Invest wisely: is it always about money?

Focusing on my financial relationships this month has led me to return to my Invest Wisely commandment. The full version of this is Invest Wisely: your time, money, resources. I’ve been largely thinking about my Invest in You February Happiness Project resolutions from a financial point of view. Returning to my commandments has made me realise investing doesn’t just have to do with money. In a contradictory move for a money focused on finances I’ve begun to wonder if we might think about money too much in our society.

Invest Wisely: Your time, money, resources

Do we think about money too much?

Whilst being focused on finances this month I’ve also been thinking how nice it would be to not think about money so much. Because I’m trying to be on a tight budget at the moment I was wondering how I’d ever work on my Invest in you resolution. Which is when I realised it didn’t have to just be about money. Have I been conditioned by the consumer society I live in to think of things largely in monetary terms?

A toe in the water of economic theory (aided by a broccoli metaphor)

As part of my research for this month’s happy finances theme I’ve been reading Philip Roscoe’s A Richer Life. I picked it up on a whim as I perused the Economics section of my local library (I know, I know). Although I’m only about a third of the way in, and I can’t say I fully grasp all the concepts, I’m glad I stumbled across it.

From what I’ve gathered so far the main hypothesis is saying we have been turned into economic beings by the very existence of economics. I’ll try to use a metaphor to explain it better. Imagine you hate broccoli, but over a period of time your life starts to become full of broccoli. You can’t avoid seeing the stuff, and everyone is talking about how great it is and the benefits of eating lots of broccoli. Before you realise it’s happened you’re eating broccoli and telling everyone how much you love it.

It’s like that, but with economic principals and ways of thinking. In essence, our lives have become centred on value (and not just in relation to money) but they don’t have to be.

What does invest wisely mean to you? For you, and your life?

It’s true that even my commandment to Invest Wisely could be seen as a product of economic thinking. Man, this stuff goes deep. Perhaps I should screw the whole Invest in You resolution, but for now I’ll stick with it.

As seems to be happening a lot as I work on my my Happiness Project, I’ve realised this resolution is an individual thing and all about balance. I was pleased to discover the Meaningful Money podcast this week and hear Pete Matthew affirm this view. In Episode 2 of Season 3 of the podcast, on Seven Common Money Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) Pete says:

“There’s a balance to be struck” (between taking too much and too little interest in your finances).

As we all know I’m not great at finding time to rest. So, for me, investing wisely has a lot to do with how I invest my time. For you it might really be about making financial investments. For someone else it could be about investing in a good choice of car.

Invest Wisely for me also relates to my decision to put my money into a deposit on a property. I think this also connects to Invest in You, as owning my own home is something I really crave.

Investing in you is not just about money

I have spent some money on myself this month, and classed it under my invest in you category. But what I now realise is investing in yourself is more about the attitude you have towards yourself. It’s about valuing yourself, your dreams and ambitions and giving yourself the time and space to grow. This might involve spending some money, but it could be more to do with changing your mindset. And, if it is about spending money, it’s about doing so in a mindful way. Not just buying things to make ourselves feel temporarily better, but considering what we can buy to truly help and nurture ourselves.

As with all things to do with money there are so many different issues to consider. What do you make of the Invest Wisely commandment, and how do you invest in yourself?

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