The most important investment you can make, is in yourself. Educating, up skilling and doing anything else to increase your earning power is really what is going to make the difference when it comes to building wealth. Cutting expenses and saving is only going to get you so far, and while it is important, growing your income is where you will see the real difference. You can only cut down on your spending by so much, but your income can potentially be unlimited.
Have something you are interested in or think you would like to make a career out of? Go study in that area! This may be through an apprenticeship, TAFE, or University. Many tertiary educators now have many courses that are 100% online, meaning you can work it around your current work commitments. It also offers the flexibility to study anywhere in the country as you won’t be required to attend workshops or tutorials in the flesh. Covid-19 has only hurried this on in my opinion and I think we will continue to see more and more courses becoming 100% online.
We are very lucky here in Australia that we don’t have to pay for university upfront. Instead, you can take on a HECS-HELP debt, which is an interest free loan that you only start paying back once you start earning a certain amount. This is a great way to get educated, and then once you are earning a solid income you can start paying it off in small amounts.
You pay your HECS debt off as a proportion of your income, so if you are on the lower end of the threshold, you will pay a smaller amount, and if you earn a really high income, you will pay a higher amount. You don’t have to start paying the HECS debt off until you reach a certain salary, so if you aren’t earning the minimum you just won’t pay it at all. It also dies with you, so there is no rush to pay it off. If you never earn another dollar and you die at the age of ninety after a happy life but you still have a HECS debt of $100,000, that just disappears! It doesn’t get passed on to your relatives to be paid, it is wiped clean. How good!
Are you already in a profession/career you love and have the opportunity to complete a training course or further certificate to increase your pay or get a promotion? Do it! Speaking to your employer about what you can do to do upskill and add value to the business you are working for shows great initiative and will no doubt make you stand out. Not only will it potentially help you to get a promotion within a business, it will also increase your employability if you want to move somewhere else and will give you room to negotiate for a pay rise.
Start a Side Hustle or Business
The best way to make more money is to work for yourself! Create a side hustle that you can potentially turn into an income stream. Is there anything you are interested in or already like doing that you could make some extra cash off of? You may not want it to become a full time gig, but doing something on the side can be a great way to make some extra coin. If it is something you want to turn into a full time job, starting it off as a side hustle while keeping a secure job is a great way to start. If it fails you still have your job to fall back on, decreasing the risk. If it does boom and become successful, once you have the customers you could cancel your job and be your own boss!
How I Have Finally Employed This
I am going back to university this year! I am practicing what I preach and am investing in myself. Finance is something I am really passionate about, and I have finally decided it is what I want to pursue as a career. I have been delaying it as I didn’t want to have another HECS debt as I have just paid mine off, and didn’t feel I could commit to full time study while working full time. I finally decided to take the plunge, I am working part time so I can study full time, and I will have a HECS debt again starting next year! I reminded myself that I am a good investment, I have plenty of working years left and I want to do something I love. If that means some short term pain for some long term gain then so be it. If you have been thinking about going back to university or changing careers, take this as a sign it is your time to do it! If it is going to make you happier, make you more money in the long run, or you are just ready for a change, go do it! There is no time like the present.
I am starting a bachelor of business, majoring in financial planning. It is a University of South Australia degree, and is based 100% online. As I am based in Mount Gambier, I am unable to attend the campus in Adelaide and therefore the online course suited me best. It also means I can be very flexible with work, and base all my university studies around my job.
Uni SA has plenty of online courses so if you were considering going back to university but work full time, this may be a great option for you!