Say what?! 5 financial buzzwords we kept hearing in 2023

1. Quiet hiring 

First, there was the trend of “quiet quitting”: a disgruntled employee doing the bare minimum required for their role. Then there was “quiet firing”: an employer reducing a worker’s duties and training, subtly nudging them to quit. And then, in 2023, we saw the rise of “quiet hiring”: an employer looking to its existing employees to fill a skills gap or take on more responsibilities, rather than hiring someone new. Quiet hiring is typically a cost-cutting or cost-saving measure, but it can also be an opportunity for a staffer who wants to try something new, move up to a new role or stack their case to ask for a raise. Quiet hiring can also refer to outsourcing work to short-term contractors instead of hiring new workers. —Jaclyn Law

2. Soft saving

Facing high inflation, high interest rates, expensive housing and mounting debt, many young people are unsure if they’ll ever be able to retire. So, many Gen Zers are rejecting aggressive saving (see: the FIRE movement) and embracing “soft living”—prioritizing things like comfort, balance, personal growth and wellness. “Soft saving” is part of that. It’s a lower-stress approach to personal finance and investing that focuses on the present. That doesn’t mean Gen Z is spending recklessly—but some might see saving for retirement as more of a nice-to-have than a need. —J.L.

Recommended savings reads

3. Inflation isolation

Is inflation dampening your social life? A November 2023 Ipsos poll found that the rising cost of living is causing “inflation isolation.” Half of Canadians are staying at home more often, and a third of us are socializing less to avoid spending money. As a result, 20% of us are feeling isolated. Pretty bleak, right? Plus, those of us who are struggling with debt are more likely to feel stress and anxiety, as well as cut back on seeing friends and family. If you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress or depression, read our guide to finding free and low-cost mental health resources in Canada. —Margaret Montgomery

Recommended inflation reads

4. Housing-market nepo baby

When I first saw this term in a recent Wealthsimple newsletter, I couldn’t help but laugh… and then I wanted to cry. “Nepo baby” refers to the child of a celebrity who has benefited from their parent’s success, wealth and name recognition. A nepo home buyer in Canada is someone whose parents already own a home and can help their kids afford a down payment for a home, according to some sources. Statistics Canada reports that “in 2021, the adult children (millennial and Generation Z tax filers born in the 1990s) of homeowners were twice as likely to own a home as those of non-homeowners.” Adult children whose parents owned multiple properties were three times as likely to own a home than those whose parents were non-home owners. —M.M.

Recommended real estate and mortgage reads

5. Recession core

Move over, minimalism—recession core is here. Yep, that’s right, there’s a whole aesthetic inspired by living in a recession. Basically, this means going back to simpler styles and using items already in your wardrobe. Look, I get it. Minimalism might actually require you to spend lots of money on “clean” and refined-looking items, so that’s out of the question for many right now. Instead, many of us are looking for greater value when we shop—a habit that could pay off even after the economy improves. —M.M.

Recommended thrifty reads

We can think of several more financial buzzwords that were popular this year, from “tip-flation” to “funflation.” Will they still be talked about in 2024, or will they go the way of “YOLO,” “the new normal” and “The Great Resignation”? Only time will tell. We want to know which trendy money words you love and hate. Share your picks in the comments below, and then boost your financial vocabulary by checking out the MoneySense Glossary.

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About Margaret Montgomery

About Margaret Montgomery

Margaret Montgomery is MoneySense’s editorial assistant and MoneyFlex columnist. She studied business administration at Wilfrid Laurier University and journalism at Centennial College.

About Jaclyn Law

About Jaclyn Law

Jaclyn Law is MoneySense’s managing editor. She has worked in Canadian media for over 20 years, including editor roles at Chatelaine and Abilities and freelancing for The Globe and Mail, Report on Business, Profit, Reader’s Digest and more. She completed the Canadian Securities Course in 2022.

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