Reader challenge: New, non-liquid metaphors for money?

Liquid metaphors dominate our discussion of money, said New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks in “Poetry for Everyday Life,” his April 12 column.

For example, said Brooks, “We dip into savings, sponge off friends or skim funds off the top. Even the job title stockbroker derives from the French word brocheur, the tavern worker who tapped the kegs of beer to get the liquidity flowing.”

Your challenge is to suggest fresh metaphors for money. You can tackle one of the phrases in Brooks’ sentence or something of your own choice.

Please post your suggestion as a comment on this blog post.

12 replies
  1. Russ Thornton
    Russ Thornton says:

    I like building/construction metaphors and use them often in my work . . .

    “Building a portfolio” . . . “laying a solid foundation through planning” . . . “your values are the ‘footers’ on which a solid foundation is built” . . . “your portfolio is ‘overbuilt’ (too complex)” . . . etc.

    And of course, there are plenty of easy comparisons between financial planning and an architect’s or builder’s plans to build a structure

  2. Russell
    Russell says:

    Not surprisingly, I often go-to sports. We act as the “quarterback” for your total financial situation. I use building from the couch to running 5k’s, and now half marathons to describe planning for goals (that missing one run, or eating poorly once might not derail me, but a pattern of that or overspending etc would).

  3. Susan Weiner CFA
    Susan Weiner CFA says:


    Sports, of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

    I like the idea of getting off the couch and eventually working up to a 5k or half-marathon.

    Russ since you went to one of your passions for metaphor, that makes me think I should look at writing/editing, food, or squirrels for metaphors.

  4. Russell
    Russell says:

    No problem. I get everything including the occasional “Rusty” from my brother. Although here, it’ll get confusing with the Atlanta Russ and me

  5. Michele
    Michele says:

    I’ve been using a map/weather metaphor recently in describing a long-term investing gameplan vs shorter-term tweaks to the plan for protection: “strategic asset allocation is like a map on a journey”… “tactical asset allocation is like a weather forecast that tells you whether to go on with the journey or take shelter in a pitstop”.

  6. Mohammed Hajjar
    Mohammed Hajjar says:

    The financial sector is dry and not many people can relate to the terminology. Hence the use of metaphor is critical but the only problem analysts are not ready to adopt this approach….

    We are experiencing such an issue and often with lots of debate about how to say what we want to say…

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