There's a kind of hush. All over the world.

Well in my part of the woods there is, anyway.

It is autumn in Hawke's Bay and that means still, cool, romantically maudlin days, the sun slowly turning translucent.

I sneak a few minutes of ever weakening ultraviolet on the back deck, sometimes, after lunch, and contemplate winter.


I don't know about you, but the prospect of spending dark evenings indoors with only multiple unplanned Netflix sessions to pass the time fills me with a quiet horror.

I plan something else instead. Conversation. Don't laugh, some couples still do it.

The Master of the Ritchie-Lane Universe, the long suffering Lano, is also a finance person, (it's like that Fawlty Towers skit about the "Two Doctors", except we, ha ha, replace doctors with sharebrokers), so I gear the topics accordingly.

It is important to have lead-ins of an appropriate nature, otherwise things tend to skew badly into total relationship death, such as who is putting out the recycling and how many baked-bean tins there are this week.

I start out with any easy one. "Should we buy more Tesla?"

A certain amount of acting is required along with conversation, to give it some substance, so I furrow my brow and peer over my glasses, questioning with my eyes.

"Hmmmmm," comes the reply.

I make a mental note that my chat-victim IS watching rugby WITH the headphones on, so better and more stimulating efforts are going to be required.


Round two. "So, you know, honey, I spent the week backtesting this index arbitrage trade and I think it's got legs, look, look!"

I get a head turn, this time, and the proffered laptop, with its enticing numbers and charts, is glanced at for the cursory amount of time it takes the ref to get a response from the TMO.

"Ahhhhhhh," is the response.

I am nearly 10 minutes in here, with no headway to show for it, so I realise my own talents aren't going to be enough and I decide to get someone else involved.

It is a risky move, sticking another man into the dynamic, but needs must in this high-stakes stockbroking duo entanglement.

I leap up off the couch, one hand on pyjama-clad hip, the other gesturing to the sky (dish), and unleash my best Jim Rickards: "In 1998 Wall Street got together and bailed out the hedge funds. In 2008 the central banks got together and bailed out Wall Street, and all the banks in the world!"

Here I pause for dramatic effect and put on my most globally worried face.

With a sigh, the Hurricanes v Brumbies replay is stopped, screen closed, and with the intricate slowness of a sloth on tranquilisers, earbuds are detached from cranium.

I sense my chance is now and close it out with a measured shriek: "Who, in the next crisis (standing up very tall, using all one's gravitas, such as it is in pyjamas), WHO is going to bail out the central banks, Lano?!?!?"

Lano, who hasn't read any Jim Rickards, but as sure as he lives and breathes isn't going to be outdone by him in his own living room, gets up, straightens his tie, and says: "Is there any butter chicken risotto left from last night?"

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, your guide to interpersonal investment communication at its very finest.

* Caroline Ritchie is a former AFA, sharebroker and portfolio manager. She runs Investment Stuff, a sharemarket-based investment-coaching service. Visit her at

This column is not personalised financial advice