The world is now flooded with books, seminars, and courses on personal growth—many of them good. But how do you know where and when to sign up, or how much you should be spending right now?

For years, I’ve been a self-leadership advocate—encouraging those around me to invest time and money in their personal growth, while practicing the same habit myself.

The concept is solid—if you want to grow, you need to invest in yourself.

The only problem? Execution. I'll admit that my investment is sporadic at best.

After all, how much should you invest in your personal or professional growth?

Brian Tracy answers that question in his book No Excuses, when he breaks down what he calls “The 3 Percent Formula”:

Invest 3% of your income back into yourself, and your earning ability will continue to grow.

For me, this was a light bulb moment.

The 3 Percent Formula makes it easy to budget self-leadership, and it scales—so your investment grows alongside your tangible success.

According to Brian, the most profitable 20% of companies in each field typically set aside 3% of their revenue for training and development—and the investment pays off.

But you don't need to be a Fortune 500 company to reap the rewards of a 3% investment back into your growth.

Here are a few examples of what The 3 Percent Formula looks like, depending on where you’re at in your career:

  • Scenario 1: Annual income = $25,000; 3% = $750 ($62.50 per month).
    Attend a local conference, subscribe to Audible, and read one new book every month.
  • Scenario 2: Annual income = $50,000; 3% = $1,500 ($125 per month).
    Travel to attend a conference, subscribe to Audible, and read two new books every month.
  • Scenario 3: Annual income = $100,000; 3% = $3,000 ($250 a month).
    Travel to multiple conferences, subscribe to Audible, read two books a month, and schedule a mid-year session with a personal business coach.

Other avenues of investment include membership sites, counseling, or a weekend getaway to set (or review) your annual goals.

That’s the beauty of the 3 Percent Formula—committing to an investment that scales helps you keep success from outpacing your skills.

This means you're less likely to burn out, hit a ceiling, or fall behind in your field.

I've adjusted my annual budget.

Now 3% of revenue is set aside for personal development—an investment in myself and my team.

The 3 Percent Formula acts as a budget barometer, making sure you invest sufficient funds in your personal and professional growth.

If you want to grow, you need to invest.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and do the math.

Question: What could 3% of your income pay for, which would boost your personal growth?


John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

10 thoughts on “How Much Should You Invest in Your Personal Growth Every Year?

  1. I love this article. I have often wondered how much I should spend on investing into myself. Thank you for sharing! I struggle with investing in myself when I have other needs to take care of as a father, and husband. What resonated with me was the point of investing in yourself will increase your financial prosperity. You did not directly mention it, but it will also improve your emotional success as well.

  2. John that was really illuminating. I’m going to start right out. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. Blessing
    Ishmael Sevor.

    1. So glad to hear it, Ishmael! Make personal growth a priority investment, and you’ll soon reap the rewards.

  3. Don’t forget to recommend that people take advantage of all the pre-paid learning they have available through the public library. I download audiobooks and ebooks along with using traditional material, and even when they don’t own a business book I want to read sometimes they will purchase it or borrow it from another library if I request it.

    1. That’s a great way to find more self-growth resources, Faith! I still think committing to invest money at some point is necessary. High-impact events, resources, or people cost money, and the financial investment adds a psychological motivation to follow through.

  4. I really love this concept John! Before I became self-employed, this came naturally to me. Now that I’m self-employed, I tend to want to focus on the business more–as there are so many different parts to it and things to do. If you can’t afford 3% at the moment don’t forget to embrace podcasts (free), your library (also free), meeting people for coffee and the awesome tool to connect people together–Skype. Really appreciate the reminder.

    I love what you are doing and would love to talk with you soon–and apply my Skype concept in action 🙂 haha

    1. Thanks Jim! Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in running a business and forget to invest money in yourself. Don’t let that opportunity slip by!

      Also, I’d love to meet! Click Here to pick a time when we can chat (though preferably via Google Hangouts, since I don’t use Skype).

  5. This is a great insight on personal development John. Given the cost of seminars and workshops these days, I have chosen to subscribe to less costly platforms such as Michael Hyatt’s Platform University, the buying of books and free webinars. As my platform continues to grow, I will definitely be investing in elite seminars and workshops that suit and cater for the growth needs of my platform.

    Thanks for sharing. God bless

    1. Your very welcome, Jeff. This principle will help me scale my personal growth investment, and I hope it does the same for you!

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