JASMINE BIRTLES: My glossary of weird financial terms

15 May 2020

A lot of financial terminology has been bandied about recently, so I have picked a few of my favourites



One of those annoying know-it-alls who will always respond with: “I knew it, I told you so before, didn’t I?” to whatever you tell them.

Or  Your reason for living longer, as Voltaire said: “I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are  paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.”


Writing the word ‘cap’ in italics.

Or  An economic system that is apparently the root of all evil except for when companies tick a lot of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) boxes and fly everyone in private planes to an event that shows just how compassionate and ESG-aware they are.


Finally getting to the very distant end of the super ego of someone who is a bit of a div.

Or  What those in the know live off (but stay quiet about).

Economies of scale

You stand on your bathroom scales, see your weight, get off and undress; get back on and realise the dial has barely moved; sigh and decide to walk to the shops next time.

Or  What chief executives laud when they merge their companies just before making you redundant.

FAANG stocks

Shares in companies that, vampire-like, suck the life blood out of any competition.

Or  Top US tech companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) that pay less tax than your  hairdresser.

Gross income

What you get if you are one of the FAANG stocks.

Or  A much nicer figure than net income.

Hedge fund

What your neighbours set up for you because they are sick of seeing you wandering around the house in your pants.

Or  What clever people set up to make billions until they realised that it often was not as clever as they thought.

Insider trading

An indoor jumble sale – the sort that rarely happens now that eBay has taken over. Such a shame as I had it down to a tee with my carrier bags, fistful of change and sharp elbows.

Or  What we would all do if we could. After all, there is a thin line between that and chief executives buying their own company shares, isn’t there?


The opposite of ‘obsession’. Your recession will manifest itself in a laid-back approach to what others are doing, as in “I am so recessed about the Kardashians, I don’t care that they all have new bottoms.”

Or  Something that hits economies so regularly now it is a surprise that no one has produced ‘Happy Recession Day’ greetings cards.


Something a Highlander might say, as in “Reit, I am off for a stroll”.

Or  A good way to own a property without ever having to replace the boiler. (It stands for Real Estate Investment Trust.)

Savings bond

What tightwads do at Christmas. A savings bond is where two people decide to save money by agreeing not to buy each other presents because “Christmas is just for the kids”. Then both do buy presents in a pathetic attempt to grab the moral high ground. They are annoyed to find that the present the other has given is surprisingly good, making them more determined to outdo the other next Christmas.

Or  A fixed-interest savings product, which is even more uninteresting now than it used to be.

Stock broker

Someone who sells OXO cubes.

Or  Someone who buys and sells shares.

Stock market

Yes, you guessed it, a place to buy OXO cubes.

Or  Something that, according to the news, only ever crashes.  

Jasmine Birtles is a financial journalist and founder of MoneyMagpie.com.