From our newsletter archives.
Wealthwise sends out a weekly email newsletter to our clients with financial news, current affairs and a sports roundup. Just a part of our service offer. Here’s one of our recent articles:
There is a famous story, a parable even, about a young man who sold his house and travelled the world seeking his fortune. When he returned to his home town, penniless, many years later he was surprised to see a fine mansion standing where his old house used to be.
“Who lives there?” he asked a passing stranger, to which the stranger replied, “The luckiest people in the world. 20 years ago they bought an old farmhouse. One year later they found diamonds all over the property. They’re now the richest family in the country.”
Like the traveller in our story, as we search high and low for profitable investments, we often overlook the one investment right under our noses that is not at the mercy the markets, isn’t liable to depreciation or lose big chunks to the taxman. The one investment that gives us a return every day for the rest of our lives.
No, it’s not fully franked BHP Billiton shares and it’s not a secret. The best investment in the world is . . . ourselves.
When we invest in ourselves it pays dividends far into the future. It makes us happier and more fulfilled. It gives us marketable skills that help us make a better living. Countries that become rich and stay rich are those that invest in education, research & development and their people. Think of yourself and your family as a country. You need to consider what skills, courses and equipment you should invest in to keep your “country” prospering.
This concept is especially important nowadays as we enter what is being called the “Age of Disruption”. Until recently, major social change took decades, even centuries. Now, we are living through rapid social upheaval and all the old certainties are out of the window.
At a recent primary school teachers’ conference, a speaker asked the audience two disturbing questions – “Are we teaching the right things to our children? How relevant will our current curriculum be to the next generation of adults in the year 2030?” And by implication he was also asking how relevant are the current skills and knowledge bases of those of us already in the workplace.
If you are working in an office you might be struggling to master Windows 8 just in time for it to be replaced by Windows 10 (Windows 9 apparently disappeared down a cyber rabbit hole somewhere). If you are a parent, you might be finding it impossible to keep up with your child’s education without a smartphone, a printer/scanner and a Dropbox account. If you are a bank customer, as most of us are, you might find the reduction of face to face service in favour a “better customer experience” via long telephone queues and complicated websites a big challenge.
And you’re probably thinking, “Help, I need to go back to school”.
Well, yes and no.
Back to school, but not school as you and I knew it, for with this 21st Century disruption has come a new learning paradigm, an opportunity for everybody to be lifelong learners.
From practical computer skills to ancient Greek philosophy, via the internet we now all have access to learning that previous generations could only have dreamed about.
Tired of typing with two fingers on your computer? Head over to www.typingclub.com.
How about free access to fine arts courses taught by Ivy League professors? Welcome to www.coursera.org.
Need to become an expert in Excel or PowerPoint? You can buy a monthly subscription at www.lynda.com
You literally have the world at your fingertips, so what are you waiting for?
Stop reading this article right now, find some great online education and apply it to the best investment in the world: YOU!