Different Talents, Different Ways of Building Wealth

This summer, a female friend and I got together to ride bikes — something that we did together often, though generally with more people from our circles of our cycling companions. But this time, on a ride that started on a weekday morning and ended in the early afternoon, some of our buddies teased us about having to work and being unable to join us.

At one of our rest stops, we talked about the fact that we generated income through investing-type activities.

This experience made me wonder if too few people are investing for the long term and relying on current income to pay bills and make large purchases, whether for a new cycling gadget, an epic trip, or retirement years. I grasp that working in a traditional job doesn’t negate saving and investing for the long haul. But the inability to realize that others may have sources of income outside of a regular job cues me to consider that not everyone exercises their talents, interests, and inclinations in a way that’s conducive to accumulating and building wealth.

My Financial Goals for 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, I’ve been thinking more and more about what I want to accomplish in 2017. This contemplation has involved considering my strengths and figuring out how to address my weaknesses.

What I’ve discovered is that while I’m great a few things (which has helped me tremendously), I need to broaden and update my talents. I often feel like Joel McHale’s character in The Great Indoors: I have experience and knowledge that could be helpful and inspiring to others but I’m not as adept at reaching people.

Still, I don’t want to abandon what I know. Instead, I hope to build upon my background. So, my goals include continuing to improve on my strengths, addressing areas of weakness, and expanding my knowledge.

Here are my goals:

Investing in Relationships: Thoughts on Making Choices

There’s a prevailing stance on relationships that I find both intriguing and disturbing. It starts with the idea that each of us is the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Where this leads can be beneficial or dangerous – depending on whether I continue to embrace loved ones who may (or may not) fully represent what I aspire to become or reject them in favor of pursuing relationships based on superficial and possibly meaningless measures, such as net worth or perceived business acumen.

There’s truth in the thought process that we’re affected by people with whom we interact regularly. There’s also value in the concept that we should intentionally invest in certain relationships and abandon others. But choosing who benefits from my relationship efforts and by what standard — without a proper guide — seems treacherous.

As a Christian, I wondered what I might learn from how Jesus lived and what he taught his disciples about relationships. I decided to start with the Gospel of Matthew and then build upon my knowledge. I’m not a theologian and I’m sure I have personal biases … but wanted to share what I’ve learned. Here are some thoughts on making choices about investing in relationships:

What a Half Ironman Taught Me About Investing

This summer, I raced in a half-ironman competition. If you’re uninitiated to the world of triathlon, the half-ironman event involves a 1.2 mile open-water swim and a 56-mile bike ride, finished with a half-marathon (13.1 miles).

I invested time, energy, and money training for and competing in this event, both to test myself and earn bragging rights. This experience reinforced what I knew about investing, and offered new insights that surprised me.

4 Inexpensive Ways to Get College Credit

Paying for a university education is expensive, ranging from about $20,000 per year at a state university to more than $40,000 for out-of-state or private school tuition, room and board, fees, etc. From work-study programs to scholarships, there are many ways to lower overall costs.

One strategy is to earn college credit for studies outside of the university’s traditional classrooms. For example, many high school students take AP classes, which not only positions them well for admissions but also (potentially) earns college credits.

A student can reduce overall expenses by earning credit hours through AP courses and similar methods. But be sure to confirm with university admissions officers, advisors, etc. that these efforts (and associated expenses) will actually move your student closer to graduation with a bachelor’s degree.

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