Why you should invest in yourself in 2019

This is your year. Image: Getty
This is your year. Image: Getty

The crystal balls are coming to the fore as 2018 comes to a close. So what’s my hot tip for investing in 2019? Shares? Crypto? Bonds?

Actually, none of them. If you want to maximise your returns next year, I believe you should invest in yourself.

I get asked all the time about what I think is next get-rich quick scheme. Many people I know kick themselves for not getting in on Bitcoin bandwagon back when we were all scoffing the very idea of cryptocurrency.

But let’s get real. Your best chance of maximising your wealth – without taking a wild gamble – is to improve your current income and then use this increase to further contribute to your existing wealth building strategy.

There’s a few ways of doing this, but by far one of the most common and recognised is to upskill. There’s a few reasons why this is so vital.

Upskilling gives you access to roles, enables to better pursue your passions. It also gives you a chip to use in wage negotiations. Dabbling in an area outside of your current role or job can also open up opportunities for side-hustles and other way of earning an income.

Also, if you’re upskilling is relevant to your current role, the it could be eligible for a tax deduction. So if you’re in the right circumstance, you really have nothing to lose.

Meanwhile, there’s actually a risk to not keeping your skills ahead of the curve in a world where technology is improving every day. The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) forecast that 40 per cent of jobs could be made redundant by emerging technologies by 2025.

So how do you upskill? And what should you focus on?

In my experience, there’s a few skills that are universal and can be leveraged in almost any role. They include writing, public speaking, negotiation and sales training. In a professional services setting, attaining skills that allow you to be involved in the building of new products or tools is also a good idea.

Beyond that, you can also choose to focus on industry specific skills or knowledge on the cutting edge on of technology trends. Some of these include: coding, user experience design and for the mathematically inclined, data science and AI.

As for how you go about this: The most obvious options is to take a course. In addition to your TAFEs and Universities, there’s a number of new tech savvy educators — like General Assembly and Academy Xi – offering flexible courses on these topics.

Beyond this, you can also invest in conferences or events. This is my personal approach to upskilling. It’s a more passive form of learning, but can be incredibly valuable for networking and also adding more value to your current role. The easiest way to find event relevant to your profession is to jump on Meetup or Eventbrite.

Some events that I have found really mind expanding and level ups for my networks include Above All Human, Purpose, TEDx, Pause Fest and The Sunrise. As for meetups, StartUp Victoria runs excellent events like their monthly pitch nights which have had themes such as female founders, impact investment and fintech.

Another option is to challenge yourself and learn is to volunteer for an organisation you care about. Volunteering is a good way to push your skill set, make a difference and learn whether you are interested in a new field ahead of pursuing it. Some of the best professional volunteering opportunities are listed on Vollie.

From my experience: volunteering is also a great way to meet like-minded individuals, and who knows, it could lead to more opportunities down the line.

If you have worked in a corporate and are looking to give back I highly recommend becoming a mentor for the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneer Program or Ygap’s accelerator. To go one level deeper, internships are fantastic and Startmate has just launched a fellowship program which is like a getting an MBA through working in a six month rotation through some of Australia’s best startups.

My key takeaway here is to consider investments more holistically, and as part of your overall finances and lifestyle. If you play your cards right, your investment strategy can enrich more than just your wealth. It can shape your career, help others, and change your life.

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