Last night, my wife found some old “I Love Lucy” episodes, so we watched a few.
In one episode, Lucy studies numerology and helps Ricky scam a potential employer by doing a seance to contact the dood’s dead wife and dog.
Got me thinking about yesterday’s email and how maybe… some people misinterpreted what I wrote. Or maybe I didn’t communicate a few things correctly.
A “mark” is someone who believes they have a handle on things… someone who believes they know what’s going on around them but… the reality is… they DON’T have a clue. The reality is… other people are *outmaneuvering* them (and often straight up out-thinking or outcompeting them) in ways they don’t know about.
Now… I realize there’s a negative connotation associated with the word but… sometimes, a mark is a willing victim.
Here’s what I mean:
Penn and Teller (the famous illusionists) are very open and honest about the fact that what they do is not real magic. It’s an illusion.
Even so, some people STILL believe they really catch live bullets in their mouth on stage. Those people are willing victims.
But in at least one public interview, Penn criticizes another magician because he (the other magician) leads people on and implies he has REAL supernatural powers. And… some people believe in the supernatural so they buy into this other magician’s act. Those people are victims of a conman.
Anywho… more times when people are “marks”:
Mark: A person who believes his Facebook account is his and he’s the customer or has some kind of rights as to what happens on his “wall.”
Reality: He’s Facebook’s *product*. His information belongs to Facebook per their TOS and is sold to 3rd party advertisers for profit.
Mark: A person who believes Criss Angel is doing real magic.
Reality: There is no magic, only magicians.
Mark: A person who believes the carnival game he plays (or the half snake-half woman he pays to see) is 100% legit and not rigged.
Reality: Carnival games are often rigged using lead-lined bottles, distracting colors and lights, optical illusions, etc.
Mark: A person who believes equity (stock) index funds are safe investments that perfectly track the underlying index and protect his principal.
Reality: Equity index funds are fairly risky, there’s significant direct as well as indirect tracking error in the fund, and you can lose your principal amount.
Mark: A person who believes it’s impossible to lose any money in their bank account because the account is insured by the FDIC.
Reality: The FDIC publishes their reserve amount for everyone to see — they only have enough money to cover 2%-3% of all deposits in all U.S. banks.
Mark: A person who believes Bitcoin is a viable alternative to the U.S. dollar.
Reality: Bitcoin’s quickly rising, and unstable, price and speculative nature prevents it from being a stable currency.
Mark: A person who believes they are eliminating an interest cost by paying cash instead of financing their purchases.
Reality: No one can eliminate interest cost on purchases. You have three basic choices: pay interest directly to someone else or pay interest indirectly through lost interest earnings on savings.
Option 3: Pay interest to a financial institution you have partial ownership in and then… have that company refund you part or all of the interest you pay on financed purchases.
Being a mark is a disadvantage in life.
Sometimes, not so serious. Other times, very serious.
Sometimes, the people outmaneuvering the marks are honest. Sometimes, not so much.
Either way, if you want to take advantage of “option 3” and avoid being a mark for mainstream financial gewroos or radio and Tee Vee personalities, join my email list and I’ll show you how.