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Invest for the Long Haul

Think beyond investment accounts and stocks to make your money work for you. 

In my experience, whether in finances, education or any other area of life, the most successful people are the ones who are constantly looking for ways to grow. Personal, professional or financial, these are the folks who think long-term instead of looking (or falling) for instant gratification.

Although you don't have to have celebrity-level assets to put this philosophy to work for you, there are some who've set impressive examples with what they've done with their money. Some go bankrupt, true (MC Hammer anyone?), but many put those big paychecks to work. Celebs like George Clooney, Ashton Kutcher and Nas have all made money investing instead of spending. They're actually worth more from what they've done with their money outside of celebrity paychecks.

When people hear the word "invest," they tend to think of the traditional things like stocks, bonds, 401(k)s and IRAs. And those things are all integral parts of solid financial planning. But I want to explore some other ways you can invest your money for your future.

Invest in your career. Do you need extra certifications, or could you grow within your career by learning additional skills? Attempt to expand your knowledge by getting that continuing education, reading a new book or attending a class. Think of things that can help you market yourself, whether for a new job or a promotion at your current company.

Invest by buying things that could actually increase in value. Over and over again, I talk to people who are about to pay off their car, and instead took on another set of payments for a new car. "But they could lower my payment by $50 a month!" Yes, but you only had one more year to pay off the car, and now you're paying it off for another six years instead. This goes for any fast-depreciating shiny new toy, actually. Think about how you could spend that money on something that might go up in value instead of chasing every new tech gadget. Our team can help you with options such as real estate or other assets.

Invest in your capabilities. This might sound boring, but accumulating tools to do basic jobs is priceless. I wrote a few weeks ago about lifelong learning, and this ties into that. Make sure you have the right tools to do certain home and car repairs. That investment will save you in the long run. Being able to teach your children or family those skills is important too. This is simply another version of the "teach a man how to fish" saying. Self-sufficiency is one of the biggest money-savers and biggest gifts you can pass on to your kids and grandkids. My parents, grandparents, and friends have been great instilling this in me, and helping me keep learning over my lifetime. As such, it's one of those necessary things I try to pass along.

Invest in your health & well-being. Take care of your health. It will likely save you on medical costs either now or down the line. Medical expenses are one of the most common causes of bankruptcy and other financial duress. In the meantime, if you're taking care of yourself, you'll feel better, and likely perform better in all aspects of your life (giving you the energy to do all this learning and growing!) Further, I believe that you do need to treat yourself once in a while. Whether that's a much-needed vacation, or any goal you've been working towards, it can be incredibly rewarding to see it come to fruition, and rejuvenating if you've been under stress. Just make sure your savings are on track and you're not going to debt.

For me, I aim to put about 90 percent of my discretionary spending towards investing in some way. This doesn't mean all your money should go into stocks, but if you can invest in some tools, something to help you learn, or even something that will hold value or even grow in value long term (nice bourbon maybe!), then likely it will mean more value for you down the road.

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