Learning about money is a lifelong process. No one is born ‘good’ with money, and improving yourself and your finances takes effort and discipline.
Unfortunately, increasing your knowledge can sometimes feel like an overwhelming burden. It’s challenging to interpret current events and still hold on to your financial plan when the market fluctuates and things look shaky. Knowing what learning style works best for you can help you creatively understand new ideas and concepts that might otherwise be a struggle.
This week’s episode of the rich & REGULAR podcast talks about our favorite ways to learn about money. Listen in and continue reading below to discover your specific learning style and how it can help you improve your finances.
Types of Learners
Learning is deeply personal, and while everyone learns in their own way, the Institute of Learning Styles Research breaks learning down into the following categories:
- Print learners like to take notes, easily remember what they’ve read, and learn best when they see something written down.
- Visual learners prefer to watch a video, presentation or graphics and remember what they’ve learned by seeing or recalling an image in their mind’s eye.
- Aural learners like to listen to lectures or audiobooks and recall and recreate information from hearing someone speak.
- Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing and may have difficulty retaining information if they have to sit still.
- Haptic learners incorporate touch into their learning, by being both a hands-on learner or needing to fidget or doodle while listening or taking in information.
- Interactive learners use verbalization to retain information and use other people as a sounding board to work out problems or distill ideas.
- Olfactory learners associate smells or taste with information and find that smells “add to learning.”
Many people don’t just learn in one way—you may be predominately an aural or visual learner, but find that you retain information better when you also take notes on the information, adding a kinesthetic or haptic learning element to what you hear or see.
Learning styles and money
Once you’ve identified the different ways you learn, you may find there are opportunities to advance your knowledge on a variety of subjects everywhere you go. Below are some ways you can use this information to learn more about money.
Read and watch.
Many of the most successful teachers use stories and pictures to make their point. We relate to other human experiences far more than just words or numbers on a page, especially when we hear stories from people we identify with.
If you’re a print or visual learner, then you may keep the most information when you:
Take notes on your reading. Read books, magazines or blog posts and jot down notes to investigate new topics or strategies to try in your own life.
Watch YouTube or LinkedIn videos. If visual learning is best for you, find videos from certified financial planners or people with financial accreditation that use graphics to help you build a mental picture of the concept you’re trying to understand.
Listen and discuss.
Aural and interactive learners may help each other take in and retain information because one type of learner needs to hear a concept to understand it, whereas the other person needs to discuss what they’ve heard to integrate and comprehend ideas.
If you are an aural or interactive learner, then you might:
Talk through your understanding. Listen to a podcast or audiobook with a friend or your partner, then discuss the topics to cement your knowledge. Saying things out loud may make it easier to understand and integrate concepts.
Set a check-in date. Have a standing phone or zoom date where you check in with each other on your financial journeys and talk about the goals and milestones you are working to achieve.
Consult a professional. Schedule a time with your financial advisor or accountant to ask questions. Research a subject that interests you, such as minimizing your tax bill or converting money from a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, and ask them to discuss what you’ve learned and any of the finer points that need clarification.
Trial and error.
If you’re a haptic or kinesthetic learner, actually doing things will be the best way for you to gain financial knowledge in unconventional ways. You may find that things take a little longer as you experiment, but it is time well spent if you find a system that works.
Try different methods. Experiment with different budgeting apps or styles and see which one fits you best.
- You may find that you like a straightforward system like the envelope budgeting method, or an online system like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB) works best. Most apps either offer a free version or have a free trial period so you can find one that works best for you without investing a lot of money upfront.
Multitask. Try listening to an audiobook about finances while you clean your car or do the dishes. Keeping your hands busy while your brain is absorbing information might help it stick better and help you work through complicated concepts.
Do what’s best for you.
Knowing how you learn is an important component when gathering resources to improve your finances. If you’re a kinesthetic learner and books or podcasts don’t stick, you may waste time and energy trying to absorb information you won’t retain. However, if you find the learning style (or styles) that work for you, you can maximize the information you take in and have a better understanding of the topics and concepts that can help you on your journey to financial security.