Chances are, the first thing that came to mind wasn’t economics. Maybe it was school, your friends, a significant other, or an extracurricular activity. As high school students living in an increasingly busy world, we tend to place most of our focus on the immediate and pressing issues in our lives. It’s difficult to give any significant portion of our attention to something that seemingly doesn’t affect us in the least, which de-prioritizes keeping up with current economic and political trends.
But, difficult as it may be, we need to remember that just because you don’t notice how it affects you, our rapidly-changing economy plays a huge role in your life. And the older we get, the more our lives will be affected by changes in the economy. Policies we never gave a second thought to will have a direct impact on what jobs will be available to us, how much we’ll make at those jobs, and how much student debt we will (or won’t) be buried under. That’s why it’s so important that we start to do our research now, so that by the time we notice these effects on our lives we have the knowledge and power to deal with them. Here are just a few reasons why you should make time to care about economics:
1. It’s a reality check.
Unlike almost every other facet of the current political climate, economics is objective. There is a concrete right and wrong, which helps us analyze and understand the effects of economic policy. As human beings, we often focus on the emotional and sensationalized component of current events, so studying and understanding economics helps us take a subjective situation and understand its objective effects.
2. It helps you make financial decisions.
With the way our economy is constantly fluctuating, learning financial literacy is unfortunately not a one-size-fits-all experience. Once you’ve learned the absolute basics, making financial decisions involves a solid understanding of the current state of the economy. Global wars, elections, and crises will all have an effect on the value of your assets and investments. Knowing what stocks to invest in, how to manage your debt, and how to prepare for unemployment all depends on what is currently happening in the economic climate, meaning that you will need to keep up with current trends if you want to be able to make sound financial choices.
3. It prepares you for the future.
As previously mentioned, our economy is constantly changing, and a part of that involves the job market. As millennials or Gen Z-ers, the jobs available to us aren’t the same as the jobs that were available to our parents. Technological progression and development is causing uncertainty and turmoil in industries that were previously thought untouchable, and is creating demand for jobs in sectors that didn’t exist until only a few decades ago. Keeping up with these changes will help prepare you for entering a job market different from anything else in history.
As youth living in the twenty-first century, it’s a privilege to be connected to the rest of the world, but it also makes it our responsibility to use all that information to educate ourselves and stay up-to-date on current events. The older you get, the more imperative it is that you gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. As busy as we all are, if you take a little bit of time every week to read the news and learn something new, you’ll be surprised about how much it’ll change your perception of the world. The economy affects us all, like it or not, so don’t let a busy school year distract you from the bigger picture.
About the Author
Olga Starenky is an experienced writer and political enthusiast. As the Head of the Junior Economist, she advocates for student voice and involvement in economics and politics.