Common Currency: A Primer

by Jabulani Leffall on 2 January 2008 8 comments

Common Currency isn't your father's personal finance blog.

This is mostly because when your father came of age, Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet yet but in practice this means that you won’t get me to lying or falsely waxing about the latest, greatest mutual fund, interests rates and how to get deals on taffy and boots – whatever your preference.

No sir, no ma’m. These postings will pertain to the economy of life, which unless you’d like to return to the cave painting days with harry but urbane insurance pitchmen, will revolve mostly around that dolla-dolla bill. In large part though it’s about choice, personal alternatives that shape our financial world. So break out your pie charts, this will be 25 percent personal anecdotes, 50 percent about money, 25 percent fiscal philosophy, 100 percent edutainment.

There you have it, now let’s get personal – about finance.

I failed economics class in college and when I say failed, I mean miserably,  like I laughed hard when I came out of the final exam because there was no way in hell that I passed the test or the class. I took the course again two years later and passed with flying colors but that ain't the point. I learned more macroeconomic theory and practice in a failed effort than I did the second time around when I just went through the motions, most notably studying. Go figure.

What did I learn? Two resonating words: Opportunity cost, a stalwart  economic principal, a paradigm for decision andpolicy making and yes a phrase to which I've alluded redundantly and incessantly during dinner conversations, in the process of saving and blowing money, in falling in and out of dating circles, during job interviews and for some reason, on the toilet.

Here's how it works. The determination of the equilibrium in a given market boils down to supplyand demand and....oh who am I kidding. Opportunity cost means that if you choose one alternative, you forego another. In our economy, society and life, we all supply and demand something and thrive or founder on the value of the exchanges.When you exchange one alternative  for another, whether it be a choice about time or money, you’re losing something with each purchase.  

 

Eat out, save time.  Eat in, save money, lose time cooking and cleaning up. Take public transport, save money on gas and weapons for road rage fights. You’re also at the mercy of forces beyond your control such as a late bus or train. Spend your rent money in Vegas, get evicted. Pay your rent and snarl at your friends when they recall how fun it is to be young and irresponsible.Suffice it to say, many blogs and columns about PF will tell you to make a choice and stick to it. This joint right here, will present the choices and allow you infuse your own philosophy because despite the fact that the savings rate is the worse it's ever been and consumer debt is at an all time high, money, like time, is made to be spent wisely and that starts with knowing the cost of each opportunity.

Now go tell your pops about this.

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Guest's picture
Guest

It's certainly not my father's pesonal [sic] finance blog...he was a much better writer, or at least a more careful proofreader.

Guest's picture
Kathryn

Not informative, not funny, and hugely embarrassing coming from someone who supposedly gradumacated from journalism school.

Jabulani Leffall's picture

Hi Kathryn,

Next time I'll make it funny and informative just for you. Not anyone else only you. Maybe someday I'll "gradumacate" to your level and inform you and make you laugh. I'll continue to "supposedly" get paid doing what it is I love to do. I love that you hated it.  You'll read it again someday maybe and realize it was either ahead of its time or you were too futuristic for it. Happy New Year btw.

Jabulani Leffall

Monetary Gadfly, Common Currency

00000 Broke Blvd. Kitchenette #68 & 1/2

Lowcash, CA 90000-0000

Guest's picture

Then how are you priming us on currency? Currency markets are incredibly complicated motivated by central banks, debt, jobs, credit markets, and other factors that are currently impacting the global economy. The dollar didn't go down because of supply but because our central banks are injecting liquidity at frightening levels. The dollar declined last year pretty much against every other currency out there. Even though our stock market went up last year, in relation to gold/silver it was down for the year. We are seeing a slight shift back into other forms of reserve currencies especially since it looks like we will have asset deflation in real estate and inflation in other items (i.e., energy).

You may be doing a lot of eating in if all your money is in US dollars. I'm not sure you can pay Molly Maid in Euros.

MyBudget 360

Guest's picture
Barbara

Striking back out at WB readers is really viscous. Everyone's got a right to their opinion, and the way this post is written definitely doesn't fit with the general WB vibe.

I also agree that this post could have been edited much better than it was. In one part, you have a total of two sentences for a 5-line paragraph. And writing in "slang" as if you were actually talking makes it much harder to follow. Because of how this is composed, it took three attempts of reading the entire thing to understand what you're trying to say here.

The idea behind this post is smart, but using phrases like "This joint right here" and "around that dolla-dolla bill" makes it sound ignorant.

Jabulani Leffall's picture

You're right Barbara and I apologize. I was being more sardonic than vicious in my reply. I wasn't mad at all but I just couldn't resist. I love ad hom attacks because they make it so easy for me to ethernet them on the internets. You're also right that it's not typical WB posting and it's done that way so I can keep my own voice and also keep people guessing: I like to call it "intelligent ignorance." However, I want to take this oppotunity to tell you and all the other readers out there that from here on out, the posts will be accessible, concise and informative if not thought provoking and edited better as well. Sometimes, especially in informal posts like this, I do write the way I talk. My bad. Win some lose some. Keep reading though and thanks for your comment, no really, thank you. 

 

Jabulani Leffall

Monetary Gadfly, Common Currency

00000 Broke Blvd. Kitchenette #68 & 1/2

Lowcash, CA 90000-0000

Guest's picture
A.M.

I get everything you wrote and adore that you wrote it the way that you did. As someone working to make myself more financially savvy, it helps that I can read along without feeling like any of it is over my head. Maybe the readers that disagree with your tone should check in with another writer's page- personally, I am slightly a fan of this one. I'm working to move out of Lowcash into Millionaire Ville and look forward to reading your blog during the relocation. I am working on a project & would love your input- holla at me shawty! (I'm not a WB blogger so I don't have to explain anything!)

AM
a.k.a.
The T.V. Producer that gets & often speaks slang while making t.v. the masses enjoys

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for your comment, keep checking and I'll keep grinding. I would love to offer notes, critique or input to whatever project you're working on, eh.....shawty. Encourage some of your people to come through too Wisebread too. It's going to be a fun year