In the wake of Thanksgiving, your belly is full, the Little Drummer Boy is on blast, and you’re feeling thankful as you wrap up a successful year of hard work, while chasing leftover pumpkin pie with sips of red wine, and those over-dramatic Hallmark Christmas movies playing in the background. <Don’t worry, I’m not judging.> You’re thankful for the decisions you’ve made in 2015—even your current week-old pie and red wine blend—but you’re still trying to figure out that one thing you didn’t quite get to this year. You’re looking for ways to put your money to work for you in 2016, risk-free, where you know you will be thankful for it in the future.
You’re feeling like investing is prrrobably what you should be doing with your money, but you’re just not there yet—I gotchu!
Here are 4 risk-free investments you can make now that will payoff, big-time, later.
1. Invest in that mind of yours
I’ll be honest, I’m a learning junkie. There might be one thing I spend more money on than online courses or live seminars, and that’s probably coffee, but let’s not talk about that right now—investing in your own education and obtaining new knowledge will, without a doubt, make you more valuable to your employer, your clients, and yourself. (It could even lead to more money… I’m talking about some mighty negotiation leverage.) Making an investment in yourself to acquire new skills, learn new tactics, and gain a better understanding is one of the best ways to put your money to work for you.
Find programs online or at your local college that speak to your interests and challenge your intelligence. I could recommend an endless list (and maybe someday I will), but my current obsession has got to be the courses of brilliant copywriting, selling and doing business from this snarky genius.
2. Invest in those friends of yours
Family and Sig-O’s count too. (Ugh, I immediately regret using that slang.) Investing in your relationships will never leave you feeling risky or remorseful—well, I’m no therapist so I can’t speak to your breakups. But when it comes to true friends and family, saving up to travel home for the holidays, buy birthday gifts or take your mentor out for coffee, all those things are risk-free investments that show you truly value your relationships.
Set up a sub-savings account specifically for Gifts, Networking, and Holidays (or just call it ‘Friendsvesting’). Each month, put a small portion of your paycheck—let’s say 2%—into that sub-savings account and watch it grow. When it’s time to make those purchases, you’ll have funds for that! In my opinion, online bank accounts are the way to go. They allow you to open up multiple savings accounts, have higher interest rates, though, don’t count on that to make you rich, and offer loads of other benefits.
3. Invest in that health of yours
I know, gym memberships are expensive, but they can be one heck of an investment if you use them regularly. Compared to paying a hefty medical bill (those suckers are no joke!), investing in your fitness and nutrition is a drop in the bucket. I know not all medical costs are avoidable, but dodging the ones you can control will have you endlessly thanking yourself in the future.
Still haven’t convinced you to hit up the gym? Try investing in your health in other ways. Buy books to learn about your body and mind, invest in high-quality foods and the time it takes to make meals at home, or buy a workout DVD. My favorite investment, aside from the gym, is a monthly massage or chiropractic appointment. Stress is for real, guys, and I see nothing wrong with proactively nipping it in the bud!
4. Invest in the unknown
This one is my favorite—savings accounts are investments too! Especially if it’s a true, no-touchy account. What do I mean by that? I’m talking emergency funds. Where you put money away, in a savings account, and don’t take anything out unless it’s an EMERGENCY! It may surprise you, but a majority of the population has a hard time setting money aside, and if they do, they have a hard time leaving it there. I’ll dive deeper on how I set up my bank accounts soon, but for now here is my off-the-cuff version.
Investing in the unknown means setting up an emergency savings account for those unforeseen events like car breakdowns, last-minute flights, broken bones, layoffs, heaters going out in the dead of winter, and any other unexpected expense that you hadn’t prepped your bank account for. Since losing a job and income might be the biggest shock, this is what I like to base my emergency fund goal on. You’ll hear most experts suggest 6-9 months of pay saved in an emergency savings account, some suggest 12-18 months. This is going to heavily depend on your tolerance for risk. Many millennials believe our hiring leverage is greater so you may be okay with 3-9 months, but know that this is what you could be living off of for a period of time while you search for another gig. Fund your account up to the dollar amount you need in order to maintain your lifestyle each month, times the number of months you (realistically) believe it could take you to get a new job.
And that’s-that! Those are 4 totally un-risky ways to invest your money and put it to work for you in 2016. It may not be as sexy as saying, “Hey, I just traded a bunch of futures, and then I made a bajillion bucks off penny stocks, now I’m gonna go get bottle service at the club cuz it’s 3pm on a #Friday,” **in the deepest bro-voice I could muster, sorry bros**, BUT being sexy with your investments isn’t the goal here. Let’s be smart and put it to good use. These 4 strategies are exactly that. Let me know other risk-free ways you put your money to work for you, and share this article if you found it helpful, or like that I made up a new term for taking your friends out to dinner, or that I mocked your older brother.
Disclosure: Some recommended links on my site are affiliates, meaning I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through them. Note that I only promote programs, products, and services that I have used or truly believe in and support myself.