Quiz: What's Your Money Style?
How you handle finances can affect your health and relationships. Take our quiz and identify your spending type.
Are you a miser—or wiser? Do you feel the urge to splurge? While many of us can describe our fashion or decorating style, self-knowledge often fails us when it comes to our financial habits. But knowing how you tend to handle money is a key to financial success and is important for happy marriages too.
“Money is a common area of conflict for couples,” says therapist Kathleen Andrews of Therapy Core in Madison. “We are as protective of our ‘money personality’ as we are of our cognitive/behavioral/emotional personality type. Understand yourself first, then you can talk to your partner about financial values.”
Getting a handle on your money style is critical for any long-term financial stability, says Jerry A. Miccolis, chief investment officer and senior financial adviser at Brinton Eaton in Madison. “When I have a client more inclined to spend than to save, I remind him or her that it’s all about balance,” he says. “It’s easy to live for today, but tomorrow is right around the corner.”
To determine your money style, take the quick quiz below. It may help you chart a new course, if need be, to make sure the dollar is your servant and not the other way around.
Out shopping, you see a great pair of shoes on sale. They’re not in your week’s budget, and you’ll have to put them on a credit card, but you do need shoes.What do you do?
- A Resist the impulse and stick to the budget.
- B Buy the shoes and makea note to pay off that credit-card bill as soon as you can.
- C Simply buy the shoes and worry about yourcredit-card balance later.
You’re shopping for a new TV. The high-definition set looks fantastic, but it’s more than you planned to spend. Do you:
- A decide not to buy a set till you can determine what kind best fits your needs and budget?
- B buy the high-def TV and hold back on another planned expense to make up the difference?
- C just go for it, figuring that a TV is a long-term investment?
Which best describes your use of credit cards?
- A I never—or hardly ever— use them.
- B I use them regularly but pay off balances promptly to avoid high interest charges.
- C I have significant balances on them that I can’t pay off right away.
Your uncle just left you $25,000, but things also seem shaky for your employer. What do you do?
- A Deposit the inheritance in a money-market account and forget about it.
- B Spend a few grand on things you’ve been wanting—home improvements, a nice vacation—and put the rest in a savings account.
- C Take this chance to trade in your car for a fancier one to lift your spirits.
How do you budget your money?
- A I write down every expenditure and deduct it from amounts I’ve allotted monthly for various categories.
- B I know generally what I need to spend on different items each month and try to keep within those limits, but I don’t keep exact written records.
- C I spend it if I’ve got it, use credit if I don’t, and deal with the totals only when I have to.
Which gives you the most pleasure?
- A Seeing the balance on my 401K account rise.
- B Having my financial affairs in order so that I can concentrate on other things.
- C Buying myself an impulse gift.
Which statement best describes how financially ready for retirement you are for your stage of life?
- A I’m right on track for the amount I need to save.
- B I’m saving, but not as much as I should.
- C I’m way behind or I don’t even know quite where I stand.
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