“True wealth is about taking control of your future and making conscious decisions about what you really want in life,” say authors Marc Eisenson, Gerri Detweiler and Nancy Castleman in their book, “Invest in Your-SELF: Six Secrets to a Rich Life” (Wiley, 2001).
To create a rich life, these three longtime consumer advocates encourage readers to diversify their lives as well as their investment portfolios. Like any good investment, your life portfolio needs to be flexible, carefully managed and geared toward the long term. Here are some of the secrets the authors reveal in their book:
1. Make your own lifestyle decisions. Investing your time well is just as important as investing your money well. Money can be earned or borrowed, but time can just be used up. We each have 168 hours every week to spend on whatever we’d like, but once spent, those hours are gone forever. Ask yourself: Am I getting a good return on my investments of time and energy?
2. Put your family first. If you don’t put yourself and your family first, who will? If one of you wants to stay home with the kids, for example, you have to first make the commitment, then take small steps that will put you on the road to your goal. The key to living on one income in a two-income world is to plan ahead. Once you learn how to live on less, pay off your debts and start a small side business for extra cash, the transition will be a lot easier.
3. Wherever you work, be in business for yourself. Today’s worker needs to be prepared to “job hop,” if necessary. To succeed today, nurture an entrepreneurial attitude, and be multi-skilled, flexible, good at selling yourself, savvy about personal finance, clear on your priorities and always prepared for the ax to fall or the bottom to drop out. Above all, see yourself as self-employed no matter where you work.
4. Make the most of the money you bring home. Believe it or not, it’s worth the time and effort to pinch pennies. Here’s proof: If you put a penny in a big jar and every day add twice as many coins, by the end of the month you’ll have more than $10 million — over a billion pennies! That’s extreme, but you get the point.
5. Turn your debts into golden investment opportunities. Every extra amount you include with each credit card, mortgage, car loan or student loan payment will save you money — tax-free, risk-free and absolutely guaranteed.
6. Be Your Own Financial Planner. Research has shown that people who have a written financial plans report twice as much money in savings and investments as people without a plan. That doesn’t mean you have to rush out and hire a financial planner. All you have to do is put your goals in writing and start reaching toward them.
The good life is within your grasp. All it takes is the right portfolio of investments in yourself!