Should I pay off my student debt or plan for retirement?
Should I buy a new home pre-construction or once it’s built?
Should I invest in a Roth IRA or 401(k)?
Should I brew my own coffee as opposed to going to Starbucks everyday?
What stocks should I invest in?
These are just a few of the questions that all 20-somethings will go through as they consider options for investing their money. Personal finance blogs often discuss different investment options. Well to be honest there’s an abundance of tips out there when it comes to investing your hard earned money in your 20s. Today I’m not going to talk about many different tips or minor points that generate you pennies a day. I want to talk about the best investment strategy in your 20s. What is the best investment option you may ask?
The best investment strategy for you and your money in your 20s is to… invest in yourself! Yes I believe that the best way to invest your money in your 20s is to invest it in yourself. Okay great but what do I mean by this? I will show you specific examples of how I invested in myself in the past few years and how you can begin to invest in yourself right now!
My own personal examples of investing in myself:
I’m going to ignore excursions, events, and books that I’ve read because I will be covering that in the next section. Below are a few ways I recently invest in myself.
This goes without saying. I’ve spent lots of money on my formal college education. Who knows how it will pay off and when it will pay off, but a college education is usually the most effective strategy for how you can invest in yourself. I don’t need to go into much detail here because I’m sure you guys know that education is a great investment in yourself.
Personal Trainer license.
At one point I was debating career choices and I decided to spend some money on a crash course for personal training. I saved myself lots of future headache because I realized that you can’t yell like a drill sergeant at a family gym. However, the real investment came from learning how to properly train and about nutrition. With the plethora of information available out there on both subjects, it was great to obtain some information from an academic perspective.
Earn 1K course.
I’ve never taken an online course before. I thought it was a scam. Actually I think everything’s a scam. Eventually I was sold on it and I figured I will give this one course a shot. I told myself that if it doesn’t work out then at least I learned my lesson. Suffice to say my freelance income did go up and I’m very happy with my initial investment.
Now let’s look at how YOU could invest in yourself as you complete college and go through your 20s:
Spend time with mentors.
This could cost you a few dollars literally in terms of spending money here and there on coffee or beer. You will also need to invest time. Possibly lots of it. This investment will be extremely valuable due to potential networking that may arise and because of your ability to obtain a wealth of knowledge for a fraction of what it took the person to acquire it. Think about: someone will spend 20 years in a field and you can pick their brain for a 20-minute coffee.
Upgrade your skills.
You can upgrade your skills in a variety of ways. You can formally acquire new skills by taking evening courses at your community college. You can casually upgrade your skills by learning a new trade or talent just by watching someone perform. The options are unlimited. Something as casual as watching a buddy put up a dry wall and learning how he does can be beneficial (you can help yourself or others) down the road.
Move to a new location.
Maybe you’re in the wrong location for your dream career. It’s going to be difficult to be a tan line inspector in Alaska (okay bad example). A temporary or permanent move to a new location can do wonders for your income earning potential. We shouldn’t limit ourselves by thinking that we need to stay in the same town that our parents grew up in. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should move to Cancun, Mexico and lay on the beach all day. You’ll know where the best locations are for your dream career. You owe it to yourself to give it a 100% effort to try to make it.
There are many online courses available for just about every single field out there. I don’t want to start throwing out any links here. I also do understand that there are MANY scams on the internet. However, if your favorite blogger or even a reputable company, start to offer a course online that interests you, then you shouldn’t hesitate too much to invest in yourself. The obvious caveat here is that you must do your research and decide if this course really is for you before you spend any money at all.
eBooks and traditional books.
A book can be great because an author pours hours of research and effort into a project that we can usually buy for under 20 bucks. Twenty bucks usually gets me a pitcher at a bar. Don’t be afraid to spend a few bucks on a book that can solve your current problems or help you improve your life in any way.
I’m curious to see how you guys have invested in yourselves or how you plan on investing money to improve your financial situation?
(photo credit: jpowers65)