10 May 2015, 1:43pm
personal finance


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  • New free OU course on Managing My Investments

    This course may be of interest to readers,


    Or not, but it’s free and apparently from the OU. I’ve never been educated into matters financial other than by my parents and by that fine Monevator fellow so I figured I’d take it for a spin.


    Sounds interesting, thanks for the heads-up! It starts tomorrow so think I’ll sign up too.

    Yes, it looks pretty good, doesn’t it. I have to thank Weenie over at Quietly Saving for writing up a little post on it a while ago.

    Have you done a MOOC before?

    Gosh, looks like there are quite a few PF types on this course looking at the comments on weenie’s post – I’m beginning to wish I’d signed up as a non-mustelid in case I make a hash of it 🙂

    I’ve doen a few MOOCs – the model thinking one Monevator posted way back, and a couple on composting. It’s one of the nice things about owning my time – I’d have resented the commitment when I was working but as a retiree I can dabble in stuff.

    Haha, there does seem to be indeed! It will be a packed course. Let’s hope we all make it to the end and it is interesting as I hope!

    One on composting? Sounds interesting. Did you learn anything particularly enlightening? I spent most of today shifting compost from our composter to a vegetable plot we recently reclaimed from nature.

    I think you’re right. When you’re working you do sometimes come to resent the time taken by it. I did one in the past in which it sometimes felt a chore even though I found it interesting. Rather sad really. This one I hope will not result in the same effect! We will see! See you at the front of the class…

    The composting course was interesting. We have 12 acres that has been industrially farmed for years. I went to a talk by Elaine Ingham at the ORFC this Jan – basically the soil is meant to be a living structure with bacteria and fungi and nematodes and stuff. All this breaks down nutrients in the soil to be available to plants, and indeed plants control some of this activity with exudates (sugars and carbs that draw certain micro-organisms). The balance of bacteria to fungi shifts in a fungal direction across succession from weedy early colonisers to old-growth forest – most of our veg is about half-way in succession.

    Using thermal composting you can increase/restore this over a wide area using compost tea, or over a small area using compost to inoculate this. You can analyse the compost with a microscope to see the balance of micro-organisms and get a general classification into good stuff and bad. The key is keeping the pile aerobic.

    That’s the theory, so far I have failed twice to get a compost heap up to the required 55C in the middle to kill off weed seeds. There’s more to learn 😉

    Yes, this is something I have got better at recently: ensuring I aerate the compost pile regularly. I used to largely leave it alone except giving it a little fork every now and then and some water to help speed the process a little. Now I am planning to up that a little!

    I did not know the 55C part with regards to weed seeds. That is fascinating. I will have to get the thermometer out! I suspect I am not there yet!

    There’s a video to Ingham talking at the ORFC here. Thermal composting is quite challenging as a balance of things to get right – there’s nothing wrong with slow composting as long as you keep it aerated, unless you have weed seeds and/or pathogens.

    It’s only the centre of the pile that gets to the hottest temp, so you need a long thermometer, and you also need to turn the pile and move the outside to the inside so all your material passes through an elevated temperature. But what the hell, Ingham describes that better than me!

    Thanks for the link. I will have a look around for more. I must admit my composting has been a rather hit and miss campaign to date. I plan to sharpen it up though as I need it for growing!

    Should be a full class – no talking at the back!

    Thanks for linking my post, Ermine!

    Was already ahead of you in signing up. I used to be a professional in the investment industry but that is a guarantee of nothing when it comes to personal finance.

    Thanks for sharing this. 3hrs a week is well worth the time to “work” through this.

    W00t – 100% score on first go 😉 I think I learned more about the average UK consumer than about investing – in particular an incredibly low percentage of households owning equities/unit trusts

    Not a bad course, just finished with a barely respectable 92% I’m afraid! I rather enjoyed the behavioural finance stuff though – haven’t really come across some of that before!

    You did better than I did – I crashed and burned on the test for week 4 before I realised that I hadn’t done the W4 course. So I scraped through with 91% 😉

    Well worth doing, even if at one point I felt they were associating volatility with risk – it was realising these were not the same that improved my investing no end! But I learned other stuff too.


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