While dropping the kids off for the day, I was thinking this morning about a recent conversation I had on investments, and another recent conversation on the turmoil of a friend who is getting divorced. And it turns out that the two are actually somewhat related: An investor invests money to secure their financial returns, and a divorcee invests personal effort to secure their independence.
Like most experienced investors, I use diversification to manage the amount of risk in my investment portfolio. That’s fancy language for saying that I don’t invest all my money into one place. I’ve also seen my fair share of failed investments. But no bad feelings there, that’s just the turn of luck and that’s why I invest in other things and not just one thing.
But this morning I thought about my life investments. Like my divorcee friend, I’ve been through that too, only with the additional burden of having to make it work for the kids financially without external support. If I’d started earlier with diversifying my life investments, perhaps that wouldn’t have been so bad. See, I had put all my effort into career, naively thinking that more money would mean the family would be better off. As a result, I lost everything else — creating a domino effect that toppled my career prospects as well. If I had been smarter back then and invested my energy smartly across all the areas of life, I might have been able to avoid the catastrophe or at least not have lost everything, and would be able to reduce risk of losing my ultimate goal — happiness and fulfillment — even when one or two areas of life suffer from bad luck.
Areas of life investment
Investments in life cover a number of different areas. I know there are a number of different models out there, but I’d like to share with you my model. It breaks down life into two components: Your Health (that’s the circle in the middle), and the Environment Around You (that’s the two arrows on the left and right). If any single component is lacking, it would contribute to stress, a shorter life expectancy, and less personal happiness: therefore, the trick is to invest my time into activities such that I know which domain(s) I am strengthening by that time investment, and at the same time extending my life expectancy.
I’m pretty sure I’ll appreciate the results in the future much more than I do now, if stories from other model seniors are any indication of how this sort of strategy works out. But even now, I feel that the positive impact that this has on my own satisfaction with my life, and the empowerment that it gives me to continue to improve my life, makes it all worthwhile, even now!