Invest in Yourself with a Portfolio Mindset

Build your assets, hedge your risks, and position yourself for returns

The Maverick Files
Sep 1, 2020 · 5 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

When it comes to money and managing our investments, we all prefer to be very scientific and measured. However, when it comes to our own lives, our approach is usually quite unstructured.

One of the biggest experts in the investment world wasn’t just being motivational when he famously said the above words. There is a good reason for us to not only invest in ourselves but to approach the investment scientifically, as we would a portfolio of monetary investments.

How exactly do you think of yourself as a portfolio? This isn’t going to be a lesson in finance — so I am going to keep it simple and easy to implement.

Let’s break this down into three basic characteristics of a portfolio — the assets or the constituents of the portfolio, the risk, and lastly the reward.

The Assets — Skills, Networks & Experience

The fundamental of a portfolio is that it is formed by a combination of assets. I will categorize a person’s assets into three broad “asset-classes” within each you could have a varying number of constituents.

1. Skills

These are the innate as well as acquired qualities and abilities that you possess. They could be soft skills — communication, leadership, street-smartness, resourcefulness, adaptability, etc. or hard skills — coding expertise, writing skills, engineering degree, doctorate, construction skills, and so on.

Make sure you take every opportunity to add to your skillset in a scientific way. If you think of yourself as a generalist — learn a bit of everything that you can and build a “cross-domain” portfolio of skills focused on the breath. If you prefer being a specialist — focus on the depth of your skills i.e. become an expert on a certain subject matter, so you’re a go-to for that specific area.

2. Networks

The second asset class is the people that you meet and the networks that you build. A tremendous amount of learning that you will have throughout your life will come from people around you.

Learn to build strong, long-lasting relationships both on a personal and professional front. These will hold you in good stead as you navigate various parts of your lives. Having a few people to recommend you for a job, or having enough friends to call upon in a personal emergency, are all assets of very high value.

3. Experience

Every day of your life spent doing anything at all — whether it is a success or failure, counts for an “experience”. Your life is essentially a sum of experiences. Make sure you make your experience count.

The best part of doing anything is that the next time you do the same thing or something similar, you know what to expect and the pitfalls to avoid. Focus on gaining good, meaningful experience over time in whatever you do.

Whether it is handling a unique project, having to fill in for someone in a job that’s totally unrelated to yours, volunteering in a non-profit, filling in for your partner for their duties, being a handyman to fix something at your home — anything and everything counts and adds up.

Risks — Market, Concentration, Longevity

There are a variety of risks involved in investment, but since we’re talking about life here, I am going to focus on three risks that surely apply.

1. Market Risk

These are the extraneous factors that are beyond your control to a certain extent — a change in the job market, a recession, a personal crisis, or an unforeseeable situation.

The Hedge

These are largely out of your control, but what you can do is expect the worst and always have a Plan B.

If you’re going to be a coder, and the tech market crashes, build a set of skills that can land you something elsewhere. In personal life, if you’re planning your expenditure, spend only a percentage of what you earn and save for a rainy day. In your personal life, if you’ve got a family to take care of, buy insurance.

2. Concentration Risk

The risk of loss due to too much focus on one type of investment — in our case too much focus on one type of asset class or a subset of it.

The Hedge

Let me introduce you to a fundamental of portfolio construction — our friend, diversification.

the process of starting to include more different types or things”

Cambridge dictionary

In simple terms — it is the act of NOT putting all your eggs in one basket. Learn to build a little bit of everything in terms of your skillsets, networks and experience. Acquiring a diverse set of skills across a variety of different domains is a useful thing. Professionally, it insures you against being too dependent on one job, field, or skillset. Personally, it broadens the dimensions of your personality — and no one likes a single-faceted personality!

3. Longevity Risk

The risk of essentially outliving your savings — in an investment world applicable for retired or near-retirement individuals. In our world, this relates to anyone who’s stopped building on their assets i.e. adding to their skills, network, and experience.

The Hedge

Never stagnate. Essentially, continue to evolve and learn and grow your horizons in whatever it is that you do.

Constantly learn.

As Henry Ford said, this risk catches up on you if you get “old” in the learning sense of things, so never grow old!

Rewards — Short-term and Long-term

If you keep in mind the basics of building assets and managing your risks, rewards should follow. However, some of these will be more immediate or short-term while others will start to reap benefits over time i.e. long-term.

1. Short-term Rewards

These are the quick and easy wins that keep us going and motivated. If you do the right things, these will come.

You take a crash course in writing, you immediately land more successful pieces in publications. You follow a diet, and you lose a solid 10 lbs over a month. Short-term rewards are great, and important fuels but they only have an instant gratification effect and don’t matter as much in the long-run.

2. Long-term Rewards

This is the stuff you want to chase. Let’s meet another important factor in investment — the power of compounding, defined by Investopedia as follows.

Compounding is the process in which an asset’s earnings, from either capital gains or interest, are reinvested to generate additional earnings over time.

Every skill that you learn, every experience that you gain, and every network that you build, adds up over the long run. Over a period of years and decades, the power of compounding allows you to build a solid portfolio that will continue to pay dividends in the long run.

So every small or big investment made in you, that may or may not have an immediate reward, will pay off over time when you least expect it!

So go ahead, treat yourself like the most important portfolio that you’ll ever manage. Happy investing!


We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

The Maverick Files

Written by

Thinker, finance professional, loving husband, a doting dad, fitness enthusiast! MBA in Finance & Marketing and Comp. Science Engineer.


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

The Maverick Files

Written by

Thinker, finance professional, loving husband, a doting dad, fitness enthusiast! MBA in Finance & Marketing and Comp. Science Engineer.


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store