ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Note: This article is courtesy of Iris.xyz

By Damon Gonzalez

My name is Damon Gonzalez. I am 38 years old and if everything goes as planned, I will be financially independent in the next two to five years. I fortunately love my job and hope to work into old age.  Financial pundits make forecasts and try tell you what stock they think you need to own for the next quarter, but have you ever wondered what they actually do with their own money?  Although I am a little uncomfortable sharing, I thought it would be refreshing to share how my wife and I have planned for our own retirement.

Invest in Yourself

All honest work is valuable, but it is hard to build wealth on a meager income. Every once in awhile you will read a story about a cleaning woman who gave a substantial amount of money to charity, or a man who died with $7 million worth of gold in his $100,000 house. These stories fascinate us because they are so rare and unexpected. There are ways to build a successful retirement on almost any income, but having a higher income obviously helps a lot.

If you want to build wealth, your best investment is being the best you that you can be. That means getting enough sleep, eating well, not abusing drugs and alcohol, and working hard. An education (not just going to school) that allows you to become a professional or start your own business is probably the best money and time you will ever spend. Don’t shy away from investing in yourself.

Related: Increasing Retirement Income Through the Power of Tax Deferral

My wife worked very hard to get a masters degree in tax and slaved long hours to work her way up at a Big 4 accounting firm. Later in life, she transferred the skills she’d picked up from accounting and the relationships she made along the way into a career as a recruiter.

I started out as a financial advisor when I was 22 and had no idea how hard it would be to build a business from the ground up. For the first few years, while my friends were going out and having fun, I was cold calling and working five and a half days a week.  My manager even made me work extra hours so I could take a weekend off to be in a friend’s wedding. In addition to the long hours I was logging at work, I used my free time to study for a Certified Financial Planner™ designation. To this day, I take classes at the community college and read dry academic books about investing and financial planning on the weekends to keep my skills sharp in this very competitive world.

I strongly believe that an investment of time and money into building your skills is the most important part of a financial plan.

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