Invest in yourself early and often. #NextGenUnite #NextGenInspired
I write about all sorts of things related to money, but the overriding principles are about building wealth so that you have freedom and choices to live the life that makes your heart sing. Most financial planners, and me included, will tell you that the principles are simple. You need to spend less than you earn, live well beneath your means, save regularly and invest often. Mostly we talk about investing in stock markets. This can backfire sometimes as it can lead people to spend too much time focusing on the markets, on what the market might do next, when the next crash might happen, that sort of thing. Those things that are completely out of your control. We have no ability to change the course of the markets, or the timing of the next crash.
For many, the key to building wealth lies in spending much less time worrying about the markets and much more time working out how to increase savings. There are really only two ways to increase your savings – spend less or earn more.
Living frugally, cutting out all the things you love, isn’t much fun (and in the long-run it tends to backfire as we have a natural instinct to rebel against restriction and deprivation). So what about the other side of the coin? What about if we focus our time and energy on increasing our income? What impact could that have?
Let’s say you are able to negotiate a $10,000 pay rise, or you start a side gig that brings in an extra $10,000, early on in your career. That raise, could well be worth well over $1m* over the course of your lifetime. Now imagine what would be possible if you got regular, sizeable pay rises.
Getting pay rises is not always easy though. It can involve negotiation (not something women, in general, love), and it involves asking (again, not something we have been shown to be that great at). So, how do we do it?
We HAVE to invest in OURSELVES.
I never really knew anything about this concept until three years ago. In the last three years I have worked with two different business coaches, a presentation and public speaker coach, purchased and read more books on my profession than I can store in my house, read every financial planning whitepaper out there, signed up to and joined online groups, been to conferences (mostly paid out of my own pocket), participated in online training programmes – it goes on and on.
And guess what? My earnings, and my investment accounts have soared.
It was scary at first. The business coach seemed expensive – can I afford it? Will it be worth it?
But now it’s just part of who I am. The constant drive to learn more and be the best that I can be – it’s what makes life inspiring and keeps the passion going.
I think there are six parts of ‘you’ that you can invest in.
- Your education. Learning should never be over. Enroll in a course, in an online class, get another qualification. Prove to your employer that you are worth the raise.
- Your voice. Progressing in a career will normally involve public speaking. You can be the expert in your field, but if you get in front of a crowd and fumble, you won’t be convincing. Getting professional help can pay dividends. You might even find your employer will sponsor you to get coaching if you show you have the initiative.
- Your health. It’s really hard to progress in your career if you are not strong and healthy. Employers notice how many sick days you take a year. They notice if you can’t take the pace. Little changes now can save you from chronic diseases later in life that might impact you in your peak earning years.
- Your independence. I have spoken about this over and over again, but being independent gives you freedom. It gives you freedom to leave a job you hate or a bad relationship. Make your own money, save your own money and invest your own money. If you take time out of the workforce, plan ahead and figure out how you can build your own nest-egg to maintain the ability to ‘get up and run’ should you ever need to (hopefully you won’t). Dependency can be blissful, but too often it ends in crisis.
- Your style. How you present yourself matters. Whilst I hate the emphasis that society places on how we look as women, it does matter in business. My business coach in the US who built a business managing money for multi-millionaires told me that when she started out, she remortgaged her house in order to buy a whole new wardrobe to ‘look the part’. I absolutely DO NOT recommend doing that, but you have to consider who your clients are when you put together ‘your style’.
- Your network. I think this is one that we can be particularly bad at. A friend who runs a large networking group told me that he couldn’t attract women, and when he asked women why, the answer he heard over and over was ‘I can’t see the benefit’. It’s more complicated than that of course because we are juggling so many things in our life. However, getting ahead by yourself is really hard. Surround yourself by people who lift you up and propel you forward. Because quite frankly, why wouldn’t you? You never know when a meeting might turn into a job offer, a new opportunity or even just a great new friend.
So what can you, a young professional woman, do today?
Well, there is one group on island that can help you with at least five of the things above – 100 Women in Finance’s NextGen. The annual summit is coming up on October 19th. It’s a half day event focusing on “Power and Presence”. It will help you command a room so that people stop and listen when you speak. It will also give you the opportunity to network with senior women in the industry.
Last year’s event was an enormous success and this year will be even better. It’s being held at the Marriott from 12pm onwards on the 19th October.
Your (really small) investment of $50 will give you:
- Lunch at Anchor & Den.
- A panel on The Science of Confidence: What is presence?
- A group session on how to build a compelling presentation, plan a perfect meeting and command the room at your next review.
- Espresso, Prosecco and Property with Team Property Cayman
- Keynote and cocktails with international best seller Maggie Craddock, where you'll get a free copy of her book Power Genes.
- Networking and cocktails.
My guess is that it will give you the confidence to ask for that raise, take that course or start that side-gig. Those are things that you will never regret and you might even find you are millions of dollars wealthier for it in the long-run.
Trust me. Invest in yourself.
For more info and to RSVP click here.
*after 30 years assuming you continue to get a 3% pay rise each year, you save 100% of the raise and generate a 6% return on your investments.