The other thing I keep reminding myself is that I am not a financial advisor. This is brilliant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it removes a kak load of pressure. I am not an expert. So I cannot be expected to understand things like an expert. I am aiming for bare basic fundamentals. I do not need to know about every nuance of the investing game. Secondly, I am not alone. If I want to get shmansy-pants with my investing then I can pay an expert to do this for me. There is support out there and I can access it if I need to. And thirdly, it reminds me of my limits. Put simply: I should never mistake my googling for a qualification in finance and investing.
So why try to learn anything about investing at all then? Why not just march straight to a financial advisor and have them do it for me? Good question, dear Reader. The main reason is the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Research shows that people who know nothing about a topic know so little that they don’t even know that they don’t know. The world of social media and the mass of ignorant, but weirdly strongly felt, opinions suddenly makes sense now doesn’t it? Knowledge and your awareness of your knowledge basically works like this:
- I know so little that I don’t know that I don’t know.
- I know enough to know that I don’t know.
- I know what I know and what I don’t know – but it’s quite new and uncomfortable.
- I know what I know and what I don’t know – and it feels like a comfortable part of my knoweldge base.
For example, my brother is an engineer and he works at a plant that makes petrol. For the life of me I cannot figure out why they need engineers on call 24 hours a day… Surely, they have developed a recipe for petrol by now?! So surely this recipe can just be automated and rolled out? Easy peasy.
This is a PERFECT example of someone who knows so little that they don’t even realise that they don’t know. And you can see why it’s a very dangerous position to be in. Well-intentioned actions can have horrific consequences if the ignorant person has any power (for example, if I was in charge of my brother’s company the first thing I would do is probably send half the people on holiday because I cannot imagine how making petrol with fancy machines also needs so many fancy people).
The problem is this:
I (the financially ignorant one) am the person who ultimately has all the power with regards to my finances.
And I’m terrified that I know so little that I’m going to well-intentionally but ignorantly completely balls things up. So I suppose that we can celebrate at least that I know enough to know that I actually don’t know anything at all 🙂 I also want to learn about investing because if I do get a financial advisor I want to know enough to be able to make an informed decision about whatever the financial advisor recommends. For example, prior to The Brat Experiment if a financial advisor had said to me that I can only retire at 60 it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind that they might be wrong. So I guess, what I’m saying, is that I’m trying to teach myself the basics about investing so that I can be informed enough to make sure the experts are giving me what I want.
Also, who am I kidding? I love the self-empowering, self-sufficiency of it all 🙂 And the more I read about it the more it BOGGLES my mind that the bare basics of financial hygiene isn’t taught at school…