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Economics For Heroes (EFH) & Economics For Opinion Leaders (EFOL) 
Session Topics

Read a brief description of each of our EFH & EFOL session topics, covering various aspects of personal finance and principles of economics. Seminars may include, but are not limited to, presentations on the following:

Personal Finance
  • Building Wealth for the Long Term:

Can people of modest means build wealth for the long-term?  This session and the essay that accompanies it explain how—by following a few basic rules—people of modest means can get ahead financially. The rules are simple but they result in financial success if faithfully followed over the long term. 

  • You and Your Money

Whether it is paying a utility bill, insurance premium, rent, or a speeding ticket, we have to make financial decisions. But do you know the “Whys” and “Hows” that influence your financial choices?  This session and the essay that accompanies it will help you gain insights into how you feel about money and why you make the decisions you do.  It stresses that money not only helps us survive, but can also be a source of happiness.

  • Earning More Income

Are you living paycheck to paycheck or getting behind on those credit card bills?  The reality is that to get ahead financially, you have to spend less than you receive.  This session and the essay that accompanies it explain how you can enhance your income, mainly by investing in your own abilities—that is, your human capital.

  • Investing in Human Capital

Does a higher level of formal education result in improving the ability of people to earn more?  You bet it does. This presentation and the essay that accompanies it explain how higher levels of education -high school diploma, two-year degree, four-year degree and beyond - do add to your power to earn more.  You will also see how college may not be for everyone and how high levels of student loan debt erode your earning potential.

  • Taking Control of Your Finances

Why do people think of budgeting the same way they think of dieting? Is it a lot of pain and not much gain? We have to deal with reality to remain healthy either physically or financially. This essay and the accompanying presentation explain why you need a budget, how to take control of your financial situation, and how to add stability to your finances. 

  • Managing Credit:  Parts 1 & 2

How well do you understand the basics of managing credit?  This session and the essay that accompanies it explain what credit is, how you get it, and what it costs.  It also stresses tracking your credit history, credit scores, and much more.

  • Saving and Investing for the Long Term

Having trouble saving for those big things in life like a college education for you kids or a comfortable retirement for you and your spouse?  This presentation and the essay that accompanies it explain that you are not alone.  It discusses the incentives that explain why people often don’t save enough.  It goes on to address how to develop a budget and the magic of compound interest.  It introduces you to tax advantaged ways to invest and ways to diversity your investments through mutual funds.

  • Scams and Identity Theft

Do you find yourself to be a trusting person?  If so, you are not alone.  One of the human qualities most of us possess is that we are very trusting individuals.  That human quality unfortunately can leave us vulnerable to being taken advantage of by simple scams and identity theft.  This session and the essay that accompanies it explain what identity theft is, actions you can take to prevent it, common scams and schemes that might be targeted on you, and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft.

  • How Can You Better Manage Risk?

Risk is everywhere and so we cannot totally avoid it—but what can we do about it? This session and the essay that accompanies it present strategies for managing risk, in areas of life ranging from health care to the risks of driving a car. These strategies include assuming the risk, reducing the risk and sharing the risk, often through insurance. With a smart combination of these strategies risk can be tamed.

What previous participants have to say about our seminars...

"I really appreciate all the

ready-to-use resources and knowledgeable speakers."

- Teacher

"Your presentation, activities and conversations provided me with the best understanding of economics I've had to date. I returned to my District enthused and ready to share my AHA moments."  

- School Board Member

"It was very educational, constructive, but most important, it took complicated issues and made them easier to understand." 

- Journalist

  • Why Are Some Nations Rich:  
    Mystery Nations

Why are some nations rich and others poor?  Economists have been studying this question since the dawn of the discipline, and the answers are simpler than you may think. This session, and the essay of the same title, will explore this subject through the investigation of a set of “mystery nations.” You will also see the link between a nation’s economic freedom and its standard of living. 

  • Economic Way of Thinking

Could thinking economically help you to make better personal, career, business, and civic decisions?  This session introduces the six principles of economic thinking.  Before you make a decision, maybe you should consider that you are a chooser, facing costs, weighing incentives, and making decisions in a broader economic system.  Perhaps you should also consider the possible gains from voluntary trade and those pesky and often ignored unintended consequences.

  • The Numbers Every Citizen Should Know

What basic economic knowledge is critical for people to be good citizens and informed voters? One important step is understanding the statistics that are used by economists, businesses, investors, politicians, and in the media to measure the economy’s performance.  Although many different numbers are commonly reported, just three measures—GDP, unemployment and inflation—provide a solid starting point for most people.  After this session, you may be amazed at how much you understand in articles in the popular business press.

  • Property Rights:
    The Most Fundamental Freedom?

How important are property rights in building a prosperous market economy?  Many of the environmental and societal problems we face can be understood as problems resulting from the lack of clear and enforceable property rights.  This interactive presentation makes this point clear through a famous example, “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

  • Be Nice to the Price

We all understand the basics, right - like supply and demand?  Everyone learned that in school.  Not so fast.  Many people may think they understand why prices are important but few people grasp that prices are powerful incentives that convey vital information to consumers and producers.  This presentation and the essay that accompanies show how  controlling market prices, a common inclination among many policy makers, leads to inefficient and often unexpected consequences.

  • Pulling Back the Curtain on the Federal Reserve System

What is the Federal Reserve System?  This centralized and de-centralized, public and private amalgamation of banks, boards and committees plays a central role in America’s financial system by setting interest rates and conducting monetary policy. No other institution in the world is more closely watched by Wall Street and the financial markets.  This presentation and accompanying essay will de-mystify this often controversial organization.

  • Debt, Deficits & Entitlement

Should we be worried about entitlement spending?  What is the difference between the national debt and the deficit?  This presentation and the essay that accompanies will use concepts like debt, deficit, and surplus to help explain how federal spending is changing. You will also see how Social Security works and possible policy solutions to the system’s long-term imbalances.

  • Why Trade?

Why do both parties in most day-to-day transactions say “thank you” after paying a bill or accepting payment?  Because both see such voluntary transactions as in their best interest.  An interactive trading game will illustrate this point in eye-opening fashion.  This presentation and associated essay will also explain the principles of gains from trade and provide an update on the current state of international trade.

  • Can Marginal Thinking Help you Make Better Decisions?

Can economic understanding help you make better decisions?  We think it can.  This presentation and the essay that accompanies it serve to remind us that scarcity means we all face choices.  But choices are rarely all or nothing decisions.  They are usually incremental moves from our current situation.  We call these sorts of choices “making decisions at the margin.”  Understanding marginal decision making may help you improve decisions in your personal life, in business, and in the voting booth.

  • What Caused the U.S. Economy to Melt Down?

Why did the U.S. economy crash in 2008, setting off the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression? Part of the answer lies in financial arrangements with unusual names such as “mortgage backed securities,” “collateralized debt obligations” and  “credit default swaps.” Another part of the answer is found in the roles of the ratings agencies, Wall Street investment banks, regulators, Government Sponsored Enterprises and elected officials. The story is still unfolding, but the presentation and associated essay will nominate four primary causes of this market meltdown.

  • Why is Good Economics Bad Politics?

Why is it often the case that good economic policies—a rising tide of efficiency and economic growth that lifts all ships—bad politics?  This presentation and the essay that accompanies it explain why elected officials routinely oppose policies that would make America a more prosperous nation and rebuild the middle class.

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