What every millennial should know about Economics:

What every millennial should know about Economics:

The second installment is sometimes the best.
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Once again, I am here to teach you a little more about economics. I hope that my previous article was helpful. The overall goal of these articles are to be informative- and should help settle some minor debates about definitions. As I mentioned previously economics are not an exact science. I previously addressed macro and microeconomics- what are these two terms? How do these affect you? Well, the short answer is that it depends. As I previously mentioned- we do not all have that large of a sphere of influence within the macroeconomic aspect- which is why we have the aspect of microeconomics. Within society we engage and perform hundreds of transactions a week, and businesses process a very large volume of these daily. In this article we are going to talk about basic forms of economics which go beyond the movement of cash. Previously we discussed market elasticity, and now I'm going to factor those definitions into this article.

This movement of money through these transactions have an effect on both micro and macro economics. So lets get some definitions down: The difference between micro and macro economics is simple. Microeconomics is the study of economics at an individual, group or company level. Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is the study of a national economy as a whole. Microeconomics focuses on issues that affect individuals and companies. For example when we go to the store and buy ourselves coffee in the morning, we are operating on a microeconomics level, when we examine this from the perspective of a business chain along the eastern seaboard, we are crossing into the Macroeconomics level.

Opportunity costs:

People constantly face trade-offs. They have to make choices due to scarce resources. As a result, they can’t get everything they want, so they have to pick certain things over others. Opportunity costs describe the value of the next best alternatives that are given up during this process in order to get something else. In my last article I talked about how everything you do has a price, whether it's time, effort, money, or something else. A great real life example of this is taking off a week of work to travel to Europe without paid vacation. You may see it as just taking vacation, but you not only lose the money you would have made by not working, but you also spend money and in that sense that opportunity cost is high, however you are exchanging your time and paying a higher price for your vacation than you might have considered. So you've traveled to Europe and left the US. You are no contributing to global macroeconomics since you've left your home, and are exchanging money for goods and services elsewhere.

Trade and exchange:

An understanding of 21st century globalization begins with one principle, the principle of exchange. People will only exchange if they expect to gain more than they give. When they exchange, they give up something of lesser value to themselves for something they want more. As a result, both parties are better off. Juan trades Maria his apple for her orange. He likes the orange better than the apple; she likes the apple better than the orange. Both Juan and Maria are better off after the trade. (If Juan is trading with Maria just to get to know her better, he is still gaining more than he gives even if he doesn't like oranges at all!) The value of the exchange is subjective. The principle of exchange states that voluntary exchange benefits both parties and increases the well-being of both traders.

Let's define comparative advantage: If an economic actor has the ability to produce a good or service at lower opportunity costs than another actor, they are said to have a comparative advantage. In the presence of comparative advantage, all actors can benefit from cooperation and trade if they specialize in producing and exporting the goods and services they can produce more efficiently than others.

Now, we can stop looking at economics as more than just the exchange of money. From a business process standpoint, economics have their own ebb and flow. Just as you can trade a friend lunch for a ride to a place we deal with some new concepts. This week, I will introduce comparative advantage. We'll say your friend Harry, has a car, and you do not for whatever reason. You and Harry are both hungry so you offer to buy Harry lunch, in exchange for a ride to somewhere you need to go. Harry agrees and you both get something you want. Now, what just happened is that you used Harry's comparative advantage that is to say he has a car and you do not. Harry has used his vehicle and time to gain paid lunch. Everyone wins here.

referring back to to the ebb and flow:

Fiscal policies have influence on economics.

One way for the government to monitor and influence a country’s economy is by adjusting its spending and tax rates. The concept of fiscal policy states that increased government spending and lower tax rates will stimulate economic activity, whereas a decrease in government spending and higher tax rates will decelerate it. Thus fiscal policy can be used as a means to smooth economic fluctuations (i.e. booms and busts).

In conclusion- we have thousands of factors that affect how much every single thing we buy, whether it be fuel costs going up- thus raising the price of logistics, thus raising the price of shipping and handling, and finally the cost is raised in store because supply and demand curve has shifted and prices have adjusted accordingly. Every single day economics affects you- even if you do not buy anything, by doing that you have contributed to supply and demand. It is interesting to see the dots start to connect in your life with everything you purchase and even the things you don't.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay free images

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To The Nursing Major

Is it all worth it?
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"You're going to feel like quitting. You're going to struggle. You'll have days where you'll wonder, 'what's it all for?'

You'll have days when people attempt to break you down, or challenge your intelligence, skills, and right to be where you are. You'll have moments when you question your own abilities, and perhaps your sanity - but you'll rise.

You'll rise because your strength as a nurse is not determined by one grade, one shift or one job - it's an ongoing journey of learning, honor, humility and a chance to make even the smallest difference in the lives of your patients."

Don't ever give up on achieving your dreams to be a nurse. Keep pushing forward, no matter how hard it is. Nursing is not an easy major. You will have very little, if any, time to do anything other than study. But just think about how great it will feel to connect with a patient, pray with them, and even save his or her life.

This will make all of the late night studying, weekly breakdowns, countless cups of coffee, and tests so hard all you want to do is cry, worth it. To see a patient's face light up when you walk in his or her room will make your heart melt and you'll know you chose the right major.

The kind of nurse you will be isn't based on a test grade, it's based on your heart for the people you are caring for. You may have failed a class, but don't let that ruin you. Try again and keep pushing toward your goal. Don't allow others around you to drag you down and tell you that you aren't good enough to be a nurse.

Show them how strong you are and that you will never give up.

There will be days when all you want to do is quit, I know I question my major more than once a week; however, there is a patient out there that needs you and your caring heart. You can do this, have faith in yourself that you can move mountains.

I will say that you definitely must have a heart for nursing.

Personally, I want to be a Pediatric Oncologist and work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Just the thought of those precious children going through the hardest part of their lives, keeps me going so that I can be there for them. I want to be a light to my patients and their families during a dark time. When I feel like giving up, I just think about how many lives I have the chance to touch and I keep on going.

So when you feel like giving up, just think about your future patients and how you can make a difference, even if its only for one person. I love the quote from Katie Davis that states, "I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. But I can change the world for one person. So I will keep loving, one person at a time."

Even though this quote is about foreign missions, I believe it fits the mold for nursing as well.

Nurses have the opportunity to change the world for people every day. Just remember that, smile, don't give up, and keep pushing toward your goal.

Cover Image Credit: chla.org

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5 Things That ALL Millennials Get Wrong About Investing

Millennials tend to save more conservatively and our aversion to taking risks may prevent us from reaching our full wealth potential.

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Millennials get a bad rap when it comes to making personal finance decisions. But while we may enjoy our avocado toast, surprisingly enough, we're also saving more money than previous generations. We also tend to save more conservatively and our aversion to taking risks may prevent us from reaching our full wealth potential.

Here's what millennials get right about their money and where room for improvement exists.

1. We wait too long to start

Even though experts have long recommended starting an investment portfolio as young as possible, many millennials hesitate when it comes to opening their own trading accounts. This results in missing out on the opportunity to sit back and watch our money grow through compound interest.

Many of us utilize savings accounts but relying solely upon these avenues prevents us from letting our money do the heavy lifting for us. Most savings accounts pay relatively little in terms of interest, often less than 1%. Throwing all our money into savings accounts earns us mere pennies for each $100 we invest.

Instead, millennials need to harness the power of the stock market which provides far more in terms of long-term financial gains.

2. We overvalue cash

Because we came of age during an era of financial crisis, millennials shy away from the stock market. But this hesitancy costs us big time in terms of future economic freedom.

No reward comes without risk, and by far the easiest way to reap huge financial gains remains investing in high-yield growth stocks. The best time to take any financial risk occurs before age 35, before the expenses related to home ownership and child-rearing require more financial conservancy.

Stashing away a small amount of cash under our mattresses for emergencies can't hurt, but wasting valuable time simply saving for a rainy day impacts our long-term wealth. If you're hesitant about investing on your own, hire a qualified financial advisor to manage your investment portfolio.

3. We miss out on tax deductions

Failing to diversify investments means missing out on valuable deductions come tax time. While interest from savings accounts gets taxed at the same rate as ordinary income, the capital gains tax rate remains substantially lower.

In addition, certain types of investments, such as investments in oil and gas partnerships, allow taxpayers to take advantage of government subsidies to offset any potential risks to capital.

Millennials do themselves a disservice by failing to seize these opportunities, as experts predict no decrease in demand for these resources over the next few years.

Even making an additional contribution to a 401k or other qualified retirement account can offset tax liability but far too few of us take advantage of this potential tax-buster!

4. We don't do enough diversifying 

Even though one out of every six millennials possesses over $100,000 in assets, few take the time to adequately diversify their investment portfolio. A strong portfolio consists of a mix of high-risk, high-yield stocks, steady, reliable blue-chip stocks, bonds and other forms of property.

Failing to diversify costs us big time in the long term. No matter how much cash we stash away today, inflation remains a powerful force that decreases the value of each dollar saved over the life of our savings.

The only way to account for price increases due to inflation remains investing in the stock market, where gains have a reasonable expectation of keeping pace.

5. We ignore history

Many millennials, myself included, tend to panic when we hear news stories of the stock market rising and falling at breakneck speeds. Indeed, current fluctuations in the Dow tempt many of us to pull out of riskier investments in exchange for less risky vehicles such as bonds.

Savvy millennials, though, resist the temptation to abandon ship.

Historically, investments in the stock market pay off over the long term. Market ups and downs tend to balance out over time.

Despite saving more than ever, we millennials need to educate ourselves about the importance of building a diversified investment portfolio.

Being willing to take greater risks while we're young will lead to a wealthier, more financially free retirement down the line. We millennials must learn to make our money work for us!

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