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Money. More or Less?


Do you worry that you spend too much time THINKING about money? Not enough?

Do WE spend too much time TALKING about money? Not enough?

I am asking because we are obviously in a time of economic distress. But we launched this program (Tell Me More) even before that was true - or known to be true. We have always felt that financial literacy is a critical component of the program, but we also think economic policy is important too - the micro AND the macro. Helping people understand the government's role in the economy is part of financial literacy it seems to me.

But because there are other NPR programs and projects that address these matters - like the award-winning Planet Money and of course the well-known APM program Marketplace - we sometimes wonder what our particular role should be. We tend to think our contribution focuses on different slices. What should I do as an individual? Should I use that check cashing place on the corner? What about layaway? Is that a good deal or not? And how to policy choices affect different people or groups of people?

And what about the impact on specific communities? Many media are now reporting on the disproportionate impact of the recession on African-Americans, even those with college degrees. Why might that be? Those are stories we've been talking about for some time.

We think this side of the story matters because one size - whether investment strategy, consumer strategy or economic policy - does NOT fit all. And that's why looking at slices is a worthwhile exercise. It's about being editorially complete, both as a network and as a program.

But then there are those who could reasonably argue that we all spend too much time thinking about money and worrying about it, to the exclusion of other important aspects of life. It brings me back to my first question. How much time IS the right amount to spend thinking about money?