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Investing in Yourself
Posted: March 21, 2012

 

March 2012

Investing in Yourself

Why should you invest in yourself?

Just as saving money helps you build a secure financial future, investing in yourself helps you create a strong foundation in other areas of your life. And you don’t need a large income to invest wisely. You just need to spend small amounts on improving your mind, body, or overall well-being.

Investments that boost your brain power

Almost anything that helps you learn and expand your mind can be a good investment in yourself. A few examples:

  • Get more education or training. Take a course that will sharpen your skills, make you more valuable to your employer, or improve your mind. Cost: Varies from $0 for free lectures or workshops at community centers to about $100 per college credit at public two-year colleges and $1,000 or more per credit at private four-year colleges.
  • Read or listen to stimulating books. Pick up a book on a topic that interests you or that people in your field are talking about. Cost: Varies from $0 to $25 or more, depending on whether you borrow a book free from your library or from a friend, buy a paperback or e-book, or a new hardcover.
  • Take someone you admire to lunch. Invite someone you admire to have lunch or coffee with you and ask for his or her thinking on an issue that you’d like to learn about or that’s important in your industry. Cost: $10 and up.
  • Do brain teasers, word puzzles, and number puzzles. Crosswords, riddles, and games such as Sudoku can be found in newspapers, magazines, low-cost puzzle books, and online or for download. Cost: $0 to $5.

Investments in your physical health

Small investments in your physical health can add up over time to big savings on medical expenses. You might:

  • Buy a pedometer. Doctors recommend that most people get a minimum of 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. A pedometer will count the steps and show you whether you’re on track. Cost: Under $10 at sporting-goods stores and online.
  • Sign up for a trial membership at a Y or gym. Many Ys and gyms offer one-month memberships that let you use their weight machines, swimming pool, and other facilities without making a big financial investment. Cost: Varies.
  • Get an exercise DVD. Work out to an upbeat exercise DVD at home if you can’t get to a Y or gym. Cost: $10–$20 or free at the library.

Investments in your emotional well-being

Investments in your emotional well-being build your resilience and make you feel better about yourself.

  • Visit an old friend. Fill up your gas tank or watch for discounted fares and visit a friend who always makes you feel good. Cost: Varies with the distance.
  • Start a garden. Lift your spirits by watching flowers bloom or cooking with fresh herbs from your kitchen garden. Cost: $1–$3 per seed package.
  • Take a yoga class. Reduce your stress by taking a class in yoga or another discipline that helps you stay calm and focused. Cost: About $10–$20 per class, often less if you sign up for a full course. Gyms may offer unlimited classes to members.

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