Susan B. Weiner, Investment Writing, is our guest blogger today. Susan helps financial advisors to increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects. She writes and edits white papers, articles, and investment commentary for leading investment and wealth management firms. Her Investment Writing blog is popular with advisors who care about writing that deepens their connections with clients and prospects.
Big words make your readers work harder to grasp your message. This is particularly true of jargon, such as “duration,” unless your piece is strictly for investment professionals.
Below are some words to avoid when communicating with regular folks. Most of them are financial jargon. Others—like “mitigate“—are unnecessarily long or confusing. Replace jargon and long words with shorter, less technical words that pack more punch. They also make it easier for readers to absorb your message.
- Accommodative monetary policy
- Active share
- Basis points
- Constructive, as in “we are constructive on small-cap stocks”
- Efficient frontier
- Expected return
- Flight to quality
- Inverted yield curve
- Levered names
- Pricing power
- Reversion to the mean
- Risk assets
- Risk on/risk off
- Risks to the upside
- Sharpe ratio
- Spread product—a Google Alert on “spread product” yielded results related to margarine and Vegemite
On a related note, don’t use acronyms without first defining them. This means words such as AUM, CAGR, CAPM, CLO, DOL, EBITDA, EPS, LIBOR, MBS, MLP, TTM, YOY, and YTD. It’s often best to avoid acronyms completely. I’ve discussed this in “How to capitalize financial acronyms.”