There’s a big push among Personal Finance advice-givers to WORK WORK WORK as much as possible. I won’t say this isn’t a great strategy. There’s something to be said for simply getting to work. Stop thinking about it, stop talking about it, just do it. But it’s possible to go too far in the other direction, too. I’m not talking about burnout, stress, or boredom. I’m talking about how working too much can get you stuck in a single way of doing thing. Here are ways that taking some time to rest and learn can help you get ahead in your own personal finance.
- Take Time to Reflect on What’s Working. If you are building your career, it’s easy to get caught up in work, while ignoring the details of your life, financial and otherwise. Making more money is no replacement for careful allocation of your resources. If you are working 20% harder, but wasting 35% of what you earn, you are exhausting yourself for nothing. It’ll be much better for your bottom line to take a close look at how much you’re making, and make a budget, the more detailed the better. If you’re able to see exactly where all of your money is going, including investments, savings, bills, food, fun, etc., you’ll have a much better sense of how much you need to work, and how your work is paying off. You may even find that you’ll reevaluate your career goals based on how much use you’re able to get out of your money.
- Take Time to Learn More than You Already Know. Spending most of your waking hours at work will ensure that you’ll get a lot better at your particular job. But you not going to be learning about other things, increasing your soft skills, or setting a course for another path in your career. Give yourself at least a few hours a week to simply read, practice, and learn. Maybe you can do this by having a side hustle, something that makes you a little money but mainly stretches your skills, thinking, and experience.
- Take the Time to Invest. A big problem for many hard working people is that they forget to invest. It seems like a no-brainer to some, but lots of employees neglect to invest anything in their work-sponsored 401(k)s. By doing so, employees are leaving millions on the table, something that will keep them from a much higher standard of future security. Don’t simply invest in your 401(k), however, get an IRA, invest in CMC markets, buy your house, fill up your emergency fund. Make sure that you aren’t the only thing working for you. If your money is working for you as well, you’ll get a lot farther than you can on your own power.
So by all means, work hard. But make sure you aren’t working so hard that you lose perspective on where you’re going and what the state of your personal finance life is. If you take the time to maximize your spending, saving, and investment (learning and increasing your skills all the while), you’ll set yourself up for the future in big ways.