Are You Investing in Your Future Self?
posted on July 8, 2019 | by Chelsea Becker
When you hear the term “invest,” your mind likely goes straight to finances, right? But have you ever considered the notion of “investing in future yourself” in a way that goes far beyond your 401K? I can’t remember where I heard the term, but ever since I did, the idea has been in the back of my mind. So often we think of how to feel good in the moment, which is cool, but what about also investing your time/money/effort into the future you? I’ve started thinking more intentionally about this idea in these 5 ways…
Protect yourself from the sun
I fucking hate this tip because I love the sun and a tan so so much. Growing up on the beaches of San Diego, it’s literally in my blood to love it! But sun cancer is real, and so are less scary things like wrinkles, moles, dry skin, and aging (which still suck).
To not end up like the lady in Something About Mary, it’s probably time to get smarter about sun safety. This doesn’t mean you have to skip the beach and pool this summer, but it does mean you need to be cautious. Wear a hat, wear SPF at all times (don’t forget your chest, hands, ears, and feet – places often forgetten about), sit under an umbrella, and do your best to avoid direct sunlight for long periods.
P.S. I’m still a fake tan virgin, so let me know if you have a self-tanner that’s user-friendly.
Cater to your relationships
I’ve read a lot of books on happiness and the one common denominator for people who feel good most of the time is this: good relationships. In a culture where we spend endless time staring at our phones, it’s people who we should be staring at. Because at the end of the day (or life), it’s solid relationships that keep us motivated, positive, and connected.
All it takes is a quick weekly phone call with a friend or hanging with your partner without your phone for 20 minutes a day. And don’t forget about the girls trips where you can truly catch up and connect. Our souls need them, so prioritize that shit.
Save more gradually
My dad recently retired and as he walked me through the amount of money he had saved to successfully retire comfortably, I almost passed out. It was A LOT more than I assumed. His frugalness my entire life suddenly made sense! And it also made me realize how I’m not so frugal and that my small amount in my 401K is actually very bleak. EEEK!
One of the reasons being that I hadn’t increased my 401K input since 2015 – when I was making less money and could afford to put less in. Same goes with the money that I automatically transfer to my savings account each month.
Don’t be a dummy like me – up that number each year or every six months if you can. As your career grows and so does your paycheck, start putting more away…like right now.
OK so this is a contractictin to my point above about savings, but it’s all about being more mindful of your spending habits here. Can you look through the last 3 months of spending to see what buys were done intentionally? Which do you regret and why? Can you find common threads as to the purchases you feel good about vs. the ones you wish you could take back?
For me, this little practice has been majorly helpful in not only how I feel about money now – but also for the future. I find that I rarely regret time spent on self-care (hey! massages equal lower cortisol which has been proven as one of the key indicators of happiness!) or investment pieces for my closet/home, but I usually regret $ spent on trendy clothes or eating out because I’m lazy.
A trick my dad taught me (remember that he’s frugal AF) that’s kinda depressing but also works really well? Every time you go to buy something, do the math on how many hours you’d need to spend working for that item. This deters me from buying so much stupid shit!
What I’ve really focused on in my thirties is this: DOING ME. There are so many expectations or society norms that might not work for you. Maybe you don’t want to buy a house – renting makes more sense to you. Maybe you don’t want to get married and you want to do the whole Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell thing. Maybe having kids isn’t in your cards. That’s cool!
Take some time thinking about where you want to be at age 70, then backtrack on how you can get to that spot. Start living yourself based on those ideals – and forget every other expectation of what you’re *supposed* to do next. Your future self will thank you!