Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Cost And Value Of Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy
Ever since started this personal finance blog and getting more involved more in the local retail investors community (online and offline) for almost a year now, I must say that it is more vibrant than I originally thought.

Even though many of us (me included) are part-time retail investors and learning the trade along the way through trial and error, but I can sense that the community are spreading good vibes which ultimately will benefit the wider audience in boosting the local financial literacy (especially on personal finance). 

There are so many good and informative blogs and local websites to follow... to learn... 

Talking about financial literacy, nowadays, if you flipped through the newspapers, you will definitely chance upon a few advertisements on financial/investment seminars/courses, ranging from properties investment to stock picking techniques to forex trading (to name just a few), some provide FREE preview (and usually you can still obtain some really really high level knowledge from there, hence, still beneficial for newbies), some charging thousands for the few-days course. Of course, the other cheaper alternative is to self-study through books, online research etc.. 

So why are there people prepared to fork out hundreds or even thousands to gain such knowledge? 

Following is my personal take :

1. TIME - With Google, we can obtain practically any information online, many of them are free. However, the issue is time, you need to spend a lot of time to search and research. Besides, we are facing with the challenge of information (and a good chunk of them are garbage) overload . Hence, it make sense to invest some money to "buy" some time. 

2. TRIED AND TESTED STRATEGY/TOOL - Many people (especially those newbies) are looking for the one Holy Grail that can lead them to Rome in the fastest and surest way possible. Of course, it is still a myth as to whether such success can repeat itself for different people at different circumstances/setting (even though the gurus made it themselves). Having said that, many are coming from the mindset of "no harm trying" or "no pain [investment] no gain".

To be fair to most of the gurus out there, I am sure they are up there for a reason/purpose. Besides making money (in exchange for the time/effort that they put in), they believe that their knowledge/skills/tools/strategy can help the general public to gain back multi-fold of their investment i.e. teaching them how to fish (instead of giving them the fish). No doubt, some of the students/followers can really make it just by following the steps being taught. Having said that, there is no guarantee as ultimately it is still dependent on the action taken by the students. 

All in all, it is hard to weigh the cost (money and time you spent) vs the value (knowledge and returns you gained) for financial literacy as it is very subjective. For those student who can make it subsequently, it is well worth it, while for the rest, it might be a waste of time/money. Ultimately, The choice is YOURS to make! 

Personally, I am more of self-study type and spending hefty amount on such courses/seminars never cross my mind. What about you?  

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  1. Hi Richard,

    In this IT age, information is over-flowing, often superfluous.

    Learning from widely free available information is useful, but too much food to digest. Once in a while it is important to attend seminars. Aside from the useful contents, the people you meet in seminars are important too.

    The problem is, just like the information over-flowed, there are so many seminars online that sell you how good they are that you do not know which to choose from.

    The paradox is while marketing is much easier, it is also more complicated. You just need to be more catchy, more competitive.....

  2. You mean free seminars and previews?

    1. CW8888 : I means both free and paid ones lar.. ;-)

  3. I am much the same as you. I'd rather learn on my own. Sure, there is indeed quite a lot of garbage to sift through, but it can be done, and the stuff in between that is not garbage is quite useful.

    1. Jim: same thinking here.. It is more satisfactory when managed to find some gems along the way ( as compared with being fed) ;-)

  4. Uncle Rich , u know ah boy don't wanna pay for those courses one la , too exp le ..... i try and error enough le ! Hehe

    1. Ken : Ya, I know, Ah boy got too much time on hand lol

  5. Replies
    1. Rolf : Ya, I think some of them are quite good too but more academic, I think. U ever attended any of them? What is your review?

  6. Hi Richard

    Actually some free preciew courses I have attended are garbage and some are really good. But having said that, it doesnt hurt to attend since it is free as compared if you are spending the time to nap at home (also important). At least you get some bits of idea what are people selling out there for the information.

    1. Hi B : Ya, I know what you mean as I've attended a few such free seminars/courses myself too. But when it comes to paid courses/seminars, it will be different story as our expectation of the quality and content coverage will be much higher..


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