You can tell a lot about a person's financial fitness by what they know and do. Below are 35 questions that can be answered in one of three ways: yes, no, or unsure. Answer each question and give yourself one point for each "yes" answer. The higher your score, the better your financial fitness.
I write (bank or credit union or brokerage firm) checks to pay bills.
I reconcile my monthly checking account statement each month.
I read at least one personal finance book or magazine per month.
I pay my bills when they are due.
I have credit accounts in my name.
My credit card(s) is/are at a competitive interest rate.
I have a list of all my credit card numbers and contact numbers in case they are lost or stolen.
I check my credit card statements against my receipts on a monthly basis.
I pay the entire balance due on my credit card bill each month.
I obtain a copy of my credit report annually to check its accuracy.
I have a good credit rating (no negative remarks and a credit score of 700 or above).
I know how much money I spend each month to live and can account for my spending.
I have a monthly spending plan/budget.
I have a savings account in my own name.
I plan ahead for large expenses such as insurance premiums, holiday shopping, and appliance replacement.
My monthly credit card payments are less than 20 percent of my take-home pay.
I save a minimum of 5 percent of my income (10 percent is even better!).
My home and valuables are adequately insured.
I have a written, photographic, and/or video-taped record of my household goods.
I have an emergency fund of six months of income easily available in a savings account, money market fund, or CD.
I know what Social Security or other benefits will be available to me at retirement.
I can locate my family records: marriage, birth, divorce, and death.
I can locate the certificates and records of my stocks and bonds.
I know where my safe deposit box is located and where the key is kept.
I have a list of the important papers that I keep in my safe deposit box and know where this list is located.
I can locate my insurance policies: disability, life, health, property, and automobile.
I know the kinds and amounts of disability, life, health, and auto insurance protection I have and am comfortable with my coverage.
I know the names of the beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries of my life insurance policies and retirement savings plans.
I know the name and address of my insurance agent(s) and financial advisor(s).
I have a savings and investment plan for retirement (e.g., 401(k) plan).
I have an up-to-date will and can locate it, along with the name and address of my attorney.
I have a living will that indicates my health care treatment preferences.
I can locate copies of the last three years' income tax returns.
I can prepare state and federal returns for myself.
I know my net worth (assets minus debts).
If you score over 30, you are doing extremely well and, between 24 and 29, very well. Scores between 18 and 23 indicate a need to take some action to improve your finances. A score of 17 or less means that your financial health is poor, but can be improved by taking action on those items where you indicated a "no" answer.