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Investing in Yourself

There is one area of financial planning that is very often overlooked by those in the financial services industry, and sadly this is because it isn’t an area where advisors are able to make a commission for themselves out of it. A very important part of your investments each year should be directly into yourself. After all, if you won’t do it, why would anybody else? This doesn’t always need to be a financial investment into yourself or some side business either, it is just as often an investment of time which can result in an increase in your ability to earn, or your own “going rate” on the job market.

One investment that is quite easy to make is in the area of personal development. Adding good habits to your personality slowly over time can pay really big dividends in terms of your long term career path. Learning to be a nicer and more agreeable person is not always something that comes along naturally without conscious effort, and I find reading books on the subject from time to time a great reminder of the areas I need to work on. When the next opportunity to promote someone from your ranks arises, a big differentiating factor in who gets the nod to move up the ladder is often based on how pleasing a personality each worker has, assuming the talent levels are very similar.

Self-improvement doesn’t always have to be learning a new language or taking night classes to become proficient in a new skill that is useful in your chosen field of endeavour, although habitually adding to your skill set via these methods will quickly set you apart from most of your peers who never do so.

I am a big believer in lifelong education, whereas most people see it is something that stops once you have attained your final degree. No matter how good you are in your current role, there is always something you can learn to make you more valuable to your employer or clients and customers. Make the investment in yourself now and the monetary rewards should last a lifetime. You can lose your job and your life savings, but with the exceptions of Alzheimer’s and head trauma you cannot lose your education.

Another area that is easy to invest in is your personal health and fitness. Clinical studies have shown that even the act of thinking uses up the glycogen running through your blood. Something as simple as an investment of 30-45 minutes of jogging 3-4 times a week can make you much more productive during the hours you are at your desk working by increasing your overall energy levels. Work of any kind takes energy so you should continuously invest in fostering your body’s ability to produce it.

Although these tips are not rocket science and things you have likely heard before, most people don’t take the time to plan and write out goals for their personal development. For some reason things that don’t get written down often don’t ever get done as life is constantly throwing things at us that seem to need our immediate attention.

Thus many people’s skill sets remain stagnant and their ability to earn only raises by adding a number to the “years of experience” box. Write out a one year, five year, and ten year plan on what new skills you would like to add to your CV and choose one or two each year to focus on. This is the only investment in the world that is 100 percent guaranteed to do what you expect it to.

David Mayes MBA provides wealth management services to expatriates throughout Southeast Asia, focusing on UK Pension Transfers. He can be reached at david.m@faramond.com. Faramond UK is regulated by the FCA and provides advice on pensions and taxation.

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