Those who can’t do, teach…
Financial education is a complex topic. No, I am not speaking of a degree in finance or a related field from a University. Rather, I want to focus on the vast amount of educators, trainers, gurus… that are out there to sell you the courses you need to succeed.
Let’s be honest. There are some genuine people, but many of them are scams and they are rather businessmen than mentors or teachers. Hence, their main objective is to sell you a course and get rich with that. They do not make money with trading or investing. They make money by teaching you how to make money. And this extends far beyond the world of trading or investing.
The first question that I had when I first interacted with financial educators (and maybe you had as well) is the following: why do you teach if you are already making money with your trading or investing skills? I heard many interesting replies to that question, from babbling some nonsense to “because only if you pay you will be serious about that”. Sure 🙂
Indeed, you do not see people like Warren Buffett giving courses to wannabe investors. So you may conclude that probably these teachers are not good if they need to sell you a course to make money. After all, as George Bernard Shaw said, “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches”. But is it really true that only people who are good at doing something can be good teachers?
Can Do = Can Teach?
Many of us had below average professors and teachers in school or at the University. At the same time, a bad professor can be an excellent researcher. This means that he or she knows the topic very well, but is just not able to teach it. Maybe the reason is lacking soft skills, or maybe the arrogance of feeling superior to the students. Whatever the reason, one important thing to consider when looking for a financial educator is how the content is delivered. To know that, you can often attend free previews. Indeed, the objective is to sell a course, but you can easily understand how the person delivers the content.
Another point to consider is that one may know how to teach something even though he or she cannot do it. And this person can be a better teacher than someone who is able to do the task. A little confused? I give you an example. If you want to learn a new language, maybe asking a native speaker to teach you is not a great idea. Why? Because a native speaker knows how to speak but often do not know the rules behind. It is just natural. Hence, a non-native speaker who studied the rules of the language would be a better choice as an educator. And this applies to sports as well. Not all the great coaches can do what they teach, and yet they are great! At the same time, a great player may not be as good as a coach.
So what is the key message? When you are looking for a financial educator, do not focus on what he or she did achieve. Rather, focus on how the content is delivered, how the educator replies to your questions, and how his/her students are doing using what was taught. This will help you better separate between good and bad financial educators.