Investing in yourself is the most profitable investment you can ever make. It yields not only future returns, but a current pay-off as well. The sure way to achieve a better quality of life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority in personal growth. The effort you put into bettering yourself plays a large role in determining the quality of your life today and tomorrow. You are your number one asset, before anything else.
So, how do you invest in yourself?
1. Wealth plan
You would not want to wander aimlessly without a proper strategy planned out for your finances. If you want to have a shot at living a prosperous life, you must first have a plan. Creating a plan will help you start thinking about your money or lack of it and set your mind into working towards the financial issues you have.
You can kick-start this by implementing a 3-year or 5-year action plan, outlining your financial objectives. Make sure it is clear, specific and flexible enough to change if unexpected circumstances come up. Review your plan every three to six months and plan something to do every day that will get you closer to realising your financial goals. Here’s an example if you want to buy your first house in three years:
If you stick to your 3-year plan with an iron will, you stand a chance of earning RM50,273 in total! However, if you don’t make a plan at all, you will likely come to the end of 3 years with no savings in sight.
Another powerful way to invest in yourself is by educating yourself by acquiring a higher paper qualification or by picking up useful information that will propel you forward in life.
You have to be willing to invest in your self-advancement. The higher paper qualification you have, the more you can earn. For example, a tutor who holds a bachelor’s degree earns an average of over RM4,000 monthly while a lecturer with a master’s degree will likely earn over RM7,000 monthly.
Other than that, you can invest in educating yourself via:
Investing in books and magazines allows you to tap into a reservoir of new ideas and solutions for life’s problems. Information changes every season and you need to ensure you keep abreast.
Participate in conferences or workshops relevant to your passion or to learn something new completely. Attending such conferences or workshops opens great opportunities of learning, exchanging of ideas and networking. A conference or workshop can costs between RM700 to RM1,500 or more, but the take-away value from a professional conference that is rich in knowledge is priceless and will pave way for better career.
Professional organisations, companies, or icons enjoy teaching others via web seminars, also known as webinars. If you want to delve into property investment, it pays to watch a few “real estate webinars” conducted by individuals or organisations just to get a feel of what it is all about.
You can take that information and expand on what you need from there. However, be specific with the information you are looking for. For example, if you are thinking of investing only in condominiums, you can start reading up on the topic, take to accredited real estate agents and start tracking as well as comparing property prices online.
The same applies for everything else you want to know.
d. Local community/group/forum
Instead of using sites like Facebook or LinkedIn only to see what your old high school friends are up to, use it to join groups. Find a like-minded community group that share the similar interest to yours, such as property investment, start-ups or businesses. Most members share common values and can link you to other connections. They could even help you get started on a business of your interest.
In the last few years, we can see that it has become more important for job seekers to have the appropriate education, training, and skills to get ahead in the job market — either for new job or promotions. The competition is growing tougher by year and to be able to stand out of the crowd is becoming more crucial.
It is important to invest in the professional development of your career. You will definitely see returns by investing in yourself to become better in your field. You should look at skills that will help you achieve the next two-step (at least) in your career. Spend time evaluating your career from where you are and where you want to go. You can invest in your career by:
Take advantage of the different in-house training opportunities that your employers offer. If not, outsource for HDRF-claimable training opportunities in professional organisations and tertiary institutions.
Find professional certification programme that are relevant at your local institutions. Certifications are generally less time-consuming and less expensive than degree programmes. Or you can sit for professional exams and earn yourself a better qualification.
Develop a LinkedIn profile or create a professional website or blog that helps showcase your accomplishments, skills, and abilities — and push your career forward. Branding yourself also includes perspective management, like dressing according to situation and position. Next time you see that pair of shoes that you think may make you look the part for a sales pitch, go for it! Only if you are sure of the return of investment, of course!
Focus on regularly maintaining and building professional network within your company, and industry. Building valuable network will provide many benefits for you professionally. You may discover a mentor in your field who can offer advice and guidance in your career growth and direction – even sometimes directing you to a promotion or a new job opportunity.
e. New language
By acquiring a new language, you open up opportunities to work overseas or even consider a career change, such as translator for delegates.
If you yourself do not invest in your health and well-being, no one will or in fact can. Join a local gym or your neighbourhood yoga or tai chi community. If you look harder, you can always find a cheaper or free one somewhere. Not only will you be investing in your health, you will have plenty of opportunity to meet other people who may be into similar things as you. Investing in your health can go a long way, especially with the rising cost of healthcare. Only if you are healthy can you invest in anything else.
Investing in things like health insurance means you pay a little regularly to avoid being hit by a monstrous bill if you really do get sick.
The more you invest in yourself – the greater the dividends for now and the future. By investing in yourself – your biggest asset, you also boost your self-confidence, have the extra edge in your field, and a better control of your future, branding and career.
This article was first published on December 11, 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.