Ah, spring. The birds are chirping, the grass is growing, and the TV networks are trying out new reality programming. Since it premiered a few weeks ago, I’ve found myself strangely addicted to FOX’s latest game show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?. A person more sophisticated than me might recognize the hidden message within the show–that most adults today are products of our moron factory public school system. Me, I just like seeing grown-ups struggle on questions like “If the radius of a circle is 2 inches, what is its diameter?”
If there’s one subject area where today’s American adult population is sorely lacking in knowledge, it’s astrophysics. But if there were two subject areas, the other would definitely be personal finance. Don’t worry; it’s probably not your fault. After all, they don’t teach things like budgeting, using credit cards, or starting retirement plans in most schools.
As a result, I often read or hear the same stupid questions about personal finance repeated endlessly–basic questions to which we should all know the answers. Here are some of the most inane personal finance questions I’ve ever run across. Chances are you’ve heard some of them before… or even asked one or two of them yourself.
The 20 Dumbest Personal Finance Questions… and 20 Awesome Answers
- Why can’t I ever seem to save any money?
Answer: (I usually just point to the person’s vast collection of ceramic roosters.)
- Why should I pay off my credit card in full each month when I can just pay the minimum balance?
Answer: You shouldn’t. By the way, thanks for funding my credit card rewards and sign-up bonuses.
- How should I invest my money?
Answer: Take a trip to Vegas; put it all on black.
- I have two loans: one small one at 5% and one large one at 21%. Which one should I pay off first? The small one, right?
Answer: Only people who are bad at math pay off lower interest rates first.
- Why should I bother going to college?
Answer: If you have to ask that question, then you need college more than most people.
- Will I have enough money to retire?
Answer: If you have to ask that question, then you won’t.
- Somebody told me about a great opportunity to make lots of money. Is it a scam?
Answer: Yes. I’m the only one who’s allowed to tell you about marvelous money-making schemes.
- Hey, can you lend me X dollars?
Answer: Can I hold your first-born child as collateral?
- I’m really trying to impress my new girlfriend. Got any ideas for a great cheap date?
Answer: Taco Bell and a monster truck rally should do the trick.
- How will doing ____ affect my credit score?
Answer: I’m not sure, but I bet IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!
- How much is my house worth?
Answer: You’ll find out when you sell it. Or I’ll give you 50 bucks for it right now.
- Why can’t I get a loan when I don’t have a job?
Answer: And you’re going to pay back that loan how?
- Extended warranty? How can I lose???
- How much money should I spent on _____?
Answer: Probably a lot less than you’re planning to spend.
- Can I avoid paying taxes on interest by stashing my money in a foreign bank account?
Answer: Shh! Keep this a secret or all the domestic banks will go broke!
- If I don’t pay this bill, will anything bad happen to me?
Answer: Of course not. All companies are gentle and loving, so they won’t care if a few people don’t pay their bills. They certainly won’t turn your account over to a collections agency and ruin your credit. So toss that bill in the trash and don’t give it a second thought!
- Are there any jobs where I can work from home and make over $100,000 a year?
Answer: Yes, but you must be really hot, uninhibited, and have a webcam.
- I read that the economy is heading toward recession/depression/ annihilation. Is this true?
Answer: My crystal ball says yes. Better sell all your stocks and load up on canned food and bottled water.
- How much money do I need before I can start investing?
Answer: Exactly $100. InvestorLand won’t even let you in the door without a Benjamin in your pocket.
- Why do hookers cost so much?
Answer: It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. There just aren’t enough to go around.
Just in case you need genuine answers to these dumb questions, A Penny Saved… is working on real answers to the 20 dumbest personal finance questions of all time.
And Some Really Dumb Questions From Viewers Like You!
- (From anon) Can I go to jail if I don’t pay off my loan?
Answer: Not anymore. The jails are too full of real criminals like terrorists, murderers, and professional football players.
Answer: Only if your debt is to the IRS.
Answer: This is American, sonny. We don’t jail our debtors; we just let them starve to death on the streets.
- (From UKMoneyPot) Can we put a value on X?
Answer: I’ll tell you the same thing I told my high school algebra teacher: X always has a value of 7 and I don’t care if your teacher’s edition says otherwise!
- (From Money and Such) Should I invest all my money in penny stocks based on a hot tip I just got in my e-mail?
Answer: Of course! But you have to act fast. Think of how many people get those e-mails–probably 100 billion people! If just 1% of those people decide to purchase the stock, its price will sky-rocket in no time for sure! Buy at 80 cents around lunchtime and it’ll be 80 dollars by dinner! Tons of people do this every day to get rich quick. This helps explain why people without computers are often homeless. You’re probably the only dummy with a computer who hasn’t done it yet.
- (From plonkee money) I’m 54 and I haven’t got a retirement fund, how many cruises will I be able to take
when I take early retirement next year?
Answer: It depends on your cruise’s destination. If you’re thinking Jamaica, probably zero. If you’re thinking paddleboat ride at an amusement park, you might squeeze in a few of those before you’re broke.
Do you have an even more dumberer personal finance question? Ask it here and I’ll give you a free silly answer!
By the way, the answer is 4 inches. The diameter of a circle equals twice the radius. But you knew that already, right?