A 10-year-old harassing his friend during a heated game of Monopoly might sound like this:
"Look! You're not making any money on that utility! And now that everything else is mortgaged, you can't afford to build houses or even buy anymore property!"
A financial analyst arguing on CNBC might sound like this:
"Look - there's a pressing need right now to hold back on biotechnology investments and wait until there's an innovative product development!"
The difference? Besides a 30-year age gap, not a whole lot. Both pairs throw around a lot of business lingo without realizing it, and instantly put off most college students with their dry and daunting conversations. But don't be deceived by words like "financing," "interest" or "mortgage." They're more commonplace than you think, more interesting than you imagine, and chances are you probably know much more business lingo than you realize.
We are constantly assaulted with financial jargon without even thinking about it. Turn on the TV and watch commercials for the movies "Antitrust" or "Snatch," a Brad Pitt flick about a jewel heist.
Turn on the radio, and hear musicians pour on the business references like syrup. Deceased rapper Big Punisher talks about his "ten thou piece, Rent-out lease, with a option to buy" in his classic "Still not a Player." Jay Z has been "spending hundreds since they had small faces" and loves explaining the status of his bank account in songs like "Money Ain't a Thang" and "Hey Papi." Even Nelly feels obligated to plead "Bill Clinton, Donald Trump let me in now," during "Country Grammar."
In fact, wealth is not only mentioned in songs but elaborated in full detail. From Escalade cars to two-way Motorola pagers, from diamonds to Gucci footwear, rappers not only engage their listeners with business terminology, but also integrate money and assets in their music without deliberately trying to do so. Although this lingo becomes dense and complex when it's strewn about the Wall Street Journal, that's not the only place youngsters are getting their business education. Without realizing it, we are learning about it through catchy lyrics and songs, and applying it to our lives without blinking an eye.
This oblivious interaction with business occurs everywhere, such as when we go to the grocery store and move through the credit card swiping process. To us, the words debit and credit simply mean "Which card should I pull out of my wallet?" Although the two words form the foundation of the entire accounting profession, as vital as the words "the" or "an" to a writer, to the layman this brief immersion in business lingo goes totally unrecognized.
Think about all the other places you use business lingo unconsciously. Your bank transactions might be simple, but a business buff might say that within five minutes you evaluated your account classifications, checked your monetary status, and reviewed your checks, balances, deposits and cash sums. Although this is a fancy way of saying "You just withdrew 20 bucks," the array of finance words instantly turn off young people.
"Oftentimes, college students pick the wrong banking option because they think they don't understand what the bank representative is talking about," said Anna Brooks, a customer service representative with Nations Bank in Herndon, Va. "Students might select a plan that doesn't offer them as much interest, or that isn't as flexible as they hope because they just want to race through the process of selecting an accounting plan. I think that's wrong - they should take the time to read the literature banks offer, because it's not as complicated as they may think."
Although the older generation might see this refusal of business understanding as young ignorance, some students see it as a deliberate need to pick and choose what they need to know about business.
"While we should be prepared to take responsibility for our personal finance in the future, worrying about 401Ks or IRAs right now is premature," said second-year College student Jason Inofuentes. "As long as you know how to pay your bills and balance your checkbook, you're pretty much set for the next 10 years."
Students want to assume the business profession is as technical as medicine, computer programming or law. Although a lot of business jargon is definitely complicated and meaningless to the average college studet, there is also a lot more that pervade our lives than we realize. Don't be intimidated by foreign-sounding business vocabulary. Instead, rather than tuning out when car commercials discuss "APR financing," or glossing over the bank statements that arrive in the mail, try to notice how business is intertwined in even your single day. That way when a child tries to trick his friend in a board game or a salesman tries to lure you into a risky payment plan, you can call both of them on how business jargon doesn't always spell bewilderment.