2016’s Best Investment Advice Ever

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That’s my dog Gracie. She’s super smart and knows of what she speaks. (You can tell that she’s saying something cause her mouth is open.) Both of us wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. But before it rolls around, here’s a bit of New Year investment advice worth listening to.

The fat lady hasn’t totally finished singing this year. But when she does, 2015 investment returns on the various indices aren’t likely to leave you jumping for joy. That said, the New Year is right around the corner and with it always comes new opportunities—-and new ways of thinking.

While some professionals aren’t expecting 2016 to be a rip-roaring hot year for investors others think the economy is on a right and rewarding path. It’s like the gasoline-is-cheap-so-your-pockets-are-full-of-cash crowd vs. the rents-are-higher-and-health-care-too crowd. Which group comes out ahead won’t been known for 12 months. So,  I’m not going to throw my tiara into that guessing game ring just yet.

Instead, I’d like to offer this almost slam-dunk guarantee for how to have a financially rewarding 2016—- and no, while the photo may have  you thinking it’s invest in the Dogs of the Dow (which is usually a pretty good idea) that’s not of what I speak today. It is this: Invest in yourself.

You may have heard that nugget of financial truth a thousand times before and either poo-poohed the notion or taken it to heart. Good for you if you’re in the latter camp. I wasn’t that smart.

The first time I heard it was from a seasoned stock broker, named Ken, whom I worked with a zillion years ago. And when I heard it, I didn’t really get what he was talking about.

“How do I invest in myself?”

Ken explained: “Pay yourself first out of each and every paycheck you get all year long. And when a New Year rolls around, give yourself a raise.”

That seemed really goofy to me for a couple of reasons. First, didn’t paying the rent and my bills come first and way before paying me, I wondered?

Ken’s answer: “No. You come first.”

Second, it seemed like I sorta kinda wasn’t worth it. You know, being female and the paying yourself first, part.

It took a long time for me to really understand how right-on my broker friend truly  was. I attribute a lot of my lag in understanding his wise financial advice to mind stuff: Like unresolved self-worth and money issues. And some of it just plain stubborn, what does he know, thinking.

When I finally got it, I realized that the rewards of paying myself first weren’t merely financial ones.

By paying yourself first, you’re doing all sorts of positive things for your psyche and your well-being. You’re doing the quiet unseen stuff like building self-worth, acknowledging and honoring yourself for the work you do, building character and confidence, and the list goes on and on. Almost secondary is the fact that when that practice becomes a habit, it also becomes financially rewarding.

So no matter how much you earn or how often you’re paid, do your inner- and outer-selves a favor  and make it a practice to pay yourself first in the coming New Year. The rewards will be bountiful over time.

Happy New Year!

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