Personal Budgeting + Finance Help

How much of your income do you spend on education? You have a lot of disposable income; investment in yourself will have faster and more relevant returns for you (than investment in assets).

Note: don’t spend money on crap education – discussing it here first would be good (ofc, there are resources within CF that are candidates, too)

Almost none right now. I used to spend more on non-fiction books that I liked, but I stopped doing that. I agree that spending more on education would be good, I just have to start doing it and possibly solve some mental blocks I might have around it. There are things I’ve seen online that I’ve considered buying but I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t get good value from the education. Part of the issue is that so many people whose content I like offer courses or other paid things, and I can’t usually tell when those things will offer good additional value to their free stuff, or when it’s like they designed their free stuff to get me to want to buy the paid stuff.

One example is Seth Godin’s AltMBA course, which looks to be some kind of high intensity feedback based peer-learning system where you’re creating something new everyday and getting and giving lots of feedback on stuff through a forum system. It’s $4,450, which seems super expensive to me. He also has less expensive versions of stuff (Like ~$500) targeted at bootstrappers/podcasters/writers etc. that are like 30 day courses where you watch some videos each day and then discuss them on a forum (This one is a 150 day thing called the marketing seminar, at $745 USD). One thing is that he believes in peer learning and lots of discussion, basically saying that you get more out of it if you put more into it. The thing is CF/FI Forums offer that value already, and it’s also true that the more I put into CF/FI in terms of time, energy, willingness to learn etc. the more I will get out of it.

I think one good starting point re: investing in myself should be the $129 Eli Goldratt Marketing Videos from ToC.Tv as that’s relatively low risk, I get a lot of content for it, and it’s relevant to what I’m trying to learn for the startup anyway. So it seems like an OK place to start. There are some paid CF materials that look good too, like the $880 course videos, but I should start with the free + less expensive stuff to see if I can actually learn it without running into roadblocks and if I actually like it first, so I’m starting with the Max Tutoring videos like Elliot suggested.

I think one goal I need to set is to learn to value my time. Maybe I need to set an hourly rate or something and basically decide that I would be willing to spend $ to save that time. For example, if I set my hourly rate at $15, then I should be willing to spend $15 to save myself an hour of time. Right now, part of the problem is that I am willing to spend more time learning something for free than to spend money to learn it better or faster. This hourly rate thing doesn’t fully solve the issue because I won’t always know how much time I’m wasting, and it’s kind of qualitative since I could be learning a worse version of something and not know that immediately, and when I find out about it I might not know how many hours it’ll take to fix it. So definitely starting with higher quality content is worth doing, even if it costs me more. I shouldn’t take risks on cheaper content when I can afford to just bypass those risks. I guess one way to spend time to save money that is good is posting on CF forums when I’m considering diving into some new educational content, and CF can help me see if the ideas are good/bad and whether they will help me or hurt me in the long run.

What other educational resources on the internet in general are good?

Also I forgot to post this in the original post, but maybe something like therapy or similar is a good investment if I have the money for it and have psychological problems to solve or understand better. I remember a podcast from somewhere where curi talked about it, but I can’t find that podcast now. Paraphrasing roughly, I think it was about how therapists who are more like life coaches are less bad than therapists who are closer to psychiatrists, rely on medication more/prescribing stuff like anti-depressants etc. So just talking with someone who can give a different perspective on stuff and has experience understanding common patterns of why people experience certain emotions from certain situations or childhood issues.

I’ve been averse to therapy in general because it seemed very expensive and also like it would take quite a bit of trial and error to find the right therapist, since from what I read online it seems likely that the first, second, and maybe even third therapist you try won’t be good fits (it’s just unlikely) and it’ll take talking to them to better figure out who you’re looking for, and maybe they can help refer you to that kind of person.

One weird note is that my new job offers free therapy because people who e.g. take calls in the call centre division here tend to face abusive customers sometimes and it can cause stress and burnout over time. So we’re able to access mental health professionals at any time, and employees are entitled to up to 4 hours of therapy per “incident”. Incident is pretty loosely defined, but from the initial orientation about this stuff it seems like the therapy is more goal oriented to address a specific situation/issue, and not so much about long-term or general stuff. So paying for my own therapy might still be a good idea. The inhouse therapy here always does an initial assessment where they first figure out whether they can actually help you meaningfully in 4 hours or not, and if not, they refer you to outside help that is longer term.

I think the main reasons to consider therapy would be if I can’t figure out or solve some of my psychological issues through introspection alone (or if it’s just too inefficient to do it that way). I’ve avoided it so far by basically saying to myself that the issues aren’t bottlenecks, but they could be and I just don’t know. It’s hard to know what I would be like if I had fewer hangups/worries etc. It’s hard for me to describe the problems completely, and it seems like diagnosis in general is something a good therapist can help with, but I don’t want to incentivize someone to find problems where there aren’t any.

Some stuff like that is OK. A lot of people are bad at learning and need some help. Some courses are crap but some are decent. If I had to guess, Godin has some decent stuff that does help many students some and some students a lot.

The expectations for courses like that are more like “better than a school class” not “FI quality”. They are generally aimed at fairly competent people who can afford it and who already have some good stuff going on in their life which can be incrementally improved. Selling to people who can’t comfortably afford it and are sensitive about the money is problematic in a lot of ways. The pricing is not meant to compete with the value per dollar provided by housing, food, clothes, having a phone, having a laptop, having a car, or other things that more or less everyone buys first, and mass market things like books where you could get several years of a professional’s work for $10. There are a lot of people who already bought super efficient stuff like that and still have more money and who want something that has a lower demand – more customized or niche stuff commands higher prices than stuff that tens of millions of people buy, not because it’s better but more because it’s not mass produced as much, and some people will pay for it because they want stuff that is more customized to them and they don’t have fully generic tastes.

There are plenty of people involved with a business that has millions of dollars of revenue, who are not great at most aspects of business. If revenue is $10mm/yr then a 1% increase is 100k/yr. If a 5k course has a 10% chance of getting that outcome, and is fun and probably helps a little even if you don’t get that outcome, then it’s a good deal – the expected return after one year is over 10k (double the price). And the business has the revenue to afford the course. The issue is probably more about time and attention than the course price (there are many other projects that also have positive returns that could be done instead – e.g. they probably already know a bunch of things about the business that they could spend time improving).

Plenty of people get value from those kinda courses but most of the value is not due to original, special or private knowledge that’s only available in the course. Just like people get value from classes in school which teach only things that could also be learned in many other places.

My kinda similar material (YesNo product and CF course on gumroad) is significantly different. It’s more about explaining unique insight than about dragging regular people along to learn something valuable that’s already well known and in many books. Besides original breakthroughs, I also put a lot of work into accessibility – trying to explain stuff in a way people will actually be able to understand.

Therapy is expensive because you’re getting one-on-one time with a professional. The value varies wildly. The chance of getting any kind of special, original insight from a therapist is low. The chance of getting some standard ideas that you could have read in books, but did not, is pretty high. They know some useful stuff that could be learned elsewhere but which many people do not learn elsewhere. And people suck at reading something then applying it to their own life even in basic ways, so a therapist can help with that. So, again, expectations should not be too high, like with the courses, but it can help some people (it also hurts some people – therapy is more dangerous or risky than a course on marketing).

The main thing you should do IMO (as I tell ~everyone) is try to learn CF. Then see what problems actually come up and try to figure out what to do about them after you actually know more about what they are. (Or, in the alternative, if you disagree with something about CF or its value (either absolute or relative to other stuff in life), say that and expose your reasoning to criticism.)

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