The Best Investment You Can Make

If you are in your teens or early twenties, it’s a good time to start investing in your future. Your choices in this period will lay down the foundation for the rest of your life. That might seem a bit daunting but there is no need to worry. This time is for self-discovery and getting to know yourself to ensure that you are satisfied with the path you are taking.

Realise that you are the best asset you’ve got. It is your responsibility to grow that asset to the best of your ability. The best way to ensure your personal development is by educating yourself. I’m not referring merely to formal education, but also to self-education. A university qualification will go a long way but there are many things essential to your well-being that won’t necessarily be taught in school. There are many online resources and books to refer to. A good place to start is to educate yourself about money.

Money is essential to survival as well as progress. Realise that your financial education is crucial to gaining wealth. Too many people enter adulthood without a clue on how to manage their finances and spending. This results in an excess of debt and limited financial freedom. If you learn to spend wisely, you will be ahead of most people and can enjoy your life more. Purchasing goods just to be fashionable is not worth the headaches of debt. Be smart about buying property and vehicles. Buy only what you know you can afford, not what the banks and others say you can afford.

In terms of financial investment, invest in self-development resources such as courses on financial management. Get into the habit of saving. Entrepreneurs such as Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki advise that you save at least 10% of your earnings. Some have gone as far as recommending that we live on only half of what we earn and dedicate the rest to savings and investments. The safest investment of your savings is earning interest from the bank. Further your education about other investments before risking anything.

There is a trend of young entrepreneurs venturing into business. It does seem like a viable option because you cannot depend on others, your job or the economy to provide financial security indefinitely. Most people will change careers a few times in their lives. Diversifying your education and areas of expertise also allow you the freedom and flexibility to adapt in our ever-changing and expanding economy. Becoming self-employed may appear ideal but it is a brave step and requires had work and dedication.

Invest in travel. Travelling need not be expensive. Too many people think that it’s far more exciting to leave their hometown or country and only that can offer the experience of something new. The truth is that most communities usually have a wide range of activities to offer. Do something. Don’t be a homebody. Read the local paper for upcoming events. This will help you gain priceless experience, get to know the world around you and meet new people. This way you will find out what you enjoy and get to know people who share your values and goals in life.

Invest in your body. I know that eating fast food is very tempting, especially when you are young and have a busy schedule. A young healthy body may fool you into believing that this food does not have an effect on you. It does. It is detrimental to your health. Create healthy eating habits now in order to prevent disease rather than having to rehabilitate yourself later. Take a little extra time to learn about healthy foods, buy them and cook them at home. If your body is healthy, you will feel good and enthusiastic about the other aspects of your life.

Youth is about learning. You can try new things and gain from those experiences. If this knowledge is applied with the bigger picture of your future in mind then you are off to a good start. Time is your greatest resource so be wise about how you spend it and learn from mistakes early rather than suffer as a result of bad decisions in the future. The best investment you can make is in yourself.

Maja Dezulovic

What We Should Be Doing in Our Twenties

A few weeks ago I did a purge of my Facebook friends list. I deleted all the people who I had nothing in common with and with whom I hadn’t communicated with in over a year. The main reason for this is that I realised my news feed and updates became flooded with news of weddings and babies. I don’t have anything against marriage and children. I just think it unwise to jump into a commitment before you’ve really had the chance to get to know yourself. In my experience, this seldom happens before people reach their thirties.

I think we should learn from the mistakes of our parents and the generations before us. We can do this by not repeating their mistakes. An old school friend of mine is divorced and the mother of a young child at the age of 26. Her parents also married young and divorced. It’s frightening that people feel that after studying (whether ending their education in high school or at a tertiary level) it’s time to get married and have kids. How about getting to know yourself? How about furthering your education, becoming self-reliant and growing yourself as an individual? How about getting to know the person you want to marry? Getting to know each other involves a lot more than just dating and going on holidays together. Many married couples don’t know what they’re getting themselves into when they start living with each other. Cohabiting out of wedlock is practical yet frowned upon by fundamentalists and the more conservative part of our communities. If you live with someone, without entering any binding legal agreements (i.e. signing a marriage certificate), you give yourself the chance to call it quits when it doesn’t work out. It’s simpler and less painful when you don’t have to struggle through divorce proceedings or have any kids involved. You also allow yourselves the time to build a strong and healthy relationship with each other proving to yourselves that you are loyal and committed.

A simple Google search about divorce statistics and the link between marriage and education reveals what many of us likely already know. Firstly, less educated people get married and have kids younger than other groups and have higher divorce rates. Poorer families tend to have more children as well. Secondly, people with a tertiary education normally get married later, i.e. in their late twenties or early thirties, have a lower divorce rate and are likely to have less children than those with a high school education or less.

As a result of these trends, our society is filled with people who are focused on survival and trying to please other people (their boss, spouse or children), who later realise that they don’t truly understand themselves. I read that the fastest growing age group of subscribers to dating websites are people in their fifties and sixties. Part of the reason for this is that people, especially women, tend to only discover themselves and begin to enjoy their lives in their fifties. During and after this self-discovery they are more likely to find suitable partners than they might have been when they were younger. This is because they are probably divorced and the kids are all grown up and no longer need looking after, therefore women have nobody but themselves to truly look out for.

If this period of self-discovery happens in the twenties, people make wiser decisions later about their partners and when to start a family. Modern medicine has allowed us to live longer healthier lives. Therefore we no longer have to rush into starting families. Moreover, one of the greatest threats to the Earth and the greatest contributor to pollution and global warming is overpopulation. We already have too many people therefore it is not essential that we continue to reproduce at the current rate. By taking the time to discover ourselves and spend our youth in growing rather than jumping into what is considered to be a social norm, we allow ourselves to make wiser decisions and enjoy life in our prime. That way our older, wiser selves can have better careers, be better parents and contributors to society.

Our twenties are a time to learn, study, grow, have fun, travel and lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. That foundation is important. If our priorities are not in line with what we truly want for ourselves we may join the 80% of our population who hate their jobs, are in unhappy marriages or divorced and generally lead unfulfilling lives.

Maja Dezulovic

The Corporate Zombie Apocalypse

Monday morning came and I was petrified. I reluctantly got myself ready and went to the office. Our office has become one of those ghastly places where death has come to reign. Lifeless souls float around with their dead blue eyes and loose limbs. They groan in anguish and will only be satisfied when they claim their next victim.

Some of you will know that it was discovered that the zombie crisis is caused by a virus. I don’t know if Brad Pitt can save us from this one but we can only hope.

I’ve tried everything. I try everything that is rumoured to work against them and camouflage a perfectly healthy body for them to claim. It’s so widespread that the local Dischem is now stocking the vaccines (also thanks to Brad Pitt) and other preventative methods. I don’t like needles so I started taking vitamins. I also avoid all possibly contaminated areas or clean my hands with sanitizer or wipes after accidental contact. The culprits are door handles, telephones, keyboards, remotes and of course, touching the half-dead corpses themselves. During early infection, they may fool you while they still look semi-normal and force you into a casual handshake or caress. Be warned that anybody can become infected, even those closest to you. If you want to save yourself, isolate yourself from danger as much as possible. Stay within the secure confines of your own home.

Sometimes it is difficult. I walked into the office today. The atmosphere was quiet and eerie. Almost everyone has been infected and people are missing. They’ve probably left the germs behind, lingering, waiting.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. I don’t want to become a groaning, coughing, sneezing and panting flu zombie, although it’s probably inevitable.

Maja Dezulovic