14 Funny Jokes, Stories and Anecdotes for When You’re Having a Bad Trading Day

It’s not even lunchtime, and your portfolio is already down a whopping 5,000,000%. Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad. Still, you’re having a bad day, and you’re not sure what to do about it. The most important thing is to not allow the surge of emotion that has doubt taken control of your mind to also control your actions. Rather, maintain your composure, take a step back, and try to realize some perspective. While this advice probably sounds like it was stolen from a fortune cookie, its importance cannot be overstated, especially when money is on the line. Accordingly, I have scoured the internet for the most witty stories, pithy jokes, and even a wrenching story or two, to cheer you up and remind you that we’re all in this together.

  1. Stockbroker Jokes: The first joke was brought to us by WorkJoke.com, which features a terrific array of stockbroker jokes. Among the highlights are two new versions of the classic "light bulb" series: How many stockbrokers does it take to change a light bulb?

    Version 1: "My God! It burnt out!! Sell all my G.E. stock NOW!!!"

    Version2: One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes (knowing that it’s already burned out).

  2. Letter of Resignation: Who among us hasn’t fantasized about quitting our mind-numbingly dull desk job? Moreover, who among us hasn’t fantasized about quitting our desk job and sticking it to the boss and the company on the way out the door? Okay, so some of us are naturally more vindictive than others, but that can’t be helped. While the internet contains a plethora of hilarious letters of resignation, the greatest one surely belongs to Cian Kelliher who seemed to positively delight in quitting his position at Ernst&Young, an accounting firm. The letter can be summarized by, "Your demands were high and your patience short, but I take great solace knowing that my work was, as stated on my annual review, mostly satisfactory! That is the type of praise that sends a man home happy after even a 10 hour day, smiling his way through half a bottle of mostly satisfactory scotch." Ouch. Apparently, Mr. Kelliher realized that he had crossed the line, and posted an apology a few days later, after copies of the letter began circulating first around his firm, then around cyberspace.


  3. Buzzword Bingo: Sticking with the corporate theme for a minute, raise your hand if you have come to loathe the business jargon which seems to exist to make the speaker sound as intelligent as possible without conveying anything of actual substance. Anyone who has ever endured listening to an investment banker pontificate about cost synergies or business models or monetization schemes knows what I’m talking about. At least one website has attempted to expose and ridicule this annoying trend by using a "buzz word generator" to combine corporate buzz words into nonsensical, but hilarious combinations. Examples include "expedite integrated partnerships" and "disintermediate robust deliverables." The same site also offers sample game cards to be used in playing buzzword bingo, inviting participants to "print this page out, and take it to the next meeting and let the fun begin!" Even IBM is getting in on the action, having recently poked fun at itself in this commercial, in which an obtuse manager finds himself on the outside of such a game of buzzword bingo.


  4. Investicon: College Humor is cashing on the "it’s cool to make fun of Wall Street" craze by offering up a satirical twist on the age-old perception that stockbrokers con investors out of money. Their advertisement is built around the fictitious Investicon, which aims to "get on board early, and we make big bucks. You ask, what are some of our big successes? Well, ever heard of the Internet? Investicon has too. We’re currently researching this new phenomenon with scientists."


  5. The Onion: The Onion is in a league of its own when it comes to satirical journalism, and its coverage of fake financial news has earned it a spot on this list. In a 2004 piece, entitled "Stock Analysts Confused, Frightened By Boar Market," The Onion subtly gibed investing terminology. "I have no idea what to expect," stock analyst Christopher Mattson said. ‘This market is highly unpredictable, tusked and savage and covered with coarse, bristly hair. I didn’t know if I should buy, sell, or shoot.’ " In a more recent edition, The Onion published a report on the declining Dollar, which was apparently losing value to the apocryphal Canadian acorn: "The inedible dollar simply does not offer the same long-term security or short-term benefits as the acorn," said James Aucker of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. "It is even falling against the Costa Rican pocket, the Latvian thimble…"The article also included fictional testimony by Alan Greenspan on factors that weigh on the price of acorns and the value of the Dollar.


  6. Buying on Margin: A lesser-known source of satirical journalism is The Spoof, which recently published a piece lampooning the surge in liquidity over the last decade. According to the article, "Under Alan Greenspan the Federal Reserve had an anti-cash policy and had spent nineteen years taking cash out of the American fiscal system. The policy was very successfully implemented meaning that there is currently $113,367.78 in circulation, most of which is in quarters." As a result, a new (fictitious) rule will soon come into effect that requires future stock market transactions to be conducted in cash. Perhaps The Spoofis onto something, as the recent collapse of liquidity has caused a proportionate decline in equity prices.


  7. High Oil Prices: Satfin, the self-proclaimed financial satire website, offers a convincing explanation for the recent surge in oil prices: aliens. According to their analysis, "It is believed that the move is the first in a series designed to cause economic turmoil on earth. Some people further believe that this will be followed by an invasion of the planet." Perhaps, this is a thinly-veiled critique of the paranoid efforts to pin the blame for high oil prices solely on speculators, despite the myriad of other contributing factors.


  8. More Stockbroker Jokes: A page devoted entirely to stockbroker humor can be found at Rec.Humor.Funny. These one-liners are especially pertinent, given the current bear market.

    Merrill Lynch has adjusted its investment portfolio: 50% cash and 50% canned goods.

    Bumper sticker on Wall Street: My other Porsche is for sale.

    How many investment bankers can you fit in the back of a pickup truck? Only 2 – you have to leave room for the lawn mowers!

    I have an uncle down at Wall Street. He used to have a corner on the market. Now he has a market on the corner.

    "Get my broker, Miss Jones." "Yes sir. Stock, or Pawn?"


  9. Throwing Darts: Doubtful Accounts features the work of financial and business cartoonist Doug Pike, and includes an inventory of over 1000 cartoons. One particular cartoon riffs on the oft-cited idea that one is more likely to pick winning stocks by throwing darts at the stock listings than by actively trying to outsmart the market. It illustrates the danger of taking things too literally, as the subject of the cartoon tries to adapt this strategy to choosing a stockbroker. Another one of Mr. Pike’ cartoons pokes fund at high prices for pharmaceuticals, noting irreverently that only 2 prescriptions need to be filled in order for the fictitious drug to become a blockbuster.


  10. Top 10: One of the staples of the Late Show with David Letterman is "The Top Ten List." One particular list caught my attention for its comparison of investing to sex. The parallels are nothing short of remarkable. Especially with regard to the respective jargon; one has to wonder if the first stockbrokers used sex as inspiration for coming up with clever investing strategies. Think about "naked call" and "straddle," two common strategies when trading options, for example. My personal favorite on the List is #8: "Those who talk about it the most, have the least experience."


  11. About.com: The one-stop shop for information, About.com has devoted an entire page to stock market humor and other diversionary activities. Included is a list of the best investing movies of all-time; "Trading Places" beat out "Boiler Room" for the #1 spot, in case you were wondering. There is also a list of funny ticker symbols for equities and mutual funds, including BYO.AX and GEEK. One has to wonder what the person who conceived of SRRY was thinking; surely there must have existed a more optimistic choice?! Also contained herein is a picture of the founding staff of Microsoft Corporation, circa 1978. It features a rag-tag group of nerdy looking, middle-aged men (and women) as well as a young Bill Gates, with the caption: "Would you have invested?"


  12. The broker and the dead horse: You know you have the cunning to be a stockbroker if you not only find this joke amusing, but also are inspired to try something similar yourself. "A broker bought a horse from an old farmer named Ben in Texas for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day…."


  13. Currency Report: While Jon Stewart’s Daily Show typically focuses on political "fake journalism," is has also been known to turn its camera towards economic news. Forex traders will find this segment especially hilarious: "now that the British pound is worth more that two U.S. dollars, John Oliver is almost comically rich." The focus of the piece is the declining Dollar, with the ostensible outcome that the Daily Show’s British correspondent, John Oliver, is suddenly much wealthier. Unfortunately, as Jon Stewart points out, he is paid in US Dollars. What a pity.


  14. The $7 Billion Fraud: Last but not least, remember that as bad as your day has been, it doesn’t even compare to the losses of Jerome Kerviel– unless of course your name is Nick Leeson or Samuel Israel. Identified as ‘"a rogue employee" of Societe Generale, Mr. Kerviel apparently executed a series of "elaborate, fictitious transactions" that cost the company more than $7 billion, the biggest loss ever recorded in the financial industry by a single trader. So relax, you’re going to be just fine.