Stumbled across another cool money test and couldn’t pass it up :)
My friend Laurie came up with this for WellKeptWallet.com, and while it looks like it’s two years old now I’m sure enough fun will be had… Especially as I’m pairing it with ANOTHER test too that we once ran on this site (“20 Signs You Need a Financial Makeover“) so I hope you’re in for some good cross-examination this morning! Haha…
We’ll start with the more positive test first…
20 Signs You’re Financially Stable:
- You’re at peace with your money situation. Yup, more or less.
- You don’t fight about money with your spouse. Thankfully!
- You don’t use your credit cards often, or if you do, you pay them in full every month. We put everything we can on our card to get the cash back and to budget easier, but then we pay it all off at the end of each month.
- You’ve got a fully stocked emergency fund. Fail.
- A job loss wouldn’t mean you couldn’t pay your bills. Truth. For a little bit, at least… Unless we’re allowed to pull from our investments? (Which I’d never do! I’d go in debt before doing that!)
- Financial emergencies don’t invoke panic. For the most part, yeah… It always stings though.
- You’re okay with spending money on special occasions. No doubt! Can’t be obsessive!
- The thought of being generous sounds exciting and not panic-inducing. YES!! I get more pain from *not* giving back as much as I want to vs actually giving it… :(
- You’re happy about your financial situation. I am.
- Saving money has become a habit. Yup! Between retirement accounts and apps that help automate everything (Digit, Acorns) it’s been ingrained for years now.
- Others’ opinions about what you have/don’t have don’t concern you. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
- Paying the bills doesn’t require an in-depth plan. Haha, true… I love paying bills actually!
- Retirement and/or kids’ college expenses are covered. Retirement, yes. College for kids? We could be better about it… Kinda put it on pause the last few years while the Mrs. was working on finishing up her PHD, so once she’s back into the workforce again we’ll be revisiting it.
- Your debt-to-income ratio is below 30%. Yup! In fact, it’s 0% now w/ the mortgages gone.
- You’re thoughtful about purchases. I try to be, yes.
- Avoiding/eliminating debt is a priority for you. It was in the top 3 over the years, but never really the #1 spot since we weren’t dealing with credit card debt or other worse-than-mortgage types… I typically prefer to invest over paying off low interest debt, but I go in kicks depending on what’s motivating me at the time. As for *avoiding* it altogether, well, that’s always preferable, yes, but I’m not opposed to taking on debt where it makes sense. Like for business or college or even loans to cover crap cash flows for short amounts of time, etc. You never really plan to take on debt if you don’t have to, but you know – $hit happens.
- You budget or you’re so good at spending wisely that you don’t need to budget. Used to be the former, now it’s moved over to the latter :) We more or less spend roughly the same every month minus some random events that go down, but I give us enough padding where we don’t have to worry about it much… But I’m still a HUGE proponent of budgeting especially in those earlier stages!! One of the best things you can do! (Which of course is why it’s in the title of our blog here ;) Though lately it’s more about *financial freedom* being sexy than anything!)
- You have a plan for the unexpected. No comment, haha… Planning is not my strong suit, though depending on the situation I’m fairly confident we could overcome it. I just don’t have every last contingency planned or a million buckets of cash spread around for each possible scenario. Hopefully our cash + credit lines + investments could cover whatever might be looming!
- You buy appreciating as opposed to depreciating assets. Yup, pretty much… I don’t really buy any “things” anymore but just little “experiences” like eating out or some beers and coffee here and there and those such things… All extra money pretty much goes into investments these days (or into my kids ;)).
- Large purchases don’t create a damaging ding in your finances. I don’t know what these large purchases would be, but yeah – we’d be safe from a lot of them. Or we’d just finance them if it made better sense and didn’t screw over our cash flow (see – I’m okay with debt! But that purchase better be something damn good like a unicorn or trip around the world or something!)
How’d you do? I gave myself a 17 out of 20 as there were some halfies up there as well as one or two that I just suck at… Here’s the grading system Laurie came up with for it:
- 16 – 20: You’re kicking it!
- 11 – 15: You’re doing very well!
- 6 – 10: You’re off to a good start!
- 0 – 5: You’ve got room to grow.
She’s an overly positive person :) I’d say if you scored anywhere from 0-10 there are some big issues looming and it’s great you’re reading $$ blogs! We all have something we can work on, that’s for sure… The important part is that we’re moving towards the right direction!
Now to the 20 Signs You Need a Financial Makeover…
It’ll be interesting to see how similar in concepts these are as I haven’t looked at this for almost 6 years… If anyone’s still around from back then and left a comment, you should see how you’re doing now in comparison! If you’re not any better I need to rethink this blog :)
Here we go…
- You charge group dinners on your card and keep your friends’ cash to spend. I do, actually! Not a lot, but it saves me a trip to the ATM since I pull out $100’ish every month for “spending money.” Obviously the trouble area here is if you end up spending more than you intended to with all that new extra cash in your pockets.
- You spend more than 40% of your total income on rent. Nope… haven’t calculated it in a while, but I’d guess it’s around 20-25%?
- You’re constantly transferring your balance to get 0% interest on your credit card debt. Haha… Some people can pull this off pretty well (and to them I say, way to go!), but a lot of people get tripped up by the small print and lack of paying attention… It’s one thing to move over the debt from one place to another as long as the balance keeps going down, but if you’re continually adding to it there’s a bigger problem that needs addressing.
- You pay off one credit card with another. Isn’t that the same as above?
- Less than 10% of your income goes to your retirement savings. (Or worse, zero percent!) Yeah, that’s not good :( Of course, *anything* above 0% is better than nothing, but the goal is def. 10% and up depending on the stage you’re in… You gotta be investing in yourself or you’ll never break free!
- You have a credit card that doesn’t give you anything in return, like cash back or airline miles. Is that even possible these days? I guess it could be, but hopefully anyone reading this right now knows there are a TON of options out there for rewards if you want them. I don’t believe in messing up a system that’s working for you to get them, but almost every single card out there does offer some type of goodies these days fwiw.
- You don’t know what IRA means outside of Ireland. Hah! That’s all we invest in lately so I hope I know what it is :) And I hope you do too, even if you’re not able to contribute yet! You will one day!
- You pay the minimum balance on your credit card each month. Not preferable of course, but better than not paying them *at all!*
- You don’t open your credit card statement because you can’t bear to see how high the balance is. I feel for anyone currently in this spot :( If it’s you, PLEASE please please start facing the music and get a plan in order!! I know it’s scary but it’s only going to get worse until you face it! You can do it!! Get a glass (or 10) of wine ready if you need to! :)
- You don’t keep receipts because they remind you of what you’ve spent. Haha… I keep all receipts regardless, but I can see why people wouldn’t ;)
- You know your company has a 401k plan, but you have no idea what that is. Oh man, this is one of the EASIEST and SMARTEST things you can ever do. Companies are giving away free money left and right, and all you have to do is invest a little to receive it! Something you should be doing anyways! So please PLEASE hit them up if you haven’t started investing already and contribute *at least* up to the % they will match. There’s no better return out there, and you’ll hardly miss the $$$ from your paycheck – I guarantee it.
- You withdraw cash frequently from ATM’s that aren’t affiliated with your bank. That’s actually ALL I do since USAA doesn’t have a “real” bank, haha… Most places are starting to do the same too, at least with online banks, so if yours doesn’t it might be worth looking into.
- The number of credit cards in your wallet is higher than the number of dates you’ve had this year. Hahahaha… Fortunately no, but not by much :) We do need to get better at taking some alone time away from the kids though, which hopefully will be easier now that they’re getting older (already 2 and 4 – can you believe it??)
- You buy so much on eBay that they’ve awarded you VIP status. Hah. Back when eBay first came out yeah – I was an idiot – but now the only transactions that would be going on is them paying ME! They’re a hustler’s dream! ;)
- You want to start a savings account, but then sale season starts again! Psshh…
- You don’t have an emergency fund to pay bills should you lose your job. Def. have one, though not as plump as it once was/should be… Our biggest problem area right now.
- Your monthly extra cell phone minute charges are bigger than your monthly electric bill. Now THAT would be harsh. Not a problem anymore with Republic Wireless‘ unlimited plans we have, and really with the way the industry’s been going I’m not sure anyone will have this problem anymore? Everything’s “data” related these days as so much has changed since this quiz came out 6 years ago!
- You overdraw on your checking account more than once a year. Nope, not anymore… But I do have our savings linked to it just in case I do ever slip up.
- You live paycheck to paycheck. Not in the general sense, but there are periods we break even – or even lose some – with self-employment being what it is. Overall though I think we’re doing okay despite managing a family of four with one not-as-stable income over the past handful of years… I won’t be sad once the Mrs gets her career going again though, that’s for sure!
- You spend more on new shoes annually than you save. Yeah right! I think the shoes I’m wearing right now are at least three years old, and they’re the *newer* of the bunch :)
Okay, so these questions were wayyy different than the first set, haha… But actually a lot more fun to answer! Looks like 6 years ago I answered “yes” to 3 of these, but this time around only failed at 2 of them – woo! A 33% increase in status!
How’d you do? Do these make you feel better or worse than when you first got here?
Hopefully better! But if not, remember that it’s only a phase and you’ll get better with time! Not everything happens over night, especially with money, but what counts is that you’re *doing something* about it right now and not avoiding everything. After all, there are plenty of other sites you could be on right now but you’re here with us :)
So first, good job being here! And second, keep going strong as it’s well worth the fight… Lord knows I have some areas to be working on as well.
See ya in the comments…
PS: Funny thing about that last set of questions there – it was made up by a company who went out of business a short while after posting them ;) (Anyone remember, BillShrink.com?) I guess they had some financial problems of their own!
Other money tests you might like:
- Get these questions right and win The Game of Money
- Are you more like Warren Buffett, MC Hammer, or Macaulay Culkin?
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!