You’ll work hard and earn a lot of money over the course of your life, but real wealth isn’t built by earning and saving alone. To make the most of your money, experts agree, you’ll have to invest. Stocks, bonds, and other typical forms of investments can earn you interest on your hard-earned cash and will allow you to expand your wealth and beat inflation, which is constantly reducing the real value of your money.

But stocks and bonds aren’t the only things that you can invest in. In fact, some of the most important investments you’ll ever make will be the ones that you make in yourself. Spending money on yourself can help you increase your earning power, open up new opportunities, and become more productive. Here are a few ways to invest in yourself.

Take a vacation

Investing in yourself means caring for your mental and physical health. It means avoiding burnout — a real condition that will cause you to lose the will to work and the ability to do so effectively.

Taking a vacation is a smart investment in your financial future. Study after study has confirmed what most of us already know, at least on some level: Taking breaks makes us more productive in the long run. If you, like far too many Americans, are leaving vacation days on the table, then you are harming your own career as well as your mental health.

So take a trip somewhere. Relax on the beach. Take boat tours and check out the wildlife, recommend the experts who run Florida’s beloved Manatee Queen tours. Get some sun, get some exercise, and have some fun. When you return to work, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your professional opportunities.

Go back to school

Want to increase your earning power? Then you’ll need to become more employable. You’ll need to cultivate a skill set that will make you more attractive to hiring managers at the next level. You’ll need to be better and know more than you do now.

One great way to do that is to go back to school and earn a higher degree than you have now, explain the experts who run one well-regarded medical assistant diploma program. Going to school is your chance to get to the next level of your career — or to change gears completely by making yourself qualified for work in an entirely new field.

Either way, going back to school will require you to invest in yourself. You’ll need to spend the time and money that it takes to earn a quality degree that will make a meaningful difference in your life and your career. If you do, you’ll find that you’ll be rewarded by a better and more lucrative career.

Start a business

Working for a great company can be rewarding, but there’s something to be said for striking out on your own. When you run the show, you’ll be in charge of your own professional and financial future. You’ll find risks to going solo, but running a business can also give you the opportunity to make more money than you would as an employee of someone else’s company.

Of course, starting a business takes time, money, and a stomach for risk. It’s not an easy thing to do. You’ll probably have to take out a small business loan and dip into your own savings. But you can view your startup expenses as an investment in yourself. If your business really takes off, you’ll earn back your expenses and a whole lot more.

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