The New American Dictionary of Financial Phrases
The more I read and listen to Americans discussing the economy and their financial lives, I sense a change in language. The events of 2008 and 2009 have caused transitions in our use of financial words and phrases. I have compiled a list of some of the old phrases and how they have been changed to conform with today’s economic environment.
Here are the old and new financial phrases, in no particular order:
Old phrase: “Tell me the truth about the economy.” New Phrase: “Lie to me. I liked the old days better.”
Old phrase: “I can’t afford it.” New phrase: “I can’t afford it but isn’t that what the government is for?”
Old phrase: “Stop the spending – the tax burden on my kids and grandkids will be too great.” New phrase: “Who cares – I’ll probably be dead when the bills come due.”
Old phrase: “This MBA program is expensive but will set me up for a great job on Wall Street.” New phrase: “Mom – Dad – can I have my old room back?”
Old phrase: “A student loan is good debt.” New phrase: “I’ll be how old when I pay this off?”
Old phrase: “Let’s tax the rich – they can afford it.” New phrase: “Hey – WTF- I didn’t know they thought I was rich!”
Old phrase: “Private enterprise.” New phrase: “Too big to fail.”
Old phrase: “Daddy, can we go to the beach this summer?” New phrase: “Daddy, what’s a foreclosure?”
Old phrase: “Pontiac” New Phrase: “——-”
Old phrase: “Chrysler” New Phrase: Ciao!
Old phrase: “I’m looking forward to retirement.” New phrase: “Unretirement.” (“Welcome to Walmart” and “Would you like fries with that?” are also used as substitutes.)
OK, I admit to having exercised creative license with some of these. But isn’t there some hard truth buried in the sarcasm and cynicism? I think there is.
Actually, this list could get much longer. I think I will stop here and ask readers for their contributions to Mr. ToughMoneyLove’s New American Dictionary of Financial Phrases. If we work together, maybe someone will use entries from our list in books that write the history of economic change in the U.S.
Image credit: Jovike