Four investments in you that always pay off


Successful budgeting is not simply a matter of seamlessly connecting your income to your expenses. A big part of money management is taking your available assets and using those funds to make a better life for yourself. It’s about spending smart by covering your necessities while simultaneously putting yourself in a position to reach your goals and live a long, happy life.

When money is tight, it can be difficult to spend money on anything that doesn’t seem like the barest of essentials. It’s important, however, to make sure that self-investment is always factored into your budget. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable at first, make sure that there’s always a little room in your budget to invest in the following areas.


Education is a very tricky investment, especially when you consider the cost of attending college and the linger uncertainties of the job market. That said, however, it’s undeniable that education and appropriate training can pay off in a big way down the road. As time goes by, the wage gap between those with a college degree and those without is only widening.

As with any investment, though, you need to do your research. Do the best you can to figure out which career path you want to go down and what kinds of continuing education or training can put you in the best possible position to succeed.


Americans die from a staggering amount of preventable causes. According the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 40 percent of the death attributed to the five leading causes of death in this country (heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries) could have been prevented.

If you’re struggling financially, you may be tempted to take shortcuts with your health, or stop taking proper care of yourself all together. That’s understandable – healthcare can be massively expensive, especially when you’re sick. But the more you can do to take care of yourself, the less likely you are to be saddled with enormous hospital bills down the line. More importantly, you’ll very likely live a longer, healthier life, which is something you can’t put a price tag on.

Peace of mind

Though it can be difficult to quantify, there’s a real value is feeling secure and relaxed. That can extend in any number of directions, from keeping your car in good condition to visiting the doctor when your fingers feel a bit tingly. Even more, it means actively working to keep your stress in check and your life in balance. That means different things for different people, but the key is remembering the happiness should be your central pursuit (whatever that means for you). Define what makes you feel good and allow space in your budget to pursue those activities.


Finally, one investment you should hopefully already be making is in an adequate retirement fund. Americans nearing retirement age simply do not have enough saved up. In fact, as much as 45 percent of work age Americans don’t have anything at all saved for retirement. Having a sufficiently large retirement fund puts you in the best possible position to enjoy your golden years. It’s easy to put off contributing to a retirement account, especially when you’re young and retirement seems an impossibly long time away. But the sooner you start, the easy it becomes, so if you haven’t yet, start investing in yourself and build the kind of retirement fund you deserve.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.