The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Click To Tweet2 Corinthians 9:6
What do you think of when you think about investing?
Maybe visions of stocks, real estate and precious metals come to mind. Now grab a mirror and take a look. The person in the reflection is who you need to be focused on investing in first and foremost. That means different things to every person and it is critical to learn what that means for you. What is the best way to start?
It all begins with have a firm understanding of your budget and truly knowing how your money behaves. Most people approach personal finance backwards. Think about it, when you get paid the chances are the first thing you determine is what bills need to get paid and thus the deductions begin. Bills peck away and away at earnings and then after all has been paid you may have some money to invest with if you’re lucky. Often times there can be too much month left when funds run out and that is how debt accumulates.
My challenge is to flip that mindset and start paying yourself first. Once the initial investment in yourself is made attack the monthly budget with vengeance to make the math work. So how much should you invest in yourself??? That will vary based off whatever season of life you are in. A range to consider would be 5-20% of your income. Think lower end percentages when you’re getting started and then slide up the scale as debt is eliminated and personal wealth begins to increase.
Say you picked a percentage that is comfortable and you are ready to start investing – what now?
This again would be determined based off the season of life you are in. Solid investment options to consider are:
- Education – many data points indicate that an investment in personal education equates higher earnings. Changing careers or even advancing down the current path often times is prohibited by further education. Making the investment in your personal education is something that will never depreciate and can open the doors that you are dreaming about.
- Retirement – this stage of life has a way of sneaking up on all of us. Time flies and it seems as you get older the days click by even faster. Being intentional about investing in your retirement is something that everyone should take seriously. Evaluate what investment options exist through your employer and always remember to never leave free money on the table. If your company is offering a match on your 401K grab it up! There’s no better return on wall street outside of free money! Retirement can get tricky and this is where outside guidance may help. ROTH’s, 401K’s, 403B’s, traditional, non-traditional – at some point it all can run together. Don’t go at it alone and find those that you trust and that can walk you through the options available with a goal of finding an avenue that will meet your goals. For you entrepreneurs out there remember the ROTH IRA as it is a great vehicle to intentionally start building up your retirement nest egg while your business is growing.
- Non-IRA investment vehicles – Once you’re comfortable that retirement investments are meeting your goals now is the time to start looking at non-retirement investment options. This is where it can get fun but is where many get confused. These investments will require homework on your part to find partners that you trust with options that will give access to the markets of interest. Great areas to consider are mutual funds, ETF’s and bonds. Depending on your risk tolerance and goals the path chosen will vary greatly. Don’t sweat it though!!! This is a GREAT stage of life to be in and kudos to you for making it to this rung of the ladder. Many will never have a view from this height and it’s through your hard work and intentionality that you’re here.
Why this methodology? Because YOU ARE YOUR BEST INVESTMENT.
Remember, each month you choose to not invest in yourself is a lost opportunity to reach your future goals. Everyone has dreams and by being intentional about investing in yourself you’re taking one of the most important steps in life. As 2 Corinthians says to sow bountifully is to reap bountifully. I want you all to have your baskets overflowing and by looking in the mirror and making the commitment to invest in yourself first you’ll be well down the path to phenomenal success in the future.