- Most Likely to Succeed, by Malcolm Gladwell: I first heard about this article on The Simple Dollar, but I wanted to wait until my issue of the magazine showed up in the mail (I guess I’m not ready for a Kindle just yet…). Anyway, this is an engrossing look at education and its “quarterback problem.” Why does this appeal to me? I’m intrigued in how one teacher can be considered “better” than another and because I’m obsessed with the backup-quarterback position in the NFL. That jump from college football to the NFL is one that I love reading about. So if you’re a teacher or you love football (or if you’re both like me), this one is right up your alley. This is really really good stuff.
- How Are Retirees Losing 50% of Their Portfolio? Check this one out over at GenXFinance. I was also wondering this very same question because I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it. If you’re near retirement, why would you have so much of your portfolio in stocks? Because the person handling your money told you to? Or because you wanted to ride the bullish wave we’ve been on since 2002? Either way, it’s a good topic to ponder a little…or a lot, depending on how old you are.
I was reading a post by JD over at Get Rich Slowly yesterday that got me thinking about the way I build my savings. Right now I put in a monthly amount into a general savings pile in my ING account. Any extra money laying around goes into that pile, and I’m hoping that soon it’ll grow and grow because that will determine what kind of a place M and I can afford in a year.
“Saving is only one smart thing you can do with your money.” —JD
I’ve been on such a savings binge for such a long time (some exceptions notwithstanding), that I’ve assumed that every penny I can squeeze must go into savings. But JD writes that education is a way of investing in ourselves that will pay off in the future.
I got an MA in Writing a couple of years back and even though it hasn’t directly resulted in a higher paycheck (not that I’m aware of, anyway), but it’s made me a good editor and given me confidence that I can do that job in any capacity. Not only that, it pushed me to write more fiction and without getting that degree I wouldn’t have learned a lot of stuff I now take for granted.
So it got me thinking about what else I could spend on in terms of education for myself that might be as beneficial down the line as my MA degree.
First of all, I could buy books. Books on investing, books on finance, books on accounting, etc. The laundry list of stuff I don’t know is long and I could always stand to learn more about these topics. This is something I do anyway, only I check them out at the library. This to me is the quick and dirty version of taking an actual, formal class.
I could take an editing class. The University of Chicago has a great editing certificate that is widely recognized in the business world. As a writer, this would prove invaluable not only for improving my abilities as a writer (which is important), but also because it’s so well known beyond writing circles (which can be even more important). This is something my work might chip in on—I’m not sure. I had a chance to take just one of their courses at my previous job but I never did.
Taking an accounting class. Yeah it might be boring but I really need to be able to read financial statements. Maybe a class on reading financial statements for non-accountants would be a better fit. Being more familiar with this will only make me better at my current job (which I should really write a whole post on, the interest in it has been very high). Not only that, it would make me a savvier, better educated investor. A win-win if there ever was one. Plus, I work closely with an accountant and know several people in the industry—they tell me this is a no-brainer.
I could get an MBA. Here’s the thing about the MBA: it opens tons of doors in the future but it puts you in debt and takes you out of the workforce for at least two years (unless you want to have no life for those two years and work full time at the same time). I really haven’t considered this option seriously enough. Part of me wants to learn all this stuff but part of me wonders when I will find time to write, to live, to enjoy my life. And I have no idea how I would pay for it, either. Maybe down the line if my job would be willing to chip in I would consider it. For now, this one isn’t an immediate option.
I could keep saving like crazy so when I buy a place I don’t go into THAT much debt.
Obviously, I’m obsessed with savings. I just have to remind myself that there are other, more productive ways to spend it besides dropping it in the ever-deteriorating ING account. Some habits are just too hard to break.