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April Is Financial Literacy Month—Can You Answer These 15 Questions?

Written by Mechel Glass on April 25, 2011 in Credit  |   1 comment

April Is Financial Literacy Month—Can You Answer These 15 Questions? CredAbility, Guest Blogger How well do you understand the basics of money management? Take this quiz from CredAbility to see if you are making the best use of your money. Select the best answer to…

April Is Financial Literacy Month—Can You Answer These 15 Questions?
CredAbility, Guest Blogger

How well do you understand the basics of money management? Take this quiz from CredAbility to see if you are making the best use of your money.

Select the best answer to each of these questions. The correct answers are at the end of the quiz.
1. Which of the following best defines your net worth?
A. How much money I have in my wallet
B. How much money I have minus how much money I owe
C. The total value of my assets minus my liabilities
D. How much money is left from my paycheck after I pay my monthly bills

2. What percentage of your income should you spend on your monthly mortgage payment?
A. Whatever the bank says I qualify for
B. No more than 25 percent of my gross pay or 35 percent of my take-home pay
C. No more than half of my paycheck
D. Whatever I am comfortable with

3. Social Security taxes have been reduced for 2011. How should you redirect this extra money?
A. Go out to dinner once a month
B. Buy lottery tickets
C. Build an emergency fund or pay down credit card debt
D. Stash the money in a mattress for a rainy day

4. You owe $5,000 on a credit card that has an interest rate of 18 percent and a minimum payment of 2 percent of the balance. If you don’t purchase another thing and make only minimum payments, how long will it take you to pay off the balance?
A. 8 years, 6 months
B. 17 years, 9 months
C. 25 years, 7 months
D. 39 years, 4 months

5. You recently lost your job. Which expenses should you eliminate immediately?
A. Mortgage/rent
B. Medical insurance premiums
C. Monthly credit card payments
D. Restaurant meals

6. If you save $100 a month from age 25 to age 40 or save $250 a month from age 40 to age 60, and both accounts pay interest of 7 percent, which will have a larger balance when you are 60?
A. Saving $100 a month from age 25 to age 40
B. Saving $250 a month from age 40 to age 60
C. Both accounts will have about the same balance

7. You checked your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com and found an error. How do you correct it?
A. I don’t need to; if it’s wrong, it’s no big deal
B. Just let creditors know if I apply for new credit
C. Contact the credit bureaus directly
D. File a small claims lawsuit against the company

8. You purchase a $20,000 car with 10 percent down and take out a loan with a 10 percent interest rate for sixty months. About how much will your monthly payments be?
A. $257
B. $382
C. $469
D. $512

9. Under IRS guidelines, what is the maximum you can contribute to your 401(k) in 2011?
A. Up to 20 percent of my salary
B. Up to $1,000 a month
C. Up to $16,500
D. As much as I want

10. If a person age 62 or older obtains a reverse mortgage, he or she is still responsible for paying property taxes and insurance.
A. True
B. False

11. How long can negative information stay on your credit report?
A. Negative information is not included on my report
B. Three years
C. Seven years
D. Forever

12. A fifteen-year mortgage typically requires higher monthly payments than a thirty-year mortgage, but you will pay less interest over the life of the loan.
A. True
B. False

13. If a thief takes your credit card and uses it, how much could you be responsible for paying?
A. Nothing, if I report the card stolen before any charges are made
B. Up to $50 if charges are made before I report the loss
C. All charges made before I report the card stolen
D. Both A and B

14. If you take out a $150,000 mortgage for thirty years at 5 percent, your payment will be about $805 per month. If you pay $100 extra each month, how much faster will you pay off your mortgage?
A. 2 years, 6 months
B. 4 years
C. 6 years, 5 months
D. 8 years, 2 months

15. How much should you have in an emergency savings account?
A. $500–$1,000
B. Three months of living expenses
C. Six months of living expenses
D. An emergency savings account? Isn’t that what credit cards are for?

BONUS QUESTION
Who should you call if you find yourself facing a financial crisis?
A. Ghostbusters
B. A good therapist
C. A certified credit counselor with a nonprofit organization

Of course, the answer to the bonus question is C—the key to reclaiming your financial independence is recognizing the need for help and getting it. At CredAbility, certified counselors will help you evaluate your financial situation and find the solution that best suits you. To speak with a certified counselor about your options for a debt-free life, contact CredAbility at 1-800-251-2227 or online at www.CredAbility.org.

Answers:

1. (C)—Your net worth is the total value of your assets (including the market value of your home) minus your liabilities (including what you owe on your mortgage).
2. (B)—Home prices have come down significantly, and it may be the right time to buy, but be realistic when it comes to figuring out how much you can spend. Make sure that your payment—including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance—does not exceed 25 percent of your gross income or 35 percent of your take-home pay.
3. (C)—While it may be tempting to take the mattress approach, an emergency fund can prepare you for the unexpected, and paying your credit card debt will provide long-term financial benefits.
4. (D)—If you make just the minimum payments, it will take you 472 months, or 39 years and 4 months, to pay off the balance. And during that time, you will pay $13,396 in interest, so you’ll essentially be paying three times for everything you’ve bought.
5. (D)—Dining out should be the first expense to go. It is very important to stay current on your rent or mortgage payment as well as any premiums for your mortgage and automobile, health, and life insurance.
6. (A)—Saving just $100 a month from age 25 to age 40 will result in a balance of $190,254. (You will have contributed just $42,000.) Saving $250 from age 40 to age 60 will cost you $60,000 and will result in a balance of $133,918.
7. (C)—Contact each of the reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) and file a dispute regarding any errors you find. They will work with you to remove any incorrect information.
8. (B)—You’ll pay about $382 a month. Put 20 percent down, and you will reduce your payments to $340 per month. Finance for forty-eight months instead of sixty, and your payments will be about $74 more per month, but you will save just over $1,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan.
9. (C)—Under IRS guidelines, you can save up to $16,500 in your 401(k) if you are under 50 years old, $22,000 if you are over 50.
10. (A)—True.
11. (C)—Typically, accurate negative information will stay on your report for seven years. A bankruptcy can stay on your report for seven to ten years.
12. (A)—True.
13. (D)—Report your card lost or stolen immediately. In the event that your credit card is stolen in the United States, federal law limits your liability to $50 regardless of the amount charged on the card by the unauthorized user; however, some card issuers guarantee zero liability if the unauthorized usage is reported immediately.
14. (C)—In addition to paying off your loan more than six years early, you will save more than $34,000 in interest over the life of the loan.
15. (C)—Even if you have to start small, set a goal to put aside six months of living expenses in an account. This can make facing a financial crisis much less stressful and give you time to figure out the next steps to take. Use things like your tax refund, raises, or overtime to get a jump start on your emergency fund.
Leave your answers in the comments and compare yourself to other Equifax readers.
Disappointed in your score? Read more of the best advice for the Five Pillars of Personal Finance here on the Equifax Personal Finance Blog: Credit, Retirement, Tax, Insurance, and Real Estate.

1 comment

  1. Allison says:

    Great tips! It's good to hear that if I save $100 a month starting now and put it into an account that pays a decent amount in interest, I could save up a good sum towards retirement.


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