What is personal economics?
At its most basic, economics is about decision-making and choice—how we divvy up limited resources in an effort to satisfy everyone’s unlimited wants. Whether the problem involves foreign aid, Halloween candy, a mother bird feeding her brood, or scoring a ticket to see the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want.
Behavioral economists study the intersection of economics and psychology, that is, how you think affects your choices in life. Whenever we are about to make a decision (“I am starved out of my gourd”) there are tradeoffs (“I’d better order the healthy, lo-cal salad”). Although these tradeoffs do not necessarily involve money, frequently they do.
Traditional economists assume we are fully informed, perfectly rational dweebs who calculate exactly what choice will maximize our overall long-term happiness. Behavioral economists, on the other hand, know better—people aren’t machines. Too often we fall prey to a boatload of mental obstacles that short-circuit our intentions and lead to outcomes we later regret (“Um, make that a double-double with cheese. With bacon too.”).
Personal economics is simply behavioral economics, applied to your own life. Now, go do the right thing!
The author of YPGBlog
Brian Gahran is the founder of YPGBlog and the author of the Young Person’s Guide to Wisdom, Power and Life Success: Making Smart Choices. I have a doctorate in Strategic Management from United States International University (my boring dissertation) and an undergraduate degree in Physics from Florida Institute of Technology. In previous careers, I was a software entrepreneur, physicist, and nuclear submarine officer.
So, here is my shtick. Many young persons acknowledge the consequences of important life-choices and then put them out of their mind. It’s simply easier to put on blinders and believe everything will work out than to confront the complexities of modern life. Experience proves otherwise. But experience is a “lantern on the stern,” which shines only on the waves behind us. And while experience is certainly an effective way to learn, it can be a painful way to go about getting it right.
To help them succeed, today’s young persons are looking for a navigator, not a street directory—specific guidance from a tribal elder who knows them, their situation, and has traveled that way himself. Learning life’s lessons the hard way, need not be the only way!
I’d buy insurance from that man!
R. Fernando, working mom
I love taking my message directly to students and groups of young persons! If you would like me to speak at your school, corporate, or not-for- profit event, please use the Contact form and enter “Speaker” in the subject line. We’ll work out the details.
Over the horizon
The Young Person’s Guide to Wisdom, Power and Life Success: Making Smart Choices is the first book in a planned three-part series. Fundamentally, if you don’t learn to be an effective decider, nothing else will matter anyway. The two follow-on volumes are:
Young Persons Press publishes the Young Person’s Guide to Wisdom, Power and Life Success series. If you want to get in touch with us regarding our publishing activities, please use the Contact form and enter “Publisher” in the subject line.
The Center for Personal Behavioral Economics (CAPBE) provides for scholarly activities associated with the Young Person’s Guide book series. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Thomas A. Crescenzo Memorial Scholarship Fund to help young persons better understand how to succeed in life. If you want to get in touch with us regarding scholarship, please use the Contact form and enter “CAPBE” in the subject line.