The following is a guest post by MightyBargainHunter.com.
There’s no shortage of advice on the Internet as to how to invest your money, and no shortage of people who will help you invest your money for a fee. I’ll wager that “money” (or maybe “stocks”) is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of investing.
The first definition of “invest” in the dictionary deals with money and financial return, but the second from Merriam-Webster is a more general definition that encompasses the monetary one: “to make use of for future benefits or advantages.”
It’s crucially important to do this, almost more so that investing money wisely. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Many skills become obsolete quickly. I’m a software developer, and skills tied to a specific language become stale very quickly. Some skills can be transferred, but others don’t. Having a limited skill set increases the chance of one’s career getting outsourced or eliminated.
- Entire professions can experience a downturn. Case in point: residential construction. You could be excellent at what you do, but if no one wants to build a house, you’ll go hungry unless you can do something else, or have other money coming in.
- You can experience your own personal downturn. Even if everything else should be going well with your job and your profession as a whole, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
By investing in yourself, you’re future-proofing yourself
(I’m sure that I’ve heard that phrase from somewhere!) In any case, anything that you can do to learn marketable skills that can be applied to many different fields will serve to reduce the likelihood that you’ll encounter a rough patch in your financial life.
If you haven’t actively thought of it this way, not to worry: You might be doing it anyway! One of my wife’s cousins grew up on an active dairy farm. When she came to interview for her first job after college, she listed “farm experience” on her resume. It was only peripherally-related to what she went to college for. But much of her interview ended up focusing on her farm experience. It’s probably what got her the job. Working successfully on a farm requires creativity and a ton of hard work. She was investing in herself (perhaps unwittingly, but oh well!) and it paid off.
So what kinds of skills can I learn to invest in myself effectively?
First, it’s necessary to find the time to invest in yourself. After you’ve done that, here are a few general areas to look into:
- Learn how to sell stuff. It doesn’t really matter what you learn how to sell, because in learning how to sell one thing, you learn the skills to sell anything: writing ad copy and figuring out how to make it sell effectively.
- Learn how to write. Expressing yourself effectively in writing can be transferred anywhere. Building up useful websites can throw off passive (or near-passive) income. Learning how to sell the writing (search engine optimization) gets back to the first idea.
- Learn how to put together videos. The Internet has been transformed by YouTube. It’s a huge platform for expressing ideas, and people are increasingly taking in information from videos rather than by reading. Learning the ins and outs of putting YouTube videos together is time well spent.
- Learn how to provide food for yourself. If nothing else, this gives peace of mind in an uncertain world when “things can break down” and we might be thrust back 50 years for a time — a time when “white-collar” jobs are replaced with “bule-collar” jobs. Putting food on the table with minimal dependence from other sources hasn’t been necessary for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be necessary ever again. A raised-bed garden is a good start.
Any other ideas? What are other ways that you can invest in yourself wisely?
This post was written by John Wedding, who’s been blogging over at MightyBargainHunter.com since 2005.