Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quiz: Do You Know the Keys to Financial Security?

The following quiz has been designed based on economic journalist Knight Kiplinger’s “8 Keys to Financial Security”, an enlightening publication with Kiplinger’s own personal financial wisdom.  The article was first introduced in 1997 in the 50th anniversary of Kiplinger Magazine, and again in both 2002 and 2008.  Along with being an economic journalist and active philanthropist, Kiplinger is the Editor in Chief of Kiplinger Washington Editors in Washington D.C.

1. Where should your money be spent or invested first?
a. Giving money to my children
b. Investing in myself
c. Paying off debts
d. Increasing my investment portfolio

ANSWER: (b) Investing in myself.  Developing and increasing your knowledge and skills through continuous education and training should be considered your most valuable asset, since this will ultimately determine your overall earning power.

2. What is one of the most important items to acquire as you move forward in life?
a. Stocks/bonds
b. A house
c. 401K
d. Insurance

ANSWER: (d) Insurance.  Prior to investing in financial assets, make sure you have enough insurance to cover the big risks in life such as serious illness, disability, or early death.  If an emergency arises, insurance will take care of it and you will not have to dip into your financial investments as much.

3. What items should you purchase using borrowing methods (credit)?
a. Everything should be purchased with credit
b. Low price, short-term items that you can pay off quickly, such as clothing, travel, and entertainment
c. High price, long-term items such as education courses or a car or home
d. You should never borrow or use credit

ANSWER: (c) High price, long-term items.  Use your borrowing methods wisely to purchase investments of lasting value, and make sure to pay off as much as possible as quickly as possible to avoid interest fees.

4. In what order should your payments take place?
a. Investments, savings, bills, credit card
b. Credit card, investments, bills, savings
c. Savings, bills, credit card, investments
d. Bills, investments, credit card, savings

ANSWER: (a) Investments, savings, bills, credit card. Trim and prioritize your spending so that you are able to pay into your mutual fund, money market, or brokerage account first so these investments can continue to grow.  Then add money to your savings account/emergency fund and pay all of your regular monthly bills.  Finish up by making a payment toward your credit card or other debts.

5.  What is the best method to investing?
a. Take big risks; the more times you swing, the more homeruns you will hit.
b. Take moderate risks; you hit some and you miss some.
c. Take a risk and swing only when you think the time is right.
d. Don’t take any risks at all; you can’t lose if you don’t play.

ANSWER: (b) Take moderate risks.  Use dollar-cost averaging to invest regularly in markets whether they seem good, bad, or indifferent, and maintain the patience to wait out the occasional bear market.

6. What should be included in your investment portfolio?
a. Strictly liquid assets, such as savings and cash accounts
b. Only safer investments like bonds and CDs
c. Only high return assets such as stocks and high-yield bonds
d. All of the above

ANSWER: (d) All of the above. Successful investors know that each asset category will perform at some point, and on the reverse, each category will also have a time of lull.  Having a diversified portfolio with all of these types of assets will ensure the best performance over the long-haul.

7. Which famous quote should be your personal money mantra?
a. “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
b. “I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” –Pablo Picasso
c. “You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.” –Joe E. Lewis
d. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” –Benjamin Franklin

ANSWER: (a) Aristotle said it best.  Saving money is always a good idea (Franklin), but making investments allows for growth you wouldn’t otherwise experience.  Also, you shouldn’t have to feel as if you are living in poverty (Picasso), but living beyond your means (Lewis) is not the right concept either.  Instead, get in the habit of making consistent and informed financial decisions on a daily basis, and you can lead an agreeable lifestyle while keeping your long-term goals achievable.  If you need to, look closely at your current lifestyle and budget, trim back dispensable spending, and invest and save on a regular basis.

8. How generous should you be when giving your time and money to others.
a. I should occasionally give a small amount to others
b. Giving to others should come first
c. I shouldn’t give anything to others
d. I should give what I can afford to give, when I can afford it

ANSWER: (d) I should give what I can afford to give, when I can afford it.  You own financial security is connected to the financial, physical, and spiritual health of others in your community, in our nation, and in our world.  Sharing your good fortune by donating your money, time, and talent helps to create a stronger economy and a healthier, safer world, which benefits us all in the long run.

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