Investing in stocks and real estate are common ways to build financial wealth. But not all investments are made in dollars, and there are other ways to invest in yourself for the future aside from financially. Finding ways to boost your happiness and improve your health can pay dividends in the here and now — and the later years.
The areas you can invest in your future are countless, from education, health, and career to passions and interests. That said, we’ve compiled 13 ways you can invest in yourself so that those benefits spill into your work life and the rest of your days.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with an undergraduate degree earn twice as much as those with a high school diploma. Therefore, obtaining a university degree is one of the biggest accomplishments that an individual can make. Think of university as an investment that would pay off later in life. We still live in a world where a college degree is one of the most significant assets on a CV, and it opens many doors for multiple job opportunities. For instance, pursuing a degree in a high-income skill may help you ensure job security in a field you are passionate about. Some high-income skills include coding, web designing, copyrighting, and social media marketing.
We understand that universities can be costly in the United States. But thankfully, there are various ways you can obtain financial aid to support your studies. One of them is through federal student loans offered by the U.S. government that you can apply for without much credit history. Alternatively, you can aim for private scholarships, but they usually have higher interest rates than federal loans.
You don’t have to limit your educational opportunities only within the U.S. Universities in Europe, for instance, are typically more affordable. Additionally, you can find programs taught in English almost everywhere. Even doing a semester abroad can change your whole perspective on life and help you develop life-long academic and social skills.
When you move to another country where you don’t know anyone, you are faced with going out of your comfort zone and surviving in a brand-new environment on your own. But studying abroad is a transformative experience that fosters personal growth. In addition, the challenges and adventures you encounter will help you be better prepared for other challenges in the future. The problem-solving skills you develop while living alone also come with an outstanding opportunity to explore and learn about the culture of that place.
We often miss out on opportunities to travel around the globe. Think of how diverse our world is, and everywhere you go, you come back with lifelong memories packed with more knowledge about different cultures, mental expansion, and personal growth.
Traveling can also inspire you to create a better life for yourself. Having new adventures and meeting new people can make you a more flexible, all-rounded person who understands different perspectives and crafts their future by learning and expanding their worldview.
There’s a reason why we have separated traveling and taking a vacation as two different ways to invest in yourself. While you can obviously sometimes combine these two into one, taking a vacation is needed to relax you physically and emotionally from time to time. If you have two chances of vacation in a year, consider spending one on active travel and the other on passive.
People who regularly take time to relax have lower chances of burning out. Solely focusing on work can cause significant damage to your physical and mental health and increase the chances of developing anxiety, depression, and coronary heart diseases. Taking a break and dedicating time to relax is a great way to invest in yourself today.
It’s hard to find time for your favorite hobbies when you’re busy with work all day. However, hobbies are a great way to take your mind off everyday stress to concentrate on what you love doing. Hobbies help us maintain our mental health, build connections, and be satisfied with our lives. So, try to spend some time on the weekends doing what you love outside work.
You can also use your time to focus on your hobbies during the workday. For example, if you love reading and must commute to work every day on public transportation, use that time to read a chapter on your Kindle.
With globalization, many companies tend to hire people who are fluent in foreign languages. Speaking other international languages like Spanish, French, or Mandarin can help you communicate with foreign clients and increase your chances of going overseas with your company.
Studying a foreign language can not only boost your career but also exercise your cognitive abilities and memory. Think of it as an exercise for your brain. By dedicating your time to learning another language and practicing it often, you can strengthen your multitasking skills and even prevent Alzheimer’s.
The National Endowment for the Arts reports that only 53% of Americans read books as a pastime activity, and it is at its lowest level since this study began in 1982. Nevertheless, reading is a great way to invest in yourself for multiple reasons.
First of all, it helps to keep your brain healthy. It stimulates new pathways in our brains and keeps our memory and cognitive abilities fresh. Second, it helps build critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can help you advance in any career.
From fantasy fiction to autobiographies, there must be a genre that interests you. Even if you have no time to delve into a book, dedicate at least 15 minutes daily to read a chapter or two. Doing it at the same time every day, such as right before bed, can help turn it into a habit.
If you think that investing in yourself should only be done by learning new things and relaxing, you’re missing out on nourishing your body. A healthy body does can help lead to a healthy mind, and getting regular exercise should be a top priority at any given time of your life. According to WHO, physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle cause health problems that can lead to obesity, depression, anxiety, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Staying in shape is one of the most rewarding ways to invest in yourself. Whether it is going to the gym, playing team sports, doing yoga at home, or simply walking the dog every day, exercising improves your brain power, focus, and productivity.
Getting into a habit of regular workouts may be difficult for some people, and there will be days when other activities will be more appealing to you. But try telling yourself that you’re only going to exercise for 10 minutes. It’s still better than not exercising at all. Once you train for 10 minutes, you’ll notice that your energy levels are higher, and you will be more motivated to train for another 10 minutes, and then maybe another 10.
We can’t talk about a healthy lifestyle without mentioning the importance of eating healthy. A nutritious diet helps you prevent various diseases, stay in shape, and improve your skin. Here are a few healthy eating habits you should start implementing in your daily life:
You might wonder what organizing your personal space has to do with how to invest in yourself. In reality, it does, and a lot. Being organized can save you time and boost your productivity levels. According to Mayo Clinic, working in an organized environment motivates you to finish your job sooner and helps you concentrate better on what you’re doing.
Designing your house to be cozier can feel liberating. However, a significant part of it is also getting rid of items that you don’t need or use anymore. As you downsize, you might also consider moving into a smaller house, which can save you money on rent and maintenance.
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Lack of proper sleep lowers energy and productivity levels. Additionally, sleep deprivation can also have detrimental effects on your health, including more chances of high blood pressure and dementia.
It is estimated that seven to eight hours of sleep are enough to maintain steady energy levels throughout the day. Here’s how you can develop a habit of getting this amount of sleep every day:
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
Being financially stable and successful is not about how much money you make. It’s about how you can use that money to benefit your life. This is why you should invest in yourself by learning the basics of finance, savings, and investments. Financial literacy allows you to be more confident in your financial decisions and manage your assets better. Money management includes budgeting, debt management, saving, investing, and insurance planning.
You don’t need to obtain a college degree in business to learn how money works. Instead, take some time to read books about how money works, listen to podcasts, and follow blogs to learn the basics and keep up with the latest financial news.
Finally, apart from health and education, it’s essential to learn how to invest in yourself financially. The simplest way to do it is to develop a savings account.
In his book, “The Richest Man in Babylon,” George S. Carlson points out the importance of saving 10% from each paycheck. You can direct this money to an emergency fund and use it when you’re faced with unexpected payments. Alternatively, you can invest in your future by contributing a portion of your salary to a retirement account and use that money on traveling, for instance, when you retire.
So, what does it mean to invest in yourself? Each time you gain valuable experience, further your knowledge of a topic, go out for a hike, or save a portion of your paycheck, you’re investing in your future. And when you invest in the right areas, it can pay off big time — both personally and professionally.