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Mind Over Matter

Why Math is so Important


Of all the skills you will learn, math and logical thinking are the most important. Math is involved in everything we do. A strong basis in these skills will allow you to analyze complex situations quickly and use your resources efficiently. To start off with, there is a relationship between time and money in almost everything we do.

Should you buy paper dishes or do them by hand? Is it more efficient to eat out or to fix your own food? Would an electric car save you money? If you moved closer to your job, would the savings in time be worth the extra money spent on rent? Should you save bottles for the five cent deposit? Should you save them if you have to make a special trip to redeem them? Should you spend a lot of money on a game that you will play for a year vs. money on a game that you will play for only a month? Should you buy expensive shoes that last for a year or cheap ones that only last for six months? How much money does it really cost me to see a movie at the theatre?

Note that I didn't answer any of these questions. I didn't even supply enough information to answer them in the hypothetical. The answers may very well be different for you than me and you need to be able to plug in your own numbers and decide for yourself. I can't answer them for you.

Even if I had the numbers for a specific case, I would still need to know the esthetic values for that person. For me, paper plates make financial sense. For someone else, nice silverware may be important to keep up their social status, even if paper plates would save them money. The important thing is to be aware of the extra cost being spent for the social status.

Math limits what corporations and even governments can do. There is a reason governments hate the gold standard. It forces them to be honest about their math. Without the gold standard governments can lie about their finances and print money to cover up their falsehoods. An understanding of math allows you to know that if the government doubles the money supply, your money is now only worth half of its previous value.

Whatever you do, don't skimp on your math skills. Practice them all the time. What is your gas mileage? How much do you spend each day? And on what? How much do you save? What percentage of your income is this? The more you track your financial activities, the better you will get.