You’re keen to get hold of those sweet, sweet money-making assets, but you’re flat broke. Good news: the answer is closer than you think.
Your best asset is something everyone has, but not everyone recognises.
It can learn and adapt. It can solve problems for you and find new ways to make you cash. You can work it to get new assets (stuff that earns you money). You can use it to keep your spending on track.
Your best asset is… you.
That’s because you can work and earn an income. You can learn new skills and find new or better opportunities for earning.
You can also grow your wealth by making financially savvy decisions. You can get assets which earn you money for doing very little – whether it’s renting out that unused spare room or writing a book that’ll bring in royalties.
And, even if it was you who got you into debt in the first place, it’s you who can get yourself out of debt by creating and sticking to a good budget.
If you have something that’s valuable, you protect it, right? If you get sick or injured and can’t work, or get too old to work, you’ll lose your income overnight. This is a big problem if you are your only source of income (which is true for most people).
You can protect your best asset (yourself) in two ways.
First, look after your physical and mental health so you can carry on being an earning machine. That might mean staying fit, having medical insurance, or finding a fulfilling career and friends that make you happy.
The second thing you can do is protect your ability to earn. For example, ensure your skills stay up to date so you can always find a new (or better) job if you wanted to.
Consider insurance. A lot of people get household insurance but don’t bother with disability insurance, which makes zero sense. If all your stuff got stolen, you could still earn a living – but if you got injured and couldn’t work anymore, you’d have a much bigger problem than that missing TV.
You can increase your own value as an asset by improving your ability to earn. For example, you could get new skills through education.
When it comes to getting good assets, you can’t start too early. Because the more time your assets have to grow your money, the sooner your wealth can start to work for you (and the more wealth you’ll have later, when you need it).
That means that when you’re young, fit and strong you should earn, save and learn as much as you can before you’re too old to work or learn new tricks. Unfortunately, most people don’t realise this until it’s too late – which is why your mother always said “youth is wasted on the young.”
You can’t avoid buying things, but you can minimise the damage by only buying what you really need. As long as your unhealthy assets support you to live your best life, they’re not so bad. But it’s all about balance. That designer handbag won’t help you carry your stuff to work any better than a cheaper, quality backpack.
For most of us, getting into some debt is unavoidable. But not all debt is unhealthy. In the same way you should weigh up whether buying something is really good for your long-term financial health, debt can be a good idea too, if it increases your wealth in the long run. You can read our article What is Debt and How do I Get Out of It? to learn the difference between good and bad debt.
Start seeing yourself for what you are: the best asset you could hope to have. And make sure you always put your money where it’s needed: keeping your best asset happy, healthy, safe, and living up to your full potential.
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