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Financial Health Check
One of the keys to maintaining good financial health is taking time to check in with yourself and your accounts. Finances that are ignored or neglected can easily get out of hand and your financial health can take a hit. If you are conscious of where your money is going it is easier to spot patterns of waste. You can identify areas where you can cut back, and catch yourself in bad habits that you can start to correct.
Below is a quiz adapted from the Financial Habits Checkup in Nathan Dungan's book Prodigal Sons and Material Girls (Wiley & Sons, 2003).
1. Are you currently carrying a balance on your credit card(s)
2. Have you made only the minimum payment on your credit card any time in the past year?
3. If you have a mortgage is the payment more than 30% of your annual household income?
4. Are you behind on any of your bills?
5. Do you own/lease vehicles whose total sticker price is more than 50% of your annual household income?
6. Have money issues caused tension in your relationship over the last year?
7. Do you have disability and life insurance?
8. Do you follow a budget?
9. Do you save in anticipation of large expenses (like a vacation or a home upgrade)?
10. Do you have identified financial goals?
Question 1-6: 1 point for every no.
Question 7-10:1point for every yes.
If your points total less than 8, you probably need to make some changes to improve your financial health. If you don't know where to start consider seeking professional advice.
A similar interactive resource for checking your financial health can be found on the websites of many financial institutions. HSBC’s financial health checker can be found here (http://www.tools.hsbcadvance.com/fhc/ca/ ) It will not only tell you about your level of financial health, but identify the areas that need attention and make suggestions for improvements.
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