photo credit: She Who Shall Not Be Named
When I wrote about the importance of investing in yourself I was having trouble trying to find the words to convey what I meant. I finally found a way to explain what I mean so that nobody should be confused (I hope).
Virtually every book on financial planning or wealth building I have ever encountered says something to the effect that there are two ways to have more money. The most obvious being to make more money and the too-often overlooked being to spend less money. When I wrote about investing in yourself my expectation was that readers would assume I was talking about the things that amount to making more money – increasing your education being frequently cited. That kind of self investment is focused on being better able to produce more goods, or more valuable goods for others to purchase in an economic marketplace.
What I was trying to advocate before was to not forget about self investments that amount to spending less. I would generalize those kinds of self investment as focusing on being able to produce for yourself those things which you have become accustomed to purchasing in the economic marketplace. That may be producing the same thing, or it may be producing a substitute.
The doctrine of the free market and the value of specialization to produce more total goods (Friday catching fish to trade with Robinson Crusoe for the coconuts he was harvesting) seems to have been repeated so much that we fail to recognize and properly value the dangers of over-dependence. No matter how much more Friday and Robinson Crusoe can produce together, either one of them needs to be able to survive alone should something happen to their partnership. That means that there is value beyond compensation for Friday to know how to get his own coconuts or something to replace them.
The first step in this kind of self investment would be taking the time to acknowledge what things you depend on that you do not produce yourself, and more importantly recognizing which of these things you are unable to produce for yourself.