5 Best Ways to Invest in Yourself

There has never been a better time to invest in yourself than right now. I say that with absolute certainty because it is always a great time to invest in yourself. And since life isn’t a dress rehearsal, I say it’s always smart to expand your horizons. You never know what you might discover.

But having said that, it’s also true that you have to be clever about how you invest your time and money. You don’t want to squander precious time and treasure needlessly. Here are the 5 best ways to invest in yourself in order to get the most bang for the smallest amount of bucks possible.

1. Interview Successful People

No, I’m not asking you to get thick glasses and try to be a Geraldo Rivera wannbe. But I do suggest that you tap in to the talent and knowledge pool you have all around you. Talk to the people who have what you want and ask them to share their secrets with you. This won’t cost much and it’s an invaluable resource. And don’t worry, people love talking about themselves to others. You’ll get plenty of takers.

Make a list of your most successful friends, family and acquaintances and ask them if they would agree to have lunch with you. During lunch, try to get inside their heads by asking questions such as:

  • What was the single most important thing you did to become successful?
  • What mistakes do you wish you would have aided?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting out right now?
  • What would you do differently if you were starting over?

One question will lead to another. Let it flow. Try to really understand the foundation of the success the people you interview built their lives on. Look for common traits and decisions among the successful group of people.

At the end of the meeting explain that you really want to be successful and want to talk to as many successful people as you can. Ask the person you’ve just interviewed for names of other people she thinks you should talk to.

2. Side Business

There is no better way to learn about success than putting your own money on the line. And the smartest way to do that is to start a small business. It doesn’t matter so much what the business is. It matters that you go for it.

Don’t be intimidated. You’ll learn as you go. Start very small. It’s far better to risk your time than your money – or the money of your friends and family. If you simply must invest money, don’t lean on your credit cards. If you have limited resources and are convinced the business is strong, consider using a company like Lending Club rather than more expensive sources.

But remember, there are plenty of great small business ideas you can find by simply looking around and some of the very best won’t cost you a cent to launch.

3. Read Right Not Wrong

There are plenty of great resources on the web. A site like Canadian Finance Blog is a perfect example. And if you are looking for a great book on success, read every Dale Carnegie book you can find. But don’t overload yourself. You only need a handful of ideas but you need to stick to them. Don’t waste your time reading every book on success you can find. Success is about action. Go out and do it.

4. Start Investing Now

No matter how much money you have, you can start investing right now. Don’t think you have to have it all figured out. I have been investing for over 30 years and I’m still learning. Don’t put too much money on the line when you are unsure of what your are doing. If you are just starting out, take advantage of websites like Betterment. This site is perfect for beginners. For a very small fee, they educate you on how to invest and they actually do the investing for you once you get set up. The sweet part is that they do this for you without any transaction fees. Me Likey.

5. Low Salary

Many people think the they must get the highest paying gig they can find but it’s not true. During your career, you’ll find that it might make sense to take a low paying job if the experience and exposure warrant it. When I graduated from college I took the highest paying job I could find and it was a huge mistake. Within 8 months I quit because I just couldn’t stand it. I would have been far better off had I simply considered the best career move rather than focusing on getting the fattest pay check.

Author Bio: Neal Frankle is a Certified Financial Planner and owner of Wealth Pilgrim, one of my favourite personal finance blogs. His most recent post was his Prosper Review.

Written by Guest

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8 Responses to 5 Best Ways to Invest in Yourself

  1. Daisy says:

    I feel like I’m investing in myself as an intern. I’m a paid intern, but I don’t make the highest salary. I’m investing in my future by giving myself job experience.

    I think it’s also important to invest in yourself in ways that don’t lend themselves to money – go on vacation every once in awhile, etc.

  2. Mark D. Cook says:

    A great way to invest in yourself is giving to others. It will eventually come back to you. Good karma is the best investment!

  3. Ella says:

    I so agree with #3, there are tons of advice out there but one need to stop collecting them and start applying them!

  4. Nice points. I took on a low salary when I started working. But there was nothing preventing me from continuing to look for better opportunities, and I was getting paid in the mean time.

  5. Joe says:

    Don’t take unpaid internships; it’s called scabbing. If they won’t pay for your knowledge and skills now, yet they trust you to do the job, will they pay for your knowledge and skills in six months when they’re marginally honed and another fresh-faced grad is willing to step in and take your place for $0? Paid (i.e. actually legal) internships are a fantastic opportunity. The difference between a minimum wage internship where you’ll gain skills in your field of choice and an $18/hour job on the line at Honda should be a no-brainer for university students during the summer. There’s a reason that Honda needs to pay a premium.

    Also, the Lending Club average default rate is 3%. The return on their “junk loans”, e.g. a grade of C, is only 9%. So if the default for junk loans is higher (let’s imagine 5%) and your return is 9%, that seems like a pretty unattractive risk premium (keeping in mind that LendingClub gets to take its risk-free cut from your money).

  6. Great article! I definitely agree that talking with successful people is a great way to learn. That’s one of the reasons I’m so interested in Score.org. I think it’s awesome that successful business owners are willing to take the time to help others learn how to be successful as well. That way, when you do start a side business or start investing, you’ll know what you’re doing!
    Thanks,
    Timothy

  7. Greetings!
    My husband and I have always believed that the best investment is in ourselves, because we have control over it! That’s why we started our websites, and now my new Etsy business. At least we know that we’ll get a return as long as we work for it!
    Humbly Yours,
    The Mayor

  8. I think it is a good way to learn your way into business when you are still working full time. You can learn about how a business run while no need to worry about your financial income. Starting business is not easy and it is easy to loss money. However, we should not focus on money when we start. We enjoy the process and what we experience and learn. I started many small business on the side and all of them failed. However, I learnt a lot. My girlfriend never understand why I started so many business and none of them excel. But I know what I am doing. If you don’t fail, you will never really learn. Get more failure while you still can.

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