Personal economics is the evaluation of individual financial situations and marketability, like an assessment of a candidate's fitness for the job market. It should not be confused with personnel economics, the study of labor markets and the management of human resources, both within companies and in society at large. The study of personal economics is of particular interest to teachers and personal finance advisers who work with individuals on wealth management and the development of economic skills.
Educators study personal economics to learn how to reach target audiences, from children in elementary schools to seniors vulnerable to financial exploitation. This topic includes understanding how members of society think about topics in banking and finance, as well as studying human economic behaviors like saving, negotiating deals, and determining the best choice among a group of offers, like home loans with different terms. Study of economic differences between individual populations like people of color and white people can also be part of the work.
Human behavior can be modified through education, and one aspect of personal economics involves taking classes to provide information to students who want to build their wealth or learn to manage their finances more wisely. Economic studies suggest that early intervention in childhood can make a significant difference in financial planning behaviors. A presentation in a classroom to discuss topics like compounding interest, saving money, and assessing loans can be highly beneficial, as long as it is provided in terms the students will be able to grasp.
This field also includes financial counseling for clients who may need assistance with controlling debt, investing, and making other financial decisions. Personal economics experts can evaluate a case and provide the client with tools for empowerment, such as guidelines on investing and assistance with negotiating down debt to make it more manageable. Recommendations for behavioral changes like envelope budgeting can also be part of the counseling service. An understanding of legal issues that may intersect with personal economics, like tax law, can also be beneficial.
Researchers in personal economics work in a variety of settings to learn more about how members of the public make financial decisions and talk about those decisions with friends and family. This can be important for everything from developing marketing campaigns to training financial counselors. Trade publications and professional organizations provide access to the latest research and information, along with workshops, conferences, and other continuing education events that may be useful for researchers in this area.