For freelancers, a world of opportunity awaits. And when you frame good fortune in terms of investment, you might automatically think of money that can be made from the stock market or real estate. That’s fair. But, there’s more to the story.
Before you think of investments in mutual funds or rental properties, you’ll want to cover some other bases. Primarily, you’re not wrong to think “me first” in certain situations. And building a business is one of those situations in which investing in yourself and your future is perfectly okay.
Without further ado, here are a few things you should definitely invest in.
You can buy stock in Netflix. But first, you must beef up your own makeshift balance sheet.
Albert Einstein said, ” Education is what’s left after one has forgotten everything they learned in school.” You get the gist. But it’s important to know that getting an advanced college degree or specialized certification will help increase earnings over your lifetime. Think of that fact when you’re wondering how being subjected to learn about the theory of relativity has any real-world significance. But, the creator of that theory had a brilliant mind, and perhaps he didn’t need a formal education.
An education is a great investment in yourself and the statistics bear it out: “Bachelor’s degree holders earn 31% more than those with an Associate’s degree and 84 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.”
You have to spend money to make money.
Hundreds, thousands, billions— it’s all relative. The point is if you need a new laptop or app to boost your productivity, make the move. Just be sure to measure your return on investment (ROI) whether you’re building a website to showcase your services or a campaign to reach more prospects.
Sometimes, it’s not all about the money. But if your goal is to live simply, backpacking it from Bora Bora to Budapest, and blogging and vlogging along the way, you’ll need some means to finance the journey. There will always be bills to pay. And making an extra $10,000 in freelance earnings by shelling out $2,000 for a piece of software will help the cause and represent a very enticing ROI.
Retirement might seem far away but early planning is advisable. Until that time, having disposable income to invest wisely will eventually give you the freedom to sew up a career and perhaps plan some leisurely pursuits. The bad news is, like grammatically incorrect Tweets and taxes, the bills will never go away.
So, before you invest a dime in a mutual fund or Google stock, set aside enough savings in an FDIC-insured account— the veritable rainy-day fund— to cover your living expenses for three to six months. Only then should you start an investment plan that involves any measure of risk.
However, don’t pass up the chance to sock away money you can spare in an individual retirement account (IRA) or simple employee pension plan of the same ilk (SEP-IRA). Either vehicle allows you to reduce your taxable income or in the case of a Roth IRA, you can withdraw earnings tax-free at retirement. But, with a Roth, you won’t be able to deduct contributions from what you earn as a freelancer.
Your Road Map
With respect to finding the right investment strategy, you can leave it to the robot investment platforms, which use algorithms to determine the most optimal fit. You might seek a professional human adviser, who can design a plan to help your money grow, and outpace the rate of inflation. Or you can educate yourself, and invest in companies that you feel have prudent management and a distinct competitive advantage.
Whichever route you choose, understand your risk tolerance and time horizon— the number of years before you’ll need to access those dollars. Look at risk this way: Can you tolerate daily fluctuations in your nest egg? How would you feel if you were to lose your entire initial investment? Are you okay with starting over or would that loss severely crimp your lifestyle and take an emotional toll?
The answers to those questions will have a significant influence on how you should map out an investment plan. And you might want to position yourself on the risk spectrum somewhere between penny stocks and Treasury bills.
Just Do It
That phrase will likely bring Nike to mind. The athletic shoe and apparel giant could be another company you can explore. But before you do, know that the worst action of all is inaction.
Whether you invest in yourself, your business, your retirement or all three pieces, make a commitment and stick to it. You won’t regret that advice, and you may even thank us for it someday, rain or shine. Until that day and then some, check out Fiverr for news, tips, tricks, and a ton of other resources on all things freelance.