I was busy with my semi-annual deep clean of my children’s rooms the other day and came across an old Dr. Seuss favorite: Green Eggs & Ham. Although I think you all know the story, I’ll give you the quick executive summary:
Grumpy furry guy says he doesn’t like green eggs and ham.
Sam asks him to try them before passing judgment.
Grumpy furry guy decides to try them.
He falls in love with green eggs and ham.
In my experience, most people seem to be like the grumpy furry guy. A good friend of mine disliked classical music until I dragged him to a concert. Fast forward five years and he’s calling us to ask if we want to accompany him to the symphony.
It’s fine to dislike music, because although I’d argue that it’s good for your soul, neither your health nor pocketbook are at stake. But when you decide you don’t like investing money, or prefer not to use certain tools to save, it could cost you financially.
How much are you losing?
While it’s true that not every investment shoe fits, it makes no sense to limit your education. If you don’t know the difference between a mutual fund, an ETF and a stock, it most definitely will, at some point, hurt your ability to grow your net worth.
You’re basically saying, “I would not, could not in a tree. Not in a car! You let me be.”
To which I reply, “You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.”
Fear is a horrible enemy. Most people fear change. They fear a new set of criteria. Feeling fear is natural, but you must find a way to push through it. You can grow.
Might it turn out that the knowledge you gain is inconsequential; a big waste of time? Sure. You may learn about high yield bonds only to find that they aren’t for you. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be a perfect fit five years from now. If you don’t know what a high yield bond is or how they work, when will you identify that perfect time when they apply to your situation?
It was Dylan Thomas who famously said, “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.” Continuously scanning the horizon for un-learned opportunities might not seem fun at first, but over time, you’ll begin to enjoy it as you pick up the vocabulary.
You just might like green eggs and ham.
An Easy Method
I can hear you now: “Miata, my days are full. When am I going to pick up more financial knowledge?” Here are 5 easy ways:
1) Read. You’re already doing that by reading this blog! By being here, you’re filling your mind with positive, constructive reinforcement that will help you make better decisions.
2) Enroll in a class or online program. I’ve always found that if you set aside time during the day, and make learning an appointment, it works. Check out the Artist’s Prosperity Home Study System or search for interesting financial chats on Twitter. Push the envelope.
3) Listen to podcasts. A good friend of mine loves running. When she hits the trail, her headphones come alive and she listens to podcasts. She says it’s her way to learn about her favorite subjects and burn calories at the same time.
4) Surround sound. By hanging out with people who are financially savvy and don’t mind “talking the talk,” you’ll find your knowledge growing through osmosis. If you have lunch weekly with a financial planning friend, I’ll bet that you’ll inadvertently find out many things you didn’t know.
5) Use the deli counter approach. When the woman working behind the counter handed me my sliced turkey this afternoon she said, “What else?” By thinking about your financial knowledge and asking “What else?” you’ll seek out financial information.
Where You’ll End Up
I can promise you that your journey into learning about the “green eggs and ham” of the financial world will be a fulfilling experience. You’ll begin to get excited while learning about areas many people find boring, such as what lower interest rates mean to you, how the NASDAQ works, and what fees should look like on a brokerage account. As you dig in, you’ll find that you too, will like financial literacy.
You just might like green eggs and ham.