5 Mind Hacks to Make Yourself Learn to Invest

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I want to learn how to play the piano, I want to learn more about different modes of wealth accumulation, I want to learn how to skateboard.

We often want to learn a lot of things, but they are often never accomplished because we either forget about our desires or they fall under the weight of our daily to-do lists.

Investing and saving for retirement is one of these “I want to learn how to do that” topics.

The big difference between learning about investing and learning piano is that 10 lost years of investing can cost you over $100,000 in your lifetime, while 10 lost years of piano playing will probably cost you a little less. You could become a world famous pianist – yes – but even pianists have to keep track of their wealth and plan for the future.

One of my goals last year was to set up a taxable investing account for short-term savings. It took me almost 4 months of procrastination to come to a conclusion – I have too much uncertainity over the next 5 years of my life to be investing in a taxable account.

At least once a day for those 4 months I thought about learning more about taxable investing. I thought about researching funds, brokerages, and figuring out how much I could invest.

A lot of the time I would think about these things, they would make my head hurt, and I would do the easier thing – go to Facebook, check my Google Reader, or check out ESPN for a new Bill Simmons article. All of these things required a lot less thought.

In reality, I was hurting myself and my bottom line by wasting this time. I was potentially losing money every time I closed my Google Finance tab and went over to Twitter.

Since losing days, weeks, months, and years of investing time can cost you a lot of money in missed opportunity, it’s important to force yourself through your procrastination about investing decisions.

So how do we get past the, “ugh, I don’t want to do this today” stage of investing, and actually learn about it?

Here’s 5 tips that’ll help you break through your procrastination:

1) Set your homepage to a money site

Whichever site you’ve used to do research for your investing, set this site as your homepage. You’ll see it every time you open your browser and it’ll keep your mind thinking about doing the research. You’ll probably see this page at least 4-5 times a day and it’ll subtly shift your thoughts to thinking about investing.

2) Go to the library and keep 3 money books spread out across your house

Need a suggestion? I talked about the 5 money books that changed my life last week.

Pick up a couple of these books at your local library and keep them in your bathroom, living room, and room. The books will become a part of your daily life and you won’t be able to ignore them. You’re bound to pick one up eventually and start looking through it. Hey, if you can only learn about money management on the toilet, then so be it.

3) Set a Google Calendar alert

GCal is awesome because when you create an event you can have them send you a reminder email that morning.

Create an invent called “Stop Procrastanting and Learn to Invest”. Set it for every other day or every 3rd day. On that morning, you’ll receive an email from Gcal saying “Stop Procrastanting and Learn to Invest”.

It may not immediately change your behavior, but it’ll change your mind set in the mornings from thinking about Perez Hilton or the video of the wizard getting tasered to thinking about learning to invest.

4) Ask a friend to keep you honest.

If you have a close friend who you’re honest with about your money procrastination problems, tell him or her to ask you about your progress once a week. It’s a lot more difficult to say no to a friend compared to just deleting a reminder email. You’ll feel a little more guilty and this may be the best way for you to overcome your procrastination. Sometimes shame can be helpful.

5) Change your ringtone

If you’re serious about wanting to learn about investing, but procrastination and fear is running your life, have your ringtone help you out.

My phone allows me to use audio as ring tones. Currently I’m rocking the Mad Men theme song (can you name a cooler TV intro?) but you can record yourself saying something along the lines of: “go read your money” or “pick a fund already”. This reminder’s harder to avoid and it’ll hit you at random times throughout the day.

It may be a little weird when you’re on a date and your phone rings with the sound of your voice, but if you’re serious about beating this procrastination, then this trick will work.

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The first step to learning to invest is wanting to learn. If you’re considering any of these mind hacks, then you successfully completed step 1.

Step 2 is doing the grunt work. Reading about the subject and teaching yourself to a point where you feel comfortable putting your money somewhere for a long time. This step is not easy and unfortunately a lot of people can be stuck in this step for decades (ask some parents about their money regrets).

Maybe one of these mind hacks will be the one that makes you take the plunge into teaching yourself about money. Try one today and don’t let the procrastination rule your life for yet another day.

How did you start learning about investing? Have any tricks or suggestions to share with the readers? Leave a comment below!

Photo: PSD

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