plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

April 30, 2008

starting things as an adult

Filed under: education and career — Tags: , , , , — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

I mentioned recently that I’ve taken up the oboe. It’s quite good fun, but of course, I sound terrible at the moment. That’s a bit of a problem because my lessons take place at the local music college, where the students range from 16 to 25 are planning on making music their career. And I’m in a practice room learning to play Three Blind Mice (actually, that’s too advanced for me at the minute). Quite embarrassing.

It got me thinking about how much harder it is to learn things as an adult. Not because it’s intrinsically difficult, but because there’s a sort of “I should really already know how to do this” kind of feeling. It’s certainly true of adult learner musicians – most people learn to play when they are kids, or at the very least, teenagers. If you see an adult with an instrument, there’s an assumption that they can play quite well already.

I bet it’s also difficult to go back to college as an adult. If there are lots of non-traditional students, it’s not too bad but otherwise I bet the same kind of feeling exists, at least at the start.

Of course, we can’t all have done everything at the same age as everyone else. And there isn’t room, time, or money to do all the things you’d ever want to do as a kid. It wouldn’t leave much room for growing as an adult. There are benefits to picking things up late. You have a better appreciation for the work that you need to put in. You’re more likely to take things seriously, work hard at them and succeed. Doing things the long way round can lead to making a better job of it in the end.

This relates to finance as well. Maybe it would have been better to realise the importance of personal finance earlier. Maybe it would be helpful to have started investing for retirement 5, 10 or 20 years ago. Maybe it would be better if you weren’t in debt. Still, you’re here now, and that’s the most important thing.

Just as it’s never to late to learn Russian, take up the trombone, or get your bachelors degree, you can sort out your finances, and end up in more secure and stable position. Leaving you time for all the other things that you didn’t get to do as a kid. One of these days, I reckon I’m going to get round to learning how to unicycle.

Image by MikeBaird

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