Now is the time to invest... wisely
How effective is your investment strategy?
I don’t mean just financially, but holistically. How effectively do you invest in yourself, your health, your relationships, your career… even in having fun?
Invest verb: devote (one's time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result; buy (a relatively expensive product) whose usefulness will repay the cost.
Technically, it is always time to invest. However, this crazy season we are in offers an acute, rare opportunity to invest in all areas of your life. An opportunity that is less available in more stable times.
What is so special about this time of uncertainty?
When it comes to investing, particularly in uncertain times, there are three common myths that people adopt without much thought:
Myth 1: Investment is only about spending money.
Myth 2: You have to have loads of money to invest.
Myth 3: In uncertain times, it’s best to hold on to what you’ve got to avoid losing out in the future
While these sentiments are common, they are simply inaccurate. Furthermore, these assumptions actually hold you back by limiting your thinking, your options, and therefore your opportunities.
The truth is very different.
Truth 1. Investment is not just about money. It is about being intentional and targetted about where you spend your time, effort, energy, and resources, in the expectation that it will grow into something bigger. One of the most impactful, yet seemingly small, investments one of my clients made in his life was investing in having more fun. He’d been living with a chronic illness for much of his life, which was impacting on his energy and spilling into his career and family life. As a result, he was deprioritising what he loved to do - dance! He decided to invest just 1 hour every fortnight to go to a dance event. After just a couple of months, he felt energised, happier than ever, and more motivated. This led to positive improvements in his health, which rolled into improvements with his career and family.
Truth 2. You don’t have to have loads of money to invest. Referring back to point 1, investing is not all about money. It is actually all about growth. You put something in and you get more out than you put in. So whether you’re starting with 30 mins a week or 1 hour a day, whether £100 or £10,000, the point is not how much you put in, it’s about focusing on maximising what you get out.
During the 2008 financial crisis, I was 1 year into my first real job at Morgan Stanley, unsure about what the future held for my career and with very little savings. Yet, I decided to invest a small amount of money that I had saved on Morgan Stanley stock. At the time, some may have said it was a foolish thing to do - the bank’s stock was at rock bottom, with a very good chance of going bust, and the amount I invested was laughable compared to “real” investors. In addition, I had no idea what I was doing. I could have opted to hold on to what I had to avoid losing in the future (see Myth 3). But I chose instead to invest wisely and it reaped rewards.
Truth 3. In times of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to create the future you want. Uncertainty breeds fear in a lot of people. And understandably so. If you have trouble seeing what the future holds, you may naturally start to think of the worst-case scenario which leads many into retreat mode. But remember - the future is not real and all you have control over is the present. If you choose not to invest in creating the future you want, external situations dictate your “investments”, taking control out of your hands. Instead, if you can invest wisely now with focus and purpose, you are in control of your future.
Moreso, by choosing Team Invest in major uncertain times, you reap additional rewards that are not available in more “normal” times because:
The gap between the investor and the fearful is wider and at the same time, peoples’ needs are greater. Step into the opportunities that others fearfully back away from.
“Markets” are down so the only way is up. Whether it’s the financial markets, relationships, or your health, the upside is greater than ever because, frankly, the bar feels lower. Build now and keep going beyond the downturn.
There is more time and space to focus on what really matters. Nothing focuses the mind more than a downturn. We go back to basics, back to our instincts, and start to reflect on what is most important in our lives. Use that as a driving force to realign who you are, what your purpose and passion is and what you want and invest in that!
From Insights to Action
What should you invest in and how should you go about doing it wisely?
Create a baseline: Assess the current state of the different areas of your life. Here’s a handy, super simple but highly effective tool to get you started: Wheel of Life Assessment
Pick your investment area: Select 1-3 areas of your life that you want to experience the next level of success and imagine what that might look like.
Invest wisely: Commit to investing a specific amount of time, energy, effort, and/or money regularly to improve that area. If in doubt, start small but consistently. You can always increase the investment later, but start too high and you risk giving up early.
Stay committed to reap rewards: Wavering a little? Fuel your mind with clean energy, for inspiration, motivation, and drive.
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