A lot of people ask me as an author of books on financial stewardship: “Kuya” (brother), what’s the best investment for you?
I can give several answers: stock market, rental property, business, etc. But at the end of the day, my answer will always go back to this: education.
Yes, the best investment for me is always education. An investment that brings the greatest returns is investing in our God-given intellectual asset: our neck-top computer.
The only problem is, and it’s a big one, is that we invest more in entertainment than in our education. More so today. There are so many entertainment opportunities in your hand. Wherever you go, you have an entire entertainment system with you. Yes, you know what that is. It’s your smartphone. Wherever you are, you can watch YouTube videos, movies on NetFlix, NBA games…or play a hundred and one games, tinker with apps, chat, etc etc etc. You know what I’m talking about, right?
But like handling money, we have to be good stewards of our brains. When we invest in our education and our brains, good things happen. We make better decisions, opportunities for job advancement opens up, we learn how to relate better with people. And if we study and invest our time in reading and attending seminars on how to be better leaders, managers, workers, investors, entrepreneurs, we can learn how do business and life better.
So how to invest in education? Do we need to go back to school? If you can go back, well and good, but for us mere mortals, I’ve listed down seven ways to invest in education for free (or almost free).
7 ways to educate yourself
1.Read books! Reading promotes deep thinking. There are many books about money, finance, investing and personal growth that are available at your local bookstores. My book “Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin” (Money that’s never short) is only P75 ($1.50) and is available at National Bookstore, OMF Lit/Passages bookstores, etc. There are scored more available about investing from authors like Chinkee Tan, Marvin Germo at Randell Tiongson. Google them to read their blogs. Unfortunately, we don’t have a very good public library system (actually non-existent) so find a friend or relative with a good library and borrow. Don’t be shy to ask.
2.Attend seminars. This Thursday and Friday (9am – 4pm on June 15 in Malabon Ctiy and June 16, same time sa Bay Leaf Hotel at Intramuros, Manila) there will be FREE seminars on Entrepreneurship that is offered by Go Negosyo and DTI. Here they will launch the Mentor Me program where aspiring entrepreneurs can be taught and mentored for free by experienced entrepreneurs. Call the Go Negosyo hotline 637-9347 for details on how to join or visit www.GoNegosyo.net
3.Listen,watch and learn. Listen to radio shows like Go Negosyo radio every Friday. You can also listen to podcasts from TechShake.Asia/podcasts and by listening and watching lectures on TEDTalks on YouTube. “Read” books by listening to them on Audible. You can create your very own University in your car as your commute or drive to work or meetings. There were many times when I would be listening to a lecture or talk on an audio CD while driving through Manila traffic. And I would find myself, slowing down my speed or staying some extra minutes in the parking lot just to finish listening to the talk. Download the app, Khan Academy — an excellent online school where you can learn anything — or watch the lessons on YouTube.
4.Volunteer. Join NGO or Church based orgs that organize learning events and seminars. You’ll learn just by volunteering and you’ll get to meet many potential mentors. You may volunteer to be a Sunday School even. When you teach, this forces you to study as well.
5. Be involved. Join socio-civic group like Rotary Club, Jaycees, or businessmen’s fellowship like FGBMF (Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship). You will learn from other people’s stories (they have a speaker at every session).
6. Be an apprentice. Offer to work for free every weekend for a businessman or entrepreneur. You will get to learn from them in action. Ask questions. Don’t be shy!!
7. Set up a sideline. Learn by doing! Launch a small business on the side. Join weekend bazaars, events, etc. Look for whatever you can sell — t-shirts, load, cupcakes, goodies, etc. Or join a direct selling business. Learn how to sell online as well or launch your own e-commerce business. Sell insurance, real estate, etc. Or make your car into an Uber or Grab for-hire vehicle during your spare time. You’ll get to learn humility, service attitude and meet and learn from a variety of people that you meet as your passengers.
There really is no excuse being poor. That’s what I learned from entrepreneur, Alfredo Yao, who was once a street vendor, sleeping on the sidewalks of Manila. Orphaned at the age of 12, he persisted and learned how to do business the hard way. He started with P3,000 in 1960 and has grown his company Zest-O. Today, Mr Yao is known as the “Juice King” of Asia. From “nothing” he is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs of Asia. Read more about his story here.
“While there’s life, there’s hope,” says Mr Yao.
Invest in your education and your skills.
You have hope! God loves you!
Prayer: Lord, please give us the strength and discipline to invest in our education and to develop the skills and mind that you have given us. May you prosper us as we honour and glorify you in everything we do. In Jesus’ name!
Jesus said, “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come so that you may have life and have it to the fullest.” – John 10:10
Would you like to experience life in it’s fullest? Trust in Jesus. How? You can start by praying and telling Him, “Lord Jesus, I’ve committed many mistakes in the past. I’m sinful and I need you. Thank You that you have paid for my sins on the cross, and through your death and resurrection you have freed me. I love you, Jesus. And I accept you as my Lord and saviour. In your name I pray, Amen.