The Imposters Guide to Talking Finance

In Questionable Advice by Ryco Newton-Block

At age 28, I find it imperative that I know how to discuss finance with my friends and peers. Please note: I did not say that I find it imperative to actually know about finance. I don’t. I know nothing about finance. I can barely calculate the net effective rent on a 12-month lease without my mind twisting into a pretzel. Someone once asked me to define amortization so I faked a seizure to keep from embarrassing myself. After that day, I swore I would master the art of pretending to know about finance. Now I’m a black belt in fabricating financial dialogue; a dangerous master of markets. I know how to use the terms and how to keep the fat cats thinking I’m one of them. It’s a true art form, and just like the markets – confidence is the driving force.

First and foremost, you need to be aware of when a finance conversation is most likely to rear its big boastful head. If you ever find yourself in any of these situations, be ready to spit hot finance fire: Company golf scramble tournament, offshore fishing excursion, a barbecue of any kind, and dinner with your girlfriend’s father and his jerkoff doctor buddies. If you partake in any of these events, you’ll need to know how to fake it like a pro.

When faking finance knowledge, first impressions are everything. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get off to a fast, entirely fabricated start. I like to begin every finance conversation with a subtle well-placed obscenity directed at the Democrats. Something like, “fuck liberals!” Everyone in the conversation will nod in approval and you’ll have established instant credibility. Do not under any circumstances reveal that you yourself are on Obamacare.

During the conversation, you’ll need to throw out key finance terms that you have no idea the definition of. Talk about “shorting things”, talk about “The Fed”, mention Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, say something negative about Obama, and tell everyone compounding interest is essential. I recommend something like “Guys, I’m looking into shorting the fed because Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac sucked under Obama, God he sucked, and I really need an investment that yields compounding interest.”

Now the conversation will pick itself up right there and you’re basically on cruise control the remainder of the time. If anyone asks you a question, you always respond with a question. Give them nothing. You’ve already proven yourself. If they ask a question such as, “What do you think about investing in futures?” You respond with “what kind of returns have you been seeing lately?”

You can never go wrong with asking a finance person about returns. Even if it doesn’t fit in the conversation at all, it still works. “What do you think about hot dogs without ketchup?” – “What kind of returns have you been seeing lately?” … See still works. Finance people will gladly forget everything going on in the world and immediately start talking way over your head about their returns. You won’t understand anything but just know they’re basically telling you how much money they’ve made “YTD”, whatever that means.

Throughout the conversation remember to smile and nod, but also to study your speaker’s face and mirror him. If he looks disgruntled and sighs, you shake your head and let out a booming groan. You always out-groan your speakers! Let him know that you totally agree with him but you’re even more distraught than he is. If you perfectly mirror your financially educated opponent you’re home free. Mirror him all the way to finish line. Then shake his hand, look him dead in the eye, and tell him your portfolio could use a guy like him.


About the Author

Ryco Newton-Block

Ryco Newton-Block is a comedy writer and stand-up comic from South Florida. Read more…