The world of finance as told through outrageously funny Twitter accounts

finance can also be funny -- like these twitter accounts

In 1983, John Landis’ comedy Trading Places showed just how funny the finance industry could be. The movie, in which a commodities broker (Dan Aykroyd) and homeless man (Eddie Murphy) change places, keeps the laughs coming, thanks to a stellar cast and excellent writing. However, alongside the ensuing hilarity of this unlikely life swap, the movie is a somber critique of the devastating effects of racial prejudice and institutional corruption.

Now, in the era of social media, several enterprising individuals have taken up the gauntlet and are using Twitter to spark serious finance discussions in seriously funny ways.

This sage advice comes from one of financial humor’s (FinHum’s?) funniest Twitter accounts, Wu Tang Financial, who answered the fundamental question: what would financial commentary sound like coming from the Wu Tang Clan. The answer, of course, is that it would sound hysterical. The dissonance between the street voice the account uses and the astute financial content of the posts is what generates the account’s humor.

However, this dissonance is also what makes the account’s socio-financial critique so compelling. Wu Tang Financial complains that you

and takes on the government:

The account also dispenses practical financial advice that has had a real impact on its followers  far beyond the twittersphere, with one follower writing in to say that “Taking @Wu_Tang_Finance advice, today opened second savings, and this week adding a Roth IRA in addition to my 401(k)! #diversify”. Wu Tang Finance replied with its usual aplomb, “BLESSINGS TO YOU, YOUR FAM, AND YOUR HEIRS.”

Wu Tang Financial is one of the biggest financial humorists on twitter, boasting 95.5k followers and 21.3k likes. However, it is by no means the only Twitter account taking humorous stabs at the finance industry. Another major financial humorist on twitter is GSElevator, with 749K followers (though only 1,076 likes).

GSElevator imagines the conversations being had in the elevators at Goldman Sachs, based on the experience of the account manager, John LeFevre, and on information submitted by his followers. Instead of the shouted advice and encouragement that Wu Tang Financial offers, GSElevator is a treasure trove of snide comments, such as the following gems:

and another:

Ultimately, both Wu Tang Financial and GSElevator are doing more than poking fun at the industry. Both have very clear, though very different agendas: Wu Tang wants to educate its followers to be more financially responsible (their tag line is #DiversifyYoBonds), while GSElevator is about “illuminating Wall Street culture in a fun and entertaining way.”

By employing humor to tackle some of the most difficult – and, let’s face it, not particularly funny – financial topics, financial humorists on Twitter are enabling people from across the industry to have meaningful conversations about finance while laughing out loud.

This is a good thing.