One of my beliefs as a Financial Coach is that what causes many of us to “short circuit” financially is not solely a lack of money (which is true in some cases), but misplaced priorities.
Whatever our background may be – whether we grew up poor (which is true for me), middle-class, or wealthy (which I know is less often the case for people of color – for various reasons), too few of us look at whether we’re meaningfully investing in ourselves or not and how.
For most of us – including myself – the word “investment” automatically brings to mind images of stocks and bonds and “playing” the stock market. But there are other types of investments we can make with our money.
Because of financial challenges or lack of money, we often put off spending money on the things that could exponentially push us forward the most. Instead, we spend large amounts of money on designer clothing, expensive sneakers, yearly vacations and other things we feel we “must have.” To be absolutely clear, I am NOT saying that we should never buy these things. Not at all. These are worthwhile things to own and have. I too LOVE my Nike Shox (at $100+ a pair). For me, no other sneakers feel or look as good as they do. And life wouldn’t be very much fun or enjoyable without these things.
What I AM saying is that immediate and temporary gratification too often replaces exercising a bit of financial discipline and spending our money on things leading to longer term success. Because life is so painful for us (I know you know what I mean), spending our money on expensive luxuries and trips often supersedes investing in financial books, seminars, courses, coaching, and yes, even the stock market.
As a new business owner, I decided to plunk down money to get high quality coaching. Rather than struggle on my own (as many have done) and possibly give up due to not knowing how to achieve my business goals, I chose to spend a considerable amount of money on personal business coaching. I consider it an investment in myself. Yes, there are free business services. I have taken advantage of those. And I’m NOT saying that those services haven’t helped me at all. They have. But as we all know, “you really do get what you pay for.” To receive the level of personalized and consistent guidance and accountability that I needed, I realized I had to seriously invest in myself to build up my business.
It is an investment. Financial investments by their nature, come with no “guarantees.” I have no guarantee that the business coaching I receive will produce the specific results that I have in my mind. But I know that I will be more successful than I would have been had I not done so. And I know that I will succeed, because I'm determined to do what it takes to achieve the goals I’ve set. I concluded that it’s much wiser to learn from successful business owners who'll help me avoid the mistakes they’ve made, in order to vastly shorten my own learning curve to success.
In my life, I’ve worked with a financial advisor plus career, business and voice coaches (yup, a voice coach - I sing). And they all helped me learn things I didn’t know or develop new skills I wouldn’t have on my own.
Obviously, I am a coach so it’s fair to assume that I am biased in urging you to invest in these ways. But the truth is, whether you work with me or someone else, I still firmly assert that investing in financial know-how is the way to go. One major shift in priorities can dramatically impact what we invest in and how our financial futures shape up.
Athletes, businesses and professionals have coaches. We attend college and get training to refine our skills in everything else. Why wouldn’t we do the same with our money? We’re going to live with it for the rest of our lives. Why not it make it the best “relationship” possible?
What do you think? Do we generally invest in things that matter most or no? Leave me a comment. And if you found this helpful or thought provoking in any way, please share away!
About Yolanda Ransom
Yolanda Ransom is a certified Financial Coach & Consultant who empowers clients to confidently master new money management skills, resulting in improved finances and financial stability. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and provides personal finance coaching and training to individuals and groups. You can find out more about her and working with her at yolandaransom.com.