Search
Close this search box.

The Best Investments I Ever Made

By
Mike Loo, MBA
August 10, 2018
Share on:

As someone who works directly with clients on helping them with their financial plans and investment decisions, it wouldn’t be too far off to think that I might not do too bad on my own personal investments. Well, truth be told, I have indeed made some high-return investments over the years. The funny thing about that is when I think about “the best investments I ever made”, they are not stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, venture funds, or the like. The best investments that I have ever made came from investing in myself and/or my practice. The returns may be harder to quantify, but I would venture to guess that it has been exponential. Below are my top three “best investments I ever made”:

Going Back To School For An MBA

I’ve always been someone who wants to constantly improve, both as a person and as a professional. In an article that I had previously written, I discuss how an MBA prepared me for my career as a financial advisor. This was a both a huge gamble and a big-time winning investment for me, especially since I initially entered business school without a clear roadmap of where the advanced degree would take me. After going through the MBA program at USC’s Marshall School of Business, the greatest value I gained came from improving my qualitative skills, such as working with people, networking, effective communication, work ethic, and time management. While I already had these skills at a basic level, it wasn’t until after obtaining my MBA that I realized a deeper level of utilizing those qualitative skills in my career.

Hiring A Personal Trainer

Without our health, we will not be able to enjoy all of the great opportunities at our disposal today or in the future. Because of this fact, I strongly believe that hiring a personal trainer was one of my best investments. In this article, I draw several parallels between personal trainers and financial advisors, ultimately discussing the value that both can bring, respectively, to your health and finances.

Investing in my health by hiring a personal trainer is one of my best investments for several reasons:

Education

For most, it may not make sense to have a personal trainer for their entire life. However, the knowledge and education around the body, nutrition, exercises, etc. that you will gain from hiring a personal trainer will reap returns for the rest of your life. By being more aware and knowledgeable than you were before, you may miss out on potential future injuries or poor food choices that can lead to debilitating diseases.

Consistency

We are more likely to stick to certain regimens when we are simply told what to do. By being on a plan and schedule with my personal trainer, I did not have to worry about anything except for showing up and working hard. We were on a consistent regimen, and I saw results; in fact, I lost more than 15 pounds over the course of several months when I compared my heaviest to my lightest weight!

Decreased Future Medical Costs

By being consistently active and doing exercises that I would not normally do on my own, my personal trainer made sure that my comprehensive training program would benefit me in the realm of longevity. Because of that, I decrease my chances of needing to undergo major surgeries that someone who lives a sedentary life may have to undergo. This means less money spent on future medical needs and long-term care.

Spending Time To Imagine And Dream About The Future

Sometimes work, family, and social events take up all of our time. However, if we never stop and take time to plan, strategize, and dream, we will never accomplish our goals, let alone have something to work towards. While it may not seem like an investment, “spending time to imagine and dream about the future” may be the lowest-cost, highest-yielding investment there is.

In this article, I talk about planning ahead and setting financial goals. It is important to be proactive in planning for the future that you want. The key here is to write your goals down, break them into smaller goals, and find someone (or a community) that will hold you accountable. Your success lies heavily in setting “meaningful” goals. When you set goals that are meaningful, you will be much more likely to reach them.

For me personally, I’ve found that in those times that I dedicate to imagining and dreaming about the future, I’m able to create a reinvigorated excitement for what’s ahead. The return from spending time planning for your future should not be discounted. The yield is immeasurable, and all it costs is your time, creativity, and dedication.

The investments discussed above are not what you’d typically discuss with your financial advisor. However, I hope you were able to see how much of a return each of those items have provided me. With that said, if you are contemplating post-secondary education, different ways to invest in your health, how to map out your future goals, or anything else, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can always call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at michael.loo@lpl.com.

You may also like:

By
Jeff Motske, CFP®
April 17, 2019

Now, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of large tax refunds (see March 1 blog). In fact, if you are consistently getting a large tax refund, you should probably adjust your withholdings so you can dedicate that money to your financial why’s every paycheck. After all, allowing the IRS to hold your money is a bad investment. If you should find yourself receiving one, though, you may be wondering how best ways to use it. It’s only normal to be tempted to do some retail therapy or splurge on a fun experience. However, it’s best to see how you can get your money to work for you before giving in to that temptation.

The very first thing to consider is how much debt you have. Large amounts of debt, whether it be student loans, credit cards or other outstanding financial obligations, can cripple you from saving for your goals. Using your tax refund to pay down debt might be the very thing to get you closer to saving for your goals.

You also want to make sure to bulk up your emergency fund. An unplanned repair, medical expense or job termination can all cost a pretty penny. Without an emergency fund, we may feel tempted to use our credit cards to cover the unexpected expense. As I just mentioned earlier, this simply takes us farther from our goals. Ensuring that we have an adequate emergency fund can make sure that we stay on target regardless of what life may throw at us.

Your tax refund can also be used to work towards your financial independence. Maximize your contributions. If you don’t have a plan, establish one. A little money can go a long way with the help of time and compound interest. Remember: there is no do-over when it comes to saving for retirement, so be sure to do as much as you can now because that time will be here before you know it.

I understand that using your tax refund check to indulge in something today can be quite tempting. More often than not, though, these distractions simply take you off your path to financial independence. You need to make sure that you’re making the money you receive today work to build the life you want to live tomorrow.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

By
June Adams
May 10, 2022

How long do you think it would take a hacker to crack your current passwords?

On average, it takes a hacker about 2 seconds to crack an 11-character password that only uses numbers. See the attached chart that illustrates the time it takes for a hacker to brute force attack your password. A brute force attack is when cybercriminals use trial and error to guess your details. Cybercriminals currently use sophisticated software that can run thousands of password combinations in a minute, but their technology and resources are only getting stronger.

A general rule is that your password should be at least 11 characters, utilizing both numbers as well as upper and lowercase letters. That combination will take hackers 41 years to crack. Regardless of the possible variations, the shorter your password, the easier it is to crack. Check out how long it will take a hacker to crack your password at https://www.security.org/how-secure-is-my-password/.

Lastly, simplify and secure your accounts by using a password manager that creates and stores all your passwords for you.

Strengthen your password security with the following tips:

  • Prioritize the length and complexity of your passwords.
  • Don't use personal information. This can be publicly available and easily accessible by hackers.
  • Avoid using dictionary words as passwords. Cracking tools can easily process every word in the dictionary.
  • Don't reuse passwords. If one account is breached, your other accounts would be vulnerable as well. Rather, use password managers, which are a convenient and secure way to manage complex passwords on multiple platforms.
  • Use multifactor authentication (MFA or 2FA) for especially sensitive accounts.
  • Avoid typing passwords while using public Wi-Fi. Instead, use a VPN or avoid websites that require your login information.

 

 

Get Started on Your Financial Life Plan Today

Do not fill out the form below if you are an existing client. Please contact your Advisor directly.