or commodities. These options can certainly diversify your portfolio and potentially increase your net worth, but your investments shouldn’t stop here.
You are your most important asset, so it only makes sense to invest in yourself. How do you achieve this? Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think. Here’s a look at five ways to invest in yourself.
1. Get Back in the Classroom
After spending tens of thousands of dollars on a college degree, you may think you know everything about your field, and maybe you do. But if it’s been years since you stepped foot inside a classroom, you might not be up-to-date with the latest happenings in your industry, which can stifle your growth and keep you stuck in the same job.
To become more of an asset to your employer, you have to be proactive and take charge of your career. If a promotion or bigger office isn’t happening on its own, you may not have what it takes to get the job done. Sign up for a refresher course at a community college or take a workshop on your own dime. Adding new skills to your resume opens the door to better opportunities.
Additionally, you might invest in education related to improving your personal finances. You can read blogs or purchase books on the subject, or take classes and workshops on credit/debt management, investing, real estate, etc. Understanding your money makes you a savvier consumer and you’re able to make smarter choices with your money.
2. Give Yourself a Raise
Kudos if you’ve already taken steps to prepare for the future by opening a 401(k) or an individual retirement account. The earlier you start adding money to a retirement account, the easier it’ll be to maintain your lifestyle later in life. But don’t get stuck in a rut of contributing the bare minimum to your retirement accounts.
You might start off only contributing 2 percent or 3 percent of your income based on what you can afford. However, your contributions shouldn’t stay the same for the entire duration of your career. Rather, you should gradually increase your contributions as your income increases. Set a personal goal of giving yourself a raise each year and increase your contributions by at least 1 percent.
3. Have a Secondary Income Stream
If your full-time job only covers the bills and doesn’t leave much wiggle room in your budget, you need a secondary income source or what is also known as a side-gig or side-hustle. This doesn’t suggest seeking a part-time job. Instead, explore entrepreneurship and use your talents to increase your income.
Sure, starting your own business takes time and effort (and a desire), but you can potentially earn more than working part-time for an employer. An additional income stream can provide disposable income to help you get out of debt, or you can build an emergency fund and enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a backup plan in case of an emergency, such as a job loss.
I’ve written about side-gigs extensively in this post about multiple streams of income and this post about starting a side-gig if you’d like to read more. I also share my success story of how my side-gig helped me get to a six-figure IT career (with no formal IT training!).
4. Get an Accountability Partner
It doesn’t matter how many financial goals you set for yourself, if you’re not accountable to anyone, you might never cross the finish line. Whether you’re trying to shop less or pay off credit card debt, discuss your plans with a friend and ask this person to periodically check in with you and review your progress. Or you can build a relationship with a financial planner, a professional who can assist in many areas of your financial life. Being accountable to someone can make it easier to stay on track.
5. Live a Healthier Life
Making smarter health and lifestyle choices is another way to invest in yourself. Adequate rest, a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity improves your overall well-being. When you’re in a good place physically and mentally, you’ll have more energy and you’re motivated to work toward financial and career goals. Rest and exercise can boost your mood and outlook. As a result, it’ll be easier to deal with stress and cope with setbacks.
Investing in your own welfare is the secret to getting ahead–whether you’re looking to improve your personal life, health, money or career. Besides, if you don’t invest in yourself, who will?
How do you plan to invest in you & make yourself a priority?