This year I had one of those “0″ birthdays that really make you think. Mine got me thinking about the state of my finances. I have always assumed that I didn’t make enough money to ever even think about retiring because I spent my twenties gathering degrees rather than dollar bills. Now, some of my favorite colleagues have already retired, and conversation around the lunch table turns more and more often to estimations of how much longer my friends will choose to work before they retire. I used to brush those questions off, but I started getting a lot more curious as my “0″ birthday approached.
I thought about going to my financial planner to work out the financial projections of where I stand in relation to financial independence. Then I thought to myself that I have been visiting financial planners for years and have usually felt like they found my financial situation somewhere between uninteresting and disturbing. I usually left their offices feeling a bit downhearted. So this time I decided to learn something more about the theory of financial planning myself. I found online courses for certification in financial planning and enrolled in the first one called “Fundamentals of Financial Planning.”
I have a fairly substantial collection of certifications, how could I lose on studying for this one? The marketing material for the program promises that financial planning is generating more jobs than most other fields in the 21st-century United States, so if I’m any good at this, I might be able to grow into a new career direction. At the very least, I can now calculate how much I have to save each month to retire in a reasonable amount of time. I emerged from the course with confidence that I can understand the financial news, ask the right questions when financing a purchase and buy financial products that will serve me well, among other things.
I found out that I’m fascinated by my own and other people’s financial behavior. Most of my degrees and certificates have something to do with understanding human behavior in society, so the Certified Financial Planner certificate will fit right in the collection when I finish it. I’m more than halfway through the second course (investment planning), and I have some plans of my own for blending all of my knowledge and experience with this new stuff to benefit myself and others like me who invested more in their human capital than their financial capital in early adulthood. I’m done with downhearted and have moved on to lionhearted.