What do you think is your biggest asset?

Unless you own a multimillion dollar home outright, it’s probably not that.

So what is the single asset that will likely have the greatest impact on your lifestyle and eventual retirement?

It’s actually you.

On average, university graduates can expect to earn in the vicinity of $3 million over their lifetimes, and those with a year 12 qualification earn around $2 million. It’s not all over when your formal education is complete though. Those are averages, and the range of individual earnings (for both groups) is broad.

So how should you invest in a low interest rate environment? Make sure you don’t forget to invest in making your biggest asset bigger. Invest in yourself.

Firstly, never stop learning. Look for ways to learn more within your workplace. Explore courses and workshops in your field. See if there are part time study options offered by universities, TAFEs or professional associations. Talk to your boss (or the HR department) to see if your organisation is one of the many that support part time study.

Which leads to our second suggestion. Let your superiors know that you’re interested in working to develop your career path. Ask them what they think you should be doing to increase your chances of advancement. Are there promotions coming up in the organisation that you may be able to apply for? It doesn’t even matter if you apply and fail. You’re sending a message that you’re looking for opportunities. If you have annual performance reviews, try to use them to find out what you could be doing better.

Keep a lookout for potential mentors, both within and external to your business. Many of the senior figures in your organisation achieved their success with the aid of mentors, and would happily pass the favour along, but it’s up to you to show the initiative, and then to work hard to prove to your mentor that you are worth supporting.

Finally, keep working to expand your network, both within your organisation and outside it. Knowing who to talk to with a question or about a problem is halfway toward a solution. Networking ensures you know what’s going on in your organisation and can lead to promotion opportunities. External networking keeps you abreast of developments in the industry and can provide fresh ideas that you could take to your workplace. It’s also often a source of job opportunities. Best of all, it’s not difficult. Introduce yourself and get to know people. (And make your LinkedIn profile sing!)

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