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Investing money, investing in yourself 

July 3, 2017

Lifestyle Upgrade 101

Cover Samantha Gonzales

Starting May 29, we will be running a column by the bestselling authors of I Wish They Taught Money in School, Sharon W. Que and Clarissa Seriña‑de la Paz. The column will come out every Money Monday.

Imagine a baker who doesn’t know how to bake or a photographer without a camera. Do you think they could actually produce any outputs—cookies or photographers—without the skills and the proper tools?

The same thing goes for investing your money. We can’t expect to see good results if we don’t equip ourselves with the skills and tools that would make us good investors. Before we could (wisely) invest our money, we must invest on ourselves first.

We’ve listed down 4 ways on how you could invest on yourself before you actually start investing your money:

Get rid of any debt and start with a clean slate.

Sharon: There’s no point in getting into an investment—no matter how good it may seem—if you are still paying off some debts. The deal may outperform inflation but if your credit card debt is still running on 3% interest per month, it still wouldn’t do you any good.

Read and familiarize yourself.

Clarissa: There are so many available resources now—online articles, e‑books, videos, but what jumpstarted my financial journey in 2004 is the book by Robert Kiyosaki entitled “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” This book eventually led me to what now is my money bible, the board game called Cashflow 101. It taught me the concept of “Financial Freedom,” which I never really learned from school. It taught me that financial freedom is when your monthly passive income exceeds your monthly expenses, and I’ve tried to stay committed to that goal ever since. More than learning the theories, the game also allows you to discover a lot about how you handle money because it is exactly a simulation of real life. To quote Kim Kiyosaki (wife of Robert Kiyosaki): “Financial freedom is much more than having money. It’s the freedom to be who you really are and do what you really want in life.”

Sharon: I read all the books of Robert Kiyosaki and I kept on attending Cashflow 101 games. No matter who the organizers were, I’d see to it that I’ll go. It allowed me to learn so much about the tips and tricks, especially about real estate properties, which was what I was interested in when I started.

Attend seminars and classes.

Clarissa: There was this 90‑day goal‑setting seminar called Star Shooters that really accelerated my goals in life. Coincidentally, that's where Sharon and I also met. I was a student and she was the head coach. The learnings from the seminar really stuck to me, so much so that the books Sharon and i have written were products of seminars we’ve attended. It took us 90 days to finish making our first and second books, following the framework we learned from Star Shooters.

Even after 13 years of getting into investing, I still continue to take up classes. Sharon and I take short courses and classes like Value Investing (it’s the Warren Buffet way of investing in the stock market) and Affiliate Marketing (so we can earn passive income online). I’m also scheduled to take Rich Dad’s Real Estate Investing class this June, and it doesn’t end here. We’re always on the lookout for more courses and ways to keep learning.

Surround yourself with like‑minded people.

Sharon: Attending all these seminars and classes introduced me to people who share the same passion as I do. We share tips, knowledge, and even failures to learn from each other. One example I learned specifically from them was how to use other people’s money to buy investments. This could be done by partnering with people who have money but no time to manage the property or find people who want to earn through interest. I’ve learned different tricks and techniques that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.

It would also be a good step to expose yourself by getting a mentor or a coach. It’s always so inspiring to listen to the stories of my mentors, and it makes me believe that if they were able to do it, then so can I. Their motivation is infectious that I couldn’t help but push myself to growing my financial intelligence.

The same way you get to know the landmarks and streets of a place before actually going there, investing your money will require you to survey the playing field beforehand. There’s no rigid guide map to doing it, but it’s good to study what you are getting yourself into before diving head‑on. By doing so, you will get to avoid committing some rookie mistakes and you will hopefully make better decisions in the end.

At the same time though, remember that all this is a process. These tips are not limited to just before investing. These should be constant reminders for you all throughout your investment journey. What you’ve learned now is and will probably be different a week, a month or even a year from now. The trick here is to always be open to learning because the industry is ever‑changing. Know the basics but it’s the curious and the disciplined who really moves forward in this game. Likewise, follow through on your set budgets and commitments. After all, you only get a sizable return when you’ve also given a sizable investment—both on your money and on yourself.


Clarissa Seriña‑de la Paz and Sharon W. Que are financial literacy advocates and the bestselling authors of “I Wish They Taught Money in School” and “Money Grows on Trees” Check out their books at www.lifestyleupgrade101.com. Get 10% off, plus a free notepad and bookmark, by sharing this story with the hashtags #MoneyMonday and #SparkUp. Remember to make your post public!