I’m an AmeriCorps member, serving as a quasi-social worker helping low-income families with their financial difficulties. I’m explaining to my client in painfully incompetent Spanish that there’s nothing she can do legally, that the landlord’s letter she handed me says she needs to move herself and her family out of their apartment by tomorrow, that the county will probably offer her shelter since her kids have social security numbers, even though she doesn’t.
People tend to think of, and talk about, having money in their retirement accounts. They talk about “pulling cash out of the 401(k)” or “making money on a good stock pick.” Our casual language for these things is really sloppy. There isn’t any money in your retirement account, of course. There are shares. But that’s a little abstract, especially in the era of electronic finances, so I prefer: pieces of paper in a vault.