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GBIC >> Retirement >> Education
Retirement is not synonymous with going brain dead. For many retirees the whole point of retirement is to free their time so that they can learn about all the things that interest them - things which may be used for a new career or things which are simply fun for the retiree to learn.

The retirees have to answer the question of what they want to learn. The information on this page is to help retirees understand the many options that are available to help with the learning process.

Online Books Magazines Newspapers Colleges/Universities
Libraries Mail Order Organizations Seminars US Government

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There are two basic kinds of learning that folks do on the Internet - a quick definition or an online tutorial. The Internet is definitely better for folks who want a quick understanding of a topic. Reading a page or two that summarizes information is a great use of the Internet. But for detailed learning of a topic, where the learning materials may be 100's of pages, there's nothing better than books.

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  • Books
    If you want to learn the most about a topic, the only way to go is books. You can get a book on almost any topic these days. The big advantage of a book is that the author is (usually) an expert on the topic, the materials have been through an editorial review for clarity and accuracy, and you can read and re-read the materials over and over until understanding finally sets in.

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  • Magazines
    Magazines are the only way to get the very latest information on a topic. While books may take from 6 months to over a year to write and publish, magazines are created and published regularly in just 30 days. Magazine writers are often experts on a topic and are typically acquainted with other experts in the field, which makes for technical excellence in the leading magazines.

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    Of course you'll read newspapers for current events, but a more important reason for the retiree to read newspapers is to turn to the sections that covers your areas of interest and look for a syndicated column on a topic that interests you. It's particularly common to find writers on the topics of finance and retirement.

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    The problem with books is that they are not free. Many books of any depth on a topic can cost from $35-$100. One of these a month might be okay for some budgets but regular purchase of expensive books isn't most retirees idea of a good way to spend money. That's where the library comes in. The downside of libraries tends to be that the materials on the shelf are somewhat dated. Libraries regularly add new materials and listen to the requests of their patrons, so be sure to get acquainted with your librarian and voice your opinion on books which should be published.

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    Seminars can be great because the speaker is not only an expert in the materials but is often a dynamic speaker. Just about everyone has had a bad experience with a teacher who was very smart, but who couldn't explain the ideas and information very well at all. When picking a seminar be sure to get personal testimony from someone you know who's already been. The worst feeling in the world is to pay $300 for a well-promoted seminar only to walk about with no real understanding of the topic.

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    US Government

    Many folks don't know that the US Government has a wealth of free publication and periodicals available for the asking. The Federal Citizen Information Center is the place to learn about the materials that are available.

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    This would be the first things many retirees think of. The huge advantage of classwork is the presence of a live person - one that you can talk to and ask for help in clarifying questions you have about a topic. The downside is that this is typically the second most expensive of all learning options (seminars are likely to be the most expensive).

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    Home Study Courses

    There are a large number of companies who have prepared materials that you can buy and use to educate yourself at home. Many of these classes include the option to ask submit questions and to talk to a live instructor on sticking points. Video taped learning is particularly popular because the materials can be played over and over to help the student understand the points that are being discussed.

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    If you want to learn about programming, then join a local programmers club. Interested in bridge, join a local bridge club. Folks in a community just naturally group together to pursue a common interest. Not only can you learn from other members, but you can also get great ideas on which books and other learning materials they found useful.