Have You Taken The Gullibility Test?

"Easily duped or cheated" is one dictionary's definition of "gullible." I bet that is one phrase you don't want to be associated with, right?

Guess what? Data defining you as gullible may already be attached to you like glue. If it is, your gullible state definitely determines:

  • How much money you throw away.
  • The decisions you make that may affect your credit, and in turn, large purchases (like a car or house) in the future.
  • The type of advertisements you see on the web. (Lots of businesses love to reach out to people who are easily duped!)

So, are you gullible? Let's find out!

  1. Needs vs. Wants
    When you spend money, is it on a "need" or "want" basis?

    If you regularly spend money because you "want" something rather than "need" it, you will likely be targeted for marketing ploys aimed at "must-have" customers: those who spend on a whim, without putting much thought into their purchase.

    Examples:
    • Do you really "need" that new phone, or do you just want it? Updating your phone every year or two can cost you hundreds up front, and hundreds more as you play with all those new features.
    • You drive to work each day, so you're car shopping. Do you "need" a new car? Or do you need good, dependable, transportation? How about buying a used vehicle? You'll burn thousands of your hard-earned bucks if you actually think you "need" a new one.
    • Ice cream would be good tonight. But do you "need" to buy the most expensive brand? Why not try the store brand, it's usually much less expensive.
  2. Impulse Buying
    Do you spend money based on advertising or based upon objective research?

    Don't kid yourself when you answer this question. You may be thinking, "Oh, I don't believe all that baloney in the advertisements!" But if in reality you spend money on virtually anything without doing at least a little objective research, you may be an impulse buyer.

    Examples:
    • You click on the website that says "Cheapest credit card! Guaranteed!" and you actually get the credit card advertised on that page without reading the fine print.
    • The advertisement says "Special deal, today only!" You immediately sign up for one of the deals without researching to see if it really is a deal.
    • You're buying a car. The seller gives you a brochure on the car that says how safe and reliable the car is. You believe the brochure and buy the car without checking into it.
  3. Quick Fixes
    Do you believe "quick fix" advertisements?

    Hey, it doesn't matter if you even fall for the ads—do you click on them just out of curiosity? Just by clicking on gimmick advertisements you are added to databases loosely defined as "sucker lists."

    Examples:
    • "Guaranteed credit improvement in 30 days!" Sounds good, and you sign up. Bingo! You're in the "easily duped" category. More advertisements like that come your way. An "offline" (not regulated) credit reporting company buys a list of frequent visitors to these sites and guess whose name is on it?? Yours! They sell the list to a credit card company that issues rip-off credit cards. And, simply because you are on the list, your credit may be affected.
    • "Guaranteed killer abs in ten days!" You're in! Money flies out, abs are a no-show. The "these people fall for health and beauty scams" list now has your name and email address on it and you get many targeted ads.
    • "Make $500/hour with this work-at-home-job!" Sure, if you want to put a lot of money down at first.
  4. Fine Print & Privacy Policies
    Do you actually pay any attention to fine print and privacy policies?

    This is actually a trick question.

    • Even if you wanted to read the fine print, generally you can't. It's either too small or too complex to understand (some companies actually hire other companies to make their small print impossible to understand).
    • Even if you read the privacy policy, you won't understand it. For the same reason, in a majority of cases, it isn't written to be understandable or logical.
    • So, we'll give you the translation of the vast majority of privacy policies: "You have no privacy, you have no rights when it comes to your information, and we'll do what we want with it. Now, there!"

So, how did you do?

If you, like most (young) people, didn't too to well on the "Gullibility Test," don't worry. You get to retake it every day—every time you have an opportunity to think before spending your money. When you start passing the test, you'll probably start saving (your) money, too.

Why not try passing this test today? Always think twice (and read the fine print) before spending or signing anything.

Good luck!

Cheers, Will.

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