When you hear someone say the word “investing” you likely create an image of stocks, bonds, savings accounts or real estate. Well, you are correct. Those are all ways of investing for your future. However, there are 5 main types of investing that are essential to your overall personal and professional growth.
THERE ARE 5 TYPES OF INVESTMENTS:
Educational investments (formal and informal), relationship investments (friends, family, business), social investments (philanthropy, networking), physical investments (regular exercise, good nutrition, quality sleep, mental strength) and financial investments (savings, planning, tax mitigation).
BE HONEST…. Which are lacking for you, and are you now ready to improve your investments?
Educational investments: I preach and teach this all the time. Your education started and it must never end. One type or form of education is not enough. Regardless of how you “prefer” to learn, you should diversity your learning methods (audio, video, ebook, physical books, workshops, experiential learning, seminars, lectures, round tables and others). Learning anything using multiple formats will make your learning experience better. You will store what you have learned in more areas of your brain, and be able to access what you’ve learned more quickly – and with more detail. You need to invest in formal (certifications, degrees, diplomas) and informal (podcasts, coaching, mentoring). I also suggest altering your learning environments to give your brain and body fresh perspectives. If you always sit on the couch to read, use the kitchen table. If you sit under a tree to read an ebook on a Kindle, load an audio book on your iPhone and go for a walk. You will be amazed at the rapid evolution of your knowledge.
Relationship investments: Have you ever been in a bad relationship (family, friends, co-workers or significant other) and it sucks the life from every ounce of your being? NOT COOL! Poor relationships affect your energy, focus, stress levels, and just about every other aspect of your life. Invest in quality relationships. Invest in quality communication. INVEST IN LISTENING! You have two ears and one mouth for a reason….. listen twice as much as you speak. I’ve said it before (many times) and I need to say it here again…. “You have the right to fire friends, family members, co-workers, and anyone else who is a naysayer, energy vampire, fun-sucker or generally negative person. It’s just not worth the effort. Seek out people who are positive, smart, funny, forward-thinking, creative, hard-working, ethical, moral and those who make you happy.
Social investments: Helping others is what makes the world go around. It is also what will make you feel better than anything else you can do. I find it interesting that this part of my life has become more important as I’ve become “older”. This is one reason why I founded the Get America Fit Foundation.
Another often-unspoken aspect of philanthropy that needs to be mentioned now is the business benefit. Aside from the obvious tax write-off you get from any donations, you are also networking with high net worth people. These same people are often able to open doors, assist you and give you advice on your career. I have found philanthropy to be some of the best networking I’ve ever done. I personally support about 20 charities to varying degrees.
Networking is often done online with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. However, I also encourage you to go to networking events. My good friend and fellow coach Bob Donnell uses relationship building and connection in his live events to grow his (and other people’s) social investments. My wife Kelli Ellis, Celebrity Interior Designer from HGTV, TLC and Bravo, built a thriving business (Design Camp) helping other interior designers build social equity, relationships and connection. This all leads to overall career success.
Physical investments: Hey, I’m a fitness pro and when I first made this list (first draft), I accidentally omitted this segment. True. It’s here now and it’s obviously very important. Your physical investments need to include the obvious defaults of strength, endurance and flexibility (in some combination). But your physical investment goes far beyond the basics. You need to manage stress (notice I didn’t say “eliminate” stress). That is impossible. However, you can reduce it and learn great management tools. That’s a a reality. Quality, deep, restorative and enjoyable sleep is a VITAL part of your physical investment. I got to really learn about “sleep science” when I was a spokesperson for Sleep Number Bed. By the way, my sleep number is 75 😉
It’s funny, I’ve been in the fitness industry since 1992 and I started working out in 1982 (yes, it’s been a long time). I’ve only really invested in my nutrition at the same level as my training in the last few years. I’m not saying I was a slacker, I just didn’t emphasize ultra-clean eating until recent years. The result has been improved health, less inflammation, faster recovery and better sports performance. Make sure your physical investing plan includes ALL ASPECTS of physical and psychological wellness.
Financial investments: Do you know that most people would rather talk about sex, death, disease and an extensive list of often taboo topics rather than talking about money and finances. That is astonishing to me. If you do not talk about (let alone actually invest in) your financial IQ, you miss out on so much of what life has to offer. Please, please, please…. do not tell me money is not that important. Let me say these FACTS and then you can consider revising any comment resembling “money is not that important”.
Money gives you the opportunity to see the world. Money improves your health (better insurance, better doctors, better food, better safety). There is even a study that proves that “feeling good about your place in culture, including your wealth” enhances immune function and overall health. Crazy and true. Money lets you experience the top sporting events, shows and concerts. Making more money allows you to leave more for your kids and also the ability to help your family while you are still alive. It goes on and on. Yes, having more money is good. You can always give it all away to your favorite charity. So, how do you invest in your financial future?
There are a few important aspects.
#1 – Seek advice. I personally have an attorney, accountant and financial planner. When I’ve said this in the past, some dude said “well that’s you, but I cannot afford that.” I say, “you cannot afford not to!” You have to know what you have, how long it will last, how to save it, how to protect it and how to invest it. It’s that simple.
#2 – Invest in your financial IQ. You need to learn everything you can about asset protection and liability reduction.
#3 – Plug the leaks. If you know of anything that is wasting your money, stop it immediately.
#4 – Pay yourself first. What ever you can afford, put money in your saving/investment accounts before you pay anything else.
#5 Small business/big bank account. I really screwed this up when I was younger. I thought having a big business, big buildings, sports cars and flashy crap meant I was successful. WRONG! What I have learned (and I ‘m suggesting you do as well) is to have a small business and a big bank account. What does this mean? I mean keep things lean, live below your means, save as much as possible, streamline, automate, delegate. Keep employees and staffing to a minimum. Keep overhead low. Stay as mobile as possible. Small business/big bank account!
I would really like your feedback and ideas I may have missed here. I value your opinion.