Learn a few personal finance terms in Chinese

Dollar Sign-s
Summer is just around the corner. Think vacations. Think of it in Chinese. The word for a vacation or a leave of absence is 休假 (xiūjià). The word for going on a vacation is 度假 (dùjià), in which (dù) takes on the meaning of “to spend”.

Nǐ jīnnián yào qù nǎr dùjià?
Where are you vacationing this year?

But wait. Do you have enough money saved up for going to a vacation spot other than your own backyard? 旅費 (lǚfèi travel expenses), 膳食費 (shànshí fèi meal expenses) and 娛樂費用 (yúlè fèiyòng entertainment fees) all need to be provided for, you know.

Nǐ de yínháng hùtóu lǐ yǒu duōshao cúnkuǎn?
How much savings do you have in your bank account?

Nǐ měi yuè shōurù duōshao?
What’s your monthly earnings?

Nǐmen jiā měi gè yuè kāizhī duōshao?
How much are the monthly expenses of your household?

Yǒu méi yǒu dàikuǎnlìxī yào fù?
Do you have any interests on a loan to pay?

Are you counting on receiving dividends, or 股息 (gǔxī), from your investment in the stock market? The Chinese word for investment is 投资 (tóuzī). Keep in mind that the stock market, or 股票市场 (gǔpiàoshìchǎng), is quite volatile.

股票价格有时升值, 有时下降.
Gǔpiào jiàgé yǒushí shēngzhí, yǒushí xiàjiàng.
Stock prices sometimes appreciate, sometimes drop.

It’s important to have some savings, or 储蓄 (chǔxù). We want to save up not just for vacations but also for old age. Your 社会安全福利金 (shèhuì ānquán fúlì jīn social security income) may not be sufficient to cover all your living expenses.

Shěngqián jiùshì zhuànqián.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
(Saving money is making money.)

Jiéjiǎn shì měidé.
Frugality is a virtue.

Careful budgeting helps to ensure that one lives within one’s means. 平衡 (pínghéng) means being balanced. 收支平衡 (shōuzhī pínghéng) means the incomes and the expenses are balanced.

Should you come out ahead and have extra cash to spend, then congratulations! Start planning a vacation away from home. On the other hand, should you find yourself in the 入不敷出 (rù bù fū chū) situation, in which your income falls short of your expenses and you cannot make both ends meet, then you will probably have to satisfy your vacationing enthusiasm this year via armchair travel. A Chinese equivalent of armchair traveling is 卧游 (wò yóu). (wò) means to lie down, and (yóu) means to travel. This expression describes how one would lie on a recliner, holding a book or pictures of scenery, and travel mentally. 神游 (shén yóu) means to transport to a place mentally, not necessarily with a book or an iPad in hand.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony Bogadek
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 11:09:16

    Hi dear Miss Lin,
    Great lesson, but for me a bit tough this time. Rather technical.
    A few points you might want to recheck:
    1. Chinese word for armchair tranvel: it’s “travel” I guess;
    2. How say cannot make ends meet in Chinese: How “to” say cannot…..
    3. 收支平衡 (shōuzhī) means the incomes and the expenses are balanced.
    Perhaps the (pínghéng) part could be added here too so as to make the pinyin text match the Chinese characters text as is done in other cases throughout the lesson.
    With thanks,
    A bee


    • likeabridge
      Jun 19, 2013 @ 13:27:32

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for pointing out the typographic errors, for which the corrections have been made.
      Yeah, it will probably help if I mention that, in 收支平衡 (shōuzhī), 收 (shōu) refers to the income and 支 (zhī) refers to the expenses. 收 (shōu) is short for 收入 (shōurù income). 支 (zhī) is short for 开支 (kāizhī expenses).


  2. keithy
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 16:58:42

    Is 梦游 the same as 神游?
    I have seen the word 梦游 used to describe Emperor Renzong visiting Xuedou Mountain in a dream. 仁宗皇帝曾梦游雪窦山.


    • likeabridge
      Jun 23, 2013 @ 21:00:08

      Hi Keith,

      In this case, they are similar. However, in everyday speech, 梦游 usually refers to sleepwalking. 梦 (mèng) is to dream. 梦游症 (mèngyóuzhèng) is a medical condition, in which one walks in one’s sleep, unaware of what one is doing. In the movie, Roman Holidays, the princess climbed out of a window in her sleep, and a comedy ensued.


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