It is important, for you as an individual, to invest in your own growth. The never-ending process of improving your personal and professional skill-sets will assuredly bring massive benefits into your life. Not only should you expect to see increases in your financial well-being, but you more importantly will find more meaning and fulfillment in your daily life.
Spending on the Wrong Things
When you receive your weekly or bi-weekly paycheck there are always certain things that you have to spend your money on. You pay bills, buy groceries, make upgrades to your house, and buy products to improve your health. While these are all reasonable ways to spend your money, there are also instances when you buy things that aren’t necessary for your wellbeing. The majority of us have a tendency to spend an excessive amount of our income on expensive clothes, shiny jewelry, new electronics, and expensive dinners. In the process of spending money on these nonessential things, we constantly overlook what should be one of our most important expenses: Our Own Growth.
The process of constantly improving ourselves is hard to maintain unless we are willing to make a financial commitment to our continuous growth. One of the most meaningful investments that you can make each year is the investment of your own personal and professional development.
When we spend money on nonessential items, especially material goods, we become locked in a cycle of constantly striving to obtain newer, bigger, and better things. This reoccurring cycle of staying up-to-date with the newest toys, while also trying to maintain a positive image in the eyes of others, drains our bank account and deprives us of an opportunity to increase the levels of fulfillment and happiness that we feel.
Investing 3%-5% of Your Income into Your Development
It is not entirely bad to splurge on a new iPhone or TV, but you should consciously make the commitment to set aside a particular amount of money for your personal and intellectual growth. We all should take some of our money, reinvest it in our own professional and personal development, and remain focused on constantly improving our lives in a variety of areas.
I’m sure that you are wondering, ‘How much should a person invest into their growth?’ I believe that the answer will be dependent on your current situation, circumstances, and financial commitments, but you should aim to spend at lease 3% to 5% on your own growth. If an individual makes $50,000 each year, this would mean that he or she would spend roughly anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 on improving themselves in someway.
You obviously need to take into account a number of factors such as your current expenses, debt, and children. If you just don’t think 3-5% is possible based upon your situation, start to evaluate your current spending habits and look for ways to reduce your expenditures until you reach the 3% mark. Can you purchase a cheaper cable subscription? Can you commit to cooking dinner 5 nights a week instead of 3? Are there clothing companies that offer you the same style you are looking for at half the price? Can you utilize your tax refund more appropriately? Without question you can find a way to free up the 3% commitment that we are talking about here. One thing you should not do, however, is to take the money from you’re retirement or savings accounts, as these act as great catalysts for financial stability in the future.
Making the Commitment to Invest in Your Own Growth
Once you have determined the amount of money you are willing to invest in your personal and professional growth, you would then need to decide how to invest the money into your growth. In my opinion, you should invest a portion of the money into your professional development to increase your skills, abilities, and knowledge of your particular field and a portion of your money into your personal development to improve your self-confidence, communication skills, and health.
There are an endless amount of options when you are looking for ways to spend the money you have allocated to grow professionally and personally. You options include university classes, personal and professional development courses, seminars that cover all areas of life, books, audio sets, magazines, and online programs. When you are deciding which avenues to explore, you may want to first determine what skills or personal qualities you would like to improve. Let’s look at a simple example:
John is an accountant who has determined that he should improve his interpersonal communication skills, while also increasing his auditing proficiency in order to enhance his professional reputation. He also is deeply passionate about history and decides that he wants to spend some of his allocated money on increasing his knowledge of American History. He makes $60,000 and determines that he will allocate $3,000, or 5%, of his salary towards his own growth. John determines that he will do the following 3 things:
- Attend a Dale Carnegie course in the spring, for $1,700, to improve is communication skills.
- Take an Advanced Financial Accounting course for $1,920 (half of which is paid for by his employer) in the fall.
- With the remaining $340, he plans to disperse it across the year for history books, DVDs, and audio programs.
Similar to John, you should strive to find areas in your life that you believe you need improvement, before investing your allocated resources into classes, seminars, books, and audio programs that will help you improve upon these skills. Many employers are willing to help you with professional, and personal, training opportunities, which you should actively seek out. You should also remember that there is an endless amount of resources, including your local library, where you have the ability to grow yourself for free. If you are willing to utilize these options, you will soon see the benefits of your investment in everyday life.
Let’s hear from you guys now. What are some creative ways that can help people grow? What are some of your favorite personal development strategies, seminars, books, and audio programs? In what ways do you invest in your own growth?