One of the things we want to destigmatize here is that there are many good uses of money that aren’t related to a downpayment on a home, an RRSP, an EFT (or any other acronym-laden financial term).
An investment is just something that gives us back more than we put in and many of the best ones aren’t financial products.
We broke down some of our favourites.
It works like compound interest
If you’re in the early stages of your career, there can be more important things than putting money away. Making the right connections and spending the necessary time to become truly great at what you do is critical and will continue to pay off over the years. So invest (guilt-free) in networking opportunities or courses to grow your skillset.
If you spend $500 on a course now that will result in a $5,000 salary bump, that’s a 900% return on your investment (ROI) in year one. Plus those skills can lead to more specialization and future job growth, effectively compounding in value.
The more you invest, the more you increase your earning potential.
It’s diversifying your portfolio
Being a voracious reader is an effective way to expand your knowledge base so that your value goes beyond one key area of “investment”. That’s not to say that you’ll leave your graphic design job to become a botanist because you’ve read five books about trees. But having diverse areas of interest and expertise can make you more well-rounded. Be a T, not an I, and it will help you professionally.²
It’s insuring your investments
Too Busy = Not Enough Time
If you’re investing in yourself, you need to value your time and effort in order to maximize your output. One of the consummate signs of a professional is the premium they place on their time.
Let’s look at transportation as an example. If you’re commuting for two hours a day instead of working your side hustle, being creative or resting up to kill it at your craft, that’s a lost opportunity.
Bike = – $400
Hours saved per day = 1
Days worked per year = 200
Total hours saved = 200
Bike Cost/Hours Saved = $400/200 = $2/hr
Cost To ‘Buy an Hour” = $2
This (overly-simple) explanation is just used to illustrate how to think about the value of our time. If our time is worth more than $2 an hour (it is), buy the bike. The real exercise is to think critically about how we deploy our time and resources.
Investing in yourself and your career is a crucial component of setting yourself up for future success. And if you focus now on doing it right, there will be time and resources left to figure out your next financial steps—whether that means an RRSP, EFT, TFSA or a really awesome vintage guitar collection.