Tax season is in full force and that means you may find yourself with a nice tax return sitting in your bank account. When that return hits your account it’s tempting to start thinking of all the awesome things you’re going to buy with it. However, it’s important to remember what you buy with your money determines the value of that money.
Spending money on one-time experiences, such as going out to dinner, a new video game, going to the movies, etc. can be entertaining, but likely won’t provide a lasting impact in your life. If you want to make an impact on your life you need to commit to long term investments. Wisely investing your tax return will often yield you more money than you initially spent.
Invest in yourself
It’s imperative you continue to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world. One of the best ways to accomplish that is through books and online courses.
I’m not comfortable recommending books, however 15 Books Every Successful Freelancer Should Read by Nusii appears to have a great list to get you started.
If courses are more your thing and you consider yourself a freelancer, I suggest looking into Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Rate Course. I personally haven’t taken it yet (it’s at the top of my course list) but if his free email course is an indicator of the quality and value the course provides you’ll easily get a return on your investment.
And after you do that, make sure to read this article on why you should stop calling yourself a freelancer.
Invest in your business
While it’s important to invest in yourself, it’s equally important to invest in your business. It’s very hard to run and even harder to grow a business if you don’t have the proper tools and products in place.
Having the right tools makes a big impact in your ability to work effectively and efficiently. Obvious tools to upgrade are your computer and work area. While functionality should be your biggest concern when looking to upgrade tools/supplies, don’t underestimate aesthetics and comfort. You can have the best computer in the world, but if you don’t enjoy being in your office you won’t be productive.
If you find yourself constantly doing a repetitive task over and over again there’s likely a product or service that will help you automate the task or remove it entirely. Investing in that product or service will save you valuable time and frustrations.
In the end, the key is to invest in tools/products that will help you generate revenue. Doing so allows the investment to eventually “pay for itself”.
Invest in your future
Have you ever decided to stay up late one night only to find yourself regretting the decision when you had to wake up in the morning? If so, you know what it’s like for your “current self” to hate your “past self”. Make sure to take care of your “future self” by investing in it now.
Putting money into your savings account helps you guard yourself against unforeseen expenses (and there will always be unforeseen expenses). No one wants to pay for an unforeseen expense but the difference in stress levels between having the money to pay the expense versus scrounging up (or borrowing) money to pay the expense are astronomical.
Pay off Debt
Most of us have some kind of debt, and the sooner you can pay it off the better. You’ll not only save money by paying off debt early, you’ll also be able to accumulate wealth faster. When you pay off debt early make sure to put it towards the principle.
The next time you’re wondering if you need to invest in your future just remember this Chinese Proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”