Learning in Retirement

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I saw a video this week about a guy who completed a four-year MIT computer science course in one year.  He did the course with free materials available online, which caused some “controversy” as in the end he didn’t receive a degree.  People who were commenting felt that this method of education, although nice, just wouldn’t lead to a job.  Some employers chimed in and said that this kind of education, as long as it leads to a similar level of ability wouldn’t hinder employment chances.  The employers stated that this kind of education would illustrate a level of initiative that a person who went to a school and followed the program like everyone else.

My thinking when I saw what this guy has done is that this may be the kind of thing that I would be interested in doing when I have significantly more time.  The guy who completed the MIT program spent around 40-60 hours per week to hit the milestones he set out for himself.  This is a substantial amount of time to dedicate to a project, essentially monopolizing my entire week.

In order to take on a project like this, I think I would really have to be super-interested in the subject.  I’ve already done a full undergraduate program in Economics, as well as completing the education required to be a professional accountant in Canada.  I can’t see myself wanting to spend 60 hours a week doing anything in the future.  I’ve found that after finishing school in June, I prefer to spend about an hour at a time working on various things around the house, or reading or playing videogames.  Thinking about spending most of my week on one thing isn’t something I’m interested in right now.

I am a believer of lifelong learning, in most cases the things I want to learn serve no real purpose – whether it’s a language I may use once a year, to learn how to draw pictures that nobody else will see or any number of areas of interest that really won’t do anything but give me something to do with my free time.  I like to learn about new things and how to do new activities.

How much time, if any,  do you think you’d spend learning in retirement?  Would you do a full college/University course like the guy discussed?  Do you see any use in learning about subjects that won’t make you any money just for the sake of learning?

6 thoughts on “Learning in Retirement”

  1. I wouldn’t do full college/University however I can see myself striving for their level of education. Use in subjects that won’t make money? Oh yeah. Language, music, art, electronics, old-world building and crafting(woodwork/blacksmith/etc). Those things once FI seem far more valuable, specifically in terms of personal growth, just for me.

  2. “I like to learn about new things and how to do new activities” – if you want to actually understand them and do them well, you’ll need to put in a lot of time …

  3. @ Marc – Those old-world crafting techniques totally fascinate me. I love watching people square up a tree into a beam, or blacksmithing.

    @ Jim – I would take the odd course I think, I don’t know if I would do a whole program, it just gets too intensive with deadlines and projects along with exams. I would pay to audit a course though, more out of interest than anything.

    @ Greg – the beauty of retiring in my 40’s is that I would have a lot of time to make mistakes and learn from them, which is what I’m looking forward to.

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