I am compelled to write this post because there are many times people asking me about investment. Let me be clear, I am not attached to any investment product (such as insurance, FD, etc.). What I had invested so far are mostly personal choices that I made during my 10 years earning money as a salaryman. After having enough capital and tremendous guts, I decided to start my own business and never look back from that day onwards. So today’s topic ‘Invest in yourself’, I would like to talk about investment. This topic is very board, I know. Been there, done that too.
Nevertheless, let me shrink the scope into very detail. So I am talking about any average people. Earning power is average, which means what you earn and what you spend commonly almost the same. This is the situation that you will scratch your head and thinking about what kind of investment that right for you because if you squeeze some cash from here and there, it means your daily life can be disturbed.
I am in this situation before, because when I am just started my career, my earning is RM 2,500.-. The expenses that I need to pay: transport, tithe, activities, food, rental, utilities, and lastly, hobby. All these expenses almost leave me RM 200 per month for extra cash. Thank God that I did not have debt in this period.
My motivation is always want to earn extra income so that I can have a little bit of luxury. Yep, luxury such as: going to the movie every weekend, dining in good cafes, travel overseas, and so on. I am confident that most people will have the same motivation as I am.
Many of my friends talk about investment, but mostly it comes from insurance products. I have nothing against it, just that my bad personal experience in this makes me trauma on investing in the insurance line. So I decide to collect more information by attending events, seminars, and even social network gatherings. Use Eventbrite for such event. Until one point, there is one person in the workshop told me that the best investment that I can have is investing in myself. Back in my head, I said to myself that yeah, I did that! The proof is that I like to pamper myself. Of course, what my little voice is wrong. Because invest in yourself means that you need to upskill yourself!
Let’s take my case, at RM 200. Yes, I can put it into one insurance and see the return average of 5% – 9% per annum. Now let say you spend that money to learn skills that can generate more cash. This is something that most people did not realize how important the term ‘invest in yourself.’
I take his advice seriously, and I recall the year 2009, I start to learn many skills, including soft skills and finance. This really brings a significant impact on my career too. Because with new skills, I can give more value to the company, thus putting me into a more favorable position. Imagine most of the project managers are fighting to get me into their team. Not only that, every year, I receive a small promotion that makes my salary jump more than double after working for 2 years. If you are working in a company with average performance, the most increment that you can get is about 5% every year.
Until now, whenever are people asking me how to start investing? My general advice always mentions: ‘Invest in yourself’ first. Yep, this so-called mantra has been with me for more than 10 years, and it will continue for a very long time too. This is also one of many reasons why I can start my own startup.