When I think about the word invest, generally speaking images of the stock market pop to mind. I have a preconceived notion of money going into brokerage accounts with the idea of buy low, sell high. While that is a good strategy and should be part of everyone’s portfolio, the current market conditions present another investment opportunity.
Now for the good news. The investment opportunity that I’m referring to doesn’t have to cost you a penny! That’s right, it’s totally free (or can be – there are versions that only cost a little). What is this great investment opportunity? You! Now, and over the next several months, you have a fantastic chance to take advantage of the state of the world and invest in yourself!
I started retiringby45.com a few years ago with the goal of documenting my journey to financial independence by the age of 45. Since I launchd the site, my goals shifted just a little. I still have the goal of reaching financial independence by the age of 45 however, I also have broaden my goals to include helping other people learn about money and finance so they too can pursue and achieve financial independence!
Now, back to the point of the post. I personally am positioned to reach financial independence at 45 for a few reasons. When I think about those reasons (good career choices, being frugal, etc.) one reason stands out more than the rest. I spent, and continue to spend, a great deal of time learning! I decided years ago that I needed to invest in myself if I was ever going to reach my lofty goals. Invest is what I did and continue to do. As a result, every day I learn something new. Over time, that learning ends up paying off with opportunities and the financial reward from those opportunities continues to increase!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
Today, as soon as you are done reading this post, you have a ton of opportunities to invest in yourself and your learning. If you take the time and learn new things, you are positioning yourself to take advantage of new career opportunities, moving up in your current company, or even starting your own successful business. With the world in a bit of a weird spot at the moment, now is the perfect time to invest the energy into positive personal growth. While others fret about uncertainty, you are arming yourself to adapt, overcome, and succeed in many different ways!
To help get you thinking, in the rest of this post, I’m going to highlight some of the projects, tools, and resources I personally use. All of what follows has allowed me to be positioned to achieve my goal of financial independence by the age of 45. So, if you are ready to invest in yourself and get the mental juices flowing, keep reading!
Build A Website
Not what you thought I was going to start with, was it? Why do I start here? Well, I’m at the executive level in more than one company. I can tell you that I learn a ton every single day in my roles! While that is great, not everyone has the same opportunity to learn from so many people across so many aspects of the company. What do I do when I disconnect from the executive roles? That’s right, I build websites (like this one).
I have learned an enormous amount from this experience. No, not just lines of code but more about myself. Building websites has built my confidence. Let me explain. About two years ago, shortly after I started building websites, I encountered a “fatal error” when I updated a plugin. I had spent days updating my site and had it right where I wanted it…and then I crashed the thing! I freaked out and ultimately deleted the WordPress install and started from scratch (days wasted there). Then it happened again. The second time, I figured out how to go in to the C-panel and disable the plugin causing the problems. That not only worked but saved me days of rebuilding! I didn’t freak out and I (me alone) faced a new problem and got to the solution. I learned and I’m personally better for that.
This is one example of my learning process. Again, more than learning to build and run websites, I learned how to solve problems. I learned about new ways to do things. I figured out that adding functionality to a website, in some cases, is pretty easy and that I don’t need a fancy (and expensive consultant) to do it for me. Out of all of this, I took so much more knowledge back to my day job! I am better at what I do for a living as a result of the time and energy I invested in building websites as a hobby.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at websites as you look at ways to invest in yourself, I personally would go nuts without these three products/services. To get the basic hosting package in place, SiteGround is reliable and cost effective. I host all my websites with them and have had zero issues in three years now. Elegant Themes (I run retiringby45.com on the Extra theme) is amazing! Their products are great for newbies and come at a super low cost for what you get! Then there is Sucuri. These guys are fantastic! From backups to firewalls to removing malware, I have nothing but praise for the job this team does!
Must Haves If You Build A Website
Get Good With Google
If you aren’t familiar with Google, hell, who isn’t familiar with Google? Anyway, Google isn’t just a great search engine. They offer so many other things that many people don’t take the time to understand. From social media platforms like Youtube to Analytics and Ads, Google helps make the world go ’round. Here’s the cool thing: Google will teach you how to use many of their applications totally free of charge! When you look at the chance to invest in yourself, this is a great opportunity!
I personally use Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Adsense, Podcasts, and Youtube. Some I use for fun. Others I use to be one step ahead of the next guy. If I can tweak my website to get more traffic and use the analytics to offer better services, of course I’m going to do that! I will take the advantage for my hobbies and for my day job. Based on the time I’ve invested learning about Google products and services, I have been able to hold my own in marketing and advertising meetings, website rebuilds, and more. If you have an internet connection and some time, this one is a must!
Here is the link to Google’s Skillshop.
Learn In Your Lane
What interests you? Where do you want to invest the time? What course or topic would help you keep your current job or advance your career? My personal recommendation would be to take some type of public speaking course or even a coaching course. People make the world work and the better you know and can engage with people, the easier the path to success becomes!
Another great platform that I have personally used is Udemy. I completed a Professional Life Coach certification program last year on the platform. Overall, the experience was really good. Learning was easy and at my own pace and the cost was fantastic! I spent $15 for dozens of hours of content! If you are going to invest, that’s a great deal! For less than a pizza and beer, you can advance your knowledge and value in the job market!
I was interested in obtaining a Life Coach certificate but again, maybe learning more about cyber security or AWS is your thing. At the end of the day, I come back to the idea that if you invest in yourself, it will pay off!
If you’re interested, here is the specific Life Coach course I completed last year.
Why is it important that you invest in yourself now? Short answer – it’s the perfect time. So many free (or close to) opportunities exist and with the world distracted, now is the perfect time for you to find your focus! Invest in yourself now and you’ll be that much better positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the future!
For more great Retiring By 45 Resources, check out:
My Six Steps to FIRE and the R45 Podcast!