How to Invest in Yourself and Make it Pay Off
Money Isn't Everything
Maybe you don't have any money to invest right now, but there are still opportunities you can buy into which will continue to grow in value. Some will make your life better now and give you a sense of security. Others will pay off with time.
Invest your time, dedication, effort, patience, attention and your curiosity. Even when the economy seems stable or improving, people may not be willing to invest in pieces of paper that promise dividends in dollars and cents. If you invest in yourself, adding to your knowledge and your skills. The payback can be substantial.
Invest For Growth
A retired couple planted some rather spindly fruit trees ten years ago, she doubted that they would ever see much fruit. If they did, it could take a good long time.
It's a bit surprising how fast ten years can pass. There were plums to make into jam last year. This season she made applesauce, and they have enjoyed some delicious pears and cherries.
One thing is sure-- the trees will be there longer than they are. Someone else will find them even more productive and useful. It is an investment in their own future and it will be a gift for future generations.
Invest in Your Health
All of us know what we should and shouldn't be doing to stay healthy. The information is everywhere.
Cutting down on the harmful habits, improving your nutrition, reducing stress, getting more exercise and rest-- all of these will pay long range dividends in improved health and a better quality of life. If you are healthier, you will also have fewer medical bills.
Start by making a list of things you could personally do for better health. If you are honest, your list may seem intimidating all at once, but most people can make one or two improvements right away. Start with one easy step. It will be a step in the right direction and the beginning of a worthwhile journey.
Invest in knowledge and skills:
Make yourself an expert in a basic or practical area, by learning something that people might need in tough times.
Learn about solar power, shoe repair, plumbing, cheese making, first aid, beekeeping, soap making, knitting, sewing, carpentry, canning, upholstering or any number of practical skills that have gone out of fashion.
Do you have a skill or knowledge that might be bartered, taught or shared? If not, maybe it's time to learn something new. It can give you a special sense of satisfaction. Can you find a community college course in cabinetry or welding? Can you take an online course in bookkeeping, accounting or tax form preparation? Can you do your own research on learning something that might be a money-making hobby or be helpful for yourself or others?
Can you check out or buy a couple of books to learn some new skills? It might tun into a way of trading services for things you need. You might learn a little more about first aid, archery, bike repair or just make yourself an expert on something you already know a little about.
Invest Your Time
If you volunteer your time with a group that helps others or supports your community, you will meet new people, make contacts, learn new things, open doors in your mind and perhaps even give yourself new insight and empathy.
You might think volunteering your time has no obvious return, but your neighborhood will be more connected caring and productive. You will have more people to share with.
Invest in Relationships
Your relationships to family and friends can be worth a lot, especially when you need help. We are social creatures who like to help each other out, and all of us need a hand sometimes. Building good will is practical and good for the soul. Keep the channels of give-and-take open.
Invest in Your Past
Find the stories, photos, letters and maps that tell your family history. Write your memories, put them into books or online. They will inspire your grandchildren when they face their own life challenges.
Don't let the knowledge and experience of older generations disappear. Every generation faces big and small problems. Tell the family stories of survival and everyday living. Preserve the positive values of the past.
Invest in Creativity:
Can you play a musical instrument? Maybe you can learn. Can you tell a good story or organize a game? How about entering something made by your hands in the county fair?
Can you teach someone how to draw or sculpt? Do you know how to make handmade items from yarn or cloth? Develop your natural talents and you will find a use for them that will inspire others and make them happier.
Invest in Your Spirit
Studies have shown that people with a spiritual philosophy or practice are often healthier and less stressed. Just spending some quiet time in focused relaxation, contemplation, meditation or prayer can pay surprising dividends. Look into the wisdom that has been written down and revered for generations. Dust off your Bible.
How Can You Make Things Better?
If You DO Have Some Money
If you have some real cash to invest, some might be put into a piece of land that can support a garden. Perhaps a house or a workshop equipped with some alternative energy sources might make you more secure and inspire your creativity.
You might also consider buying quality tools that will last a long time and can help repair or produce something of value.
All material things are at risk. Fire, flood, storm, rust and rot may destroy them, but the intangible ones aren't as easily stolen, lost, or demolished.
In times of economic insecurity, when some are losing faith in monetary systems and financial investments, maybe it's time to take a closer look at investing in things that are useful and keep their worth.
Some may be material, but your knowledge, your personal values, and what you can teach, or produce with your own brain and hands will be something valuable that you can use now, and pass along later.
How are you investing in yourself?
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