In my years of working in financial/business journalism, I've been on the receiving end of many observations, questions, and downright wrong-headed notions about business, the stock market, and the media. Consider this list a time-saver so that if you meet me, we can skip past all this and get right to the good stuff:
1. In answer to the oft-asked question, yes, I do know all the hot female anchors who work at CNBC and no, I'm not going to introduce you to them. They're very happy to have that TV screen between you and them!
2. The guys who run your local gasoline station are NOT the ones making all the money from high gasoline prices, so don't yell at them. (I'm assuming you don't get your repair work done at the same place you fill up.)
3. Yes, I've bought and sold quite a few stocks in my lifetime. No, I'm not filthy rich from it. Did you notice I still work for a living? (And I enjoy doing so. Good thing!)
4. When stocks go down, I've noticed over the years that people like to chase me down the hall and say "What are you doing to me???" (That's why I ran the equivalent of 45 marathons following the bursting of the internet bubble.) I use the Bart Simpson defense on this one: "I didn't do it." I may write it, but I didn't cause it. Hey, if you're not going to give me credit when they go up, why should I take the blame when they fall?
5. Yes, having your company match 50% of your 401(K) contribution is a good deal. It's free money!! We have a complex financial term for those who don't do this: "lunkhead".
6. TV and radio broadcasters actually DO write some of what you hear them say. (When I was a morning radio anchor, some people were actually shocked to hear that I didn't just show up two minutes before airtime and read.)
7. No, being on TV or radio is not as easy as it may look to you.
8. The amount of money withheld from your paycheck for taxes is completely under your control, and the amount you ultimately pay in taxes is not the fault of your employer.
9. For those who wonder every year about whether to participate in "flexible spending" accounts for health benefits, see #5, especially the part about "lunkhead".
10. The stock market is, indeed, a big casino, without the free drinks.