I decided to step out of my comfort zone by reading a news article about the US Federal Reserve lowered the target range for its benchmark interest rate to a range of 1.75% to 2%. I’ve said before how the economy as a general concept is certainly something I wish I was more knowledgeable about, yet I always find an excuse to not branch out and actively try to learn more. I took this assignment of stepping out of my reading comfort zone as an opportunity to hit two birds with one stone—I would learn about some aspect of how the economy works and the state of the current US economy, while reading an article that is most definitely not pleasure reading for me.
Overall, it went better than I feared upon reading the introduction. I did have to stop and google several terms along the way, not wanting to skim over the article as I have on so many occasions, but actually make a real attempt to understand what the author was saying. Concepts such as “prime rate”, a “strong US dollar”, “ETF” are things I’ve heard of but wouldn’t normally bother to stop reading, look them up, and read the basic wikipedia page on before continuing reading. But as I went through, and let me assure you I had to re-read several sentences to have any understanding of their meaning, I began to make more and more sense of how lower interest rates can (in theory) spur the economy, allowing and encouraging more people to take out loans for various purposes. This increased incentive to take out loans results in more purchases that come with the large loans, which leads to more money being passed around, and with that comes a better economy (although many experts dispute that this will be the actual result, I didn’t quite become an expert on this part yet). The important thing is, after taking significant time to read the article, I had a better understanding of not just the basic news content, but also to some extent the effect it has (or might have) on the real world.
Stepping out of my comfort zone and reading this wasn’t exactly fun, and I definitely wouldn’t have done so if it weren’t a required assignment. But at the same time, I am grateful for it precisely because otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed myself to spend the time googling economic terms, or to read the article a few times to try and actually comprehend it. I won’t pretend that I now have a complete understanding of the current American economy, or even what lowering interest rates means past the simple definition, or the implications it will have going forward. But they say the journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step, and now I can say I have done just that. Sorry for the pun in the title.