Invest in yourself.
What does that really mean? Is it selfish? Is there an ETF of myself I can invest in? Yes, the phrase ‘invest in yourself’ can be a bit vague, so today we’re going to break down 5 actionable ways you can invest in yourself in your twenties.
In general, ‘invest in yourself’ means making a larger effort in your younger years in order to have a better quality life in the future. This would be investing in both your personal and professional growth, giving you a greater return of yourself in the future. Kind of like an ETF 😛.
We talk a lot about this on Financially Mint; how to invest in yourself early on so you have a career of best personal fit later on, and so you make your big bucks later on. I’m doing it myself, as I pursue and test different careers to figure out what I want to commit to. Here are 5 ways you can too:
1. Commit time to exploration
When we finish high school everyone expects us to know what we want in life. We’re expected to have passions, to know what degree to pursue in university and the exact path to take. But then we end up in university, doing a degree we don’t value that much that will cost us money, time and energy. 🤷♀️
So I say, instead of heading to university, take the time to explore. This doesn’t have to mean taking a gap year and travelling the world. It basically means exploring and investigating career paths and testing. Just like a scientist, you have different hypotheses of which career you’d like to follow. And so you need to test. This can be through student internships, through Life Design interviews or simply by doing a ton of research. And the great thing about exploration is that you can also be building your own career at the same time – by doing internships which will help you build specific skills, by interviewing people who will provide valuable connections and by producing content which will build your portfolio.
And maybe you find out that you do need to go to university to continue your career. And that’s great, because then you’ll know exactly what you need.
2. Focus on building skills, portfolio and connections instead of money
When we first enter the working world, we suddenly get in touch with much more money than what we were used to. And depending on your education and what kind of person you are you may be tempted to spend it or hoard it. If you discover the concept of financial independence you’ll be tempted to hoard as much as you can, so you can then retire early.
And I’m not saying that’s bad, I’m just saying that really it’s about balance. Think about it, you’ll reach the peak of your career in your 40s to 50s. To maximise this and earn more, you want to be building career capital (aka skills, portfolio and connections). If you focus just on making money when you’re young, you risk getting stuck in one field with the same specific skills.
Yes making money is important, and at FM we recommend saving and investing 15% for your retirement. But if you can use that money to build other skills or to ‘invest in yourself’ – then do that. The returns will be ten times bigger later on. 💸
3. Start with a financial education
Financial education is essential in order to know how to manage your money. By taking control of your money, you will have more head space to focus on what really matters: life.
So the sooner you start investing in a financial education, the more financially intelligent you’ll be in your adult years. With the money part in control, you won’t have to worry about ever ending up on the streets, losing all your money to fees or not having money for emergencies. Financially Mint’s homepage has an easy to follow guide to getting a financial education started.
The best part; by starting in your 20s you will take advantage of the huge power of compound interest. £100 per month invested starting at 25 will turn into £181,000 when you’re 60. Use that power.
Contrary to all the stuff you see on the media, investing is not complicated and it’s easy to understand. You start with a budget, then you learn how to save, then you learn how to make money and finally you learn how to invest. With that covered, you can focus on investing in yourself through your career and life.
4. Personal exploration and growth
Yes I realise this phrase is also pretty vague. But what I mean is that be open to grow your personal life in as many ways as possible. It’s essential to also grow in your career, but to maximise this even more you also need to learn about yourself.
To be able to invest more in yourself you’ll need to know what to invest in. You’ll need to understand who you are, what you like doing and what you’re best at. You could call this personal exploration.
It is a bit vague, and honestly it does depend on every person; every person needs different things to grow. Here are some ideas:
- Reading the right books
- Attending interesting conferences
- Travelling and working abroad
- Finding a mentor/career coach
- Doing Life Design interviews
- Listening to interesting podcasts
- Taking up new hobbies every now and then
- Doing exercise
Growing personally will allow you to grow financially and through your career. So do not ignore the wishy washy part of investing in yourself which is to ‘know thyself’.
5. Build meta skills
It’s always great to know that you’ll always be able to make money. This comes naturally to those who have been in their career for longer and who have the right contacts, but how can a young 20 something do this?
There are certain skills that you can build which won’t take too long that you can use when the going gets rough or when you need to diversify your skill set. Most of these can be done on a laptop i.e. working from home, and will be very useful in the future when tech will be an even more prominent part of our lives. Here are 6 examples of meta skills:
- Digital marketing
In my opinion, just by mastering 2 of those skills and learning how to pitch to clients, you can get a pretty good return. These are also skills that can be learnt through online courses and with practice. This investment in yourself can give you an immediate return when you’ll need it most, but also a return later on, when you may find yourself in need of these more practical skills. Never hurts to try.
When you understand the importance of investing in yourself early on and how it can pretty much change your future life, everything you do in current life changes. You realise the huge amount of power you currently have, just by focusing on learning as much as you can now. Your twenties are special years, you’re constantly learning something new about the world and about yourself. These are the years where you can learn a lot, make a lot of mistakes and gain a lot of ground career and personality wise. So why not start now? 😎