Steel: One of the first questions your students probably ask you is "Where do I start?" What do you tell them?
Professor Brown: I think a lot of people who have no knowledge of finance come into a class like the one I teach and they think that I'm going to give them the secret to great wealth, because a lot of people want to come to NYU Stern to study finance because, of course, that's where the money is -- and the finance major is the most popular major at the undergraduate college. And they're kind of disappointed when they come and they learn that I'm not going to tell them how to make a great deal of money without any effort, because that's not possible. The purpose of my classes is to teach financial rhetoric, to explain that finance is a life skill that unfortunately is not taught anywhere. I was once at a cocktail party, where there was a little old lady who came up to me and asked me about her options spread position. And I said, "Where did you learn about options spread positions?" She replied, "My broker told me." And I said, "You're learning about finance from your broker? That's like learning how to drive from a used car salesman." The ironic thing is that it's coming to a point in life in America that you really have to know finance because it's becoming a very important life skill, but it's not taught anywhere. Steel: So, what kind of homework can your students do outside of class that can help them understand how to invest? Brown: I can give them kind of general guidelines. I explain to them that finance is hard work and people who work in the finance sector work long hours. It's not an easy job. It's a hard job. And I explain to them that there are some general guidelines that are important to know that if you're going to invest, you're investing for the long term. And given that you're investing for the long term, you can afford to take