Financial Urban Legends Dubunked

by Justin Weinger on April 22, 2007

The other day I came across a rather humorous/somewhat scary article on MSN Money regarding common financial urban legends. I thought the article was funny because so many of the situations were completely absurd and unlikely.

However, the scary part is that many people actually believe these urban legends to be true statements. Considering many of the items listed had dire financial consequences, it really is imperitive to make sure everyone knows how incorrect these items are.

I’m not going to list out all ten financial urban legends; however, there are three in particular that I found to be rather amusing:

  1. You don’t have to pay income tax — it’s illegal. While I certainly wish that this were true, there’s a reason that the phrase “the only certainties in life are death and taxes” has been around for so long. Because the federal government doesn’t like it when they don’t get their money, if you try this urban legend out you’ll likely face hefty fines and, more than likely, jail time.
  2. Boycotting a few gasoline brands will bring gas prices down. I’m sure you’ve received an email or two telling to you not buy any gasoline on a certain day because it will cause these huge oil companies to lose billions of dollars and force them to drop prices in order to keep consumers coming back. This is flawed for two reasons: 1) you’re just delaying your inevitable gas purchase by one day and 2) the oil companies will recoup the lost revenues by increasing prices.
  3. Hotel Bibles often have $100 bills tucked into them. While this would certainly be nice, I find it hard to believe that a church would go and try to recruit people using money. It seems to me that this would go against many of their ideals, not to mention the fact this is a pretty expensive way to try and convert people.

The only other thing that I would have added to the financial urban legend list is that if your bank “loses your account information and password” surely they will contact you via a very generic email asking you for your information. Hopefully everyone knows that this is incorrect and responding to these emails with your information could lead to identity theft, or worse.

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