NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -
Investing in yourself is some of the best advice you can get -- but where to start? Below we have some ideas about that.
Network your way to a better job
Meet a former colleague once a month for a bite to eat. A regular $30 out-of-the office lunch could reward you with a fat, up-to-date Rolodex the next time you're in the job market.
Spend down your assets for college financial aid eligibility
If you think your kid might qualify for aid, selectively spending down your assets and your child's can increase your chances of getting it. A year or two before your kid's junior year in high school, use any extra cash to pay off credit cards. If your child has an UGMA or UTMA custodial account, spend it on other education expenses, such as SAT tutoring or a computer for him or her.
Read up on your industry
Subscribe to a publication -- a business magazine, a trade rag, a learned journal -- that no one else in your office reads. Collect ideas, share said ideas with your boss, reap rewards.
Send the kids to college
Spend whatever it takes, save whatever it takes, borrow whatever it takes. Education is the smartest investment you can make in your children's most valuable asset, their earning power. College graduates make 80 percent more than people with only a high school diploma, which adds up to an extra million over a lifetime.
Go back to school
A recent study found that going back to school to get an M.B.A. can add a full 45 percent to your salary.
No one ever got a raise by being a wallflower. Spend a few hundred dollars on a public speaking class at a community college or get training and practice at Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org). Annual dues: $50.
Get disability insurance
You have about a 30 percent chance of becoming disabled for three or more months at some point in your working life. Disability insurance keeps the cash flowing. You need this. If you're not covered at work, get a policy that pays 60 to 70 percent of your earnings until age 65. For help shopping, go to www.iii.org.
For more on controlling your debt, click here.
Going to college soon? Click here for more articles.