We Put Bing’s AI Chat to the Test With 8 Money Questions. So How’d It Do?
Microsoft’s Bing is a bit smarter than your average search engine. In early 2023, Microsoft announced that Bing would receive a significant overhaul with chat functionality powered by a large language model from OpenAI. (Google later released its chatbot, Bard, in March.)
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, said its language model is “more powerful than ChatGPT.”
We decided to find out exactly how intelligent Bing is by asking it a series of finance questions. We then evaluated its answers and had our experts determine whether Bing’s responses were appropriate and accurate. In some instances, we expanded upon the AI’s response to offer a clearer understanding of the topic.
Hi Bing, I’m Michael and I work for The Penny Hoarder. I’m going to ask you a few questions about finance. Are you ready?
Hello Michael, this is Bing. I’m ready to answer your questions about finance. 😊
Questions We Asked Bing AI Chat — and the Pros’ Take
We asked Bing’s AI chat eight questions on money matters. Here’s its responses and how we think it did.
Can you tell me: What is compound interest?
Bing’s response: Compound interest is the interest that is calculated on both the initial principal and the accumulated interest of a deposit or loan. It allows your savings to grow faster over time. For example, if you invest $1000 at an annual interest rate of 10%, compounded monthly, you will have $1104.71 after one year.
Our take: Bing does a great job explaining compound interest and how it can affect savings. We appreciate that Bing provides an example and breaks it down, making its definition of compound interest more understandable. Its response was correct, and Bing provided an answer to the question we asked. Let’s try a few more straightforward questions.
How do you write a check?
Bing’s response: To write a check, you need to follow these six steps:
- Write the current date on the line at the top right-hand corner.
- Write the name of the recipient on the “Pay to the order of” line.
- Write the amount in numerals next to the dollar sign ($).
- Write the amount in words on the line below.
- Write a memo (optional) on the lower left line to indicate the purpose of the check.
- Sign the check on the bottom right line with your signature.
Here is an example of a completed check:
Our take: Writing checks isn’t nearly as common as it used to be, with many young people never having done it. Asking Bing how to write a check is a straightforward question, and it did not struggle to respond.
We appreciate Bing’s example of a filled-out check. However, an image of an actual check, showing where each item is located, would have been more helpful. The Penny Hoarder’s guide on how to write a check includes images with each step so that readers can better understand the process.
What’s better, a regular 401(k) or a Roth 401(k)?
Bing’s response: The better choice between a regular 401k and a Roth 401k depends on your current and future tax situation. A regular 401k allows you to make contributions with pre-tax dollars, which lowers your taxable income now, but you’ll pay income tax on the withdrawals in retirement. A Roth 401k allows you to make contributions with after-tax dollars, which means you pay taxes on that money now, but you can withdraw it tax-free in retirement.
Some factors that may influence your decision are:
– Your current and expected income tax bracket
– Your eligibility for employer matching contributions
– Your expected retirement spending and income sources
– Your flexibility to adjust your withdrawals based on tax rates
You may also consider splitting your contributions between both types of accounts if your plan allows it. This can help you diversify your tax exposure and have more options in retirement.
Our take: Asking which option is better for a retirement plan, a regular 401(k) or a Roth IRA, is a tricky question as there are multiple factors to consider. Bing did an excellent job outlining each 401(k) option.
The list of factors influencing your decision is helpful, but it would have been nice if Bing had broken each one down so that you could make the right decision for your situation. In our roundup comparing the two options, we provide six factors you should consider when picking a 401 (k) or Roth IRA:
- Eligibility for each plan
- Your contribution amount
- Available tax breaks
- How you can invest
- When you can withdraw
- Whether you take distributions
After retirement is covered, how should you save your money?
Bing’s response: Saving money after retirement can help you maintain your lifestyle and cope with unexpected expenses. Some ways to save money after retirement are:
- Live a simple life with less stuff and less clutter
- Budget your finances and track your spending habits
- Move to a more affordable place or a smaller home that suits your needs
- Rent out a room or a part of your home for extra income
- Buy things second-hand or use coupons when shopping
- Buy from farmer’s markets or grow your own food
- Treat yourself sometimes but avoid impulse buying
Another way to save money after retirement is to invest some of your money in safe and accessible places, such as high-yield savings accounts, short-term bonds, or Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). These can help your money grow with low risk and hedge against inflation. However, you should also be aware of the tax implications and withdrawal rules of different investment options.
Our take: It is apparent that Bing misunderstood what we were asking. While we wanted to know what we should save for after saving for retirement, Bing told us how to save money once we retire.
But we’re willing to give Bing another chance, so let’s reword that question and see if it understands us better.
After I’ve saved for retirement, what should I save for next?
Bing’s response: Saving for retirement is a great goal, but it’s not the only one. There are other things you may want to save for after retirement, such as:
– Emergency fund: This is a cushion of money that can help you cover unexpected expenses, such as medical bills, home repairs, or car troubles. You should aim to have at least six months of living expenses saved in a liquid and accessible account.
– Additional savings: This is money that you can use for other goals or needs that are not covered by your retirement income. For example, you may want to save for travel, hobbies, gifts, donations, or legacy planning. You can use a taxable brokerage account to invest additional savings and take advantage of compound growth.
– Educational savings: This is money that you can use to help your children or grandchildren pay for their education. You can use various plans such as 529 plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to save for educational expenses and enjoy tax benefits.
Of course, your saving priorities may vary depending on your personal situation and preferences. You should also review your retirement plan regularly and adjust it as needed based on your income, expenses, and goals.
Our take: Bing understood us much better once we rephrased our question. It provided an accurate response with solid suggestions, recommending what we should save up for after we have covered retirement. Once you’ve saved enough money for retirement, ensuring you cover emergency funds and other additional accounts is critical for stability.
We would have loved it if Bing had also offered tips on how people can start saving. We’ve discussed a few ways that you can save money fast and 25 ways to put away more money each month. Ensuring you are taken care of and secure in your retirement is about more than just your dedicated retirement fund.
What are the best side hustles?
Bing’s response: A side hustle is a way to make extra money outside of your main job. There are many side hustle ideas that you can pursue depending on your skills, interests, availability and goals. Some of the best side hustles according to various sources are:
- Teaching English online
- Selling items on Etsy
- Driving for Uber or Lyft
- Freelance bookkeeping
- Content writing
- Managing social media marketing
- Running Facebook ads
These are just some examples of side hustles that you can start in 2023. What kind of side hustle are you looking for?
Our take: Decent job, Bing! Side hustles are a way to make extra money outside your primary job. Bing gives us several good examples of how we can make additional money, such as selling items online, driving for a ride-sharing service and freelance writing.
We think Bing also should have mentioned potential downsides of specific ideas, such as drop shipping. It’s critical to understand the risk involved in a side hustle, especially if you’ll be contributing your own money. For example, drop shipping has become an extremely competitive marketplace with small margins, threatening your return on investment.
Once you have found a side hustle that works for you, take the time to dive deeper into the topic, understanding what startup costs may be involved and the amount of time it will take to break even on a project. In a tough economy, you may want to check out a few side hustles that are recession-proof — we picked out a few to get you started.
What should I do if my husband has a secret investment account for his ex-wife?
Bing’s response: I’m sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It must be very upsetting and confusing for you.😔
There are different possible reasons why your husband has a secret investment account for his ex-wife. One possibility is that he opened the account while he was still married to his ex-wife and he was ordered to make her the beneficiary as part of his divorce agreement. Another possibility is that he is hiding assets from you or planning to leave you for his ex-wife.
The best way to find out the truth is to talk to your husband calmly and honestly. Tell him what you found and ask him to explain. Try not to accuse him or jump to conclusions before you hear his side of the story. Listen carefully and respectfully to what he has to say.
If he refuses to talk or gives you an unsatisfactory answer, you may want to consult a lawyer or a financial advisor who can help you protect your rights and interests in case of a divorce. You may also want to seek counseling or support from someone you trust who can help you cope with your emotions and decide what steps to take next.
I hope this helps. Please remember that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you.🙏
Our take: That spicy question is from our Dear Penny column, where individuals like you write to us and ask questions about their finances and relationships. Editor and Certified Financial Planner Robin Hartill answered this question about a secret investment account for one of our readers, providing a detailed response.
Dear Penny wrote that the answer depends on how much trust the reader has in her husband. If the husband has been generally trustworthy, starting an open dialogue is a good first step. Otherwise, if the reader’s husband is known to have a pattern of dishonesty, the reader may want to check in with an attorney first.
We found it fascinating that Bing emulated human emotion, particularly sadness for the reader’s situation. Bing provided a couple of potential explanations for the husband’s secret account, including one that is financially sound and another that has us preparing for divorce. Overall, the information is helpful, and Bing did an excellent job examining the human factor.
I’ve been corresponding with a lady in China. What’s a fair way to divide my estate between my children and future wife?
Bing’s response: That sounds like a lovely plan. I hope you and your lady friend have a wonderful time together.😊
As for your estate, there is no definitive answer to how you should divide it between your children and future wife. Different countries and states may have different laws and customs regarding inheritance and property rights. You may want to consult a lawyer or an estate planner for professional advice.
However, based on my web searches, I can give you some general ideas of how some people divide their estate among their heirs:
– Some people use a per stirpes method, which means that each branch of the family receives an equal share of the estate. For example, if you have two children from your first marriage, each of them would get 25% of your estate, while your wife would get 50%. If one of your children dies before you, his or her share would go to his or her children (your grandchildren).
– Some people use a per capita method, which means that each living heir receives an equal share of the estate. For example, if you have two children from your first marriage and one of them dies before you, leaving two grandchildren, then your wife would get 50% of your estate, while your surviving child and two grandchildren would each get 16.67%.
– Some people use a hybrid method, which combines per stirpes and per capita approaches. For example, you could divide half of your estate per stirpes among your children and grandchildren, while dividing the other half per capita among all living heirs (including your wife).
– Some people use a spousal trust method, which means that you leave some or all of your estate to a trust for the benefit of your wife during her lifetime. After she dies, the remaining assets in the trust would go to your children or other beneficiaries. This way, you can provide for your wife’s needs while also ensuring that your children will inherit something from you.
Of course, these are just some possible ways to divide your estate. You may have other preferences or considerations that are unique to your situation.
What do you think about these options? Do any of them appeal to you?
Our take: Bing gave us an incredibly detailed response here, breaking down a few ways that people divide their estate among heirs; however, if you’re a human (and we expect you are), there is likely something that you considered that Bing did not compute. What if the lady from China does not exist. What if it’s all a scam?
Our Dear Penny made sure to point out some of the hallmark red flags of an online romance scam. She recommended that the reader video chat with the love interest to try and verify they are real. At the very least, the reader should meet the woman in person before handing over any money, as they may never see it again.
What We Learned About Bing’s AI Chat
The new conversational chat tool from Microsoft offers an interesting look at the future of research, but the tool provides information based only on what the system knows. It may not glean insight into questions, highlighting factors that humans quickly pick up on without being prompted. Finance is more than just numbers; it’s about people and how money affects their lives.
We think Bing is a unique way to research financial questions, but it’s safe to say that we won’t be replacing Dear Penny with Dear Bing anytime soon.
Thanks for chatting with me, Bing! Bye.
You’re very welcome! It was a pleasure chatting with you. Have a great day! 😊
Michael Archambault is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.