We have saved a whopping £180bn since the pandemic began! That calls for a celebration, right? A £180bn summer extravaganza, perhaps?
The question every economist, fund manager and finance journalist is asking at the moment is, what are people going to do with all this money? You might be asking yourself the same question... we say, invest in yourself!
"The best gift you can give yourself is investing in yourself"
That means spending money on things that benefit you. If what you need is to let your hair down and have some fun then DO IT!! Meals out, retail therapy, holidays, the lot!
It also means not doing things that will detract from you in future. So before you spend your share of the £180bn, think about what might be important to future you. What could that money mean to you next year? Or the year after? Are there any aspects of your life that are lacking investment?
How can you invest in yourself?
There are 4 investment pillars of “you” that need investment. Some cost money, some cost time and others magically give you money and time. These pillars are wellbeing, relationships, wealth and skills.
If you are unfit, unhealthy or stressed, you will know about it. No question, you need to invest in your body and your mind. This means taking time to exercise, relax, have fun, sleep and eat well. It also means reducing exposure to negative influences on your mentality.
We are surrounded by images of people and lifestyles that portray a level of perfection that isn’t physically achievable. Social media is a mega phone for the best sliver of each person’s life, leaving out all the ugly truths. Whilst marketers are jedi masters in pin pointing our insecurities and amplifying them in our mind so we think “if only I had [the thing they want us to buy] then my life would be great.” These forces are designed to make us feel inadequate so we spend valuable time, energy and money on things we don’t need to cure those feelings. Only to find that the cycle happens all over again the next time we open instagram or get hit by a clever marketing strategy.
Investing in your wellbeing is prioritising activities that improve your health and happiness whilst avoiding negative influences and unhelpful comparisons. Doing this will boost self confidence, save you money and give you back valuable energy and time to spend on investing in yourself in other ways.
Relationships are what makes the world go round. We are inherently social creatures, it is a survival mechanism - alone in the wild we are extremely vulnerable but as a collective we have dominated every other species on earth.
Meaningful relationships have been proven to reduce stress, promote healthier activities and increase life expectancy (one study suggested that not having a meaningful relationship can be as harmful to our life expectancy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day). These relationships don’t happen by accident and we have to invest in those relationships that matter. Whether it’s with friends, family, partners or colleagues - you get out what you put in. That means investing time and energy, yes, but it also could mean investing money.
Spending money on activities you enjoy with the people you care about is not something to avoid or feel guilty about. It’s a non-negotiable part of being human in the modern world. Those people will be the ones who pick you up when you’re down, make you smile and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it most. You can’t put a price on that.
You can’t do much without money these days. It buys us comfort, nourishment, experiences, freedom and options. It can also buy us time. Once you have enough money to stop working you can do more of the things you enjoy with the people you love. We can’t buy ourselves that time if we don’t invest in our wealth. The basic equation states:
hours worked = income = stuff
That means reducing the hours worked, reduces the income, which reduces the stuff (material goods, food, experiences, etc.) you can afford. What if you could flip that into:
hours worked = income = (less) stuff + future income
All of a sudden you can reduce the hours worked in the future without reducing the future income. To do that you have to spend some money today on assets that will grow your wealth over time. This doesn’t mean saving up thousands to buy yourself a house (although that is an option). You can start investing in your wealth with as little as £5 a month (through automated investment apps) going into funds that invest in the stock market - buying a small slice of the largest companies in the world so your money can grow as those companies grow. On average money invested in the stock market doubles every 7 years. DOUBLES!!
Investing in yourself by building your wealth buys you time, it buys you freedom and it buys you options.
With knowledge comes power and opportunity. The journey to achieving your life aspirations will involve developing new skills along the way. Upskilling can be the most fruitful investment in yourself - whether it’s an extra string to your career bow or a hobby that brings you joy.
Developing new skills will always cost you time, you just can’t acquire new skills without putting the time and effort in! They might also cost you money, that’s a reality. So we need to focus on the return on investment. That return could be enjoyment - learning to sail will cost you money but if sailing brings you joy in future then that could be a worthwhile investment. That return could also be financial - developing a new skill that takes you to the next level at work or opens opportunities to earn more money (learning how to invest or starting a side hustle, for example) could cover its costs multiple times over. Consider investing in yourself by spending time and money developing the skills you need to reach your aspirations.
There is a part of me that would love to be swept away into a £180bn extravaganza this summer. But the best way to let the fun continue well beyond this summer is to put our money to work by investing in our wellbeing, relationships, wealth and skills. This gives us the best opportunity to live our best lives today and in future.