by: Lauren Broussard, Co-Founder, The Memo
As our accountant friends know all too well, tax season is upon us! Many of us dread this time of year, but for others they know that refund check is headed their way.
When I was right out of college, I remember getting my refund check and not knowing what to do with myself. Twenty something me was so excited for all this "free money" (I didn't know better), but I had no plan or strategy in place for what to do with it. So I’d do my happy money dance and throw the money into a savings account, thinking I was being so practical. (Meanwhile, this account had an almost zero percent interest rate, so I was barely making anything on the money in there). To make matters worse, little by little I would transfer $50 here and there to my checking account to take myself out to eat or go shopping at Target.
I realized that without a strategy in place for this money, I was spending my money on short term pleasures (and often spending more than my refund anyway). I wasn’t investing in my future. It took me years to get a good spending/budgeting strategy in place - thanks to a financial advisor, my parents, and some wiser than me friends. I can’t even imagine how much more I’d have now if I’d have invested that money into my retirement, a higher yield savings account, or some other future thinking endeavor.
Now you may be reading this and thinking - “I have my financial strategy set already.” But what about your career strategy? Are you investing in yourself at work and in your life?
Whether it’s a tax refund check or keeping to the long term goals we set for ourselves, here are three ways you can invest more in yourself this year:
Save or invest for a rainy day: Plan for the unexpected. If we’re talking about a refund or making some extra money, have a plan in place for how you will save and in what ways. If you don't have one set up already, think about starting a rainy day account in case an expense comes up you weren't planning for. Thinking about investing? We wrote another blog post about investing even when you feel broke.
Invest in an experience: We always hear that people are happier when they spend their time or money on experiences rather than on things. Consider what experiences you’d like to have in your life and start planning for that. Is there a trip you want to take personally, or a professional conference you’d like to attend? Start thinking now about what decisions you need to make or actions you need to take to make this a reality!
Invest in your career: Take courses, speak to experts, read books. Learn to develop and maintain relationships in your professional circle. Your career is long, and the more you put into it - both time and money — the more you will get out of it.
At the end of the day, how you spend your money or how you invest in yourself is up to you. Just remember that you're worth the investment!