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The #1 Rule for Investment Success -- Begin Here Before Investing Another Dollar

Aug 18, 2007
You may have heard that the people who save more money early in their lives will earn more throughout their lives than someone who starts saving later. It's very true. But it's not all there is to successful investing.

There are some very important principles many Christians overlook when they invest. Some of them are tied very closely to the above-mentioned truth. Others are simply a matter of perspective.

The first principle is that everything you do is investing. Too often we think of investing only in terms of money. But you invest every single moment of your life.

It doesn't matter if it's eating, shopping, working, smoking a cigarette, or going on vacation. Every thought, every emotion, and every action is an investment into something. Some things you invest in have positive returns. Some have negative returns. And a few things break even.

Your job as a Christian is to evaluate everything you think, feel, and do in light of Scripture and invest all you can to produce positive, godly returns. For instance, does the food you eat energize you and make you more productive? Or does it make you tired and sluggish? If your answer is the former, then you are investing the time, energy, and money you spend on food wisely. But if you answer the latter, you are not only wasting that time, energy, and money, you are actually seeing a negative return on your investment.

Take this example and apply it to the first principle we discussed and you'll see how this works over time. The longer you invest in good foods, the more productive you'll be in the long term -- and the longer you'll be around to be productive (assuming you don't die from an accident, war, or malice). But invest poorly in food for most of your life and the opposite is true. If you change your investment style later in life, it will be positive. But not nearly as positive if you had done so 20 or 30 years earlier.

You can apply the same principle to any other activity. Some of the positives are obvious, such as time in prayer, reading (though this can be a negative if you're reading the wrong material), and time spent with family and friends (which can also be a negative if you don't handle relationships in a godly way). And some negatives are just as obvious, such as sinful activities, smoking (drugs, etc), and playing the lottery (or any other high-risk activity).

Some things are not as obvious, but very important to evaluate appropriately. Take the amount of thought, emotion, and action you invest in work versus ministry... or ministry versus family... or family versus work. All of these things are good. All of them will generally produce positive returns on your investment. So which ones do you focus on?

Where you invest your resources (i.e., time, emotions, actions, and possessions), will determine how successful you become in life.

Sometimes it's very difficult to evaluate these areas and determine where we should invest the most.

So start by evaluating the more obvious investments in your life. Where do you spend your resources on food, habits and hobbies, and relationships? Are you doing things that produce positive returns? Or do your investments in these areas produce negative returns? If the latter, think about what you need to do to reallocate your resources into more positive producing investments. Before long, you'll develop the habit of investing wisely. And success follows quickly once successful habits are developed.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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