I received an accounting designation 2 years ago, after around seven years of tedious distance education. For three of the seven years, when the courses I was taking became too difficult to allow for the amount of procrastination I was accustomed to, I had to give up a good portion of my hobbies and interests in order to give myself a chance to pass the courses I had decided to take. As in most schooling I’ve been part of, there were many things that were not applicable to either real life or any accounting work that I’ve come into contact with, but it seemed very important at the time.
As part of my accounting designation, I have to fulfill 40 hours of professional development per year. This year, I took a two day course on auditing standards (was actually better than it sounds) and will probably scrape together enough free webinars offered by financial companies and accounting bodies to fulfill the necessary requirements to keep my license. I don’t mind the learning part, it’s the cost of learning that makes me a little angry – the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada / Ontario essentially have a monopoly on the courses offered now, and price accordingly.
Besides continuing my education for my chosen career, I am also trying to continue to teach myself to be a better investor. I would be the first to admit that I read fewer personal finance and investing books than I did five or six years ago, when I was deep in the middle of creating a personal finance plan for my wife and I. At the time, I read most of the personal finance and investing books that my library had available, trying to sponge up all of the information out there. These days, my intention is to learn more nuance – instead of the previous strategy of “learn everything at a time, and hope that some of it’s right”.
I’m much more comfortable with my financial situation. My wife and I have gotten our monthly expenses to a reasonably low level that allows us to save enough to hopefully achieve our end goal of being financially independent in about nine and a half years. What I need to learn right now and into the future, are ways to limit (as much as possible) investing mistakes that could put my finances in peril. In addition to risk avoidance, my goal is to reduce the opportunity costs of my investment decisions – if there is a more profitable place to put my money, I’d like to at least be aware of it.
So, for now, I have a pretty big list of books that I’m planning on reading, taking notes on and applying (if what has been written makes sense) to my investment decisions. I’m hoping that sometime in the future, I will have less doubt when I make a purchase or sale of a security, but I have a feeling that as I get older and my investment portfolio gets larger, the wariness and worry will probably always be there.