If you had the chance to talk to successful people, there is one common regret that almost all of them have. They all regret not starting to invest when they were at your age. When you are in your 20s, time is your biggest ally. But if you don’t use your time wisely, it could turn the table on you and become your worst nightmare.
1. Investing in yourself
Most people have the misconception that investing refers to tangible financial assets offered by the market. Many of us tend to forget that we are sometimes the best “asset” we can invest in. To quote Tony Robbins and Warren Buffett, the best investment they ever made was not in any stock or asset. Both admitted that the best thing they could ever invest in was themselves.
In particular, invest in skills to enhance your value
One thing that you can invest in is your skills. For Singaporeans above the age of 25, you would have received a S$500 angbao from the government for your learning. This angbao comes in the form of Skillsfuture Credit, which you can use to learn anything that interests you.
Skillsfuture offers a wide range of learning from language classes to cooking classes to personal development courses. By investing in your skills, you enhance the value that you can bring to your future employer, or to your own business. This paves the way for a brighter financial future.
2. Invest in skills that help you make better financial decision
Apart from skills that make you more employable, it is also important to invest in skills that will help you make better financial decisions. One key skill you must spend time picking up is investing. If you dream of retiring early and living a comfortable retirement life, the skill of investing will be key.
Picking up the skill of investing can be as simple as spending time reading investment books. You can either download them online (not illegally, of course), borrow from your friend or from the library. There are loads of materials out there that can turn you into a competent investor. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, “The Intelligent Investor”, “Beating The Street”, “Unshakeable” and “Think And Grow Rich” are books that we would recommend as appetisers. Other great options can be found here.
But if reading is not your cup of tea, fret not. You can choose to join investing boot camps that teach you the key financial concepts. The good thing about boot camps is that a trainer is there to train you. With a trainer there to keep you engaged, you can also absorb the concepts at a much quicker pace and reduce your learning curve.
Investing boot camps would come at a slight cost to you, both monetary and time wise. However, if you think about the gains you can achieve in the long run, it could be a worthwhile investment. Just make sure you read reviews of the boot camp and do your research properly before joining.
Additionally, check out these TED Talks and podcasts that will change how you think about money.
3. Invest in your own home
Minister Khaw Boon Wan once said, “Homes are not meant for speculation”. However, we cannot deny the fact that homes in Singapore are one of the most important financial assets. Like in Hong Kong, home prices have been growing steadily since the first Housing Development Board (HDB) home debuted. Investing in a place you can call your home should be a priority while you are in your 20s. It is going to help you build a steady financial foundation for your retirement.
Moreover, a home is not merely a financial asset. It could very well be the root of where your happiness stems from.
4. Invest in a good holiday to expand your horizon
We know what you are thinking. How can a holiday ever be an investment, other than depleting your savings? We wouldn’t deny the fact that holidays do cost a bomb (sometimes). But hear us out on this one first.
There are two reasons why investing in a good holiday should be on your to-do-list.
Firstly, going overseas allows you to expand your horizon. It allows you to learn more about the world, the opportunities that are available and gives you an alternative perspective on life.
Before Howard Schultz took over Starbucks, he was travelling in Italy when he was struck by the coffee culture they had. This left such a deep impression that Howard Schultz eventually bought over Starbucks from its original founders and went on to build the coffee empire that we all love.
You never know where the next opportunity lies. Travelling gives you that extra perspective on finding new opportunities that you would have missed if you had just stayed in Singapore.
Secondly, it allows you to relax and recharge to face greater challenges ahead. At every stage in life, you are going to feel some lethargy. You might be tired of your work, your never-ending quest to clear your bills or a long list of challenges to overcome. Let the holiday be a recharge for both your physical body and your soul. You will find yourself rejuvenated and ready to take on new challenges. Find yourself some travel inspiration over in our travel section.
Excelling in the marathon of life
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. But if you want to do well in the marathon, it definitely pays to be well prepared and investing in these four things.
Next up, find out how being thrifty in your 20s will help you thrive in your 30s.