The one question that you should always ask when it seems too good to be true

I’m only 4 months into this blogging thing, but it has already broadened my horizons.

For example, here’s a blog that may not normally have made it to my ‘must read list’, but the guy is quite funny. I found him because he left a comment on one of my posts (it’s the one with the Mad Magazine, Alfred E Neuman avatar) … seems this is the way that blogs work.

[AJC: Leads me to wonder if the only people who read/comment on blogs are other bloggers?]

…. there is a [admittedly, small] finance point to this, so stick with me.

I saw this post on his blog: Why Don’t Psychics Win The Lottery? 

Here’s an “oh, so true” snippet from his post:

Being able to tell the future and predict events should give all Psychics the ability to become rich beyond their wildest dreams. So why aren’t they?

They should be able to win the lottery, predict stock market gains and losses, predict business trends, and win in Vegas–big time. With this knowledge, they should be able to run circles around experienced financial advisers.

This caught my eye, because about a month ago, my wife and I went to a charity event (my wife was one of the organizers, so I had to go … damn, hate those events), an event that just happened to have a semi-well-known ‘mind magician’ (a.k.a. a mentalist or psychic).

Apparently, he’d been on TV …

He was quite good and managed to guess a friend’s chosen number (it was 99) as well as a bunch of other, non-numeric stuff. Now, we all know that these types of shows are all staged and the people on the stage are all ‘stooges’, right?

Well, that’s what I assumed until … wouldn’t you know it, he called my wife up to the stage.

Now, my wife is nobody’s stooge and I have the bruises to prove it 🙂

Apparently, she does have a ‘thing’ for George Clooney … the psychic guessed that – but, I didn’t know it (time for that face-and-body-lift for me … pronto!). He also guessed her ‘number’ (it was  63).

Does that make him a psychic … perhaps. Are my wife and her friends ‘new believers’ … absolutely!

But, not me; I like to apply the ‘common sense’ test to these things … the questions that I ask are simple:

1. How many digits can this guy correctly ‘read’ in one night?

Looks like 4 digits per night at 100% accuracy, from what I saw.

2. How much did he get paid for this extraordinary feat?

Not sure, but it was a local charity event (it wasn’t Vegas), so I’m guessing a few hundred bucks.

3. What would I do if I were this guy?

Now isn’t this the Litmus Test question; the one that we should always ask when confronted with a seemingly ‘too good to be true’ situation?

If I were this guy, I guess I would go to Switzerland, and stand outside a bank for a few days … waiting for one of those mysterious looking men going into their equally mysterious looking bank to access their really, really mysterious ‘secret bank’ account using only their 10 digit access code, conveniently committed to memory.

If I could guess 4 digits per day at close to 100% accuracy, then I’m pretty sure that I could guess 10 digits, if I stood outside the bank for, say, a week and made at least 3 or 4 attempts … I might need a couple of different fake moustaches

I wouldn’t net a few hundred dollars in a night, I would net the $1 Bill. or $2 Bill. sitting in some chump’s secret bank account in a week.

So, our psychic … real or not?

Your answer probably dictates whether you have any chance of making some serious money in your life … because so much of financial success [AJC: see, I promised a ‘financial’ point] depends on being able to apply simple, perhaps ‘uncommon’ sense to sort out the ‘too good to be true’ from the ‘thank god it’s true’.

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0 thoughts on “The one question that you should always ask when it seems too good to be true

  1. this is one of the reasons I’m suspicious that the ‘experts’ working as financial consultants (Fidelity and Edward D Jones come to mind) seem to only have several months of training.

    Also why I *never* take stock tips advice from finance magazines and the like.

  2. @ blogrdoc – hmmm… that’s worth a post in itself; but, I agree! My view is: why take advice that is publically available? It means that 330,000,000 people have potentially seen the same advice and (already) acted upon it!

  3. Thanks for the comments! I think you are right–the only people reading blogs are other bloggers!

  4. Pingback: I’m about to find out if you can make money online … Part 4 « How to Make 7 Million in 7 Years™

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