Saturday, 13 April 2013

Strong Financial Learning

If someone were to ask for one piece of advice, and only one, when it came to learning about finances my advice would be as follows:

One third of your reading material should be information you agree with, one third you should disagree with, and one third should cover topics that you hadn't really thought about.

Actually this advice pretty much sums up what I would tell you if you wanted to learn about anything.  (For those who are less old fashioned than me, substitute reading for podcast/video documentaries etc.)

The first third is fairly easy.  This material will enhance your general knowledge on a subject, they will supply new ideas and variations on tactics that you may not have though of before.  On top of that you will have the pleasant experience of patting yourself on the back every so often as you confirm that what you are doing is perfectly correct.  Myself I have a number of blogs, whose philosophy I generally agree with, that I follow on a daily basis.

The second third is the hardest.  People generally don't want to believe that they are wrong in any way shape or form.  However, it is essential to becoming well rounded on a subject that you read disagreeing material (and not so that you can go to the comments section and insult a person's intelligence.)  Think critically about what you read is it possible that they have a point?  Can you form a well founded counter argument using logic and scientific data?  Is it possible that the other person's solution works for some situations but not yours?  I have a couple of blogs that I read with whom I am not in complete agreement (actually some are quite insulting in tone).  However this forces me to think about the issue being discussed from another vantage point.

Finally the third third is a bit ambiguous.  It is somewhat hard to read on a subject that you have never, in your whole life, had a single thought about.  Rather see this as a challenge to look for topics that are related to your primary topic but branch out.  For example I have long been passionate about personal finances but have just recently begun looking at literature on macroeconomics as they shape and are shaped by culture.

Without all three components you will have difficulty mastering any subject.

Have a question?  I'd love to hear it!

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