You Are Your Greatest Asset

by Jon Dulin on May 5, 2014 · 18 comments

you are your greatest assetMany people are interested in owning lots of assets – be it stocks or rental real estate – for the sole purpose of reaching financial independence. While owning these assets are a great thing and are needed for reaching financial independence, there is one asset many people tend to overlook: themselves. In fact, you are your greatest asset. It’s true. You will never own an asset that will produce the amount of income you can potentially generate in your lifetime.

Think about it this way:

If you own a rental house that nets you $500/month for 30 years, that comes to $180,000. With a good job, you could make that in a few years.

If you own 1,000 shares of a stock at $4 per share and its price skyrockets to $50 per share, you made $46,000. You could generate that in less than a year from a job.

So how do you invest in yourself, and generate the most income possible? The first thing you need to do is go to college. I know, college is expensive and in some cases, college is not needed for a good paying job. But as it stands right now, getting a college degree is in your best interest.

Here is a breakdown of the typical annual salary for a person with the highlighted degrees:

annual salary

Over 40 years of employment, your lifetime earnings break down like this:

lifetime earnings

That is a huge difference. But, don’t let these numbers fool you. You can’t simply get a college degree and think your work is over. It’s not. You still need to put forth the effort.

You Are Your Greatest Asset

By getting a good education and working hard at your job, you will learn more and be more productive. This means that you will become more valuable to your employer and ideally, invaluable. When you become invaluable, you earn higher wages.

How To Become Invaluable

While you are at work, act professionally with everyone: co-workers and outside clients. Word travels fast. Find ways of improving current processes, or recommend getting rid of processes that no longer serve a purpose. Document all of this so that you can present them to your boss.

Go above and beyond what the job entails. Ask your boss what he or she dislikes doing and see if you can find a way to automate the process or even take control over it. With how quickly technology is evolving, you are certain to find something that you can improve upon.

When you become invaluable it will lead to you earning more money and getting larger raises (assuming you ask for larger raises). If you want to retire rich or even comfortably, you need to earn as much as you possibly can.

Getting Larger Raises

After you go above and beyond your job duties and record everything, schedule a meeting with your boss. Don’t wait for your annual review. By then it is too late. Salary increases have already been budgeted for. Whenever your review is, schedule a meeting 3-4 months before that date with your boss.

Show them how valuable you are and tell him/her that you would like an “X%” raise come review time. This way your boss knows what you have done, knows what you are looking for, and can “go to bat” for you to get you a larger raise. There is no guarantee you will get it, but you have a much better chance this way than by waiting to bring it up during your review.

Final Thoughts

You are your greatest asset. Invest in yourself. You will pay huge rewards by doing so.

The more you make, the more you can save, the more your money grows. The more your money grows, the richer you become. The richer you become, the more options you have in life, including retiring early.

It all comes back to you. By continuously growing and learning, you not only become a better person, you also become more invaluable. Earn as much as you can. If you have your high school diploma, look into night school or other ways to get your bachelors degree.

If you have your bachelor’s degree, see if an advanced degree is appropriate for your career.

In either case, if you have a job and are looking to further your education, there is a good chance your company will help you pay for it.

You control your future and how great of an asset you are. Make the most of yourself and earn as much as you can.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Marissa May 10, 2012 at 6:28 am

This is true. Investing in yourself by studying or taking time to learn skills will pay off in the long run. Discover your strong points and use or improve on these. Maximize your potential.

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Brian @ Luke1428 May 5, 2014 at 7:40 am

This is a great thought Jon! We do to often look at what’s “out there” to make us money. Better to look inside and see what we can do to improve ourselves. Some of the best money I’ve spent has been on improving myself in some way. Love the message!
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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

So true Brian! I have nothing against renting property or investing in the stock market, but we tend to jump to these things first or second and forget about ourselves, which can easily out earn both of them combined. If you can find ways to better yourself, you are on the right track.

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Holly@ClubThrifty May 5, 2014 at 8:47 am

I agree that we are our greatest asset. But since I’m self-employed, I can’t ask for a raise or expect more compensation for additional education. I just have to work harder!
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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

True, but you are always learning new things and becoming better at the things you already do. As you learn, you have the potential to create new and different income streams which will strengthen your brand and yourself.

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Roadmap2Retire May 5, 2014 at 8:55 am

Great post, Jon. I completely agree that we the people are the greatest asset.

R2R
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John @ Sprout Wealth May 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

Good post Jon! I agree, that we really do need to find ways to maximize ourselves so we can use that to make/earn more and then hopefully manage it better. :) Like Holly, being self-employed, it can be more difficult, but there are ways to do it.
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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

As long as you are always learning, you are growing as a person. That will allow you to think in new and different ways and ideally increase your income.

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Little House May 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

This is definitely true. For many years I was a substitute teacher making a low wage. I finally bit the bullet and went back to school for a teaching credential, landed a full-time teaching job, and raised my salary by $30K. I should have done it sooner!
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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 7:58 am

Congrats! I’m glad you were able to get a full time job and the nice pay increase!

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Jef Miles May 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

Wow for an advanced degree the wages are quite a bit lower in the states than out in Aus.. I suppose the costs of living (especially rent) are much higher here though..

What about student loans? Are these making gaining a higher education too tough or is that simply an excuse the media puts out?
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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 7:57 am

Student loans have made getting an education more affordable for everyone. The problem is that most rely on them solely to fund their education. When people graduate, they now have tens of thousands of dollars they have to repay. Most never think about how much they will have to repay or how much their monthly payment is. When that first bill comes, they realize they are in trouble.

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Frank Pipitone May 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

How often do you see it explained this way. I intend to share this advice with clients in the future.
Yes, an increase in knowledge and self awareness is directly proportional with an increase in your bank account.

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harold May 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I agree that you are your best asset – but I’m not sure advanced degrees in the US are worth it anymore – at least not in this economy. Have you seen how many people are DROWNING in student loan debt? I went to law school and have been a lawyer for 28 years. I paid a fraction of the cost of what law students pay today and I make way more than they can hope for – for a great number of years. Not sure I’d do it again with the b.s. cost of law school these days. That debt can cripple you – for frickin decades!

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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

Good point Harold. Many employers offer to pay for all of or at least a portion of an advanced degree. That could be a way around going into loads of debt to get your degree. If your employer doesn’t offer this, then I would suggest you pay as you go and take out as few of loans as possible. That way you won’t be drowning in debt. It may take a little longer for you to complete your degree, but at least you won’t have the debt.

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Jon Dulin May 6, 2014 at 7:55 am

I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

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Brock @cleverdude May 6, 2014 at 7:59 am

Part of becoming invaluable in your job (in my opinion) goes beyond your skill set, and also has a lot to do with your work ethic, and your ability to lead. If you can become a leader, and be the guy that “rallies the troops” to solve tough issues, that’s something that will be remembered!
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Suburban Finance May 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Completely agree. People sometimes look beyond what they already have and think that they don’t have anything of value when they actually own the greatest asset ever: their own self. As a individual we should always strive to be better and go beyond average to maximize our own asset.
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