Spokane Journal of Business

Investing in self can provide strong returns

Setting goals can help with relationships, financial independence

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We’ve all heard stories about get-rich-quick schemes, and most times, it’s just that—a scheme. 

Schemes of this nature usually create an impression that participants can achieve a high rate of return with little risk, skill, effort, or time.

We typically don’t hear success stories about such schemes. That’s because the reward is almost always nonexistent. Like most things in life, good things take time.

Over the years, I’ve learned that with a little bit of time, effort, and dedication, there is one investment that will always result in high yields and rewards regardless of your financial situation, stage in life, or experience level: investing in yourself.

Learning how to invest in yourself is the best way to kickstart your future. So much about our future is out of our control and COVID-19 has certainly changed the way many of us are viewing that. With so much uncertainty around us, why not find certainty in yourself? Instead of dwelling on an unknown future, take concrete, actionable steps that will bring you closer to your best, most authentic self.

How do you start investing in yourself and your future? Change can only start with you, and it requires one step, even a small one. Name one part of your life you would like to change and write it down. What in your life would you like to take a small step toward completing? Maybe it’s losing five or 10 pounds; perhaps it’s giving your child 30 minutes of undivided attention each day or paying off your credit card once and for all.

Whatever it is, how will you feel once you’ve achieved that goal? Write this down and keep it close, post it in your closet, bathroom, or a place you’ll be reminded of this goal daily. Set your intention and get to work.

Next, could you put it on your schedule? If you use a calendar at work to keep track of your appointments, consider making a date with yourself. Set aside eight minutes, that’s all, eight minutes to focus on this goal by adding it to your calendar. Treat this goal with the same respect you give your partner, child, employer, or client. When you schedule a time to focus on your plan, you create self-respect by following through on your promise to yourself.

Investing in yourself is similar to your finances. If you invest in something, you put the money forward, you can expect it to give a more significant return later.

Here are some helpful tips to get started.

Get out of debt. Debt is stifling. It causes stress, holds you back from pursuing your dreams, and can negatively impact relationships. Debt is similar to quicksand; once you’re in it, the deeper you sink, the harder it is to get out. We sometimes fall into the trap of spending more than we can afford because it’s easier than living without. With so many tools available to lend us money, we sometimes forget what it feels like to live within our means.

I encourage you to take some time, tally up the amount of money you spend on debts each month. You might be surprised. Then, think about all the ways you could invest in yourself if you didn’t have to pay on your debts every month. Is it $500, $1,000, or more? How could you use this excess cash to move closer to achieving your dreams? Maybe you could finally afford to take a personal development course, get a new college degree, or travel to a leadership conference.

You are worth it. Getting out of debt is difficult, but the rewards could potentially reap benefits for the rest of your life.

Don’t just save – invest. Investing your money is one of the best ways to invest in yourself and your future. The reward for financial investing is financial freedom, which is one of the best things you can attain in life. Whether you use a financial adviser or another avenue, I cannot recommend it enough. When you are getting ready to retire, there are no loans or scholarships you can take out to have more money to live comfortably. You are worth investing in, financially and personally. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

Make learning a priority. Consuming quality information can help you in every area of your life. But too often, over time, people become set in their beliefs. They stop searching for information or challenging their existing knowledge. 

As a result, they stop growing and expanding their abilities. Learning can take many different forms. Reading a book, listening to a podcast, or taking an online course can help you grow in a specific area of your life. It’s crucial to view learning as an inseparable part of your identity; it’s not just something you do, it’s a part of who you are.

Use social media with discretion. Many of us live part of our lives online, and it’s a beautiful way to connect with people, family, and friends. It can also become very toxic. Unfollow people who don’t make you feel great – whether it’s because you’re comparing yourself to their lives or because they post negative things – and engage when you genuinely want to. If you need a break, take a break.

Set goals. If you’re not taking the time to set goals, it’s like driving in the dark with the headlights turned off. You won’t know where you’re going, and you’ll waste precious time. Set some time frames in which to meet your goals and make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Investing in yourself means making small, continual improvements that enable you to do more, be more, grow more, and ultimately, become your best self. 

These little improvements can lead to immediate opportunities and long-term positive change. They can help you earn more money, discover the career you always wanted, follow your dreams, and uncover hobbies that bring you joy. They’ll improve your health and relationships and make you a more interesting person.

As you meet these personal markers of success, it will lead you to the new you. Greater confidence and self-respect will be your ultimate reward.

Investing in oneself might not be a get-rich-quick scheme, but it’s simple, accessible to all, and always results in rewarding returns.

Sarah Carlson, a certified financial planner, is the owner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group LLC, of Spokane, which offers securities and advisory services through LPL Financial. Carlson can be reached at 509.747.2075.

Sarah Carlson
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Sarah Carlson is the owner and founder of Fulcrum Financial Group, of Spokane. She can be reached at 509.747.2075.

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