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Investments in Your Life

Investment: “An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not consumed today but are used in the future to create wealth. In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or appreciate and be sold at a higher price.”[1] 

Stocks or bonds usually come to mind when people refer to ‘investments’. However, there are other investments that you have made or will make which are more important than money. Time is something we can never get back, so we need to choose our investments wisely.

There’s the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Education is how you get fed for a lifetime. Formal education, such as attending university, is the best path for some. Obtaining professional licenses like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Professional Engineer (PE), Doctor of Medicine (MD), and so forth, are also investments that people make for their future. For others, an informal path via experience is the best way to learn. Then, there is the melding of the two and getting both experience and a formal education. I’ve been working since high school, obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a Management minor, and am planning to graduate with a Masters of Accountancy (MAcc) at the end of 2012. Though the cost can be high, we make an investment in education because we expect there to be a return in the future. I am patiently awaiting to see the fruits of my labor. =)

Are you of the mind that you should live to work or work to live? Having a work-life balance is very important, and requires effort to achieve. Investing in your passions such as spending time with family and/or friends, athletics, learning new languages, or travel will enrich your life. Who you select as your partner/spouse is also important because they are part of the strong foundation upon which your life is built. There will be times when you need to invest in working more now (such as studying 20 hours a week for six months for the CPA exam) in order to generate a higher return in the future. By ensuring you don’t operate in a silo, you will have a strong support network to help you negotiate the highs and lows.

There are also financial investments, such as stocks, bonds, etc. Financial investments are not made just so that you can say “I have $xxx,xxx” in the bank. Their significance lies behind what they represent, which could be security, retirement, freedom of choice, and so forth. When you choose to invest money instead of spending it now, you are investing in your financial future for the sake of what is significant to you, such as a secure retirement.

When considering some of the investments you have made in your life, what are they and have they paid off?

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