December 17, 2018 

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LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATOR: One of eleven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months before the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. These leading indicators are -- manufacturers new orders, an index of vendor performance, orders for plant and equipment, Standard & Poor's 500 index of stock prices, new building permits, durable goods manufacturers unfilled orders, the money supply, change in materials prices, average workweek in manufacturing, changes in business and consumer credit, a consumer confidence index, and initial claims for unemployment insurance. Leading indicators indicate what the aggregate economy is likely to do, business-cycle-wise, 3 to 12 months down the road. When leading indicators rise today, then the rest of the economy is likely to rise in the coming year. And when leading indicators decline, then the economy is likely to decline in 3 to 12 months.

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The money function in which money is used as a means of postponing the satisfaction obtained from using or consuming goods until a later time. Value is obtained from a good when it is consumed, when it is used to satisfy wants and needs. The value from consuming goods can be stored in several different ways, one of which is money. This is one of four basic functions of money. The other three are medium of exchange, unit of account, and standard of deferred payment.
As a valuable asset, money is able to store the satisfaction obtained from consuming goods and services from one period to another. In other words, the satisfaction that might be obtained from consuming a good in the present time period can be stored in the form of money, which can then be used at a later time to purchase the satisfaction-generating good.

Storing Some Value

Duncan Thurly, a typical hot-fudge-sundae enjoying consumer, enjoys consuming hot fudge sundaes. He enjoys consuming hot fudge sundaes today and he is most likely to enjoy consuming hot fudge sundaes in the future. The question that arises is: How might Duncan store the value or satisfaction generated by a hot fudge sundae for later consumption?

Consider four ways that he might be able to store the value of a $2 hot fudge sundae for one week.

  • The Good Itself: First, he could buy a freshly fabricated hot fudge sundae for $2 and store this product for seven days. Successful storage requires a freezer, especially during the hot summer days. But, would this hot fudge sundae retain its full $2 value one week hence? Probably not. The hot fudge would be cold. The whipped topping would be unwhipped. Then once the product is thawed enough to consume, the ice cream would be melted.

  • Paper Asset: Second, he could purchase a $2 gift certificate from the ice cream store, a coupon can then be traded for one hot fudge sundae in the future. After a week, Duncan can redeem the certificate and enjoy his tasty treat. In this case the value of the sundae is stored in the coupon. While this is a relatively good store of value for the hot fudge sundae from this particular store, it ONLY stores the value of the hot fudge sundae from this particular store. A hot fudge sundae coupon cannot be used to store the value of other goods.

  • Another Real Asset: Third, he could take his $2, use it to purchase another good, like a book, hold onto this item for a week, sell it, then use the proceeds to buy a hot fudge sundae. Of course, if the book is not very liquid, meaning that it cannot be easily converted into money, then he probably will not end up with the full $2 that he needs to buy his hot fudge sundae. Storing the value of one good by purchasing, then later selling, another good is seldom the best way to go.

  • Money: Fourth, Duncan could simply keep his $2 stashed away in his billfold, a sock drawer, or a coffee can buried in his backyard. After one week, he can retrieve this money, then amble down to the ice cream parlor to make his hot fudge sundae purchase. In this case, he has stored the delicious value of the hot fudge sundae in the form of money.

The Evils of Inflation

Money is a relatively good store of the value contained in goods and services as long as prices remain constant. Should prices rise, then money is a less effective means of storing value. As a general rule, price inflation is the nemesis of the store of value function of money.

Suppose, for example, that Duncan desires to store the value contained in a $2 hot fudge sundae by hanging onto $2 worth of money--two, slightly wrinkled one-dollar bills that he stuffs in his back pocket. If the price of hot fudge sundaes remains at $2 one week hence, Duncan can make this sundae purchase and enjoy his sundae satisfaction. Money has successfully stored value.

However, if the price of the hot fudge sundae rises to $2.50, then these two, wrinkled one-dollar bills does not successfully store the value of the sundae. Either Duncan needs additional money to make the purchase or he is forced to buy a less-satisfying product (say... a yogurt cone).

Of course, should prices fall (that is, deflation), then money is an even more effective means of storing value. Should the price of a hot fudge sundae decline form $2 to $1 over the course of the week. Then the two wrinkled one-dollar bills in Duncan's possession become more valuable. Duncan can buy two hot fudge sundaes one week hence.

The Other Three Functions

The store of value function is one of four money functions. Three other functions are also worth noting.
  • Medium of Exchange: This function means that money is accepted throughout the economy as payment for goods and services. Buyers acquire goods by giving up money. Sellers receive money when parting with their goods. This is, without question, the most important function of money. This is the function that makes money MONEY.

  • Unit of Account: This function means that money is used to designate the prices of goods and services. Any item that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services is also the obvious choice for denominating the prices of those goods and services.

  • Standard of Deferred Payment: This function means that money is used to designate future payments, such as those for loan repayments. The standard of deferred payment is a natural result of the standard unit of account and store of value functions of money.


Recommended Citation:

STORE OF VALUE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: December 17, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | money functions | medium of exchange | unit of account | standard of deferred payment | value in use | value in exchange | commodity money | fiat money | money characteristics | M1 |

Or For A Little Background...

     | money | price | market | government functions | value | satisfaction | exchange | legal claim | inflation |

And For Further Study...

     | fractional-reserve banking | banking | money creation | monetary policy | Federal Reserve System | money supply | money supply, aggregate demand determinant | monetary economics | Keynesian economics | aggregate market analysis | business cycles |

Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Federal Reserve System | Federal Reserve Education | U.S. Department of the Treasury |

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