I’ve had several people recently ask me what I invest in.
They expect me to say something about a portfolio of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds or let them in on some kind of financial secret. However, I’m no financial advisor and only recently made my first “investment” ever.
Therefore, the answer I tell them is much different.
I prefer to invest my resources where I know I have complete control over them–somewhere that will give me the greatest returns with the least risk.
So when people ask me this question, I simply reply: “I invest in myself… and I suggest you do the same.”
Why Invest in Yourself?
This topic brings up a recent conversation I had with a friend and mentor Trent Fresina. I called Trent a couple months back, asking to hear how he reached the place he is today.
At only 28 years old, Trent has already bought and sold several bars, is involved in large real estate investments, has a construction company Leblanc and Fresina Builders, and is part-owner in multiple restaurants, namely Your Mom’s Restaurant and Bar in Baton Rouge and Hammond, Louisiana.
His success is far ahead of most of his peers.
As we talked, I noticed a trend in his story. Trent seemed to take some pretty significant risks with his money. When I mentioned it, he made an excellent point.
Trent said, “JM, I do take some significant risks, but they are all just investments in myself. I don’t like putting my money where someone else is in control of it. If I invest in someone else’s business or venture, my money is at their will. But if I invest in something that I have a direct hand in, I know I’ll do everything it takes to make that investment a win.”
This point really stayed with me.
If you have the right work ethic, investing in yourself is never a loss. By investing in yourself, you’re saying that your potential is worth the time, money, and energy it takes to let it grow.
If you aren’t investing in yourself, it’s time to start.
And if you are, it’s time to double down.
How To Invest In Yourself
While some of us may not be able to invest in business opportunities like Trent yet, we can all still invest in ourselves.
Here are the top five investments I would suggest to anyone in their teens or early twenties.
1. Invest in more time.
The very first place to start, in my opinion, is to give yourself more time in the day.
You can do this simply by waking up earlier. The best part is, you don’t need to wake up at 5am every morning to get more time.
All you need to do is wake up 1 hour earlier each day. The difference between 8am and 7am doesn’t sound that bad, right? But check this out:
This means that by getting up 1 hour earlier for a year, you have given yourself 6.5 extra work weeks to improve yourself!
If you invest this time into your craft or the other suggestions below, you’ll be worlds ahead of others.
2. Invest in books.
It may sound cliche to say “read,” but it’s so true.
Firstly, people always talk about “finding a mentor.” But if you have no idea what you’re trying to improve in yourself or what you want to do, it’s nearly impossible to find a mentor.
It’s very easy, however, to go through a couple books and see what interests you.
Books are the inner thoughts and lessons from some of the most experienced and intellectual people ever. Why wouldn’t you utilize that?!
Ten dollars invested in a good book is always a good investment.
3. Invest in your fitness.
Fitness was the very first place I started with self improvement.
In high school, I barely weighed 100 lbs and felt weak and vulnerable, especially at an all-guy school. The casual rough-housing of others would knock me down and actually hurt. Whereas the bigger guys thought they were just playing around, my lack of confidence made me take it personally.
Because of this, I made up my mind the summer after Freshman year that I would become one of the strongest guys in school. I started working out with my own bodyweight and immersed myself in learning how to gain muscle. By senior year, I had the pound-for-pound record for bench and a newfound sense of confidence. I knew I wanted to continue challenging and improving myself.
I can’t express enough how important fitness should be to you.
ACTION STEP: Start with pushups. Do 20 pushups 3 times a week. That’s it. Start there. If you can’t get 20, do as many as you can. Then take a break, do a couple more, and continue ‘til 20. After a couple weeks, bump it up. Over time, you will naturally begin adding more reps and exercises but START here! If you are more advanced than this, check out this list.
4. Invest in you interests.
Everyone talks about “finding your passion.” But if you don’t know what it is, what the heck do you do?
Simple. Start following your interests.
When you find something that peaks your interest, follow that feeling. Grab a book or go online to research the topic. Allow yourself to explore new things that grab you. This will lead to more knowledge than I can express.
ACTION STEP: Go online this week and dig into one topic that interests you. Use Google, YouTube, or even Quora!
5. Invest in your long-term thinking.
Ask a hundred people what their current goals are and watch their baffled looks.
We are so immersed in technology today that too few people spend time thinking about who they are and who they want to become.
If you just put one hour to thinking about this per week, you’ll be ahead of most people.
ACTION STEP: Start with a blank sheet of paper and write at the top “I want to…” and then let your brain flow. Write everything that comes to mind with no filter. Ask yourself who you want to BECOME, what you want to DO, where you want to EXPLORE, and what you want to CREATE. This exercise is extremely freeing and more important than you can even realize.
A Time and Place
Eventually, we should invest our money into some form of the stock market to build long-term wealth. Just keep in mind that you should be investing in yourself before you invest in others.
If you feel that this kind of investment is your best move at this point in life, contact a trusted financial advisor.
The sooner you begin investing in yourself, the better off you’ll be.
Remember the words of Earl Nightingale, “It takes longer to build a skyscraper than a chicken coop.”
Start with one of these options and begin laying your bricks!