Investment mindset applies to more than personal finance, it extends to every aspect of your life. Every purchase you make is an investment. Every expenditure of your time and energy is an investment. Every action you take is a decision to invest in some way. You are constantly investing in yourself and others. So you need to think about the long term cost to benefit ratio. The clothes you buy and the way you craft your appearance is an investment in your goal for the day. The friends you choose are resources for your mental health, people that you can rely on when you are in need of support. The food you eat and the way you exercise is an investment in your physical health. Through cultivating a default setting in your mind that everything you do is building toward something you can create a sense of achievement. Every barrier to your goals can become a problem solving exercise instead of a detriment to your happiness. Through this process of prioritization you can learn to focus on the larger picture of your future, looking past the smaller obstacles that tend to clutter up your mind. Life is progress so think about what you are progressing toward and how you can get there.
I try to work backwards, establishing what my goals are for my life, not just financially, then figuring out how much money and time it will take to achieve my goals. I separate out the different aspects of my lifestyle goals in terms of home life, work life, romantic relationships, friendships, retirement, health, freedom, travel, and social change. All the change we desire in our lives begins from ourselves, namely the often misquoted; “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” that in actuality is this; “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi. The oversimplification of that statement can be misleading. What we often miss is the necessity of changing oneself in order to change the world. Critically examining ourselves and finding the hypocrisies between our behavior and our values must be our first step in changing our situation in the broader world.
Look at your current situation both financially and personally. Breakdown the parts of your life and decide what has to change for you. Once you have your goals stated, you can begin to work on how to achieve them. Break down the time frame into more easily digestible segments, such as a long term five year goal, break that into individual steps for each year, quarter, month, week, and day. Most likely you will have to make some sacrifices in the present for the future. We all do it, suffering through a menial job without upward mobility to survive our present circumstances in order to develop toward something greater. The important thing is to look at your current situation as a temporary state, building toward your ideal life. Nothing worth having comes easily, so you need to be sure that you are ready to put in the work.
Always remember that you are free to change your mind and set new goals. Adjusting your goals as you learn more about yourself and what you want will help immensely to avoid discouragement. How you achieve your goals is different for everyone so no method works universally. You need to ask a lot of difficult questions internally and do your research externally. As always if you find yourself struggling with this topic and you need some help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and schedule a consultation.
Self Reflection Questions
- What does your ideal life look like?
- Will your investment be worth your time and money in the future?
- What resources can you dedicate without putting a major strain on your life?
- How much of your resources are you willing to expend for your goal?
- What ratio of work to personal life balance will you be able to sustain while you pursue your goal?