11 Places to Invest (Oneself) in 2020Written by Gavin Humphreys
We’ve all been given advice to invest at some time.
Don’t spend it all - you will need some for a rainy day.
If you are wise, you will grow yourself a nice nest egg.
Look after the pennies, and the dollars will look after themselves!
We put a lot of thought into money - we should put the same amount of thought into how we invest ourselves.
We have limited time on this planet, and it’s all too easy to waste.
What are the basics of investing?
Unfortunately, we have yet to find a way to save time to use in the future. When we have time to spare, most of us are very good at wasting it.
It’s time to invest. Invest wisely and you will be able to withdraw great benefits in the future.
When you invest yourself in something, you are investing your thoughts, your experience, your effort, and your precious time on this earth.
You want to make conscious decisions and be aware of the goal. As some financial advisor once said, An investor without investment objectives is like a traveler without a destination.
You have to ask yourself the same questions as if it were money:
- Am I investing long-term or short-term?
- Do I want a high-risk investment, with potential big returns (or losses), or do I want a low-risk investment?
- Do I want a diverse portfolio of investments, or do I want to invest in one or two sturdy things?
- Am I investing just for a little fun, or do I want to invest a lot and devote myself to this?
Then there are the types of investment. You can invest money in stocks and shares, retirement funds, real estate, savings accounts, bonds, commodities, gold, fine wines... All these come with advantages and disadvantages, and you want to choose the correct investment for you.
Equally, there are a variety of places you can invest yourself - each with pluses and minuses.
The returns and dividends for investing your life are much more difficult to measure - and many of us put different values on each of the rewards.
And the returns can be as diverse as career prospects, happiness, or increased wisdom.
For this reason, this is an investment plan that only you can put together.
Here are eleven ideas to get you started on where to invest yourself in 2020 and beyond.
Where should I invest?
As with any opportunity, we must lay out the size of investment each requires, along with the expected returns at the end of the day. So let’s get to it.
Investing in knowledge
Taking up a language, starting an online course, reading books, whatever it may be - investing in knowledge has huge returns. The more you invest, the better your returns.
Your end goal might be learning a new skill that you can put to use in your work. Equally, it could just be to keep your mind ticking over, getting some enjoyment, and making sure that your brain stays fit and healthy.
And push yourself. “In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.” - Robert Arnott
Friendships & family
Time invested in friends and family is never wasted. This is one of the great joys of life.
Caring for a sick or elderly relative, for example, is not only a beautiful thing to do but will create memories that you cherish.
Try to be with people, in the moment, rather than thinking about what you are doing next. Listening with compassion and enjoying each instant is the secret to getting the most from this investment.
It is also time that can reap dividends. If you keep in good relations with friends and family, and help them when they need, they will be there for you when you need a favor in return.
Holidays, bungee jumps, taking part in a play. Experiences are very often the things that bring us greatest joy - and live longest in our stories and our memories.
“It’s never too soon to start beefing up your obituary” - The Most Interesting Man in the World
They are also great ways to meet people - and just as in life as in business, it’s all about your network!
Many of us invest a lot of time in our job. That can be a good or a bad investment.
The important thing is to make sure that your job makes you happy, and that the time you are investing is worth it.
Make sure you have goals, and that you are learning, or advancing, or doing good.
Every time I look at my belly I am aware of growth in this investment.
Jokes aside, eating well and investing in a variety of organically produced food will help you live a longer, healthier life.
Spending time cooking will also result in a lot of enjoyment, and tastier meals. And eating well might also imply spending quality time with friends and family - double investment!
Spending 30 minutes or an hour a day doing exercise is not only a sound investment - it’s a no-brainer.
There is no point in spending all your time on other things if your health deteriorates and you are unable to fully cash in on the potential returns.
It would be like not having a bank account to transfer your dividends!
Yoga and martial arts are particularly clever investments of your time because they combine physical exercise with strengthening the mind. Which brings me onto...
It turns out that doing nothing can be profitable.
Meditation has been shown in studies to make you more productive in the long run.
“The desire to perform all the time is usually a barrier to performing over time.” – Robert Olstein
Meditation can take many forms - it could be tending to your Bonsai, praying to your god, or perhaps even listening to music.
Returns can be calculated in terms of increased concentration, better sleeping patterns, reduced stress, growth in compassion, and more control over your emotions.
Donating your time for others may not sound like a shrewd investment. You will find, however, that this is one way of investing yourself that will give great rewards.
It could be giving time to look after unwell children, planting trees in the park, or even coaching your kid’s football team.
You will see your earnings in wisdom and life-satisfaction grow.
“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” - Henry David Thoreau
Depending on whether a potted plant, a vegetable garden, or planting a mighty oak - plants can give instant returns, as well as potentially medium, and long-term investments.
We learn about life and death, get in touch with the earth and the knowledge of our ancestors, as well as keep our body and mind active.
On top of this, you may see returns in terms of tomato soup, beautiful flowers, a crispy salad, or cider from your orchard!
If it makes you happy, this is a fruitful option.
Picking up a musical instrument, going bird watching, painting a sunset, playing board games - all hobbies, or pastimes serve to get you active, whether in body or mind, which reaps benefits for the future.
Hobbies often also help to form and strengthen relationships.
If you find that your hobby is proving to be a rewarding investment, it is sometimes even possible to convert your hobby into a job or a business.
Writing your novel
They say we all have a novel in us. Perhaps it’s not a novel - it could be a memoir from a period of your life, or a piano concerto that you hum in your head.
Many of us dream of getting it down on paper but just never invest the time and effort. It ain’t gonna write itself once you’re gone - so you better get started.
This is a big investment, but creating something gives us back a feeling of achievement, it could earn us respect, or the biggest return might be giving joy to those who read it.
Still not sure where to invest?
If you still aren’t decided, talk to an investment specialist (it could be your dad, a sibling, the boss, your doctor, or a spiritual guru…).
Ask them about the things they have enjoyed in life, and what has made their lives greater. They may have some insight into what you are good at that you have never noticed.
Write down your goals and the options for investment in a journal to help you come to a considered decision. If you are that way inclined, you could even make a spreadsheet!
Additionally, a journal can help you keep a record. It allows you to look back and review how your investments have grown, and decide if you are on the right path.
The important thing is to invest wisely, and not let your currency slip away. If you don’t make the choice consciously, you might invest poorly.
With life, your investment power will only continue to diminish.
One final adage: You cannot save time for future use, but you can invest it for future you.
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