How would you reply to the question “What are the three most important investments you could ever make?” Would it be things like buying a house, investing more into KiwiSaver or starting a business?
In a recent presentation for New Zealand Defence Force staff, David Greenslade summarised the three most important investments you could ever make as YOUR HEALTH, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS, and YOUR EDUCATION.
Poor health tends to limit our ability to fully enjoy all the opportunities presented to us and can lead to a premature death. Health is not something we just address occasionally. We need to be daily investing into eating healthily, obtaining sufficient exercise and obtaining mental stimulation. A proper investment in this area will enable us to work longer and harder- hopefully increasing our net worth. It will also enable us to minimise the amount we need to spend on personal insurances as we are more likely to live longer and be less susceptible to those dreaded illnesses. It will also enable us to fully enjoy our golden years- being able to do more things with the money we have invested and the additional time we now have available.
Investing into maintaining quality relationships is important in two key areas. Firstly, as a couple, we jointly build up assets and investments but if we separate, these are then divided- often unevenly- resulting in both parties being financially less endowed than previously. For many, a separation results in almost having to start afresh to rebuild the asset base. Losing money via a failed or poor investment is painful but nothing compared to the emotional and financial impact of a relationship split. It is common that over time, couples drift apart so one needs to continuously keep investing time and energy into keeping them alive.
Building a network of friends is important for our social interaction and stimulation. Friends and family are a key part of everyday life and failing to maintain these can lead to loneliness and a reduction in quality of life. Money is not a substitute for this.
The world is changing at an increasing pace. The days of stopping education once one has left high school or university is now long gone. Throughout our lives, we need to be retrained and upskilled so we can obtain and retain jobs. Often an investment in a new qualification can lead to a pay increase, a new job or more opportunity. A dollar invested in a new qualification can often translate to a 50% or higher return on your education dollar invested.
For those who have grandchildren, making an investment into understanding and using new technology can lead to improved engagement with the younger generation. Being able to participate in social media, plus communicating using smart phones and tablets opens up whole new communication channels and information sources.
All three of these investments are interlinked and are ongoing throughout your life. Things like buying a house, investing into KiwiSaver and starting a business are all important but are logical by products from making the right level of investment in the big three.
Health, relationships and education are the foundations of prudent financial planning. Once these are in place, we can work to maximise the opportunities for you that come from having a good balance of all three.