Do you invest in yourself?
In today’s post, I want to discuss a topic that I wondered about for quite some time. Ever since being a young and eager kid, I was always looking for an advantage. I wanted to figure out how things worked so I could become efficient and create wealth. Along this path of exploration, I read hundreds of books and articles on successful individuals and how they achieved their wealth.
What caught me early on, was the common mantra of “invest in yourself” mentality.
I have to admit though, I was a skeptic at first. I wanted to know if there was a tangible R.O.I.? Or, was it all a sham?
Here’s what I found over time and through my own exploration. I’d love to hear what you’ve found for yourself also, so please share in the comments below.
Invest in Yourself – What Does it Mean?
How do you actually invest in yourself?
My thought here is spending a concentrated amount of time, effort, or money on yourself to improve a specific skill set or mindset.
There are a few different ways of investing in yourself, specifically with education.
Education could mean a number of different things. It could be as simple as reading a book, taking an online course, attending a seminar, going to college, or hiring a coach.
I’m a huge fan of reading. Books contain first-hand knowledge from some of the brightest individuals who have walked this earth. Getting access to books is easy, and relatively cheap. So, the knowledge you can get from books can definitely lead to a sizable ROI for those willing to act. It’s what inspired me to write my own book – The F.I.R.E. Planner.
With technology, ebooks are readily available on nearly any subject. And even if you don’t like to physically read, there are plenty of audiobooks or abridged versions of books available from apps like Blinkist.
But what about more formal types of education, like college?
It’s not uncommon for students to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go to college and earn a degree. But is this money well spent?
There are a couple of scenarios that are possible.
Let’s take an advanced field of study, like specialized medicine. Does that money spent actually turn into more money because of it? If not, it’s not really an investment, right?
In this example, a specialized physician will indeed get a nice return on investment as these doctors are amongst some of the highest-paid individuals anywhere.
But what if you’re on the other side of the spectrum? Isn’t it possible to spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a degree that doesn’t give you the expected ROI you anticipated?
Sadly, this happens all of the time.
In fact, the amount of student debt that is created during the early years of college can follow you around for decades. And the interest that you pay over the life of the loans can be staggering. So, it’s really up to you to do your homework in advance to understand the cost/benefit analysis first.
There is no shortage of online courses you can take on virtually any subject you’d like. But, can it provide an ROI?
Depending on the online course, I’d say that the cost factor is relatively low compared to traditional education.
You can learn a specific money-making strategy like creating websites, managing IT, building an online business, real estate investing, and even NFTs!
Likewise, the time commitment is likely easier as you can study at your own pace.
Attending live seminars can provide specialized education similar to online courses. However, being in person can have the added benefit of creating real-life connections. Of course, these types of events have all but vanished during COVID-19, but they will come back at some point.
Having said that, I’ve attended some phenomenal in-person seminars in both business and personal development, and I would say without a shadow of a doubt it had a positive ROI.
Seminars are typically more expensive than online coursework, but still cheaper in many cases than traditional education.
An accelerated path to learning could come from getting personalized attention from a coach. This could be as an individual, or in a group setting. Either way, you’re paying someone to help you achieve a specific goal faster.
As a personal finance coach myself, I will say that I’m a bit partial here. But, what I hear from my clients is that coaching is an incredibly valuable catalyst to move things along.
Likewise, I’ve used business coaches and personal coaches throughout my career and it’s helped me to perform better and more effectively. This had direct results to the bottom line, so I know for myself at least this had a strong ROI even though I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars in this area.
Do What Works for You
When comes down to it, you know yourself best. And, if you’re unsure, there’s no harm in experimenting. Don’t discount an investment strategy before you’ve tried it (unless it’s an exorbitant amount of $$!).
Use what works for you, and discard the rest! That’s the quickest way to invest in yourself and to get back a great ROI.
After decades of experimenting personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that your ability to invest in yourself is a key factor of success.
On a related note, I also feel like paying a decent amount of money for something helps to keep you committed to that experience or goal.
It ensures that you have “skin in the game”. Otherwise, shouldn’t everyone be rich? I’ll bet you’ve signed up for free courses before, right? Did you finish them?
Readers, how about you? I’m sure everyone has different experiences. Anyone feel differently?
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- Finding FI Interview #43: Invest in what you understand with Alexander Kelm - October 31, 2022