Short Courses for Consumers
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you develop economic literacy? 15 minutes (or less) at a time.
These short courses are designed to introduce some basic economic content quickly and concisely. Then, for more depth, you can move on to some of our longer courses.
Try them, you’ll like them.
How do you make tough decisions? Do you take a guess at the correct solution? Do you ask someone else to make the decision for you? Do you simply use “eeny, meeny, miney, mo?” Read and listen to this story about Ella, who has decisions to make, and learn the tool that helps Ella solve her problems.
Suppose that you want to have a certain amount of money in the future—say $25,000 to make a down payment on a home. How much do you have to put away today to achieve that goal? Or, what if you win the lottery—do you take a lump sum payment today or equal payments over the next 26 years? Present value is a tool to help you make choices like these.
If you look at what psychologists consider to be high-level stressors, you’ll find a list of about 40 life events. We have no control over many of these events, but for more than half, we do. So much of our stress and success in life depends on the decisions we make. In this short course, you will learn the economic underpinnings of the need to make decisions, why every decision bears a cost, and how to make informed decisions.
In under 12 minutes, you can complete this course which points to an important concept in economics—every choice we make has a cost—an opportunity cost. Some costs are small and relatively short-term. Others are significant. Recognizing the opportunity costs of your decisions can help you make more informed choices. This short course is designed to help you apply the idea of opportunity cost to the decisions you make.
If you save $100 today and can earn 3% interest, how much will you have in 5 years? In 10 years? What if you add $100 a month to the account each month for 5 years at 3% interest? How much will you have? Can you buy a car in 5 years? You could just guess—but this course will help you predict your financial future with much more accuracy.
What impact does inflation have on saving? Would you rather your friend repay you the $50 he owes you today or a year from today? To make an informed decision, you need an understanding of inflation.
You’ve probably heard this quote from Shakespeare—”Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” What did Shakespeare have against borrowing and lending? Perhaps, he was concerned that the lender might not be repaid in a timely way. Or, maybe, he was fearful that friendships and family relations might be strained by people’s disagreements over loans and repayments. However, Shakespeare might not have considered the role of interest. Interest payments can allow both borrowers and lenders to benefit from their transactions. This course is designed to help you better understand paying and receiving interest.