“Garrett, what would you do with x amount of money?”
I get asked this question often.
It’s great that people ask.
I understand why.
People want to know how to grow their money, protect their wealth, and have a better life.
But often we are taught to take too much risk because we live in a world of hacks, shortcuts, and get-rich-quick schemes.
It is human nature to want the shortcut, the Holy Grail, the magic product. But just because we hear the folklore and stories and want it doesn’t make it real.
The shortcut mindset leads to much more risk than return.
There is no miracle investment or secret that can create immediate wealth—and sustain it over time.
There are plenty of unethical tactics for generating quick money, such as flash trading, dark pool investing, market making for massive hedge funds, etc. But history proves over and over that such strategies are never sustainable.
There are plenty of stories to make us think people get rich quick.
So-called overnight successes in business.
The seemingly perfect life that people present on social media ads.
All of these factors lead people to believe if they are just lucky enough, or connect with the right person, they will somehow crack the code of investing.
We have been indoctrinated with how to invest and whom to trust when it comes to investing. That if we aren’t gaining larger numbers in accounts, regularly and often, we are somehow failing.
It is short-sighted. It is unrealistic. It is dangerous.
Why does this happen, and how?
We are indoctrinated that our net worth is our self-worth, or some great indicator of success and wealth.
Because everywhere we look, everything we see, and everything we listen to, tells us so.
MONEY IS POWER.
MONEY IS STATUS.
MONEY IS FREEDOM.
Ironically, we’re also indoctrinated with the counter message: Money is the root of all evil.
So which message is right? And how does it impact the questions we ask and our behavior when it comes to investing?
Buy this stock.
Or this coin.
Or this amazing fund.
Or this private capital deal.
Or precious metals.
We ask the question of where to invest in hopes someone will have an answer because it would be nice to live a better life. It would be nice to tell our spouse or family that we are safe. That we made it. That we will be okay. No more worry about the bills. And even better, we’re able to do things that we wouldn’t dare dream of without the hope of that investment that takes us to the finish line.
So where do we go to find the “right investment”?
To those who seem wealthier than us. Or to people who call themselves “financial advisors.”
But people in finance understand sales and products. They won’t be able to tell you the ONE specific unicorn investment, stock, or development to put your money into that will make you rich quick. That is not how financial advisors, insurance advisors, or retirement planners are trained to operate.
And if someone does tell you they have the one investment for you, you better beware. Expect them to tell you the merits of options trading, or to sell you on some real estate deal you own a small piece of but have no say in, or the newest coin that has a better story than a chance of ever succeeding. You’ll hear about some IPO, private equity deal, or development. Or worse, some scheme where you borrow, leverage, and try to create “arbitrage” through taking massive risk.
It’s naïve, misinformed, and dangerous to rely on short-sided tips, tricks, and hacks.
The wealthiest people own businesses.
They own real estate.
They create intellectual property.
But this isn’t something they do part time, or simply hand their money over to someone else, hoping for the best. It isn’t a one-time occurrence of picking one right investment that carries them to the finish line.
Wealth is about who they are.
Their knowledge and insights.
Their wisdom and patience.
Their ability to rebound from mistakes and learn from them.
Their dedication to plant seeds now that won’t be harvested until much later.
Sure, some of them are lucky and inherit money, or win the lottery, or marry into money. Or in one in a million cases, buy the stock, crypto, or whatever at the perfect time. It is the exception to the rule.
The truly wealthy begin by investing in their skills, developing their abilities, and growing their financial team. They don’t diversify into too many risky ventures and funds. They focus until there is enough growth that diversification becomes a preservation strategy.
As a kid, I had a little money to invest and I was looking for somewhere to put it. I met someone who lived in an eight-story house, which from my young perspective, seemed to climb up the mountain forever. I thought for sure he would know where to invest. I was ready to do whatever he said with my small amount of money.
But he didn’t give the advice I expected. He invested based on his Investor DNA. He owned a business. That was his focus. He didn’t pick some hot investment at the right time. It was a process over a long time.
He was a great investor by staying focused on what he knew best.
But it takes responsibility to be a great investor: responsibility for our knowledge, for risk management, and for our results.
It isn’t sexy.
It takes time and effort and patience.
It means sitting on the sidelines and holding onto your cash until you find the right thing for you.
This means opportunities will pass you by.
If a deal is so good, why would someone need your money or want to share?
Money is required precisely because it isn’t a sure thing, and it’s needed to build assets, infrastructure, etc.
We’re told by people with vested interests that money is too complicated. That getting wealthy is about taking risk, getting lucky, timing the market. That investing is too hard to do ourselves, but so easy for some genius advisor or fund manager who can save us.
The truth is that long-term wealth is created responsibly over time through value creation and risk management.
We create value and manage risk to the extent that we stay within the parameters of our Investor DNA.
Discovering our Investor DNA means investing in ourselves to discover our interests and strengths, as well as our weaknesses and limitations.
The answer to the question, “Where should I invest my money?” is always, “Invest in yourself.” Because if you had invested in yourself enough, you wouldn’t be asking the question—you would already know the best place to invest.
Learning ourselves and developing a skillset requires time and effort.
It requires making mistakes and refinements.
And if you stay aligned with your Soul Purpose—your passion, values, and abilities—and within your Investor DNA, there is much less competition than you would think. You see things and can do things no one else can.
What would it take to take a chance on you, rather than hand your future over to a salesperson?
This isn’t for everyone.
But if you are willing to be responsible, if you are willing to learn, and if you are willing to take a leap of faith on yourself, you become your best asset.
You make mistakes.
You gain fulfilment as you learn and gain ability.
And over time, you become a better investor.
The bad news and the good news:
- There is no investment you can find that will give you amazing returns immediately and sustainably.
- You get to invest in yourself and add more value to the world and yourself.
What would you like to do better?
What would you like to start doing that you have never done?
Where are you currently struggling with that a new skillset could solve?
How can you get rich slowly, and get rich right?
(And when I say slowly, I am not talking 30 years from today, but something that could take a few years, but less than a decade. That is what is possible when you go all in on yourself.)
It won’t always be easy or seem like the right idea. Choosing what matters to you, what is most fulfilling and worth your time will fly in the face of everything you have been indoctrinated with around money.
But still, I offer the answer. Where should you invest? In yourself. In your mindset and skillset. In your Mental and Relationship Capital. In your financial efficiency. In your financial intelligence and emotional intelligence. In accountability.
YOU are always your best investment.