Rock, Paper, Scissors? What’s The Best Way You Can Learn How To Retire?


Scissors and the rock dollar


Who would you rather show you how best to save and invest for retirement? An accomplished advertising copywriter? A radiant teacher? A celebrated movie director?

If you answered “Yes!” to the above multiple-choice question you’re far more astute than you might give yourself credit for.

This is about the above choice in terms of the evolution of media platforms.

In the beginning, there was the written word. It represented the rock of communication. It was steady. It was reliable. And it stuck around for a long time.

Then came radio. It was much lighter than print. Rather than being bound by the gravity of the page, radio allowed words to float in the airwaves, much in the same way paper can drift above and cover a rock.

Finally, video, in the form of television, ascended from the engineering labs. With this, pictures sharpened the words. What was once text was forged into scissors that allowed television to cut through the communicative advantages of radio.

Of course, at some point, we all know that rock can crush scissors. Does the analogy break down here?

Everyone has a different learning style. There’s no question about that. But, do you know that certain methods are proven to work more effectively than others? And how does this help you learn how to retire?

Face it, you’ve only got one chance to get retirement right. You shouldn’t worry too much about this because you know a lot of people have demonstrated they can get retirement right.

Some are lucky. Some work hard. Many, however, make a study of it and glide into a comfortable retirement.

What’s their secret?

There’s plenty of material available to learn how to retire in comfort. There are books. There are podcasts. There are endless YouTube channels. They all contain similar information. What’s best for you?

Part of it depends on your situation.

If you’re sitting at your desk, you can scan the printed word much faster than you can either listen to audio or watch a video. Moreover, say you want to really expend the energy to absorb the material. Text allows you to quickly bounce from section to section. You can easily re-read something for comprehension. There’s no need to rewind a virtual tape and guess where you need to stop.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re a big-time commuter. Well, maybe not right now. Maybe you spend hours at the gym. Oh, yeah, maybe not right now, either. More likely, right now you’re spending time walking around the neighborhood or on your riding lawn mower or any other activity that permits you to free up your brain, (but not too much).

This is the time that audio comes in most handy. Speaking of hands, they’re usually occupied holding on to something, so they can’t hold text for your eyes to read. And, about those eyes, they’re generally going to be used for something in one of these activities, so that rules out video.

What happens, though, if you find yourself pedaling away on your brand-new Peloton bike or walking on a treadmill. Sure, your hands are busy, but you don’t need your eyes to keep on the lookout for oncoming traffic. Now you have options. You could go with old, reliable audio. But video offers to delight you more. It’s the visuals that compel you most to retain what’s being said.

And that retention is the key. There’s no point in learning if you don’t retain the material. Retirement is not a test you can pull an all-nighter and cram for. No, it’s a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race sort of thing. Pick up a piece of knowledge here, implement it there.

It’s not simply saying video beats all. It’s the way you consume video that makes all the difference in the world. A 2009 U.S. Department of Education Report says, “the effect of video on learning hinged on the learner’s ability to control the video (‘interactive video’).” In other words, you’re more likely to learn from a video game than from a YouTube video.

Aye, there’s the rub. In fact, that same report says, “many researchers have hypothesized that the addition of images, graphics, audio, video or some combination would enhance student learning and positively affect achievement. However, the majority of studies to date have found that these media features do not affect learning outcomes significantly.”

It’s not the media. It’s not the message. It’s the engagement.

The abstract from a February 1, 1996 research article published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin explains: “Two studies demonstrate that making a volunteer decision by doing something results in more commitment to it than making the identical decision by doing nothing.”

Would you like to think you’re committed to achieving a comfortable retirement? Then don’t rely on a book or a podcast or a YouTube video to get you there. Find a learning venue that requires engagement.

It could be in the form of a class. It could be in the form of a game. Whatever its form, make sure it doesn’t allow you to sit back and enjoy the show. It must demand some action of you. Not after the lesson, but during the lesson as a requirement before moving to the next lesson.

You see, video may have killed the radio star, but the rock of engagement breaks the cutting edge of video.

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