I have recently done something that I haven’t done in the longest time – teach someone :). The last I remember teaching was way back in college and before that in 11th standard. And each time I had to teach an audience, it was because someone put me in the spot and not because of my own interest. In 11th is was because I was not paying attention to the class and when asked why I was not paying attention, I would give rude answers like “I already know it, I don’t want to listen”. I was sort of a rebel and generally a difficult student to teach. I guess may be the teachers wanted to show me how difficult it was to teach and asked me to solve some problems on the board and explain it to the class.
Same routine again in Engineering college. I stopped giving rude answers, but I still would not pay attention to the class :). Anyway, let me not belabor the point, but most recently, it was not the lecturers but my wife who wanted me to teach financial planning to a few of her friends and acquaintances. I was not too keen on teaching, but because she said some of them really need some good advice and don’t know where to start, I decided to teach.
Why don’t I like to teach?
In fact even before this, I was asked by a few friends and colleagues who wanted me to talk on the subject. The thing is that you can find pretty much everything about financial planning already on the web. What new thing would they learn from me. Even if there is something that I had done differently, my blog post is full of all my experiences. I don’t have anything more to share. So every time some one asks me for advice, I point them to my blog. Even my talk on early retirement is already available online for everyone to watch. What more can I add?
I never liked teaching anyone and I always felt like if I were to choose a career in that, I would perform the worst. Not because I don’t want to share my knowledge, but because I think I am extremely bad at it and I don’t know much. I really appreciate all the teachers who put so much effort into training the students. On the other hand, I can barely explain things to my daughter. How can I teach someone?
In spite of all my reservations I decided to give a workshop on financial planning. The title would be Practical Financial Planning For Beginners. I gave a 2-hour session each Sunday for 3 weeks. During the six day break between each session, the students were supposed to do some assignments :). Does that bring back memories of something? After the 3 week course, I was available to answer any questions they might have for 3 days. I wrote a detailed document on how I will conduct the workshop which you can read too if you’d like.
I shared the slides after my session. Although I mentioned in the document that I will not record the session or share the video, I evenutally had to record because some of the participants could not make it. I shared the 3 videos with all the participants and they have lifetime access. In the end I felt that it was probably a good idea to share the videso because then they can re-watch them anytime if they want to recollect concepts. I actually had fun giving the workshop, so it was not too bad in the end.
Busy few weeks
I had to put in a lot of effort into preparing the structure of the workshop, making the slides, creating examples and coming up with assignments and their answers :). I was running behind schedule in my blog posts during that time. Thankfully none of my readers noticed that! I had to create lots and lots of examples for the talk so it will be easy for them to understand the concepts. You can see one example below in the screenshot. I also gave them fun assignments to work on during the break between sessions. One example below –
John wick is saving up for his kid’s education. he needs Rs. 20 lakhs in 5 years. He is planning investments that will give a return of 12%. So he is doing a SIP of Rs. 25k/month. Will he be able to achieve the goal?
Just to clarify, it was not a free workshop :). While I don’t need the money, I had to charge them fees for two reasons. One, I want them to value my time because when you are giving someone your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back. Two, when you pay for something, you value it more. You put more effort into learning than when you get it for free. Of course I did not take any money from a couple of participants because they truly could not afford.
In the past when someone knows that I retired, they ask me, “Oh by investing in stocks or derivatives or future and options?” etc. I have no idea what they are talking about. I mean I only know them as concepts, but have no in depth knowledge. Which makes me wonder, these guys know so much how can I even give any advice or teach someone when I know so little? Forget the concepts but the taxes alone are very complicated. Do they even know that dealing in futures and options means they need to use ITR-3, the most complicated tax form of all?
Anyway I digress. The point I was trying to make is that I don’t know much, but I hope I made a difference in the lives of the participants who attended my financial planning workshop. I wish them the best for their financial future. This was the work I was talking about in one of my earlier posts.