This was the comment I got from a friend of mine the other day when I told him what I had done on the weekend. No, it wasn’t sky diving, or drag racing. I had written 6 hours of exams for Life Insurance. (They were qualification exams, not the Provincial Exam. That is in 3 weeks.) Why would you give up 2 whole summer weekends to study Life Insurance? The answer for me was simple. To get more understanding about money, finance, and getting ahead in life.
My passion for financial education started about 15 years ago when I realized that my RRSP and Savings would only last about 10 months. Finding out that you are in terrible shape for retiring at 47 years old is devastating! Especially after having worked hard the whole time. How are you going to fix it before retirement? Go learn stuff. Don’t bother with colleges or Universities. They only teach bank stuff. You need to find out how money REALLY works.
That is why, at my age, you give up 2 summer weekends and learn about something most people hate. Insurance was one of the things in my financial life, that I did all most right. Now when I listen to a conversation about insurance, I will really understand how it works, and how to make it work FOR me. (Yes insurance can work FOR you.)
I have taken courses on how to invest in Real Estate, how to buy Real Estate (2 exams short of my license) how to read a stock chart, how to use the information on a stock chart, how to analyze a Mutual Fund, and dozens of other courses. But the best education came from actually trying the stuff I learned. That is where the real learning comes from. Think back to graduation, and starting your first job. Did your education give you ALL the knowledge you needed to do your first job well, starting at day one? No. It may have given you a base to work from, but it did not cover every situation in real life.
I know what you’re thinking. Did all those courses help? Yes!!! But not as much as actually doing something. Doing is where the real learning happens. There are no results without DOING something. I am one project away from a very comfortable retirement.
What have I learned from this journey? Several very important lessons.
NUMBER 1. START INVESTING AS EARLY AS YOU CAN. By far the most important. Time is the greatest investment tool you can have. Don’t start investing at 47, start at 17. As a parent, start your kids saving ASAP. Teach then it is OK to talk about money.
NUMBER 2. NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IS TOO SMALL. Even if you invest only $5.00 a month it is far better than nothing. $0 times a million is still $0
NUMBER 3. KNOW THE REAL DEFINITION OF THE WORD “ASSET”. Not what the bank calls it! If, you don’t know the Wealth Accumulation definition of an ASSET, learn it! (It is in several of my blogs)
NUMBER 4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN! If there is a seminar GO!! KNOWLEDGE IS YOUR GREATEST ASSET. If your company wants to send you for training, go every chance you get. They don’t suck the knowledge out of your brain when you go to another job. Your knowledge and abilities make you valuable. Knowledge is for life.
NUMBER 5. NEVER BE AFRAID TO MAKE A MISTAKE. BUT LEARN FROM THEM. This goes back to lesson 1. When you start early you have time to recover from a mistake. If you make a mistake, it is the universe’s way of saying you are on the wrong track, change something.
NUMBER 6. IF YOU DON’T LIKE THINGS THE WAY THEY ARE, CHANGE IT! I hate to tell you this, but you are where you are because of what YOU have done. Don’t blame anybody but you. Any change you make, changes your world. (For the better or the worse)
NUMBER 7. TEACH OTHERS. I seldom learn more than when I am teaching someone else. Another person can see a situation in a totally different perspective than you can. They can come up with questions that you never thought of. Lee Iacocca had a saying. “In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.” Too bad our education system doesn’t understand this.
Lee has a saying that kind of wraps this all up into one sentence. “Get all the education you can, but then by God, DO something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen! That is why I did that.