The Best Investment

Posted in Business English, Communication and Influence on January 21 by AJ

What is the very best investment?  Which investment guarantees the highest ROI (Return On Investment)?   Given the worsening economic conditions in the world, this is an extremely important question.

The experts, of course, constantly change their advice.   Many proclaimed that the stock market was the best investment–  providing the best returns over time.  They recommended diversified mutual funds as a sure-bet long-term investment.  Now the stock market has crashed, and all those people with mutual funds are in serious trouble.

Other experts recommended real estate.  “Buy, buy, buy”, they said!  These geniuses gave advice such as “Your home is your best asset” (it’s not an asset at all usually).   Now the housing market has crashed, and millions of people are in trouble– as are the banks that lent them the money.

At the moment, metals and commodities are looking like good investments– especially with the recent big drop in prices.   Probably, these are good long-term investments at the moment.  However, this is not the best investment.

There is one investment which is always superior.  There is one investment that always pays very high returns.  There is one investment that always beats all others.

What is it?  Where are Tomoe and I putting most of our own extra dollars?

The answer:  Learning.  Education.

The best investment is always learning.   Learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge, gaining new mental, physical, and emotional resources–  these investments cannot be beat!

When most people have extra money, what do they usually do?  Well, most people buy “toys” and luxuries first.  For example, if they get a raise at work, they promptly buy a bigger house, and/or a more expensive car.  They also tend to buy new stereos, new TVs, and lots of other new “toys”.

Those who are more investment-oriented, which is a small minority, will first buy investments– usually stocks of some kind.  A few might buy rental real estate or another kind of standard investment.

But how many people spend first on education?   There are many people, for example, who will buy a $30,000 car happily–  and then complain about the price of a $3000 seminar.  Yet the seminar is far more likely to enhance their business, career, and overall life than an expensive car (which is, after all, just a status symbol).

Last year, Tomoe and I spent more money on education than on anything else.  We attended three Tony Robbins seminars and enrolled in two more.  We attended two Language teaching workshops.  We enrolled in a financial coaching program.   We joined an internet marketing coaching program.  We joined a life coaching program. We bought a large number of CD courses, DVD programs, and books.   We also attended an Entrepreneur Meetup Group…  and a Web-Entrepreneur group.

We went to Guatemala and studied Spanish intensively for a week.  We took a cooking class in Mexico.  We took a jewelry class in Mexico as well (and made a couple of silver rings).

We did this because we know that resourcefulness, knowledge, and skills are investments that always come back to us.

I know, as a businessman, that what I learned last year will transform my business and increase our profits faster than any stock, real estate property, or other standard investment.   In fact, I know absolutely that specific ideas and skills I learned led to specific changes to our business- which produced measurable increases in sales and profit.

I know, for example, that I paid about $3500 for the internet marketing coaching program–  then used what I learned in the first month to increase our monthly income by $5000.  In other words, the program paid for itself in less than a month… and now we will continue getting that extra $5000 for years and years and years.  I know of no other investment that pays that kind of return.

Other learning investments pay less obvious, but still powerful, returns.  For example, as a teacher, I’m always observing the methods and techniques of the teacher-leader in any class, workshop, or seminar I take.  I always learn something from them that improves my own teaching & leading (even if it’s what to avoid doing).   My improved leadership skills translate into improved business for our company.

This is true for you too.  It’s true for everyone.  Invest in education first.  Spend $10,000 on seminars before you spend it on a car or bigger house.   Spend $500 on an audio course before you spend it on a new TV.

Whether you are focused on your career as an employee, or you are a business owner, there is no greater investment than your own learning.  Improve your knowledge and skills.  Improve your resourcefulness and emotional mastery.  Improve your motivation and attitude.

What you learn can never be taken away.  Markets crash and everything can be lost– but skills and knowledge stay with you all of your life.

Always make learning your first and most important investment.  If you still have extra money after that– then invest in savings, a business, stocks, real estate, or commodities.  And if you still have extra money after that– then and only then buy “toys”.

As a final note– there is nothing wrong with “toys” and bigger houses.  Just be sure to invest intelligently in your own learning first– before you spend on anything else!

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