Let me start off by saying we should all be wealthy. No, really, there are enough books on investing and the reality of how money works to fill their own libraries with tips, tricks, realities and pitfalls of all the options we have. So why aren't we all wealthy? Or at least working on it?
That isn't a rhetorical question. In fact I also wondered why we are all not rocket scientists, mathematicians, master artists, polyglots and politically engaged citizens; none of us have any lack of availability to knowledge so why is it that we don't chase it? The answer is simple but it isn't obvious; most individuals immediately leap to "Well, I'm not interested in that and don't care." but how can you not be interested in how to not be poor, how to not be ignorant, how to not be taken advantage of or how to not fail in general and simply want to follow the footsteps of those who failed before you?
Is it not a confusing problem that if I asked a random person on the street "Do you want to be impoverished when you're 65?" and then asked them, "If I gave you this pamphlet on retirement plans would you read it?" that the answers tend to be the same flat no? The only difference between a rocket scientist and a general individual is the willingness to learn rocket science. Most individuals in most "high brow" careers are not above average in intellect (because that would defeat the purpose of an average, would it not?) so then they must have the tenacity and will and want to genuinely learn the items on the docket required.
Information Is Everywhere Yet You Don't Want It
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of modern life is the fact that people "wish" they knew things. In this day and age there are tutorials on tutorials of how to learn something so it isn't a lack of availability and for the most part it certainly is not a lack of ability as most things have been broken down into a mush so pulpy that it's thick enough to walk on! All of the barriers of cost have been removed; you can learn how to speak French on YouTube for free if you really wanted to, explore entirely different cultures, get intense history lessons, listen to political discussions and that's just one website!
You can sit in a TEDtalk which costs $10,000 to just be a member from the comfort of your couch and get just as much out of the exclusive conference's speakers as the attendees themselves. Oh and if you read a little lower the Vanguard Membership is a steal, only $5,000 or so should get you in! I don't bring up the price to talk about loftiness but instead how absolutely mind-blowing it is that you are surrounded, no, drowned in resources and yet so many people (myself and yourself included) simply don't use it! Time for the excuses:
"I don't need to be an expert in everything!"
No, you don't, and I don't recommend shooting for expertise in everything but so many people are bad at math that it is absolutely mind boggling. Not only this but people find it socially acceptable and encourage this to the point where you would think that it's got to be dangerous. Those links don't just say "Americans suck at math" but instead say "You're not bad at it!" and it turns out that if you ask about science and health you get the same results where people have no idea and generally don't care.
Most of us collectively will stand together and shame the parents who let their children die of Measles because they're beliefs were asinine and cost their children their lives ... immediately after taking your vitamin C supplement to ward off a cold. Lying is a multi-billion dollar business and you'll simply ingest whatever you're told works on a cultural basis because the odds of you actually doing research are rather low. Oh, and producers of information, they know this.
So no, you do not need to be an expert, but think about what good it would do you to know your basic cognitive biases:
Maybe, just maybe, you might make better decisions, realize that you're actually being fooled, understand business deals and pressure and finally not fear dealing with the car salesman because you actually have equal footing and are at least aware of, if not completely immune to, the Anchoring Bias.
"I'll never need that!"
Philosophy students score incredibly high on the GRE, LSAT and other standardized tests. I want you to think about that for a moment and take that in. People often spit on the Humanities as worthless yet involvement with art helps children with math and it turns out that you really do use that quadratic equation and your credit card payments are found through Calculus so are up against titans if you think that all you need is a little basic arithmetic and some elbow grease to make it through life as a prosperous person. In fact those cognitive biases I was referring to earlier are found in Psychology and Economics, two more things people commonly dismiss, meanwhile they worship Sciences that they honestly don't understand and claim to be "Rational" and "Forward Thinking" though 45% of students graduate with zero gain from college institutions.
To put that in perspective that means that if you looked to your left and to your right and in a mirror the odds (Statistics, something else you don't know or care to learn) that two individuals have absolutely piss poor critical thinking skills (and don't even know it of course) is 30%! Statistically speaking that's insanely high but the frightening thing? The odds that all three is about 17%. That means about one in six groups of three individuals clustered together at random will all have poor thinking skills. That is a lot of people and it may contain you and you don't know it!
On a rather serious note however I would like to examine something of grave nature: We treat success as some kind of genetic hookum. The smart people were simply were weird and nerdy, the wealthy got lucky, and the athletic were genetically predisposed. The hours of work are completely disregarded. No one is born a rocket scientist. Why is the world, filled with so much information on how to succeed, petrified of success? You have twenty of these:
Yet you have zero of these:
And you gave all of your dollars to the person who printed this crap off so you could pretend that you're going to jump up and "do it today!" By the way there's a ton of information on this effect in Psychology of Marketing but uh ... I don't think you want me to inform you anymore of how this works. But I will let this person say it for me and quit here: