It is always easy to think of bad investments with our money. The big ones immediately come to mind often when the market has gone down or a business has gone under, but there are many other ways that we have bad investments, but we don’t think about it as often because they are not monetary or the traditional way we think of an investment.
Debt as Bad Investment
Do you ever think about your debt as an investment? Well, it is. You have determined that by buying/borrowing on credit you will get more in the long run because you are willing to pay more for a product than saving to buy it or not buying it and putting the money into a traditional investment. Or you just wanted something immediately and just figured you could pay it off down the road without thinking about the compound interest of debt growing.
When you buy a house you hope and expect that by the time you pay it off or sell it and pay the extra interest that it has appreciated in value to match what you have paid for it or even better it has accumulated much more value.
You hope that by adding on student loans you will get a good career to be able to pay it off in the long run. For many people that is true, but it is not the case for everyone. As with all investments, there is a chance with everything.
Investing in People
The time and people we hang out with or work with are an investment. Some folks are simply better than others and some just waste our time. We often criticize our kids and their choice of friends and why they waste their time with kids that just get them in trouble or have no direction in life. Well, they could probably turn the tables on their parents and ask us why we hang out with some of the people that we do.
At work as a boss, I take it very personally how my employees perform. Other managers are quick to pull the trigger on people and say they are poor performers, but the first thing I think of is, “well maybe you are a bad boss and just can’t get your folks to perform or made a bad judgment in the hiring process.”
You have to train and help people. When people fail were they properly trained? Are you failing as a boss?
However, you can’t have people drag down high performers. We constantly analyze the folks we work with and identify low performers and see what we can do to boost them up. If they are unwilling to do it or can’t do it then it’s time to part ways, but if I have done my job from the start with the hiring process and interviews, it is rarely the case. Low performers bring down the morale and performance of others who do things the right way, plus you spend most of your time as a boss thinking about 10% of the employees which causes 90% of the issues.
Do you have folks in your life that bring you down or leach off of you? If so they are a bad investment in your life. Again not all investments are monetary.
How we manage our time is probably one of the best indicators of success in life. When I look at successful people they are amazing time managers. They get up early, they have things generally planned out in the short and long term. They always have the big picture in mind and understand how one decision impacts another. We all have the same 24 hours in a day but some folks are just better at getting things done and use every second they can to be productive.
I value my time between 9 and 10 pm each night. My daughter is to bed by that time and it is my free time. I have many choices on what I could do. I can sit on the couch and watch TV or pick up the iPad and surf the internet or I can work out and do something productive with my time.
A lot of the time we may say, “I don’t have time.” Well, we do have time, what is it that is bogging down our schedule to not allow us to have our time? Just because we are doing good things doesn’t mean we are doing the best things with our time. There needs to be an evaluation of priorities. We have time, and we all have the same time, but we have different priorities that lead us to make different decisions. Maybe it is time to drop a few things that aren’t that important.
If you are reading this you are working hard on your finances and budget. You know the value of a budget and know where each penny goes. Shouldn’t it be the same with each minute of our day? Budget your time, do the most productive things, and don’t let the small things overtake the schedule.
If you can budget your money you can budget your time. You will be glad that you did. It doesn’t mean every second of every day is planned and you micromanage yourself and your family to the point of being a robot, but having a plan in place will get more things done.
If you like to watch TV, can you do it while working out? Get two things done and feel good about it. However, TV and the internet is a huge time wasters in our lives. There is always time to schedule less of that so if you are looking for some extra time, start there.
That is why the rule in our house is you have to be working out if you want to watch a show. It accomplishes two things. Back in the day as a single guy, I wouldn’t have TV to save some money so if I wanted to watch something I would have to get to the gym and watch a game or show while running or biking.
What other things do you consider as bad investments?