I was thinking earlier about how we acquire knowledge. When we’re young, we go to school and get taught things by adults. You make decisions about what subjects you study later on in life, then (presumably) go onto a job in a specific area. Learning different subjects at school means a greater general knowledge. You learn about rock formations in Geography. The Tudors in History. Read various books in English Literature. Your mind is like a sponge, just soaking up the information.
But, as an adult, generally that seems to be passed over. Life is suddenly busy. You get tired more easily. There are more and more things that take up your concentration. By the evening, the last thing you want to do is learn something new.
But, it is important to keep on learning.
Using the mind like a sponge analogy, then think about what happens to it if you stop learning. Yes, it has soaked up lots of information so far. It might retain lots of that information, making it heavier. But, if it then doesn’t soak up anything new, then the sponge becomes stagnant. The water in there slowly seeps away. It then doesn’t work as well because it’s not being taken care of. Things you used to know you no longer remember.
It’s the same when you stop learning new things! You begin to forget the things you do know, because your brain is not being exercised and challenged. We only use a tiny percentage of our brains anyway. Being sat in front of a computer screen just staring at a screen all day won’t help, in the long run. Games like sudoku are so popular because they keep your mind active. Which is a good thing 🙂
Using myself as an example of this, is investing. When I started this blog back in June 2014, I didn’t know anything about investing. I knew that people did invest in companies. That it seemed to be a pass time for the wealthy. Middle class, white men in suits. It seemed like a very scary act that could lose you money. Very easily, apparently.
I then stumbled across some American personal finance blogs that talked about investing. People who were making passive income through dividends. Through their own investments, they were making money back. Blogs like Dividend Mantra (which no longer exists) and others. It made me curious about how it worked. Intrigued about how it could be accessible to anyone.
So, I started to read. Investing blogs to begin with. Mainly American ones, as they were the only ones I could find. I then looked at what the differences were between individuals stocks and funds. What was meant by risk when linked to investing. I then looked at what annual returns you could expect, plus looking at final and interim payments.
Finally, I started looking at investing books to read. I asked for recommendations from various people. Before I made the jump and starting actively investing, I wanted to make sure I knew enough and understood enough about the process. Understood the risks. One of the best books I read about investing and what type of portfolio is Smarter Investing by Tim Hale. If you are thinking about investing at all, then this is a very good place to start.
Once I had decided I was going to be brave (!) and enter the world of dividend investing, I needed to research what platform I was going to use. Should I go through a well known bank or find another platform that had what I wanted? Again, after reading and learning more about the process, I settled with a stocks and shares ISA with Hargreaves Lansdown. The interface was easy to navigate and use, plus they had the different funds available that I wanted to invest in.
Now, coming towards the end of my second year of investing, my only regret was not getting started sooner. But, I needed to learn about the process first. I needed to understand what everything meant before diving headfirst in. And I’m so glad I did! I’ve received over £400 in dividend income this year alone, and that will only rise with time. And all because I took the time (and effort) to learn something new.
Learning new skills is important. It keeps the mind fresh and active. It makes you wonder and question. In early retirement, one of the dangers is that you find less and less things to do. But, imagine all the new hobbies you could try! You could do this at any time, retired or not. How about learning to juggle? Or perhaps you have always wanted to learn the piano? You can! Learning something new is so important for your mental well being, I am sure of it.
What new skill would you like to learn? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
P.S. Thank you if you read my post yesterday and offered feedback, I am very grateful!
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