Recently, I read the typical spring article on home upgrades that add value to our homes. As I read the article, I realized, it depends on the location and the amount of money we spend on the upgrade. For example, a below ground pool may not be the best add-on for a home in Iowa, but it is a great idea for Florida. More insulation may be a perfect upgrade for Maine, but not for Southern Alabama. Same goes for jobs.
The closer we get to retirement, investments in skillsets requires careful consideration. Not only can training and education be costly compared to the return, they can be extravagant. Extravagance is not something we can afford in an economy that does not value seasoned employees. There are a few skills that everyone can use, regardless of age or impending retirement, but where will we get the most value?
My rule of thumb regarding skills is to revisit old skills first. Keeping up-to-date on skills that serve us well is more important, in my mind. We need to stay current in our areas of expertise, or get left behind. Think of it in terms of home repair and must-have upgrades. If we want to sell ourselves, we need the current upgrades. It doesn’t mean we have to undergo a complete redesign, just a refresh.
Other skill sets are important, for example communication, but if training budgets are limited, go with your areas of expertise. We cannot be everything to everybody, and if we try, we will fail to be what we are needed to be most at critical times. You’d also be a better resale value. This is not to say avoid training and education in other areas, but consider more cost-friendly options for additional skill sets.
Many public libraries, colleges and universities subscribe to online learning sites like Lynda.com and Khanacademy.org, and they are free with your membership. You don’t have to attend a public institution to get a library card in most places.
Believe in yourself, and thanks for ‘listening’.