The Best (and Worst) April Fools’ Day Joke

Posted by Madison on April 1, 2008

April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite “holidays”. Growing up our whole family was always trying to outdo one another or be the first to play a joke. Instead of playing a joke on you, I want to share one of our best jokes. It even has a great financial twist.

The best joke, which was also the worst joke in our family history was about 15 years ago. Here’s how it went:

The Winning Sweepstakes

My mom got a phone call early in the morning on April 1. The caller informed her she had won a sweepstakes and asked her to produce a number off the entry.

She asked my dad to find the number… and was horrified when he couldn’t find it immediately. Once he located it, she read the number and he confirmed she was the winner.

The Prize

She should have been tipped off when the caller told her she had won not only the grand prize of $250,000, but the second prize – a car and third prize – a riding lawn mower too! At this point, she didn’t even realize it was April Fools’ Day.

Financial Calculations

She proceeded to run the numbers and determine how much money she would have after taxes. She planned to invest it conservatively and spend only the income from it, similar to the 4% safe withdrawal rate used for early retirement calculations.

Once she was certain that she had her calculations figured out she started telling her family and friends. Her sister pointed out it was April 1, but since my dad was with her when she received the call, she insisted that this was the real thing.

Revealing the Hoax

Because of the success of this joke, my dad let it continue… into the next day! By time he revealed to be an April Fools’ Day joke (he had the neighbor call), my mom had already rewritten her life with her new found wealth!

She got the opportunity to do some terrific financial planning… but April Fools’ Day will never be the same at their house again!

What to do you think? Could you play such a joke on a family member without it backfiring?

Article featured in: Carnival of Money Stories.

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Comments to The Best (and Worst) April Fools’ Day Joke

  1. Oh, that’s brutal.

    I once told my dad his computer had started smoking knowing that his thesis (unfinished) was on there. I’ve never seen him move so quickly.

    Tim Hibbard

  2. I knew a guy that called my wife at work (right after we were married) and told her that he was Harold McSweeney from the Internal Revenue Service and that there was a problem with her tax return. She tried to deflect everything to her “new husband” but he kept saying that her problems started when she was single and that her husband wouldn’t be allowed to help her. After she was in tears, he finally let he down, but she wasn’t too happy!


  3. My wife told me she was pregnant last April Fool’s. I believed every word of it.

    Imagine my head swimming at the financial impact of that! She let me twist in the wind for a half an hour before letting me in on the joke.

    -Mr. Stupid

    Mr. Stupid

  4. That’s a good one – a bit cruel but good.

    I remember plotting a long time ago with some co-workers, a plan to trick one of our colleagues into thinking that he had won the lottery, but we didn’t do it because we were afraid he would tell off the boss (who we all hated) and quit. 🙂


    Four Pillars

  5. Dude, that is just cruel! I understand doing it for a couple of hours, but for 2 days? Hopes and dreams dashed and left broken in the middle of the road. Harsh!

    If I were your mom and be planning a particularly nasty retaliatory strike.


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