Your financial investments pay dividends. Do your life choices pay dividends?
How to get a better return on your investment
I wrote a few months ago about how I embraced the discomfort of change and switched up jobs for a much higher salary. Well that job has just started and I’ve got a bitter taste in mouth. Something I loved about my old job – and understood would be changing with this new job – was that I’d figure out one lesson plan that would be used in about 6 classes per week. Half an hour, to an hour of prep would cover me for nearly 6 hours. In a sense, my initial investment pay dividends 6x over. If you’ve spent any time on this website you’ll know I’m fanatical about investing. That doesn’t end at money. I like to view everything in life through the ROI (return on investment) lens.
The problem with my new job; currently I’m spending more time planning each lesson and activity, than the time it takes to teach the lesson. That’s a real shitty return on investment. And that doesn’t sit right with me. Obviously it’s only the first few weeks and I’m still settling in, getting a feel for the way things works and building a new routine. No doubt it will get better with time.
The example of my job aside, I would like to review how various aspects of our day to day life can have high or low returns on investment, and how we can improve our yields. This is why I invest all my money. I work to earn money, then I put that money to work for me. Over time – let’s say 25 years – that $1,000 that took me a week to earn, can turn into $5,000 or more.
The concept can be broken down to searching for the maximum return on the lowest possible investment. Don’t get confused and think the lowest required investment means slacking off. I used to think that way and got shit results for many years. There’s a balance though, and you don’t want to burn more resources than necessary.
Work and money aside, let’s look at some other choices can pay dividends on what we invest into them.
How to cook like a minimalist.
I’ve spoken a few times how I take a rather minimalist approach to cooking and eating. I used to think I needed to add an overt amount of variety to my meals. It ended up being stupidly time consuming. Now I look for a meal I enjoy enough to eat for an extended period of time. I make sure it has the necessary macros and nutrients and then I eat that every day, week in, and week out. I barely need to think about preparing it, and i can quickly throw it together once or twice a week for the entire week. Saving valuable time and mental energy. Save getting creative in the kitchen for date night. Day-to-day life is about efficiency.
I spend about an hour or two a week preparing for food for 7 days. As opposed to 30-45 minutes every day. Two hours vs 3 or 4. I’m in the green time wise!
How to make your shopping pay dividends.
Have you ever spent a bunch of money on something that sucked or didn’t work as expected. Maybe you took the frugal route and cheaped out on an item to have it break not very long after purchase. The investment was more than the yield. Sure, with return policies these days you’re not stuck with a shitty or malfunctioned product. But there’s also the time and potentially money involved with exchanges or refunds. Or perhaps you bought something you really thought you needed but ends up as a storage room ornament collecting dust. How about cars and off road toys, that cost more to service and operate than even buy. Is the price tag of a boat worth the 4 weeks a year you use it?
Then there’s that shirt you spent an extra buck on and it somehow lasted forever. It basically paid for itself many times over. How can we replicate this result to generate a much higher yield on our purchases?
Firstly, we can think about the long term. How many times will I realistically use this item. Do I really need it? Or better yet, could I rent it?
Next, I like to ask myself if I’m buying this item for myself, or to impress others for some reason. If I’m not buying it for myself, I’ll more than likely use it once or a few times and then be pissed off at the purchase if it didn’t generate the results I wanted. I’m dependant on external forces, and for some reason need to drop cash on an object that will play a part.
Further to looking at the long term, how well does this item mesh with the life I’ve created for myself. Again, am I really going to use it? If it’s clothing, does it go with my wardrobe?
Again, as a self acclaimed minimalist, I don’t like having a ton of stuff. And I hate buying something many times. On top of this, I really hate shitty stuff. So for something you really need, its best to spend more than less. I know this from experience, in the past I would try finding the cheaper way out. I’ve ended up with crappy items, and even had to go buy the more expensive item in addition. Leaving me with extra crap!
Spend consciously, spend only on what you need, and spend enough so that your purchases pay dividends.
You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.
I suppose one might argue it’s a little sociopathic to think of getting a good return on a relationship with a person. But hopefully sooner, rather than later, you will realize any one particular person is either costing you time, money, energy and well being, or attributing to gains in those areas. I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial it is to realize this sooner than later.
I do not think it’s harmful to go so far as to say you don’t need to hold on to anyone if they are not positively attributing to your life. It’s painful to say, but this should include family to a certain extent. Obviously people fuck up, and if they are loyal to you, you should stand by them to an extent. But there is a line, and a time for even blood to be cut. Don’t feel guilty about this in extreme circumstances.
Most often though this will be romantic partners, and friends. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term ‘you’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with most’. The habits and characteristics of those around you will either raise you up, or drag you down. So cut the fat where necessary if they are not interested in rising with you.
If you hold this return on investment mindset, so should the people you let into your life. Collectively, you will bring each other opportunities, manifest wins, and take part in beneficial activities.
A particular thought I’ve been having over the last year or two, specifically regarding romantic partners, is that a long term partner is much more beneficial than a string of casual ones. Running the gauntlet of casual dating requires time and money. If you’re not getting past the second or third date, the investment is not yielding any sort of positive return. Even if you’re getting what you want, it’s still not a very good long term ROI. Investing into a relationship with another generates a much higher and consistent return.
Do less, live better, and ensure your choices pay dividends.
I’m so very thankful I stumbled across the personal finance realm and discovered an interest in money and investments. Not only has it allowed me to be strategic with how I utilize my hard earned dollars. This interest has allowed me to take another look at all areas of my life to ensure I get the most back from how I spend my energy and attention. Now all areas of my life have begun to pay dividends.
There’s only so much time in each day, and if you are truly interested in progressively moving forward in life you need to make sure you’re getting the highest possible return with what you attend to each day. As discussed above; streamlining your weekly cooking processes, being mindful and strategic with purposes, plus selectively maintaining relationships are just a few ways you can get the best return on the investment of your time, energy and money.
What other ways do you ensure the best return on your investments? Please share below!