By: Nick Marinoff
One thing our country lacks is education. Sure, we have plenty of schools and universities dotting our cities and coastlines, but the belief that schooling equals education is a common misconception.
Attending school involves the regurgitation of information. Once a class is over, the student or students in question may never again glance through their textbooks or integrate what they’ve studied into their daily lives. Education involves retaining the data we receive, and actually making a place for it in our regular routines. We’ll probably use the knowledge we have every day, and the information we’ve earned will make its mark on us for years to come.
This is true education. For centuries, we’ve hung onto the notion that without “proper schooling,” we’ll never be truly educated. We invest thousands into mindless degree programs that turn us into robots. Students enter their classes, take a few tests and spew out a few answers to random questions. They then emerge owing their lives and souls to lenders. At one point in time, such a journey may have held meaning, but with today’s troubled markets and ailing economy, the problems continue to rise. The diplomas graduates carry with them following their final days in school don’t grant them the positions they need to make the world better. They don’t increase their stations in life, nor do they make them the top-tier figures they’d like to be.
Yet in bringing up our present economy, we can’t say it’s entirely to blame. What kind of information are students learning? More importantly, are they really retaining what they learn? Considering that many graduates aren’t even working in their respective fields, the guess is “no.” Students go through years of hard work to earn degrees in arenas they never even set foot in. This is suggestive of a few things, one being that most graduates don’t hold onto what they learn well enough to earn positions in their desired fields.
We’ve put so much emphasis on schooling that we’ve forgotten what education is. Education comes through living; learning what is necessary to keep us stable with each passing day. Let’s look at how Americans operate with money. Having green in the bank is important, but one might think it’s not important enough considering over one-third of Americans have less than $1,000 put away for retirement. A sad notion indeed, especially when inflation and other issues are at their highest points.
But is it that money isn’t important, or that people simply aren’t educated when it comes to money? This goes back to the same notion of earning a degree. Graduating with a specified major is proof of schooling, not education. The idea that financial training is either not accessible to most American’s or not considered important enough is troubling, but the fact that so few of us are validly prepared for retirement is undeniable proof that something isn’t right.
So what can be done? How does one go about making the necessary preparations? The answer is simple: by educating ourselves. For years, we’ve placed particular emphasis on stocks and bonds. Many of us promote them as the ultimate entities of wealth – the only valid ways of earning returns overnight, but since 2008, problems surrounding the stock market have become quite regular, and some are looking for additional ways to invest.
For the last seven years, digital currency has garnered a reputation for being the world’s alternative to stocks. Several people stand by bitcoin and related currencies as the payment methods of the future, but this also comes with a downside. The prices and values of virtual currencies have consistently proven too volatile. They can come crashing down within a matter of seconds. In many ways, digital money is as unstable and unpredictable as the stock market.
So now we ask a simple question… What about gold? Many believe that in the long run, gold is the safest financial form existing today. According to Goldsilver.com:
“Gold is the only money that has never failed in the 5,000-year history of its use by humans. Currently, there is… enough investment-grade gold available on Earth for every living person to have one-third of an ounce. Time and again throughout human history, gold has been revalued to account for all excess currency in circulation. Today, to account for all the U.S. dollars printed by the Federal Reserve, gold would have to be revalued at $15,000 per ounce. In times of crisis, gold is the safest investment that also has the greatest potential to increase your wealth. Gold is a completely private and anonymous investment that is also extremely portable.”
In that paragraph alone, we see that the benefits of gold tend to be somewhat limitless. For one thing, the idea of an investment remaining completely private and portable should be enough to make a few bells go off in our heads. Extreme privacy is often touted as being associated with digital currency, but every digital transaction is recorded in real time via blockchain technology, ensuring there’s some sort of record. Furthermore, if bitcoin and related altcoins were as private as we claim, how were alleged Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht and Mt. Gox founder Mark Karpeles caught? Something had to tip these guys off. Maybe virtual currency isn’t as “anonymous” as we all think.
Gold’s protection of privacy is a big deal, particularly for investors. In 5,000 years, gold has no major failures to add to its chalkboard. So why are so few of us investing in it? Financial platform Apmex.com explains that there is a “worldwide demand” for gold, yet The Fiscal Times says that less than one-quarter of Americans’ assets include it. Other sites, such as Survival and Prosperity suggest the number may be even lower. Despite the rockiness of the housing industry, most of us still vouch for real estate as the best long-term investment choice, according to a recent Gallup poll.
The answer again lies in education, and as the facts show us, there’s a monstrous lack of it. Are we simply not educated enough in the fields of gold or gold investing that the prominence they offer is terribly misunderstood (or even worse – not understood at all)?
Platforms exist to provide us with the information we need. Firms like The Real Asset Co. (a topic of a previous DGM article) and even Redana Gold provide bullion for purchase to help interested parties find precious metals to build their respective portfolios. Redana even offers authorized dealers for customers to visit once ounces are purchased. The information is there, and the knowledge exists to help us move further down the line, but how often are we really using it?
We tend to put education in other people’s hands. We think there are schools we can attend and professors who can tell us what to do and how to think and what to learn, and if we listen and perform as we’re told, we’ll come out smart and ready to take on the world with a firm hand. Self-education, however, is an idea we commonly forget. Donald Trump may have attended the Wharton School of Business, but his education didn’t stop there. Properties and real estate projects he undertook on his own became the driving force of his success. Love him or hate him, Trump was able and willing to educate himself, and in turn, became something many of us only wish we could be.
We often forget what others tell us. Think about it – when was the last time you arrived home from a party and remembered even half the stories your friends shouted at you across the waves of blaring music and cigarette vapor? Chances are, most of these stories left your head the minute you left the building. On the most basic level, it’s what you give yourself that you remember most and hold onto throughout your life. You remember a great novel not because someone told you to pick it up and read it, but because you chose to do so yourself. You remember a great album not because someone told you to listen to it, but because you decided to check it out on your own. To an extent, these are all forms of self-education. It’s an idea that can be applied to just about anything. As Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
Usually, the best actors are those who didn’t partake in big, fancy acting programs at renowned universities. Rather, they were “poverty-stricken rejects” who had the gumption and drive to step out of the realms of normalcy and pursue a craft that until recent times, has often been considered something of a “low man’s game.” Figures like Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman (both multiple Oscar-winners) were voted “Least Likely to Succeed” by their school peers, yet managed to surpass all expectations and rise to the top by educating themselves in their fields and enhance their knowledge of acting.
Between Trump, Hoffman and Hackman, we’ve been given several examples of those who were successful not by simply relying on schools, but by invoking self-education, and the time has come for us to do the same. Every day we see our country struggling. Homelessness in major metropolitan areas has increased annually. Graduates cannot find appropriate employment, and to an extent, money has become something of a problem, though it’s not as big as our lagging desire to financially educate ourselves. Options like gold provide us with the opportunities we need to push forward, but those opportunities will stay hidden as long as we don’t take the time to learn about them. It’s ironic that in times of monetary strife, we’re almost being forced to return to methods long thought “dead” or outdated. In the 1850s, panning for gold became the way to earn one’s fortune, and while the days of pick-axes and mining helmets have dissipated, the sentiment behind gold as a powerful asset remains the same. The main difference is that we now have major banks and investment firms doing most of the hard work for us.
Gold is here, and it’s ready to do its job, but we must first educate ourselves about how it works, and how best to use it to our advantage. As CEO of Goldandsilver.com Mike Maloney explains:
“If you know how the world’s financial system works, you know the game that you’re playing, and if you don’t know the game and the rules that we’re playing by, you’re going to get slaughtered… So this, just by knowing this increases your odds a hundredfold of winning.”