Charlie Munger, the lawyer-turned-billionaire investor, made an investment every day of the week:
He would pay himself an hour each day.
Even as a highly-paid lawyer he knew the most important client he had was himself.
Munger would use his hour to read, listen, learn, study or research. Friends would describe him as a book with legs.
Despite the obvious benefits of investing in ourselves, it is something many of us forget to do. Or, if we do, we prioritise everything else first.
We have an imaginary jar of our time and many of us fill it with things like getting to work an hour early, car repayments and spending.
We’ve got it backwards!
The Best Investment I Ever Made
Like Charlie, the best investment I ever made was in myself.
I studied online for many years. I completed my undergrad and two Master’s degrees — while working. I was lucky, but I had to work hard. I missed lunches, dinners, holidays. All of it.
But you don’t have to go to uni for a piece of recycled paper to hang on your wall. It’s virtually free to do a Google search, start a blog, join a group and visit the library to find endless amounts of information on your chosen topic.
Investing money or time is a life-long education.
As an investor who I deeply respect says, “I don’t know a good investor who doesn’t read constantly.” And another one I admire says, “you must be curious and have an open mind”.
It’s hard to put a dollar value on the hour we should pay ourselves each day. But at the very least I think it’s worth more than most of us get paid by the hour — plus it’s more enjoyable.
2. A business
Done right, investing in a good business is life changing. It’s the next best investment I made.
At first I invested in other peoples’ businesses via the stock exchange, buying tiny ownership slices in large companies. It was great. But I knew there was more to it.
All of the wealthiest people I knew (in financial terms) were business owners. They calculated the risks. Most were rewarded.
So I started my own business.
So far it has cost my partner and I a few hairs on my head, plenty of dollars and it hasn’t been easy — but it’s been worth every penny.
Forget crypto, trading and commodities, I believe businesses will continue to be the best way to invest capital long into the future, but only if you commit to investing in yourself first.
Ben Franklin said, “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” I’ll raise that and say, an investment in yourself pays the best interest.
It could be a formal education, reading, a hobby or relationships. Your success will compound quicker than you think.
To use another saying, ‘people overestimate what they can achieve in one year and underestimate what they can do in five‘.
If you truly want to do the hard work and escape the rat race once and for all, invest in yourself.