Perusing through Money Magazine this morning, I came across the article, “What to do with $1,000” (pg. 76).
Some of the standard (and boring) suggestions that made the list include shoving it into your emergency fund, beefing up an IRA and paying down credit cards.
My top pick from the list is “Join a Gym”. The author notes that the typical obese American incurred $1,429 more in health care costs in 2006 than someone who was at a healthy weight. However, what the article does not mention: the non-monetary benefits of such an investment in health.
For example, in John Medina’s ‘Brain Rules’, he mentions that exercise can lower our odds of getting Alzheimer’s by more than 60 percent (pg. 16) and a daily exercise routine can significantly boost mental performance.
I thought the worst suggestion was “Spend five hours with a financial planner” for $1,000. Money magazine notes that a financial planner costs about $150 to $250. Unless you have significant assets freed up at this point, why spend $1,000 on such advice, most of which you can research online or attend a free seminar put on by your financial institution.
Also, I have found such advice needs to be received on a regular basis to be effective. There is little accountability by someone who jumps in for five hours, tries to understand as much of the context of your current financial state, risk tolerance, future plans, then provides a snapshot before disappearing.
Some of the more creative ways to invest $1,000 include donating 8 sheep for needy rural families, or planting 1,000 trees.