3 Personal Investments With Better Returns Than the Stock Market

While I probably grabbed your attention with the headline, the three investments I’m referring to may not produce direct financial returns to you at all.  But that isn’t the point.  There are lots of investments you can make that are a much more important that getting 10% ROI.  Instead of squirreling away all your earnings in the stock market, consider these instead:

Yourself.  There’s (hopefully) not a lot of risk in this investment, but the returns can be long-lasting and invaluable.  By investing in you, you can improve your career, your relationships, and your outlook on life.

Photo by eflon

A practical way to invest in yourself is through education. But while I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, I would caution against going after another degree just for the sake of doing it.  Earning new degrees are often very expensive and you may not end up with the skills and knowledge you expected to gain.

Instead of a traditional educational path, consider more practical experiences.  Take adult education classes, attend seminars, or utilize courses that that will develop your skills in areas you’re most interested in.  For example, I spend on myself by purchasing courses that develop my online business skills, like David Risley’s Blog Masters Club.  Courses like these teach what I know I will put to use immediately and relate directly to my personal business and entrepreneurship goals.

Whatever you want to do now, find a way to invest and make that happen.  Maybe you want to learn a language or start a small business making crafts.  Whatever it is, spend a little money to make it happen.

Your Life.  While I preach quite a bit of frugality on here, I don’t support taking frugality to an extreme.  To me, investing in my life means not making severe sacrifices now just to save for later.  Sure, I could save thousands a year if I didn’t go travel on vacations to Greece, eat out a couple times a week, or take up hobbies like biking and beer brewing.  I’m positive eliminating these things would do wonders for my retirement fund, but it’s just not worth it to sacrifice life now for later.  I’m not suggesting that anyone should go into massive debt to live life now.  That’s not the idea.  But life right now shouldn’t be neglected for saving for the future. When I’m older I might not be able (or want) to do the same things on my travels, like long hikes or weeks-long camping trips.  But I know these things make me happy right now.

Plan a trip or something else fun that you’ve been holding back on.  If needed, work extra hard to earn the money to make that possible.  Just don’t make your life miserable now to save for later in life.

Your values and beliefs.  I’m sure there a lot of movements, charities, or ideals that you have an personal attachment to.  Everyone does.  On top of that, there are a lot of great organizations that severely need financial help.  While we may not all have time to volunteer regularly, almost everyone can afford to give something.  Regular giving to charity should be a priority.  I’ve donated $20 a month for the last 10 years to Children International, where I have an “adopted” child in Colombia.  It may not be a lot of money in the grand scheme of my life, but I’d gladly give up eating out once a month in return for making this gift.

I donate to other places, too, with a goal of donating 10% of what I make.  This might not be possible for me or you all of the time, but it’s a good benchmark to shoot for.  There are a lot of other great charities out there that I wish I could support at a greater level.  Having more to give to those in need is part of my motivation for earning more.

While I’ll continue to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, I’ll never stop contributing to these personal investments.

Do you have personal investment ideas of your own?

Photo credit: eflon


  1. So many spelling and grammar mistakes, I couldn’t read all the way through it. I believe I got the gist though. Very nice sentiment.

  2. Nice post.. really i have no ideas of our own investment but by reading your post, I’ll keep some information regarding the stock market… I like this post.. Thanks for the post..

  3. I really enjoyed the article and found it to be quite interesting. I’ve been thinking about retirement for awhile and long term investing. Silver investing has really caught my attention and I find would be a great long term investment. I recently read a great eBook that gave me expert advice on how to invest in silver and was also free, http://www.silverinvestorguide.com

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