Fine Line Quiz

Successful money management is a combination of sound personal financial knowledge and behavior.  The following questions are samples of each.

 

 

1.       If you were given a choice of one Snickers Bar (or whatever your favorite treat might be) to eat right now or waiting 15 minutes to get two, what would you do? 

 

Walter Mischel of Stanford University studied this question decades ago and found that about 30 percent of the subjects were able to wait fifteen minutes to get the second treat; the rest couldn't wait.  In their follow-up, the 30% who could delay gratification were more likely to do well in school, have higher SAT scores, and obtain jobs; generally, they were more likely to succeed at life.  Good news is that the rest of us can learn methods to overcome the “I want it now” impulse.

 

2.       If you have credit cards, do you carry a balance or pay them off monthly?

 

If you carry a balance, paying off that balance is the equivalent of earning 12-29% interest (whatever your rate is) on your money.  Even if you pay off your balance monthly, research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows that credit cards that give cash back prompt consumers to spend more and accrue more debt.  So, don’t use “earning points” as a rationale for buying a large ticket item on your credit card.  Bottom line, studies show that individuals spend 40% more when using credit rather than cash.  

 

3.       It’s no secret that money is associated with happiness.  So, it’s important to understand what makes us happy.  Which future would you prefer –  you win the lottery or you lose the use of your legs? 

 

The answer seems obvious – win the lottery.  But when author Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, interviewed lottery winners and paraplegics after a year, both were equally happy with their lives. Things we think will make us happy usually don't make us as happy as we think they will.   To understand why, see his interview on www.GetRichSlowly.Org. 

 

4.       Do you check your credit report annually? 

 

You should check it annually for two reasons:  79% of reports have errors on them and it’s a good way to protect against identity theft for which Arizona ranks #2 in the nation.  If corrected errors raise your credit score, that, in turn, can lower your rate to borrow money plus lower what you pay for insurance coverage of every kind.  Check it for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

 

5.        Do you worry about money?

 

Most people do.  However, as with any issue, if you face it, you can gain control over it.  More control means less worry.  Most people suffer from inertia.  They continue to do the same thing over and over again.  You can stop the cycle by assessing your finances and creating a financial plan.  It’s not hard and it takes less time than you think.  And, the sooner you start, the sooner you benefit.

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