Investment 101: Invest in Yourself First

As our twenties pass we feel the increasing pressure to prioritize longterm security. Some people turn to the stock market to build a portfolio independent of their 401(k) or Roth IRA. If you're young and have some investment money to spare, where do you start?

If you aren't already tuning in to Myleik Teele's 'My Taught You' podcast, please let her bless your life with free career and personal advice. There's 5 years of material waiting for you. In a May 2016 episode of the podcast, a listener asked, "If you were 23 years old and had $1,000 to invest, how would you invest it?" Her response:

"I would invest in myself. I'd take a class, I'd take an experiential trip. I would do something that was going to expose me and broaden my horizons... So instead of trying to take that money and try to make it make more money, I think if you put it back into yourself you will eventually have value to make that back."

Myleik explains that an issue she's encountered with younger adults is that we just haven't seen or done enough. She makes the great point that how you choose to spend your time, what you expose yourself to, and what we take the time to learn about directly corresponds to our self-growth and maturity. Developing a new skill, strengthening an old one, and stepping outside of your daily habits are all ways to encourage this kind of growth. You may or may not have $1000 to spare. So we've put together actionable investments for all budgets.


1. Read More

The Reading Rainbow theme song didn't lie. It (whatever that it may be) is in a book. Choose a subject that interests you and commit to reading a new book about it every month. You can pick a book up from the library, order it online, or get an Audible account and listen to it during your commute to and from work everyday. This is a low cost option to opening your mind and becoming more knowledgable. 


2. Take online classes

If you need more guidance than a book can provide, there are plenty of low-cost online educational platforms. For starters, YouTube is full of content creators wanting to bestow knowledge upon the masses. If you need something more official, check out Skillshare. You'll get high-quality videos and a well-organized site that makes it easy to explore the subject you're interested in.


3. Take Classes IRL

In any given major city, there are a limitless number of classes you can try out in person. You can learn a new language, take dance classes, painting, voice or cooking lessons. Or, try going for something more practical like first aid or public speaking to garner some life skills. Were there subjects in college that you need a refresher on or courses that looked interesting but you never took? Reach out to your local junior college and find out what they're offering in the upcoming semester.


4. Volunteer

Is there a group or cause that you're passionate about? Take the time to find out how you can help and go do it. You'll learn more about the cause, meet new people, and become more conscious and empathetic in the process. Plus, you can always add volunteer work to your resume.


5. Challenge Yourself Physically

Get yourself some Teyana Taylor-level body goals. Hitting the gym hard is a great way to develop motivation, self-encouragement, and discipline. Start doing yoga to clear your mind and increase your flexibility. Train for a local 5K race if you're the competitive type. Match any of these ideas with a well-planned diet and the results will make you wonder what else you're capable of.


6. Go To a Professional Conference

Maybe there's a subject or industry that you're already knee-deep in. That's great. Now go surround yourself with people who feel the exact same way. A conference is a great way to open your eyes to the future of your field and directions that your career can take. Be ready to collect some business cards.


7. Travel

Obviously, we have a bias here at Prism. But we also have a purpose! Travel is a great way to immerse yourself in a completely new experience. Go to a country where you don't speak the language, have never tasted the cuisine, and would be completely out of your comfort zone. Do your best to make friends there. Assert your independence and self-confidence by doing it on your own.


8. Relocate

Maybe the truth is that where you live has nothing left to offer you. Don't be afraid to move to a new city. Try somewhere bigger that presents more challenges and rewards than where you are now. You can start by looking for job opportunities there, taking interviews and visiting (hint hint: if you company really likes you, they'll fly you out and put you up in a hotel). Ask yourself if you could see yourself being happy and successful in this new city.