Invest in your relationships and reap the financial returns as well as the personal returns.
There are a number of ways to invest; not all of them have to do with stocks or bonds or real estate. Indeed, there are a number of ways to view investments. The way you use your time is an investment, and the effort you put into improving yourself is also an investment. Because today is Valentine's Day, though, I think it's worth considering the investing you do in your relationships.
Personal Benefits of Investing in Your Relationships
There are a number of personal benefits related to investing in your relationships. And, of course, the most important relationship you can invest in is the one you have with your significant other. Your relationship with your life partner dictates a number of things, from how you spend your money to how positive you feel. When you have a good relationship with your significant other, it spills over into your physical and mental health, as well as how you feel about yourself, including your confidence level.
The good news is that one of the best ways to improve your relationship is to spend time together. According to an infographic I saw today, most people consider the “ideal gift” on Valentine's Day to be time spent together. (View the full How Do You Spend Valentine's infographic at Credit, Eh.)
When you invest in personal relationships with your friends, relatives and children, you are more likely to feel fulfilled, and reap the benefits that come with social interaction. This is a great way to improve the quality of your life in a way that can't be improved by mere money.
Financial Benefits of Investing in Your Relationships
You can also reap financial returns when you invest in your relationships. Who you know can result in job offers, promotions and other opportunities. And, while you want to be careful when using your social network for career purposes, there are ways to see returns on your investment of time. Some of the ways that you can benefit from your time investment in relationships include:
- Business contacts: Connect with people in your career field. This can be done online as well as offline. You can follow people on Twitter, and get a profile up on LinkedIn to help you make business connections and build professional relationships.
- Co-workers: Your co-workers can provide references for your next job, or offer you the opportunity to learn more about the job you are doing. It can also help to have allies at the office.
- Bosses: When possible, it helps to build a good relationship with your boss. That way, you will be able to get a good recommendation when you move on to another job. Plus, you will have a better chance at promotions and raises. Your boss can be a great ally.
- Mentors: Learning from a mentor can be a great way to improve your skills and learn about a particular career field, or get tips on money management and investing. Connect with a mentor, and learn what you need to improve your success.
- Social networking: Whether you do this in person at conferences and meetups, or whether you do this online, social networking can help you down the road. Whether your friend knows of a job opening at her father's company, or whether you meet a potential business partner through a Facebook connection, your social networks can be tapped to help you find opportunities and make money.
Of course, in any relationship you have to give back. When you invest in your relationships, you need to provide a benefit to the other person as well — even if it's just your support. You can also indicate your gratitude for the help you have received by, in turn, helping others. Even as you enjoy the benefits of having a mentor, don't neglect to mentor someone else if you can. Investing in relationships can be a great way to find personal fulfillment; a financial benefit is often a secondary concern.