When my first child was born my Mother gave me some great advice: take good care of yourself so that you may take good care of others. It makes perfect sense to take care of yourself however many people fall short in this area. By investing in yourself you can increase the likely hood of a higher earning potential, enjoy a more productive lifestyle, and live a longer healthier life.
Some Great Ways to Invest in Yourself
Education – Education is probably the single most important factor in determining your earning potential. Not all colleges and degrees are the same however. The top school based on return on investment is California Institute of Technology while Georgia Institute of Technology ranks at the top for value, and Shaw University ranks at the bottom for return on investment. The top starting salary in 2011 goes to Chemical Engineering Graduates at $66,886 while Elementary Education ranks near the bottom at $32,400.
A Classic Outfit – Ever hear of the phrase “dress for success”? Or how about “you have to look the part to be the part”? There is some truth to those cliches. According to Kim Zoller of Image Dynamics, 55% of people's perception of you is based upon your appearance. When you feel good about your appearance you portray confidence and that can enhance your credibility. For Men: Navy or Dark Grey Single Breasted Suit, white pinpoint shirt, solid color or simple pattern tie, black shoes. For Women: Navy or Dark Grey Suit, light colored blouse, dark colored low to mid heeled shoe, minimal jewelry and makeup.
Dependable Transportation – Having dependable transportation is not only a requirement for employment but necessary for everyday tasks . By investing in a reliable vehicle, maintenance costs can be minimized freeing funds for other uses.
According to JD Power and Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study, the following vehicles are the most dependable for the 2012 model year:
- Compact Toyota Corolla
- Compact Sport Scion tC
- Midsize Sport Chevy Camaro
- Midsize Chevy Malibu
- Full Size Buick Lacross
- Compact Luxury SUV Mercedes-Benz GLK Class
- Entry Luxury Lincoln MKZ
- Midsize Luxury Mercedes Benz E Class
- Large Light-Duty Pickup GMC Sierra LD
Healthclub Membership – Physical Fitness has many benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, improves your sex life, and can be a fun way to connect with friends and family. By joining a health club, individuals are more likely to report longer workouts and adhere to a regular workout schedule.
Certified Organic Foods – According to the EPA, 90% of fungicides, 60% of pesticides, and 30% of insecticides used on crops in the U.S. are carcinogenic. According to Greening Princeton, IGF-1 a hormone produced by dairy cows given rBGH, has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in humans. Eating a healthy diet lowers your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and certain types of cancer. There are many benefits to eating a healthy diet that includes chemical free fruits and vegetables.
A Good Mattress – A good mattress can lead to better health. A good nights sleep can improve memory, increase life expectancy, curb inflammation, and lower stress. Clete A. Kushida, MD, PhD, Director of the Stanford Center for Human Sleep Research and spokesman for the American Association of Sleep Medicine suggests this method of testing a mattress: “Lie on your side. If your shoulders or hips are sinking, if you feel your spine is not aligned, it's probably too soft. If you feel pain and discomfort, it's probably too firm.” Expensive does not necessarily mean better. Look for a well constructed mattress and then test it.
Technology – Technology can be a very good investment by allowing you to accomplish more in less time. Some of the benefits of technology are: helps to organize files, photos, and finances, allows you to take your office with you, provides access to the latest information, and enables you to build relationships via social media. While technology can simplify certain tasks there is a downside to technology. There is a danger of getting lost in the sea of information and technology can cause stress caused by intruding into personal relationships. When used properly, technology allows you to perform tasks better and provide value to your employer.
How do you invest in yourself?