Teachers, you can now register your students for TWO NATIONAL COMPETITIONS this spring—our National Personal Finance Challenge (financial stability/mobility) and our National Economics Challenge (micro/macroeconomics).




A regular payment, often at monthly or biweekly intervals, made by an employer to an employee, especially in the case of professional or white-collar employees. Salaries are paid for services rendered and are not based on hours worked.
An exchange of goods or services for money.
Sales Revenue
The money a business receives from customers who buy its goods and services. Not to be confused with profit.
Sales Tax
Tax in the form of a percent of the cost of a good or service; paid to local and state governments when goods and services are purchased.
To keep money for future use; to divert money from current spending to a savings account or another form of investment.
Persons who desire to conserve their monetary funds to the best of their ability.
Disposable income (income after taxes) minus consumption spending.
Saving and Investing
Broadly speaking, an individual has only two choices about what to do with (after-tax) income: spending on current consumption or saving for the future. From an individual point of view, saved money typically becomes a form of investing, since the money is put into a bank account, stock, bond or mutual fund that pays a rate of return. For an individual, investing refers to postponing current consumption or rewards to pursue an activity with expectations of greater benefits in the future. Financial investment refers to the decisions by individuals and firms to invest money in financial assets such as bank accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Financial investment is crucial to accumulating personal wealth. Real investment or physical capital investment is the component of aggregate demand that refers to the decisions by firms to purchase equipment and physical plant, and also the purchases of new homes by consumers. The amount of real investment is critical to economic growth. Financial investment and real investment are connected, but they are not the same. Thus, when you hear a casual reference to "investment," be clear in your own mind on whether it is financial investment or real investment.
Money held in easily-accessed accounts, such as savings accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs).
Savings Account
An interest-bearing account (passbook or statement) at a financial institution.
Savings Bond
Securities issued by the U.S. Treasury in relatively small denominations for individual investors. Investors who buy savings bonds in effect make a loan to the government, in return for the government’s promise (represented by the bond, a nontransferable debt certificate) to repay the loan with interest. The interest is free from state and local taxation. Savings bonds are considered to be risk-free investments, since they are backed by the U.S. government. (Also known as U.S. Savings Bonds)
Savings Instruments
Arrangements by means of which people save money, including savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), money market deposit accounts, and U.S. Savings Bonds.
Savings Plan
A plan for setting aside money for future use.
The condition that exists (for rich countries, poor countries, individuals, and organizations) because human wants exceed the capacity of available resources to satisfy those wants.
Activities performed by people, firms or government agencies to satisfy economic wants.
Shared Consumption
A property of a good or service such that it can be used by many without diminishing another's ability to consume the same good; examples include street lights and radio broadcasts.
Short-Term Goal
Something a person or organization plans to achieve within a one-year time period.
The situation that arises when the quantity demanded of a product exceeds the quantity supplied. Shortages generally occur when a price is set below the equilibrium price. (See also Equilibrium price; compare Surplus.)
Simple Interest
Interest paid on the initial investment (the principal) only. Calculated by multiplying the investment principal times the annual rate of return times the number of years involved.
Social Security
A federal system of old-age, survivors, disability, and healthcare (Medicare) insurance which requires employers to withhold (or transfer) wages from employees’ paychecks and deposit that money in designated accounts.
Social Security Tax
A tax levied on employers and employees to finance public Social Security benefits.
Special Interest Group
An organization of people with a particular legislative concern. They work together to gather information, lobby politicians and publicize their concern.
A situation in which people produce a narrower range of goods and services than they consume. Specialization increases productivity; it also requires trade and increases interdependence.
Use money now to buy goods and services.
Standard of Living
The level of subsistence of a nation, social class or individual with reference to the adequacy of necessities and comforts of daily life.
An ownership share or shares of ownership in a corporation.
Stock Market
A market in which the public trades stock that someone already owns. Often called the secondary stock market.
Stock Mutual Fund
A mutual fund that buys stocks in order to make profits for the investors.
Structural Unemployment
The type of unemployment resulting from people's present abilities, skills, training and location not matching up with available job openings that reflect the basic structure of the economy.
Substitute Good
A good that can be consumed or used in the place of another good with minimal differences.
The quantity of a good or service that producers are willing and able to sell at given prices during a period of time.
Supply-Side Fiscal Policy
Policy intended to increase an economy's productive capacity by shifting aggregate supply; e.g., a tax cut giving businesses an incentive to invest and expand.
The situation that results when the quantity supplied of a product exceeds the quantity demanded. Generally happens because the price of the product is above the market equilibrium price.