Right Now — Invest in Memories

At the end of the day, memory dividends are the most powerful of all


Leon Purton

2 years ago | 5 min read

One of the very first birthday presents I remember from my childhood was a ‘cops and robbers’ kit. You know, the plastic holster and small metal cap gun with a badge. It must have been around my 8th birthday.

I didn’t get it from my family, or even my friends, I got it from the couple who were staying at the next-door campsite during a summer camping holiday.

Fast forward to when I was a teenager, my best friend and I stayed awake for a full day to complete a 24-hour race on the PlayStation game Gran Turismo. It was one of those challenges offered by the game, and the prize for finishing first was one of the most powerful cars available. We took turns driving, pulling into the pits for fuel and fresh tyres, and ended up winning the race.

Then we slept for 10 hours, and for the next 25 years, we’ve remembered that night, and wondered if it was at all worth it?

Each of these memories, while different, stick with me. It was because of the strength of these memories, and how often they’ve resurfaced that the concept of memory dividends hit me so hard.

It has changed the way I think about everything I do, and I’ll let you know why using your money and investing in memories might be the most important decision you make.

There have been a few inflection points in my life. I have been forced into a few of them, some of them have happened upon me without really noticing. Most recently, I learnt about memory dividends, and it has been as significant as some of the bigger moments of my life.

Author’s photo, Graduation Parade from Air Force basic training.
Author’s photo, Graduation Parade from Air Force basic training.

First among these inflection points, was joining the Air Force and leaving home. In those ten weeks at basic training, I learnt more about what I was capable of and how to work within a team than at any other time in my life.

There is something about working outside your comfort zone, doing really difficult things, that teaches you about the limits you apply to yourself, and how much you need good people around you.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

Second, was the self-reflection and learning that was triggered by the fact I was going to get a divorce. A realisation that I would be spending less time with my children, and that I had to make sure I was truly present when I was with them. This particular journey taught me about the power of owning your identity and realising what I really value.

Lastly, it was a podcast by Ryan Hawk that introduced me to Bill Perkins and his book “Die with Zero”. I’m going to tell you how this inflammatory title and controversial theory has changed my life and offered me and those I speak to, yet another powerful inflection point.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

What is money?

I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.
— Steve Martin

Money means different things to different people. Many people equate money with happiness, or freedom, or comfort. But in its most fundamental form, money is time.

You exchange your time for it, and in the end, you use it to buy someone else's time. Take a mid-morning coffee break as an example.

You go to work, giving hours of your day in exchange for money. Your work brings value to its customers, and you are rewarded for that time and produced value with a paycheck. Each day, you use some of that time and value you have accrued as money, to pay the coffee shop barista for their time.

You are also paying for the trucking companies time in delivering the beans and milk, and so on down the line till some of your time is exchanged for the bean pickers at a coffee plantation and the assembly line technicians for the coffee machine. You have exchanged your time, for a series of peoples time.

Money earns you the privilege to buy peoples time.

So, how do you extract the most value from your money? From your time investment?

It isn’t by spending on investment and money-making opportunities. Things like bitcoin investment, stock-trading, property, goods and services, and so on. There is one thing that offers greater returns. It will continue to pay you for years and years to come, and potentially return investments for those you surround yourself with.

This is the deliberate choice to make an investment in memories, and memory-making opportunities, because memories pay the highest dividends.

If the most valuable thing you have are happy memories, you have led a rich life.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash
Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

Memory dividends

In investment terminology, a dividend is a recurring return on a made investment. For instance, you invest your money in a savings account. Each month it returns 3% interest. That is a monthly cash dividend.

A memory dividend is a return on investment you get from the creation of memories. Every time you are reminded of a moment, an event, a conversation, a person, a scent or a taste, you are getting a return on your previous investment.

This is the reason we all take photos of places we’ve been or moments we have experienced. It is innately human to want to capture special moments, to have a memory trigger for future conversations, to hand down stories.

All of your social media platforms now remind you of past events you have captured, I enjoy reflecting on where I’ve been and what I’ve done on days in the past.

Many people also choose to maintain a journal, capturing more than just the visual aspects of memory, but also how it made them feel and what they thought. These memories are captured within your brain and triggered by conversation or re-visited feelings are the dividends from your investment at that moment.

Each memory has the opportunity to return dividends, some people struggle with this, with re-surfacing bad memories. But there is nothing stronger than the bond formed over a shared experience.

So this is the choice we should all make right now. We need to choose to invest in making memories.

The thing is, with memories, the earlier you make them the longer they can pay you dividends. Childhood memories are your super investments, they pay returns for the longest times.

If you didn’t make them as a kid, then the next best time is right now.

I’ve changed what I prioritise with friends and family. I’d much rather schedule event-based catchups if possible. For my kids, I look to give gifts of experience rather than convenience. I see if I can make holidays a little more special by adding something unique. I also ask bigger questions of people, looking to extract their memories and sharing in them.

Each of these ideas are opportunities to create shared memories, that we can access from that moment forward.

So, choose to create memory opportunities. Be more purposeful about chasing memory creating opportunities. Take the time to share the stories and memories with others. Your life and perspective will change.


Created by

Leon Purton

Inspired by life. Leadership, Growth, Personal Development. Engineer and Sports Enthusiast. Top Writer in Leadership.







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