The Mint Grad

Financial Fitness Test

Even money mavens make mistakes. But knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help. Check up on your financial fitness and get your wallet into shape.

With support from:

Center for Financial Security - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Section 1 of 4:
Understanding your Finances
The following questions will gauge how well you understand key financial
concepts. Knowing how these concepts impact your money, can help you
make more informed financial decisions. InfoHigher levels of financial knowledge have been linked with more retirement planning, paying bills on time, having an emergency fund, and increased retirement savings contributions.

Q1 of 8

As long as you make your minimum payment each month, your credit card balance has no effect on your credit score. InfoPeople that primarily use credit cards typically spend more than people that pay for purchases in cash.

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Q2 of 8

By law, you can obtain three free credit reports each year.

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Q3 of 8

Lenders are required by law to offer you the lowest interest rate available for a loan. InfoShopping for the best loan rate is an under-practiced activity that can save people considerable amounts of money.

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Q4 of 8

If you overdraft your checking account, you may be listed in a database that prevents you from opening a bank account in the future. InfoAmericans actually spend more money in overdraft charges than in the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables!

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Q5 of 8

If someone knows your date of birth and Social Security number they can steal your identity.

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Q6 of 8

If you have a job paying you $10 per hour and you work 40 hours per week, your cashable paycheck at the end of the week will be $400. InfoReview your tax withholding regularly to decide the best strategy for yourself and your family. Just remember, the less deducted per paycheck, the more money you may owe when tax time comes around.

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Q7 of 8

When someone else does your taxes , they are responsible for any mistakes on the forms. InfoPeople that do their own taxes are more likely to score high on financial IQ tests.

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Q8 of 8

Which of the following are income taxes? (Select all that apply)

See Your Results

Your Results: Section 1

To DoKick your financial literacy into shape.

You don't need to be a money maven to make smart money decisions, but you do need to know a thing or two about income, taxes, and safeguarding your hard earned money. Brushing up on some basic financial concepts can help you save money and improve your credit. The Learn section of theMintGRAD has a variety of resources to get you started.

To DoExercise your knowledge and get a leg upon your goals.

You understand some basic financial concepts, which is a good start. Now it's time to identify where your knowledge falls short (e.g. income taxes, interest rates, investing). You can brush up on a variety of money topics via the Learn section of theMintGRAD. If you feel like you just need some hands on experience, we have tools that can help.

To DoYou know what you have to do - now make a game plan.

You have a superior grasp of key financial concepts. Your goal should be to translate all this great knowledge into healthy behaviors. You can do this by creating a personal plan that will help you stick to your financial goals.

Continue to Next Section
Section 2 of 4:
Managing your Finances
The following questions ask you to reflect on your current financial
habits. To assess your financial security, it's important to consider the
vehicles you're using to protect and grow your assets, as well as your
ability to make smart financial decisions.

Q1 of 11

Do you currently have a savings and/or money market fund account? InfoOpening a basic savings account can have a positive impact on your long term goals - and overall financial happiness.

Is money automatically deposited into your savings or money market fund account every month? InfoDo you find yourself spending more than you're saving? Research shows that automatic deposits help people build up their savings more rapidly. Think about having just a portion of your regular paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account.

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Q2 of 11

Do you contribute to a long-term savings tool like an individual retirement savings or investment account, such as a 401(k), IRA, or Roth IRA each year? InfoA lack of knowledge about 401(k)s and retirement savings tools is one of the top reasons people fail to save for retirement.

Is money automatically deposited into your retirement savings or investment account every month?

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Q3 of 11

Think about the money you currently have set aside in readily accessible accounts, such as savings accounts or money market funds. About how many months of expenses could you cover with these accessible funds?

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Q4 of 11

As of today, how much money do you have in savings that you could access in less than 5 days in case of an emergency?

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Q5 of 11

Do you regularly use a budget? InfoPeople that use a budget feel more in control of their finances, and are also more likely to find the "best deal" on loans and investments.

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Q6 of 11

In the last 3 months, have you had any difficulty paying for living expenses? InfoAccording to FINRA, 40% of Americans have difficulty paying their bills.

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Q7 of 11

In the last 3 months, have you paid a late fee on a loan or bill? InfoWhen it comes to paying your bills, enrollment in an automatic payment program or email reminders can reduce your late payments. Always verify that your payment goes through, even when using an automatic system. You're ultimately responsible for paying on time, no matter what.

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Q8 of 11

In the last 3 months, have you been contacted by a bill collector?

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Q9 of 11

As of today, how much do you have in total consumer debt (credit cards and other loans that help you get by -- not including home mortgages or equity loans, student loans or car loans)?

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Q10 of 11

In the last year, have you worked with a financial professional? InfoIndividuals who need financial advice the most, are also those least likely to obtain it! Even a no-obligation meeting with a financial advisor can provide you with useful information about your finances.

How often do you meet or have discussions with a financial professional? InfoOnly about 5% of people that seek unbiased financial advice follow through with the recommendations. Regular meetings with a financial advisor can help reinforce good decisions and behaviors.

Next Question

Q11 of 11

Where do you go for financial advice? (Select all that apply)

See Your Results

Your Results: Section 2

To DoDon't fall for rookie mistakes.

It's easy to forego setting up a savings account or paying your credit card bill on time. But these "little" mistakes can become costly problems for your finances (and credit score!) down the road. Sit down and think about all of the tools you're using to manage your money (e.g. a budget, online banking, or automatic bill pay). Write them out! If there's a bill you're not automatically paying or a bank account without a savings, take action. You'll feel 100x better knowing that you've planned ahead with easy strategies to meet your longer term goals (more income, an emergency savings, etc.)

To DoSlim down on a few bad habits, and you've got potential.

Okay, so you might be spending more than you budgeted for, or maybe you haven't committed to a long-term savings account. Don't be overwhelmed. You're making a good attempt to manage your finances; more action just might be needed. Try focusing on one or two areas of weakness that you can easily fix such as starting a savings plan or meeting with a reputable financial professional. When you're ready, set a goal (and a deadline!) to help you benchmark your progress. Most importantly, reward yourself when you accomplish that goal! Just be smart about it.

To DoYou're doing all the right things!

You've taken control of your finances by protecting all of your bases. Now, focus on YOU. Think about how you can continue to improve your finances so that you're happy, stress-free and contributing to your long-term goals. We know it's not always easy to do, but little improvements here and there can make a huge difference.

Continue to Next Section
Section 3 of 4:
Your Relationship with Money
How you feel about managing your personal finances may shape
your future financial decisions. Think carefully and answer honestly
to the questions below.

Q1 of 5

How financially secure do you feel in your current job?

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Q2 of 5

How confident are you that within the next week you could come up with $1,000 to pay for a financial emergency?

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Q3 of 5

How confident do you feel about managing your personal finances?

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Q4 of 5

In the past 12 months, how often did you worry about being able to pay your bills? InfoWriting out your budget or keeping a spending diary (for at least one month) can help you find ways to cut back on expenses and pay your bills on time.

Next Question

Q5 of 5

When thinking of your financial investments, how willing are you to take risks? InfoTaking too much risk is usually associated with bad health outcomes such as smoking or overeating. However, in finance, a certain amount of risky behavior has been linked to better financial outcomes such as long-term wealth and higher returns on investments. There are a variety of factors that should be considered (e.g., age and income) before making risky financial decisions. A financial professional can help you manage risk and find investments that meet your lifestyle needs.

See Your Results

Your Results: Section 3

To DoDon't bottle up your doubts, talk to a coach.

You may be under a considerable amount of stress when it comes to your finances. Perhaps you have an abundance of student loans to pay, or you're working paycheck to paycheck. If you feel like you have a lot of catching up to do, know that you're not alone (recent Northwestern Mutual research found nearly one fourth of Americans feel this way). And there are simple steps you can take to chip away at unwanted stress, such as starting a savings program or cutting up unnecessary credit cards. If you have unanswered questions that create uncertainty, talking with a financial advisor (who can keep your information confidential) could alleviate some of your worries. You can also visit the Socialize section of themintGRAD to find out how others are approaching their financial challenges.

To DoRelax your money muscles, and give yourself a little FLC.

Most people are under some type of financial stress. In fact, recent Northwestern Mutual research found nearly one fourth of Americans feel as though they have some catching up to do, when it comes to their money. So give yourself (and your wallet) some financial loving care! Making small changes like saving more or revisiting your budget can go a long way in helping you live a stress-free life.

To DoYou've got confidence. Make it work in your favor.

There are two reasons why you might be stress-free:
1) You're working hard to keep your finances in shape and you're confident about the decisions you've made.
2) You're not thinking about your finances.

If you're managing your money and planning ahead, then you're setting yourself up for continued success. Keep on planning for the long-term, but when you're ready to make a big life decision (like buying a home or starting a family), find a financial advisor that can coach you in the right direction.

If you're not thinking about your finances, you need to start. The decisions you make today do matter - they impact things like your credit history which is a deciding factor when you're seeking approval on a mortgage, car loan, or personal credit card. You can start by making (or revisiting) your budget. If you're already confident with the budget you have, start planning to achieve your goals.

Continue to Next Section
Section 4 of 4:
About You
These questions are just about you. No wrong answers here!
Please note that your responses are completely confidential.
    1. What is your gender?

    1. What is your age?

    1. What state do you live in?

    1. Which of the following best
      describes your current
      employment status?
      (Select all that apply)

    1. Which of the following
      categories best describes
      your total annual income
      before taxes?

Review Your Results
Review:
Your Financial Fitness Results
True financial fitness requires knowledge of key financial concepts,
smart money management skills and a healthy attitude. Use the recap
below to assess your strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals
and take actions to improve your overall financial wellbeing.

Understanding your Finances

To DoKick your financial literacy into shape.

You don't need to be a money maven to make smart money decisions, but you do need to know a thing or two about income, taxes, and safeguarding your hard earned money. Brushing up on some basic financial concepts can help you save money and improve your credit. The Learn section of theMintGRAD has a variety of resources to get you started.

To DoExercise your knowledge and get a leg upon your goals.

You understand some basic financial concepts, which is a good start. Now it's time to identify where your knowledge falls short (e.g. income taxes, interest rates, investing). You can brush up on a variety of money topics via the Learn section of theMintGRAD. If you feel like you just need some hands on experience, we have tools that can help.

To DoYou know what you have to do - now make a game plan.

You have a superior grasp of key financial concepts. Your goal should be to translate all this great knowledge into healthy behaviors. You can do this by creating a personal plan that will help you stick to your financial goals.

Managing your Finances

To DoDon't fall for rookie mistakes.

It's easy to forego setting up a savings account or paying your credit card bill on time. But these "little" mistakes can become costly problems for your finances (and credit score!) down the road. Sit down and think about all of the tools you're using to manage your money (e.g. a budget, online banking, or automatic bill pay). Write them out! If there's a bill you're not automatically paying or a bank account without a savings, take action. You'll feel 100x better knowing that you've planned ahead with easy strategies to meet your longer term goals (more income, an emergency savings, etc.)

To DoSlim down on a few bad habits, and you've got potential.

Okay, so you might be spending more than you budgeted for, or maybe you haven't committed to a long-term savings account. Don't be overwhelmed. You're making a good attempt to manage your finances; more action just might be needed. Try focusing on one or two areas of weakness that you can easily fix such as starting a savings plan or meeting with a reputable financial professional. When you're ready, set a goal (and a deadline!) to help you benchmark your progress. Most importantly, reward yourself when you accomplish that goal! Just be smart about it.

To DoYou're doing all the right things!

You've taken control of your finances by protecting all of your bases. Now, focus on YOU. Think about how you can continue to improve your finances so that you're happy, stress-free and contributing to your long-term goals. We know it's not always easy to do, but little improvements here and there can make a huge difference.

Your Relationship with Money

To DoDon't bottle up your doubts, talk to a coach.

You may be under a considerable amount of stress when it comes to your finances. Perhaps you have an abundance of student loans to pay, or you're working paycheck to paycheck. If you feel like you have a lot of catching up to do, know that you're not alone (recent Northwestern Mutual research found nearly one fourth of Americans feel this way). And there are simple steps you can take to chip away at unwanted stress, such as starting a savings program or cutting up unnecessary credit cards. If you have unanswered questions that create uncertainty, talking with a financial advisor (who can keep your information confidential) could alleviate some of your worries. You can also visit the Socialize section of themintGRAD to find out how others are approaching their financial challenges.

To DoRelax your money muscles, and give yourself a little FLC.

Most people are under some type of financial stress. In fact, recent Northwestern Mutual research found nearly one fourth of Americans feel as though they have some catching up to do, when it comes to their money. So give yourself (and your wallet) some financial loving care! Making small changes like saving more or revisiting your budget can go a long way in helping you live a stress-free life.

To DoYou've got confidence. Make it work in your favor.

There are two reasons why you might be stress-free:
1) You're working hard to keep your finances in shape and you're confident about the decisions you've made.
2) You're not thinking about your finances.

If you're managing your money and planning ahead, then you're setting yourself up for continued success. Keep on planning for the long-term, but when you're ready to make a big life decision (like buying a home or starting a family), find a financial advisor that can coach you in the right direction.

If you're not thinking about your finances, you need to start. The decisions you make today do matter - they impact things like your credit history which is a deciding factor when you're seeking approval on a mortgage, car loan, or personal credit card. You can start by making (or revisiting) your budget. If you're already confident with the budget you have, start planning to achieve your goals.

To learn more about how these results are scored, click here.