I keep a personal journal of things I read. In it I place excerpts that resonate with me. They can be pithy, insightful, or just interesting. But they must make me think.
Last night, I was trying to update my journal entries. I had fallen behind with the move this past summer. And I was revisiting Diane Coyle's The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters.
At one point in Coyle's book, she uses a famous quote from Charles Dickens' classic work, David Copperfield. In it, Mr. Micawber notes the difference (in his view) between happiness and misery.
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
As I read that quote, I was struck by the fact that the difference between budget that allows us to save and a budget that drives us into debt is often small. It may be the result of a few choices or decisions. This is one reason why budgeting is an important part of financial literacy, and why the economic concepts of choice and opportunity cost are important underpinnings of that process.
As I've often stated, economic and financial literacy are two sides of the same coin. To do well by our students, we need to teach both the theory and the application. But it's fun when you can point the idea out in classic literature.
I look forward to your comments.