Are you investing in your future?
Being careful with your money now can go a long way in the future.
Through life, there are many spending decisions that may not seem critical but can turn into great future investments. These are typically expenditures that may appear to be a burden for someone who runs on a tight budget, but in reality if you stretch your budget a little, making some sacrifices, the return on your investment may simply transform your financial future.
Take, for example, paying for higher certification or continuing education. The concept may be demanding with far-fetched prospects, but if you explore the types of jobs that you can land with this additional education, you will become able to climb the professional ladder exponentially quicker, which all translate into more money down the road.
That is just one example of how putting some money into your future can help you improve your financial standing. When you make such financial decisions, you sometimes may not see the reward as a low-hanging fruit. But many of these minute decisions that you make on a daily basis contribute to the overall quality of your life as well as your ability to come up with creative ideas to improve your living standards and your income.
This doesn’t mean that you should go wild to explore every opportunity, however. Here are a few points to think about next time you’re wondering if channelling some money as an investment into your future makes sense or not.
If you’re running on a tight budget, the lack of money may be the first barrier to action — which is generally wise, but being on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you never should revise your priorities to fit something that can help you move to a better place. Back to the education example, if you downgrade your living and transportation standards for a couple of year to earn an advanced degree, you will be able to overcome the lack of money obstacle and achieve your goal.
You will need to be open to change, however. People often worry about making significant financial changes. If everything is going well, why rock the boat? The answer is: You need to pursue and explore new opportunities. For example, if you take several months off from an unfulfilling, low-paying job, the initial phase may be financially difficult. On the long run, however, your decision may put you in a better financial place. That is why change can be positive as long as it is well-thought and planned.
As mentioned, not all small investments yield benefits right away. You may often take chances or risk losing some money initially. This risk is part of any investment, whether it is in stocks, property or business. So when it comes to your daily life, think about how much financial security you actually need. Hint: 100 per cent isn’t the right answer. Sometimes, you will need to pay for membership in professional club that might — or might not — lead to professional development. Sometimes, you will need to volunteer your time and money to get your name out or new connections. Regardless to how certain the results are, the more you’re willing to step up and do something new, the more opportunities will come your way.
It is hard sometimes to know whether your investment paid off or not. You invest several hundred dirhams on a business suit to go to a job interview. If you get the job, you probably won’t know whether it was because of being a perfect match, doing an impressive interview, or because you looked cleaned up. Although gauging this one factor won’t be easy, you must recognise it as a factor when things work out. And when they don’t, try to still think of whether it contributed all or had a neutral impact.
Results of your minor investments in lifestyle, business and work issues are hard to track, however. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important. In fact, all of the money that you spend on building your image and knowledge contribute to where you are socially and professionally, and that is what eventually determine your income status.
By Rania Oteify
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Feature Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.