The Only 5 Things You Can Invest In

There are only two basic things I care about in terms of how my children turn out someday:

(1) I want them to be healthy and happy

(2) I want them to be good people

In my book, “You’re a good person” is one of the highest compliments you can pay someone.

The world lost a good person this week. Jon Boorman passed away from cancer. He was just a good person and that’s not something you can say about everyone these days.

A number of people shared a piece Jon wrote a few years ago about some things he learned over the years. This one stuck out to me:

When you’re young, you have so much time but never enough money. When you’re old you have money but never enough time.

How you perceive and value time and money will change many times throughout your life, but at the end there’s only one you’ll want more of, would give anything for, but it won’t be available at any price. Cherish it while you can.

In the investment world so much time and energy is spent thinking through various market scenarios, investment strategies, economic datapoints, asset class combinations and financial minutiae. Money rules all else when it comes to what people pay attention to.

I understand why this is the case. Money may not automatically make you happier but it sure can make life easier.

But your capital is just one thing you can invest in. As Jon so eloquently pointed out, time is also an investment and it doesn’t always have to cost anything to invest your time.

With this idea in mind, here are the five main factors in life you can invest in:

1. Your Time. Time is the one asset where there’s no inequality on a daily basis. Everyone deals with the same number of hours. How you manage that time can have an enormous impact on your life satisfaction.

How are you being compensated for your time? Are you able to spend time on the things that are important to you? Are you finding enough time to better yourself or your career?

Who you spend your time with, what you spend your time on, and where you spend your time are some of the most important decisions you can make in life.

This is true if you have a lot of money or not.

2. Your Money. Investing your money is certainly important if you ever hope to gain more independence over your time but this is not solely about the markets.

What do you spend your money on? Who do you spend your money on? How does your spending impact your happiness? What are you investing for? Are you buying stuff or experiences?

Mr. Carson on Downton Abbey once remarked, “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that’s all there is.”

Money can help facilitate these acquisitions if used correctly.

3. Your Energy. Almost all of my friends have kids. Many of them talk about how tired and exhausted they are all the time. With smartphones, emails and constant notifications it’s almost impossible to leave your work at the office these days (especially when the office is home for many right now).

People wear I AM SO BUSY as a badge of honor.

Between careers, friends, family, working out, Netflix and hobbies it’s not always easy to get everything in that you need to for a balanced life. Time management is important but so is energy management.

I’ve learned over the years one of the best ways to approach this is the things you don’t invest your energy on. This could be avoiding friendships with people who are constantly negative or toxic. Or maybe avoiding clients or workplaces that will suck your energy dry. Or bad habits that make you feel lethargic, tired or stressed.

The people, work and activities you don’t invest your energy in can help you focus on what really matters.

4. Yourself. If I was a lifehack guy I would say investing in yourself is the best investment you can make but I’m not so I won’t go that far.

But you’ll never have enough energy if you don’t invest in your health. You’ll never advance in your career if you don’t invest in your education and learning.

5. Your Contentment. Happiness is a valid goal but I’ve come to the conclusion that simply being content is a worthwhile pursuit. It could be contentment in yourself, your station in life, the work you do, the people you’re with, the activities you spend your time on, etc.

Being grateful for what you have is a tricky mental game because it’s difficult to strike a balance between wanting to move up in the world while also being happy with what you have.

It’s hard to get out of your own head sometimes.

Some people meditate. Others do yoga. Some people turn to substances. Therapy works for some as well. Working out has always been my release valve.

Whatever it is, figuring out how to keep your sanity, maybe now more than ever, is a worthwhile investment.

Further Reading:
The Bear Market in Happiness

Check out this video made for Jon as well:
Rest in Peace, Rockstar

 
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