How I’m Investing $26,658 in Myself

some folks mis-use “investing in myself” to justify new shoes or vacation.

while increased happiness is certainly worth paying for, i struggle to brand them “investments” given they lack long-term ROI.

my definition:

personal investment – something that demands limited resources in exchange for long-term self improvement

here’s how a lucky guy like me is applying it.


growing up i never took brushing my teeth seriously. i also didn’t floss, and didn’t get braces.

but here’s what my teeth will look like in ~8 months, thanks to Smile Direct invisible retainers:

how: last Friday night I clicked an Instagram ad. the next morning at 11a i got a free screening nearby my apartment. yesterday i paid the fees.

cost: $1,850.


from October 1 to November 10 i’ll be learning full-time at a studio in West Hollywood, California. i wrote more about that here.

why: to become a better musician, songwriter and self-taught recording artist.

cost: $5,000 for the training, $3,800 for the apartment.


i’m a motivated dude, but it never hurts to top off the tank.

over the past few months i’ve bought and read several books, and in November i’m going to see Tony Robbins in Palm Beach, Florida.

cost: $300 for books, $800 for Tony Robbins, ~$1,000 for hotel


i’ve been a happy student at Launch School since September 2015, when i temporarily moved to Thailand to begin programming.

this is among the top 3 best decisions i’ve ever made:

cost: $199 /month.


even in NYC, you can join a gym for ~$10 /month.

but since i prefer not to work out with poor retards who put sweaty towels on all the equipment, i joined the nicest consumer gym in the country: Equinox.

why: Equinox has showers, eucalyptus towels, tons of classes, and a great atmosphere. my specific membership is “all access” which means i can work out at any of their locations.

cost: $210 /month.


in 2018 i’m exploring the following:

  • Six Sigma black belt certification
  • piano lessons
  • personal trainer
  • more angel investments

why: as my companies grow, i need to get better at measuring outputs to create better inputs. the Six Sigma methodology will help me become more systems-minded and thus, a better manager. as for trainers and private lessons, this is to challenge myself in areas where i’ll otherwise flatline.

cost: $4,000 for Six Sigma, $2,000 for music lessons, $500+ /month for a trainer, ??? to invest.

grand total

within the next 12 months i’ll spend $26,658 improving ryan kulp.

now for the fun part… what’s the ROI?

hygiene – better pictures at speaking gigs –> more speaking gigs

music – opening a resident studio in the Georgia mountains –> $250k+ /year

inspiration – priceless, but suppose this means 2-4 more productive hours per day –> 1,095 hours /year * $100 /hour = $109,500 /year

coding – 1-2 fewer new hires on the Fomo engineering team –> $100k+ /year

fitness – also priceless, because health == LIFE. but feeling good == more confidence, thus more opportunities

miscellaneous – for kicks let’s agree this has no dollar value ROI

==> $459,000+ value

aka, 1,721% return on investment.

holy s****

yeah, these numbers are disgusting. but the best part is, they’re relative to your situation.

that’s why even 4 years ago, when i was broke and living in Harlem, i carved out $40 per month:

personal development budget on mint

sure, i often broke it. sure, sometimes i split 1 can of Campbell’s chili for 2 meals.

that period was also the 1st time i lost 60 pounds in 6 months by running in Central park 5x /week. and yes, i was a member of a $9 /month gym with obnoxious ex cons.

time to act

if you spend more money on Netflix than books, you’re not developing. if you’d rather get McDonald’s than take a cooking course, you’re not developing.

if you find this post pretentious and see zero applicability to your own life… well.

here’s the truth: nobody will invest more in you, than you.

your boss may send you to a conference. (i send team members to conferences). your spouse may help you pick a new hobby. your parents may buy your first guitar.

but turning a timesuck or moneysuck into $$$ ROI?

that’s on you.

so if the next time you experience return on personal development is from my followup post to this one, stop watching TV, and start making your own movie.