In my post about trying to define what a nerd and geek is, I mention how much I enjoy taking general interest courses. What can I say, I love learning. Although I have taken courses where I have learned things, but I didn’t really enjoy what I was learning. I think it makes a world of a difference if you like the subject material. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like what I learned or tried to learn and am not really using my degree at my current job.
I have taken a couple of baking courses which I enjoyed, because I do enjoy baking. I have taken several online courses that were more science related for work, which unfortunately, did not enjoy.
The latest course I am taking is an Investing for Beginners course, offered by a university in a neighbouring city. It runs once a week, for a couple of hours in the evening and is a b*tch to get to due to rush hour traffic and construction on the highway. Biking or public transit is not really an option if I want to make it to the class on time. The course cost me just over $400. Well it actually costs me a bit more since I have to pay $7.00 every time for parking (which is actually really cheap, considering how much it normally costs for green P parking in the big city).
Mind you, I have wanted to take this course for quite some time, but have never been able to rearrange my evening schedule in the past.
While I have been investing for quite some time now, (about 6 years now), I would still consider myself a beginner, or just slightly above a beginner’s level. I started out with GICs (guaranteed investment certificates) and bonds, then to mutual funds and on to dividend stocks. I’ll be honest, I don’t watch my stock portfolio as much as I should, but I know I’m doing pretty well because while I haven’t contributed any money to it lately, the amount of money has increased.
I know there are a ton of great investing websites such as Investopedia and some great pf blogs that give great investing advice such as Frugal Rules, Money Smart Guides, Young and Thrifty and Liquid Independence. Save Spend Splurge has a great bunch of investing posts known as the Investing Series. So it’s quite obvious one can gain a lot of knowledge about investing from the internet, both from professionals and people who are really into investing. We read about their reviews, experiences and advice on investing methods and products.
Some of you may be thinking, aside from the internet as a great resource, there are also many investing books out there written by the experts.
So why would I pay several hundred dollars for a general interest course?
I’ve only been to two classes so far, but I enjoyed the change of scenery. Being back on campus, wandering around trying to find my class, I felt it was fun. I like printing out the course notes ahead of time and skimming through the material. It helps that the lecturer is a great presenter, is very thorough in answering questions and great at explaining things in a simple way that everyone would understand. She also provides us with great resources such as books and websites to check out. Best part is, that there’s NO TESTS, ASSIGNMENTS, OR EXAM!
It doesn’t get any geekier than this now, does it?
The demographic of the class ranges from seniors to middle-aged to youngish adults like myself to university students. It seems there’s an almost equal number of males and females in the class. To me, it shows that a variety of people want to learn more about investing and that anyone can and SHOULD learn about investing.
As I had mentioned in one of my posts in Suburban Finance, personal finance courses are not offered to students at the moment. Unless your parents encourage you at an early age to start investing, you may not get into investing until your young adult years, like the majority of us. We obviously still have some time compared to people who are more close to approaching retirement, but think how much better off we could be if we had started in our teens.
It is interesting hearing peoples’ stories and backgrounds with investing. The lecturer also welcomes questions via email, which she’ll often discuss during class. I don’t feel intimidated in the class at all and enjoy being back in the classroom after being out of it for so many years.
Have you taken a course on personal finance and/or investing? Would you take this type of course? Why or why not?