In my years as a Financial Planner, I have fielded many questions. One of the most frequent questions I have been asked is, “What is the best area to invest in this market?” Many state that the equity market is poised for a strong rally in the long run. Others state that the bond market is very attractive. What about the real estate market? Shouldn’t it be due for a recovery soon?
I have heard all the arguments from the above asset classes and depending upon who you talk everyone seems to have an opinion about the best place to invest.
There is another area of investment which is not talked about as frequently. This area of investment has TREMENDOUS potential and almost unlimited upside. Doubling, and tripling your investment in this area would be an enormous understatement. “What is it?” you ask.
I will give you a clue…you wake up everyday and go to sleep in it. You eat in it, you take your children to school in it, you attend block parties in it, and many of your family and friends may also live in it. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am referring to the community. That’s right…an investment in your community is the greatest investment you can make. By investing in the community, what are the returns for me, you ask? How does one invest in a community? There are many ways you can invest in your community. Let me explain.
In your community, there are many businesses. These businesses, if upheld, will bring respectable traffic to your community. Restaurants, bakeries, schools, libraries, and more are all a reflection of the upkeep and character of the community. Outsiders often get a sense of the community by the quality of service, experience and ambiance within the local community restaurants and other institutions. The upkeep of the schools and libraries are all factors looked upon by drive-through visitors. Frequent investment is crucial to property value, and quality of living. Time and money that flows through these community institutions will always be reflected in the property values and ultimately the quality of life for the community’s residents. So take time to eat in your community restaurants, donate books to your local libraries and schools, and frequent the stores and shops in your community.
How large of a return did Bill Gates, Russell Simmons, or Oprah Winfrey get on their original dollars of investment? The number is far too large for any ordinary calculator to hold. Successful entrepreneurship has always been guaranteed to be one of the largest returns on your investment. So I challenge you to open your own business in your own community. Seek support from the community and they will often respond positively to your business endeavor.
Education is a key component of entrepreneurship. Oftentimes an individual has not discovered his or her passion; they have not received the education that provides them with the knowledge and exposure to identify areas that will be most beneficial for them. Investing in education is a key component to entrepreneurship in your community. Flourish your mind, and your business will also flourish.
Investing in the youth of our communities will not only yield enormous returns but returns that are often the most immediate and most fulfilling. The youth of our communities are crying out for our assistance and support. The parents and the teachers need our assistance. Seeing the smile on a youngster’s face – a smile that you helped to create – is one of the most personally rewarding experiences one can have. I personally spend a great deal of time with the youth in my community, and will always continue to do so because I continue to see so many positive results. How many young Bob Johnsons, Warren Buffets, or Bill Clintons will never reach their potential because we didn’t take the time to invest in him or her? I urge all to take some time to volunteer at the local school in your community and talk to the children. Career days, tutor programs, after school programs, and more are all opportunities to stop by and spend some time with the children of your neighborhoods. They are our future, and investment in their lives is also an investment in yours.
The bible says, “Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance.” (Numbers 36:9) What this means to me is that money made in the community should primarily be spent for the benefit of the community. So I urge you to think about how you are contributing to your own communities. If you are not active, then how can you get active? Many people look to the politicians to create change, and often fail to realize that they can create positive change and movement right in their own communities. How much time are you putting into the care and upkeep of your community? Do you throw cigarette butts, chicken bones, and other trash on the streets, yards, or subway tracks? Participate in your community, donate to your community (time and money), and most of all RESPECT your community. It will go a long way for you, me, and the American society as a whole.
Written By: Ryan Mack, President of Optimum Capital Management, LLC
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