Are You in Need of Financial Bypass Surgery?

by Ellie Kay

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Use the following point system to answer the following questions:

Rarely = 1
Sometimes = 5
Frequently = 10

  1. Do you currently live on a budget?
  2. Do you consistently stick to your budget?
  3. Do you only buy something because you really need it?
  4. Do you give ten percent of your income to your church or other non-profit organization?
  5. Do you regularly give away material possessions?
  6. Do you have total consumer debt load of less than 10 percent of your annual income?
  7. Do you save at least ten percent of your income?
  8. Do you have a savings account with at least two months worth of income in it?
  9. Do you own a retirement account or mutual fund of any kind?
  10. Do you ever buy something because you are influenced by a commercial?

30 or less. You are in the greatest need category and have all the characteristics of a born spender who has never made any modifications in your financial habits. If you haven't filed for bankruptcy yet, it is possible you will do so within the next two years unless you change your course and set it for financial recovery.

Between 30 and 60. If you are a typical American family, you are somewhat content with the status quo, but believe your family's financial situation will somehow right itself on its own. You tend to behave like a born spender but there is still hope for your saver characteristics to kick in and save the day (and the money!)

Between 60 and 85. At least one of the partners in this family is likely a born saver with an ability to influence the household budget. This person may know many of the right things to do financially, but could still lack some of the accountability to follow through in specific areas.

Between 85 and 99. You have a great financial outlook. However, you are in danger of becoming out of balance if saving and investing becomes an obsession. You need to be sure that you find flexibility in negotiating your finances.

100. If you can honestly say that you have balance and are still generous with your money, then you might want to consider mentoring others. Finding ways to use your talents to help others can keep you humble and compassionate, as well as prosperous.

Adapted from A Woman's Guide to Family Finances by Ellie Kay. Copyright© Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited

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