I have been writing a lot about investing in appreciating assets on this blog. While it’s great to invest in appreciating assets, discuss investment strategies, and develop financial independence retire early (FIRE) projections and plans, I think there’s one very important thing that all of us need to focus on.
Invest in yourself.
Why should you invest in yourself? Well, despite what all the financial gurus may tell you, the best investment you can make is in yourself. Furthermore, if you’re suffering from mental or physical ailments constantly, no matter how much money you have, it won’t really matter to you.
When you invest in appreciating assets like stocks, ETFs, or real estate, they can all go through a period of volatility and uncertainty. You don’t get that kind of volatility and uncertainty when you invest in yourself – the beauty here is that the return is absolutely guaranteed!
So how can you invest in yourself right now? What are 5 simple ways you can invest in yourself to avoid volatility and uncertainty and get guaranteed returns?
1. Take care of your physical health
We only have one body in this life and it always blows my mind when people don’t take care of their bodies. It is our key responsibility to take care of our bodies and not neglect our health. If you’re unable to move around and do various activities, it won’t matter how much money you have.
Some ways to take care of your physical health:
- Spend money on healthy nutritional food. Quite often when one starts their FIRE journey, they immediately look at their grocery spending and try to cut it down to the absolute minimum. But eating ramen noodles and cheap processed food every day will be detrimental to your body. Therefore, it’s OK to spend money on healthy nutritional food that will fuel your body and help you to optimize your health.
- Stay active. Don’t sit on your butt all day. It’s OK to spend money on a gym membership or other equipment to help move your body. It can be as simple as buying a soccer ball so you can kick it around on the field. For me, it was spending about $150 on a couple of kettlebells during the global pandemic to allow me to work out from my garage regularly. This has helped me to stay active despite being locked up at home.
- Drink a lot of water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. Our heart is composed of 73% water, our lungs are about 83% water, and our muscles and kidneys are about 79% water. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Just as important is to not fill your body with high calorie sugary drinks.
- Get enough sleep. It is important to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night in order to allow our body to recover. It is scientifically proven that lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of diabetes and heart disease. Lack of sleep can also cause weight gain.
My key point here is that we need to feel at our best physically to enjoy life. Spending money on yourself to make sure you are in good shape physically is well worth it.
2. Take care of your mental health
Over the last number of years, there has been more attention on the importance of mental health. Years ago, the norm was to put on a facade and hide any emotional or mental stuff away from people. But bottling up all your emotions inside is not good. Keeping everything inside often means that you will end up with a big emotional eruption later on, which is extremely unhealthy.
Therefore, it’s important to take care of your mental health and spend time working through the mental and emotional issues you may have.
Some ways to take care of your mental health:
- Use a professional. Talk to a professional. It can be a physiologist, a clinical counsellor, or a psychologist. A specialist is trained to help people to work through their emotional and mental issues. I certainly have seen a few professionals to get some help with my mental health. To be able to talk and share your thoughts with a neutral independent professional can often be quite liberating.
- Talk to friends and family. Rather than bottling up all your emotions and thoughts, talk to friends and family members and release those tensions.
- Meditate. Learn to find inner peace and calm yourself mentally through regular meditation.
Just like my previous point, it is worth it to spend money to improve your mental health.
3. Read books – fiction & nonfiction
There are a lot of benefits with reading books, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded by screens – phones, computers, TVs, etc. Reading books is a way to improve your concentration and your ability to focus. Not to mention reading books also helps you to improve your literacy and general knowledge as well as allowing you to experience realities outside of your life.
For me, it’s not just about reading fictional or nonfictional books, it comes down to investing my time. Quite often I pick up a book because I like the author or the brief summary on the back of the book. In reality, I have no idea whether this book is good or not. I won’t find out until I start reading the book. Although I usually finish books I start, there have been numerous times I stopped reading a book because it was not something I was looking for.
So in many ways, reading books allows me to learn more about myself and understand what topics I like and dislike.
4. Improve your skills or learn new skills
If we’re not busy learning, we’re busy dying… this is something I truly believe in. Improving existing skills or learning new skills is one of the best ways to improve your life. Furthermore, improving existing skills or learning new skills can often increase your earning potential.
Here are some skills worth learning and investing your time in:
- Public speaking
- Video creation & editing
- New language
- Web development
There are so many excellent free tutorials and classes available on the internet to improve or learn new skills. If you want to advance further, you can also invest in paid classes or courses. It usually makes sense to invest money to attend more advanced classes or courses to improve and develop your skills.
5. See the world by travelling to new places
I’m a true believer that there is a lot of knowledge you can learn from travelling. Reading about WWI and WWII in books is one thing but it’s another to physically walk through the WWI trenches and experience the WWII concentration camps. Wondering about the best way to learn geography? Travelling is your answer.
Let’s not forget all the new experiences and knowledge you can gain from visiting a brand new destination. Looking for some inspiration? Look no further than travelling.
For me, travelling all over Europe in my 20s was an eye opening experience for me; spending some time in a small town in Utah and being the only non-White person in town was an interesting experience on discrimination; getting lost in Japan and having to find my way in a foreign country was also a valuable experience.
Travelling puts you in an unfamiliar spot and in some uncomfortable situations. That’s when you learn more about yourself and learn how to deal with these challenging situations. Therefore, I truly believe that one of the best ways to invest in yourself is to travel around the world, meet different people, learn about different cultures, and obtain new perspectives.
Summary – Why you should invest in yourself
It’s important to invest in appreciating assets on the FIRE journey but it is just as important, if not more important to invest in yourself. When you invest in yourself, you get a guaranteed return and the investment will compound over time.
It is worth spending money on yourself for self-investments because these investments will pay off in the future.