Almost never works, but incredibly valuable nevertheless
For the last couple of years I have been teaching personal finance in my English classes at university.
You could say that this is me unfairly imposing my interests on the students, kind of like the teachers that would tell us about their camping holiday in secondary school. Another view might be that it is an example of CLIL and thus cutting edge language teaching.
My view is that the classes are elective so the students choose to take them, and so far the students and I have enjoyed them very much. So there :)
Funnily enough, the most valuable element of the course hasn't been the information about investing, or budgeting, or retirement. It wasn't learning about NISA or iDeCo or just how bare-bones the nenkin system is.
No, the thing that really got my students excited is something I find incredibly valuable despite it's very low level of accuracy...
Planning consists of thinking about what you want, then thinking about how to get it. I find my plans almost never actually turn out the way I thought they would, but I still find it an incredibly useful exercise.
Even if your plans change (and they will) taking some time to think about what you want and how to get it makes it much more likely that you will make positive changes in your life. You'll have more autonomy and satisfaction. You'll be more positive and likely more successful.
I have a long-term plan (financial independence, work on interesting projects, travel), a medium-term plan (5 years), and a short-term (1 year) plan.
I took a walk with my godfather yesterday to get some advice about what I should do over the next couple of years.
I wanted to talk about the next couple of years, but he started by asking where I wanted to live in the future, as the answer to that would dictate the rest of the conversation.
I had to explain what I thought and justify each option. Normally I just think about plans, or write them down, but having a conversation was incredibly useful as it was painfully clear when my answers were solid or half-baked.
I now have clarity and can make a 57-month plan.
If you are less obsessive than I am and are new to planning, the following questions are a good place to start.
- Where do you want to live in the future?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- What kind of work would you do if you didn't have to work?
- What is your current financial situation?
- Do you have a realistic estimate of what your financial situation will be like in the future?
I will post my answers next week. Feel free to answer any or all of the questions in the comments!