Investment from the Inside Out

When we talk about investments on a personal finance site, we?re usually discussing things that you can buy for a certain amount of money that will, in theory, provide a return on that money. Stocks, bonds, real estate, porkbelly futures ? you get the idea.

Such investments are a valuable thing to know about, of course, but it just scratches the surface of investing. You actually invest all the time, whether you realize it or not.

I prefer the broader definition of investing: an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result. That worthwhile result doesn?t have to be money at all ? it can be a good relationship or an improvement in your health or anything else.

To me, a successful life is one in which you are constantly investing for the future as part of your daily routine. Here are 10?examples of investments that go beyond index funds and corn futures.

Exercising Regularly

Exercise is an example of investing time and energy in order to produce improved health, strength, energy, and body shape. Obviously, human exercise is a very broad topic with lots of different options that provide different health benefits and appeal to different people, from weightlifting to cardio exercising (and many other options) and from low-impact things to high-impact things.

For example, you might spend an hour each day going on a brisk walk in your neighborhood. When the weather isn?t sub-zero (as it is right now), this is something I really enjoy doing. It provides some low-impact exercise and gets your blood flowing. You can select your pace as you go, speeding up for a while and slowing down when you need a rest.

On the other hand, you might also adopt a true workout routine at home three times a week or so. There?s an infinite array of home workout routines out there, including ones that only require your body weight. You can also take classes at your local gym or fitness center or define your own routines there. Naturally, this takes some additional research and (likely) some effort trying out different things to see what works for you.

You might also simply adopt some hobbies that integrate some level of vigorous exercise, such as hiking in the woods or playing basketball. During the spring, I love hiking around in the woods, as I enjoy hunting for morel mushrooms. In my younger days, I played basketball in a recreational league which was incredibly fun and provided a social outlet along with the exercise.

Taking a Class

Taking a class is an example of investing time and mental energy in order to acquire new ideas and skills. The process also helps you with mastering the process of learning, which is itself a valuable skill in the information age.

You could use this as the start of working toward a professional degree or certification, which could earn you more money and can be quite fun if you really enjoy your field. Many fields offer professional certifications and almost every field offers higher academic degrees that can improve your career standing and career opportunities directly.