A Poor Man’s Investment

TFSA, RRSP, owning a house or a business are the most common investments I hear people talk about. But I never paid attention to any of it until 5 years ago. Why? I didn’t understand any of it and so I didn’t care. I had other “important things” I’d rather pay for such us going out with friends or travelling or buying the latest PS3 game. Investing my money to make more money wasn’t a priority.

Most average people wish they have more money. I’m one of them. But I had no idea how to come up with better ways to make money other than working very hard or acquire another diploma or certificate that doesn’t guarantee a raise in income. All of that have shifted when I read an article on where to invest your money IF you don’t have enough money. The article suggested I invest my money on books to educate myself and use the knowledge to bring success in my life.

We all know what books are. Books are boring. Most people I know don’t read books (some do but it’s for entertainment purposes, not for self-improvement). But I took the article’s advice. After a while, I noticed how it slowly changed my life as I applied the lessons I learned. I then realized why it’s called an INVESTMENT — it took a good amount time for me to see the results.

Physical Health

I now feel like I have more energy throughout the day. I don’t need to rely on coffee or energy drinks to help me stay up and focus. I’m not saying books made me healthy but I was reminded of the importance of sleeping well, eating well and exercising. I know I know these things aren’t new. We were taught of their importance since we were a kid (because they are THAT IMPORTANT), but as I grew up, it became harder and harder to put importance to it. I unconsciously turned these basic needs into secondary needs due to not-so-important things I have to deal with in my day-to-day life. Most of us say “easier said than done” because we’re always busy — a common excuse we use to dismiss our responsibility to be healthier not only for ourselves but also for the people we love.

Mental Health

I’m not smart but I wanted to be smarter. I’ve read books on success and personal development to change the way I view things in life. I was in a depressed state for years looking for something I couldn’t find. My friends think they know the answer (because I have been single my entire life) but that’s not it. There’s that missing piece I’ve been searching for that took me a while to find. It is called “growth” — growth in my career and life in general.

Since then, I started doing things I’ve always wanted to do — gym, jiu jitsu, draw, write, read, travel or meet other people. I stopped complaining about the smallest things. I’ve outgrown that depressed person I was back then. I’m not saying my life is so good right now you should do what I did to find fulfillment because that need for growth is constant — it never stops. I learned that Life purposely throw problems at us to push us to learn how to deal with them and grow as a better person in the process.

Personal Finance

I’ve learned the basics of investing my money to make more money and the possibility of earning money through other sources of income. It taught me how to save money simply by forcing me to be more aware of my bank account fees and understand their terms and conditions. I also learned I can earn better interest if I keep my money in credit unions instead of the big banks.

One technique I applied that I found very helpful was the concept of “Automation”. It is where my accounts were set-up to automatically move my money from one account to another. It made budgeting so much easier because it took away the “decision-making” part of managing my accounts.

Creativity

The possibility of having other income streams inspired me to do more and become better with my artworks. I became more active with posting my artworks on social media and acquire feedback to tell me if I’m going in the right direction or not.

I’ve also added writing (which is what you’re reading now) as another skill I wanted to acquire.

Social Relationships

Books taught me how to better understand people and create better relationships. This helped me so much when I was unemployed. It helped me build a network of professionals in my industry that I can go to whenever I needed an advice or provide a reference for my future employment. Having this kind of network is important because unemployment makes everything super expensive.

It taught me how to become more confident on job interviews and dealing with problems at work. I used to always sound unsure with my answers whenever I’m asked a difficult question regardless if I know the answer or not. This made me untrustworthy. Being untrustworthy means low job security and low chance for promotion. Low job security and low chance of promotion means low pay.

These are just SOME of the things I learned from reading books. It did not directly influence my bank account but it helped me acquire fulfillment. I feel richer not in terms of money but with happiness and satisfaction.

I’m not sure how much you would pay to gain fulfillment, confidence, or to be healthier. But I couldn’t put a price to any of it. If there’s a cost to any of these, it would be taking action — because it’s so much easier to pay someone to do the work than to do the actual work.

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