Have you ever come across someone with a practical problem that’s really easy to solve, and thought, “how have you got through life not knowing that?!”
It’s a mildly amusing predicament when it comes to things like not knowing how to make a cup of tea, iron a shirt, or catch public transport. That’s part of the reason we love those fish-out-of-water stories in our movies and TV shows. Think the rich guy who doesn’t know how to buy ice for a party, or the princess who can’t do an ordinary job when she loses it all. Or the charmingly hapless bachelor who learns how to cook and iron to impress a lady; all tropes we’ve seen a hundred times.
The thing is, it’s a lot less funny when you’re the clueless one. When you’re suddenly faced with a challenge that’s caught you completely unawares, the process of learning and catching up to your peers can feel incredibly stressful.
The ideal solution is to be proactive, and learn something before you need it. This rule is especially important when it comes to money matters.
Don’t we already learn about money in school as kids?
You probably remember learning about currency and doing sums in school. From learning to count and calculate change, it’s true that money is covered in some ways. The problem is that way school curriculums are built, they focus on money-related activities as a way to approach maths – not the other way ‘round.
Personal financial management isn’t treated as its own discipline, just an expression of other subjects; maths for learning the numbers, English for learning how to read financial documents, etc. (By the way, if you’re curious about the place that money has in the current Aussie curriculum, you can check it out here.) For example, it’s assumed that capabilities around superannuation will naturally flow from numeracy (“This subject contains financial applications of Mathematics that will assist students to become literate consumers of investments, loans and superannuation products.”[i]). But as we know now in hindsight, there’s a bit more to it than being able to calculate compound interest.
OK, kids don’t learn about money because of the curriculum – but why don’t adults learn?!
There are lots of reasons why adults don’t continue their education, formal or informal, after they finish school or university. When people have run studies and surveys on why this is[ii], some of the most common responses have been:
- not enough time
- don’t need to learn anything (also expressed as ‘not relevant to my life’)
- don’t like the classroom environment
- takes too much effort
- lack of support from employer/family
- no self confidence
…you don’t have enough time to learn anything.
If you think this, you’re probably thinking of traditional classroom learning, where you have to go somewhere and sit in a lecture for at least an hour. The truth is that there are many things you can learn in a matter of minutes! Many subjects can be broken up in to smaller chunks that go for a few minutes each. What’s more, you can learn on the go through reading printed materials or doing interactive online education.
…learning takes too much effort.
There’s two problems with this line of thinking: the ‘too much’, and the ‘effort’. First of all, if you dive in the deep end, comprehending new words and ideas is going to seem like a lot of effort all at once. That’s why it’s a good idea to start slowly, and choose a jargon-free education experience.
And as for the ‘too much’? We’d argue that the payoff of learning (about money especially) can be pretty amazing. Think of it this way; if you spend ten minutes learning about superannuation, and that learning helps you take action or make a smarter decision, you could save a fortune in the future. You’re essentially paying future you thousands of dollars for a few minutes of your time now!
…you’ve learned everything you need to learn in life.
Going to school sets you up with the basics, but just think about this: how many times have you learned a new skill since you left the schoolyard? What about all the on-the-job training you’ve done? Or the times you’ve picked up a new sport or hobby from a friend? Now, who’s to say there aren’t many more things you’ll need to learn to continue to grow – in your professional life and your personal life?!
…you’re not smart enough to learn something new.
So you didn’t have a great time at school/TAFE/uni. Guess what? You’re not alone. Structured, ‘traditional’ learning environments don’t suit everyone. We all have different learning styles and preferences. In fact, some of the world’s smartest and most successful people dropped out of formal education[i], and thrived with informal learning and ‘experiential education’.
The good news is that there’s a time, place and platform for everyone. Start small, perhaps with an online learning unit that you can pick up any time.
Still unconvinced you’re not too old to try learning something new? We reckon we might have something that’ll change your mind. Money101’s online financial education units are written, designed and developed especially for adult learners of all ages and educational backgrounds. They’re super quick, easy to understand, and accessible 24/7. We can just about guarantee you’ll learn something that’ll help you manage your finances and make smarter decisions with your money.
If that’s something that you want for your audience too, get in touch with the Money101 team today. We’ll be happy to show you how our units work, what we do differently, and the impact we can have on your audience – in Adult Learners Week and beyond.