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Picking up a new language is a skill that most English speakers sadly pass up during their formative years of education. Like a lot of school-related work it can seem arduous and somewhat pointless. When the rest of the world can already speak English – why bother? However, aside from being a useful way to combat dementia in old age, learning another language can also boost your earning potential.
It gives you more job opportunities
Obviously, many jobs require candidates to speak both fluent English and a foreign language. But if all else fails with your main career, being a translator or an interpreter are among the fastest growing professions, with opportunities set to rise up 46% between 2012 and 2022.
You have a higher earning potential
There’s been some dispute over the actual figures, as every opportunity is different. Whilst some sources cite a modest 2% rise in income, the Economist is quick to point out that this figure, when stretched over a lifetime, is nothing to sniff at. EuroLondon, however, puts this figure between 10 and 15%. Either way, there’s a decent amount to be made.
You’ll have an easier time travelling
When you know a language, you can ditch all those tattered phrasebooks, and the broken up Google Translate results. You will also have a far easier time networking and meeting new people abroad – if you own a business, this can be invaluable.
It’s good for your brain
We’ve already mentioned the well established link between learning another language and warding off age-related mental illnesses such as dementia, but did you know that learning another language can also lead to better decision making? A study from 2012 shows that thinking in a foreign language has the ability to reduce decision making bias, which will hopefully lead to you making healthier financial decisions.
The most valuable languages to learn
German – as the EU’s biggest powerhouse, a lot of businesses are expected to migrate to Germany after Brexit, so it should come as no surprise that this is a lucrative language to learn.
French – the French speaking world spans over five different continents and comprises of over 200 million speakers worldwide, hailing not just from France, but Switzerland, Canada, and Sub-Saharan Africa too.
Mandarin- currently the most populous country in the world, China’s economy is currently going through a bit of a boost, and the demand for speakers of both English and Chinese is high.
With the financial benefits being clear, there’s no reason not to add a new language to your list of resolutions for 2019!
Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.