Investing into myself

I realize that, in order to get the most out of life, you have to be willing to put the work into what you think is your most valuable asset or group of assets. One of the best investments you can make is to invest into yourself, according to multiple financial gurus. So, if this (you) is (are) the greatest asset of your life, then what sort of resources do you think would be the most fitting towards your financial future?

Self education. This means, very simply, that you take the time to learn from the people who know finance, life coaching, or education principles that would launch you to a world of success and happiness. Now, I’m not saying I know anything more about this than the next person. I do know and understand the importance of books. I have plenty– they just don’t get read. I work a physically-demanding job, so eight hours of my time every day for five days a week is immediately followed by naps, then dinner, then back to sleep again. I don’t watch TV, so I don’t think that’s going to be so much of a problem. Actually, I don’t even really get onto social media much. My biggest time waster is gaming, but that’s not doing anything for me.

Right now, as it stands, I have to take a bit more time to develop my writing. I have a very strong affinity for this, but I rarely find myself motivated enough after the hard workdays to stay awake to find any time to do anything but try to rest. So my blog posts don’t even come out once a week. Sometimes, yes, I can manage, but other than that, I’m usually taking care of chores or other stuff.

When it comes to investing into yourself, the first thing you’re going to have to find is time– time to read, time to watch a few informational or educational YouTube videos related to your self-investment, and time to put into practice all that you’ve learned and read thus far. I have heard that applied knowledge is really what constitutes power; knowledge alone is power in reserve. That’s the potential energy you read about in physics, which is a ball sitting atop a hill with a flat top. Kinetic energy, then, is energy motion–applied knowledge is the ball rolling forward, accelerating a little faster with each passing moment in time. This is the very fundamental explanation behind becoming something better than you ever thought could be possible.

So, that’s well and good! You have just learned a little about how to invest in yourself! Below, I’ll be listing a couple of books that I personally have in my library, which I have read and refer to whenever I feel stuck.

1. Think And Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill

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This is the quintessential book for anyone wishing to really get into the mindset of becoming wealthy in all aspects of their personal lives. I’ve read this a couple of times, and each time I go through the pages, I see something that applies to a new feature of my path, which, had I only read this book once, would have passed me by– I would have missed an opportunity otherwise. It’s focused on how the wealthy made their money, by using nothing more than the will of their mind to become rich. Now, there are multiple paths to becoming rich, and thought alone will not get you there. A “burning desire” is what really helps to forge your path to wealth, because it forces you to think about how to go about developing yourself, which is ultimately the path you take in life to obtaining your wealth.

Anyone who has ever read anything about finance has heard about this book. I recommend it only because it’s helped me a little bit, but I’m not claiming to have utilized it to my full potential; it’s only a small stepping stone!

2. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

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This book has introduced the idea of limiting my spending habits to such an extent that I have an emergency fund for immediate use, since a good portion of the population for my demographic seem to not have such a thing. His recommendation is to have at the very least $1,000 for emergencies, to start. Later, this increases, but at least you’ll have this available and at the ready, before taking on some of the next steps towards financial independence.

Now, this book is more common sense than anything, focusing on eliminating your debts through your own efforts first and foremost and living below your means (this term will become apparent to those who are only hearing this for the first time). Rather than buying the latest hot gadgets, the focus is to really only get what you need for your daily life until you can realistically afford the small luxuries.

Last, but certainly not the very least, two books from the same author:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki

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These two books are more geared towards the person who has already developed their financial literature, and has a more confident approach to how they’re going to move from the left side of the quadrant to the right side. This is the path I’m currently taking. Now, these two books have done quite a lot for me in addition to the other two which I have mentioned, because they’ve exposed to me a mindset and perspective which I wish I would have had when I was much younger. Of course, I never did listen to my parents’ advice, so here I am struggling financially– but the difference here is that, after a couple of years of consideration, hard thinking, and long hours of physically working too hard, I realized that life doesn’t have to be as such. It’s a humbling thing, understanding your flaws and accepting yourself for who you are after years of self-deceit. I’ve been on the left side of the cashflow quadrant for a long time, and I feel it is now time to start taking steps to get to the other side.

Not only am I doing this for my future, but for the future of my family and siblings and nieces and nephews. I hear so many stories of personal success, and it never occurred to me that I should be doing the same. After watching a few videos from Jeff Rose on YouTube, I’ve become more motivated to doing what it really takes to succeed. Now, it’s going to be up to me to find a niche or career path which is best suited for me, but perhaps I should just start right here on my blog. Blog posts are a good foundation for stepping into another realm of financial security and decisions.

Featured Image of money from these guys at The Green Head.

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Morning

   As I sit and hear the water bubbling in the percolator on the stove, I am considering how my financial problems have been eating away at my happiness. And as a slave to debt and payments in adult life, I’m constantly reminded of how little I’ve kept for myself while others have taken from me– all the while, I believed that it was a good thing, to pay later for something I felt I had to have post haste. The thing is that I have blamed others and really taken a look at the proverbial mirror, and I’ve seen what kind of dimwit I’ve always been. But in the same breath, those who are ignorant are not ill-intended towards that which they don’t know. Sadly, this is a reality for many millions of people. They’re not taught the ways of the dollar, and how spending less by buying none of the crap you really need is not entirely discouraged. Our whole lives have revolved around buying everything on credit, or in the form of a down payment, or some other means by which to purchase something over the course of time, since you didn’t have that money to begin with.
Thus, I’ve decided it is going to take great testicular fortitude to reverse the financial damages I’ve rendered to myself. I’ve not dug myself into SEVERE debt, luckily. I rent an apartment, and so I don’t owe for a mortgage. I do have car payments, nice smart phones (ironic) for my fiancee and myself, child support arrears (definitely blaming others for my own luck)– and here it is YEARS later, and I’m coming to the realization that I had not exercised the very common sense I told people was not very common. Spouting off quotes doth not a smart man make (to make use of random, non-verbatim, and highly altered quotes as a means to prove a point). As a newly-discovered personality trait, I’ve suctioned myself down a funnel, into a twisting spiral that is reality and karma only to discover that I, myself, have lived verily as a hypocrite. And ignorant one at that.
Denial knows no boundaries, intellectual or otherwise. As it turns out, I’m a great reader! I’m an okay writer! And I’m very much sobered by this slow-but-steady reality check. As a person who has not done much in the way of intelligence at all, I’m very much sobered by the fact that I have never taken the time to even learn much about budgeting, financial intelligence, or money in general. I have heard from countless people over my lifetime: “More money would be awesome.” “I could use more money.” “If I had a million dollars, I would be set!” The unfortunate thing about desiring more money is that it would be used as a means to highly fuel one of the greater problems that we as a society have already had to face for decades: we’ll waste it on crap if we have neither the proper financial literacy nor proper discipline. We’ll buy things on credit, buy the expensive house, the expensive car, the expensive this-or-that with high maintenance costs.
Look, I’m a custodian. I know a thing or two about cleaning, and basic maintenance is not exactly rocket science to me. I can fix a gasket in a faucet, soft reset phones, figure out the damn remote for the TV, and kick the dog if it doesn’t work— just like anyone else. I do all of these things in the run-down apartment which I live, and yet when it comes to controlling my spending habits, I’m like a kid in a candy store. “Gimme this and that and all of it! Shiny! The hardest part about learning this is that I actually have to look at myself, and I see a dunce cap on a donkey. Regret sucks!
So, I’ve made it a point to really start to try some of the savings and payment exercises as expressed by a man who goes by the name Dave Ramsey. This is a person who has written a few books, held many seminars, taught millions about controlling their money, and means by which to eliminate their debts. It seems as if he not only has good content, but he knows a thing or two about what has worked for him during his lifetime.
By this time next year, if I can change my spending habits and stick to it with great diligence, then I should be out of the debt hole. But, I understand fully that it will take a monumental degree of discipline, heartache, and tantrums by my inner gimme kid. The only thing I should be investing in at this point is my knowledge of money, but it starts with the first step. All great journeys begin with the first step.
Baby step number one is to save for an emergency fund. This is almost unheard of in my household, but I’m starting off by keeping accurate count of how much I have in my emergency fund, which I will store somewhere. I’m not sure WHERE just yet, but I will have it somewhere.
As I work through the book, I’ll be keeping a sort-of journey through my Instagram. I already have a single post regarding some related reading, with a total of five or six books that I’ve been working through over the last few weeks. They are:

How To Read A Book
The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom
Rich Dad Poor Dad
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
The Total Money Makeover
Cash Flow Quadrant
Wealth 101: Wealth Is Much More Than Money

So, that’s a lot to absorb, but when I study something, sometimes I use a laser focus for extended periods of time. A lot of this is basically common sense, but it still doesn’t hurt to read a book on the subject as written by those who have actually done something to make money far in excess of what I’ve even achieved to date. If you have any awesome tips that I could use, please feel free to share with me in the comment section below!