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Why You Should Pay Attention To The Economy

8 January 2010 No Comment

I would guess that most people, especially young people, don’t care to pay attention to the overall economy.  If they have a job, then who cares.  If they don’t have a job, then the economy sucks.  That’s about as deep as it gets.  Well, I’m here to tell you that you should pay attention to the economy.  Yes, employment is part of that but its bigger than that.

Your Career Direction

You should understand the economy so that you can make better career decisions.  If you’re fortunate enough to have the ability to select between multiple job opportunities, your knowledge of the economy will help you decide the best opportunity.  If you’re unemployed, understanding the economy can help you know where to position yourself with respect to skills and education to better your employment chances.

Investing

Similarly to your career, your economic knowledge can definitely pay dividends with regards to investments.  While you typically only have one job, you can have many investments.  Understanding the economy and the sectors poised to outperform can create tailwinds for your investments instead of headwinds.

Politics – Who You Vote For

Most people don’t know anything about the economy.  If it were up to me, I wouldn’t allow those people to vote.  Yes, that’s harsh and anti-democratic, but their vote leads to consequences for everyone and that includes me.  You should have to understand basic economics especially the aspects that relate to long term economic health in order to vote.  While this isn’t how it works, I can only encourage you to learn about economics so that you can be a better citizen and vote “better”.

How To Follow & Understand Economic News

I think there are two steps in terms of understanding the economy.  First, begin to follow the mainstream headlines.  These headlines include GDP results, unemployment reports, etc.  This is really only half of the story though at best.  The more important part is to read credible commentary on these reports.  The reality is that the reports are government figures and are skewed to paint a rosy picture.

For example, unemployment is calculated much differently today than in the past, where today’s 10% unemployment would be much higher if it were calculated in the same way prior to 1990.  You wouldn’t know that if you didn’t read commentary and blogs on the internet that interpret the economic news.

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