Gallows Humor for Gallows Economy

noose diagramYou know how to tell when the gravity of this recession has really sunk in? When the gallows humor brand of jokes start making the rounds.

It started a few months back when my accountant told me that his wife was going to work until age 84 while his plan was to die at his desk. We’re all concerned about our future, financial and otherwise, but when everything looks darkest is the best time to laugh our way through this mess.

Baby boomers have lost as much as anyone else, only they have lost monies and home value that they were counting on for retirement. At least the jokes come cheap. There’s the one about how your 401k has been converted into a 201k. Or how we now have boomerang parents that are moving back in with their kids.

Financial advisors probably have the largest cache of jokes as they try to make sense out of this mess and maintain some perspective. Some of the best jokes are actually revised definitions. To wit:

CEO -- Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO -- Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET -- A 6- to 18-month period when the kids get no allowance, gallows and noosethe wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER -- What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST - The idiot who just downgraded your stock.

FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW -- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

And finally, here’s some food for thought. If you had purchased $1000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $33 today. If you had purchased $1000 of Lehman Brothers stock one year ago, you will have $0 today. However, if you had purchased $1000 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of it, and turned in the aluminum cans for recycling, you would have received $214. Therefore, the best investment plan is to drink heavily and recycle. It’s called the 401keg Plan.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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