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Can You Pass a Money Stress Test?

Banks are failing stress tests left and right. Are your finances equally tenuous?

I've developed a 10-question quiz, with the help of the National Foundation for Consumer Credit and Clearpoint Financial, to help you figure that out. Take the quiz; add your scores; and see how you rate.


  1. The amount I have socked away in savings to handle emergencies could pay all of my living expenses for up to : a. three months; b. six months; c. 8 months or more; d. about an hour and a half, if I cut back.
  2. My spouse and I fight about money: a. frequently; b. sometimes; c. never; d. through court-appointed lawyers.
  3. Payments on my consumer debts--that's auto loans, student loans, credit cards and home equity lines of credit--amount to less than: a. 20% of take-home pay; b. 15% of take-home pay; c. 10% or less of take-home pay; d. way more than 20% of my monthly paychecks.
  4. When it comes to saving for retirement, I'm socking away: a. 6% or a little less of income to get the company match; b. 10% of my income; c. the maximum allowed by the company plan; d. change in a jar. Seriously, who can afford to save for retirement?
  5. My housing costs, including property tax (when applicable) and insurance, amounts to less than: a. 30% of my take-home pay; b. 25% of take-home pay; c. 20% or less of take-home pay; d. more than 30% of take-home pay.
  6. I make more than the minimum required payments on my credit cards: a. sometimes; b. most of the time; c. actually, I pay off the balance in full; d. never. If they demand $29.50, that's what I'm paying and not a penny more.
  7. I spend less than I make: a. unless there's a sale; b. except in cases when I'm investing in something long-term, like education or a car that gets me to work; c. always; d. when I manage to work enough overtime.
  8. My finances are: a. an occasional source of concern; b. largely in control; c. good--never a cause of worry; d. give me cold sweats.
  9. I have enough insurance to cover medical costs: a. as long as they're not catastrophic; b. for both me and my family; c. and I have money set aside to cover co-payments and deductibles; d. only if I never get sick.
  10. I know my net worth and: a. while it's not what I want it to be, I'm working on it; b. it's good and growing; c. I'm the typical millionaire next-door; d. and that tells me I'm insolvent.
SCORING: Give yourself 5 points for every A answer; 2 points for each B; 1 point for each C; and 10 points for any D answers. Add 'em up.

75-100: Danger, Will Robinson! You are in the economic red zone. Get yourself to a credit counselor, pronto!

50-75: Teetering: You may be making your payments now, but you're on the razor's edge of trouble. It's time to get serious about budgeting and saving. If you can't do it alone, get help.

25-50: Healthy and Happy: You've got adequate savings and good habits. Keep it up and you'll be comfortably rich in no time, if you're not already.

0-25: Rock Star: You only took the quiz to gloat, didn't you? Congratulations. You deserve it. But, try not to sprain your arm patting yourself on the back.

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