The Hidden Benefits to Investing No One Talks About

“I am a better investor because I am a businessman and a better businessman because I am an investor”

— Warren Buffett

Avid Foolish readers would be aware of the many benefits of investing for the long term. But there’s even better news for investors: You can reap more benefits from investing beyond just your investment returns. There are many other areas that you can stand to benefit when you learn to invest. I would like to share two areas.

You get to know your own employer

If you are employed then let’s do a quick show of hands: how many of you have read your employer’s financial reports? My personal observation over the years reveals a sad discovery. Few folks take the time to look at the financials of the company that they are working for. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Say that you are going for an interview. Think about cracking open the financials of the company that you are interviewing for. You may learn a thing or two about the financial priorities of the company, the cyclicity of its industry, and the key divisions within the company. You may even hazard a guess as to why the company is looking to hire you.

Or, say that you are working for a large company. It is not uncommon to get lost in the organizational labyrinth of a large firm. But, if you know the financials of your company, it may put you in a better position to contribute positively to your employer. Linking your achievements to a financial metric that’s important to the company can even highlight your contribution in a more meaningful way.

As Foolish investors, we would dig into the financials of a prospective company before we invest. So, if we are going to invest our time by being an employee of a company, shouldn’t we do the same?

You get to learn about your industry

The learning doesn’t have to stop within your own company. You can learn about your employer’s main competitors too. If you are working for an oil and gas equipment and services company, then looking at industry bellwether companies like Keppel Corporation Limited (SGX: BN4) and its offshore and marine business segment, or oil rig builder, SembCorp Marine Ltd (SGX: S51), could give you clues on the state of the industry. You can learn more about Keppel Corp here, and read more about SembCorp Marine here.

Or, if you are a salesperson for a new luxury watch company, then looking at the growth trends, and strategies of luxury watch retailer, Hour Glass Ltd (SGX: E5P) and that of its industry peer, Cortina Holdings Limited (SGX: C41), might reveal publicly available information such as gross margins and sales growth of your company’s competitors.

Foolish summary

In my (mostly biased!) opinion, learning about investing can benefit the Foolish reader in ways beyond investing alone. Some of the benefits may even surprise you over time.

Having invested in shares for a good nine years, I have been able to apply the lessons in investing in my previous employment, and in turn, put back what I have learnt from my employment into investing. It is my opinion that it would be hard to “lose” when it comes to learning about investing – especially when investing can bring you so much gains everywhere else in your life.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.