What's Your Financial Attitude?
Managing our personal finances evokes different feelings in each one of us. Take this 11-question quiz to determine your money attitude and receive suggestions for wherever you're at on your financial journey.
Your relationship with money
Based on your quiz score, you are...
Hesitant to start
You have taken the first steps in gaining confidence to manage your money – way to go! Here are some suggestions to help you continue on your journey. Keep in mind, this is only a starting point.
Find one thing to do different. For example, instead put the money you would spend once a week on your favorite indulgence, in an envelope and deposit it in a saving account instead . . . and watch it grow!
Reduce the stress in your life
Establish an emergency savings account so you are prepared for the unexpected. Start small and put a set amount away every month. A good rule of thumb is to have three to six months' worth of income in savings.
Understand where your money is going
A budget or balanced spending plan will give you a clearer picture of your habits and help identify places to make a change. Use this balanced spending worksheet (PDF) each month to help you get started.
Taking the First Steps
Sometimes it is tough to know where to begin. Here are some suggestions to help make your first step easier.
Find more money to save
Focus on big-ticket items and ask yourself, do I really need that? You can still enjoy a few pleasures; just be sure they are in your spending plan. Use a balanced spending worksheet (PDF) each month to help you decide how, where and when you use your money.
If you want to start small, plug your spending leaks and find ways to save more.
Review your credit scores annually
Make sure they are accurate. Your score impacts the interest you pay on loans, credit cards, a mortgage, etc. Review one credit bureau every four months. Visit Annualcreditreport.com for more information.
Are you leaving money on the table?
Make sure you are receiving your employer's full 401(k) match, if it is available. Putting more money into retirement may feel like a stretch at first, but once you do it, you won't notice the difference! No matter where you are in life, planning for retirement is key.
Learning to deal with your finances in good times and bad will serve you well. Here are some ways to make it easier.
Automate your money management
Set up automatic deposit and online bill pay. This can reduce worry and minimize late fees. Consider putting some into an emergency savings account if you don't have one. The rule of thumb is three to six months' of income.
Use a credit card interest cost calculator to find out how much more you may end up paying on credit card purchases.
Continue to build your confidence with money matters
Visit Annualcreditreport.com to request free copies of your credit reports from the three credit bureaus. Review one bureau every four months.
Save more for retirement
Check out the "Retirement Planner Calculator" to see the power of saving now versus waiting one, five or 10 years.
What is your risk tolerance? (PDF) Understand your tolerance for risk so you make informed decisions about your retirement savings vehicles you can rest easy with.
Building a Solid Foundation
You're off to a good start! Still, there's always room to know more and gain a better understanding to make sure you are moving toward your financial goals. Here's some food for thought:
Be wise with your money
You know where you are with respect to achieving your goals, and you have a plan to get there. Clearly define your short-, medium- and long-term goals to help you make informed decisions for the future.
Save for retirement
Start now or increase your contribution by the same percentage as your pay increase. You won't notice a difference and your contributions will grow! Make sure you are contributing enough to receive your full employer match.
Determine your life expectancy (PDF). Use this tool to see how long you might live in retirement so you can plan accordingly.
Be prepared for the unexpected
Work with a knowledgeable financial professional to understand what insurance coverages best meet your needs. Check out the life insurance calculator to see where you stand.
Your wise with money journey begins with you and the small steps you take all along the way to help achieve your financial goals.