“What have you done to increase your human capital today?”
This is a phrase that my friend Mike Miller and I coined while trudging through our masters degrees at Walsh College from 2004 through 2007. Human capital is a term economists use to to describe the set of skills accumulated by an individual, specifically those skills that are in demand by the marketplace.
Mike and I were both in the I.T. profession at the time, gainfully employed and making good salaries. And yet, there we were, once a week, sometimes twice a week at Walsh studying finance of all crazy things, specifically, personal financial planning.
First and foremost in our mind, we wanted to know how to do something other than I.T. just to broaden our job prospects in the future in case it ever came down to that.
Secondly, we wanted something that could complement our current positions and certainly the core financial classes in accounting, economics, financial statement analysis, fundamentals of finance, etc, can come in handy when dealing with our corporate “users”. We can speak their language.
And finally, on a personal level, it never hurts to know how to manage your own money and the specialization in personal financial planning provided us with those skills.
For three years while much of the country was glued to the T.V. to see who was “voted off” their favorite reality T.V. shows, Mike and I were glued to our books, to our computers and to the Walsh library. Many people would consider it torture. We considered it fun. We were increasing our human capital.
Sometime after graduation, Mike observed that the large, international I.T. company he worked for was laying off more and more people. He began looking for a way to utilize his degree and move into financial planning. If you know Mike, you know that the word “prepare” is central to everything about him. Finally after many close calls, Mike received word that he too was being let go.
Fortunately the severance he received worked perfectly into his plans to study for and pass the multitude of exams required by the SEC and State of Michigan in order to become a financial planner.
Mike stopped by my house last night, invited there by me to look over some life insurance questions I had. To watch him at work you’d think he’s been a financial planner his whole life. He is not only surviving but thriving in his new career and is on track to earn more than he ever did as an I.T. professional.
I want the very best for everyone. I want all the people reading this to never want for anything. My only question to you is, “are you doing everything possible to increase your marketability?”.