Brian J. O’Connor covers personal finance and the economy for The Detroit News. His “Funny Money” column humorously chronicles the financial implications of everything from potty training and the Pregnancy Industrial Complex to tax avoidance and the shadowy international baking cabal that forces consumers to buy unnecessary hot dog buns. O’Connor has been writing a column since May 2005, but his editors got sick of waiting for him to finish, and moved him to the personal finance beat. His award-winning market commentary includes the observation that, if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were to spontaneously combust, “The stock market will undoubtedly go down, unless it goes up or stays the same.”

In addition to winning three humor-writing awards from the National Society of Newspaper columnists, he is a two-time Best in Business winner for his column, as well as an awarded finalist in the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards and winner of the Christopher J. Welles Memorial Prize from Columbia University. “Anyone who can make business and the work place this funny is a winner,” one contest judge wrote. “This column is engaging and fun.”

He is a 1978 graduate of the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College. O’Connor earned a master’s of science in journalism at Columbia University, where he was a 2001 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business. Before joining The News, O’Connor was the founding managing editor of Bankrate.com, the Web’s top personal finance site. A Detroit native, he is married with one son.