financial IQ Test http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11813/all en-US Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is Your Life Insurance Plan? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-life-insurance-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-life-insurance-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMGP0234_1.JPG" alt="life insurance" title="life insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What kind of life insurance policy do you have (if you have one at all)? Do you understand the terms? Are you getting the most bang for your insurance buck? How did you select the amount of insurance you have? How did you choose your insurance company and structure the policy? And how often do you review your life insurance needs?</p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine how healthy your life insurance plan is. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.</p> <h2>Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is Your Life Insurance Plan?</h2> <h3>Policy and insurance company selection</h3> <p>I check on the financial stability and overall reputation of the insurance company.</p> <p>I buy only from companies with an &quot;A&quot; rating or higher.</p> <p>I look at the monthly, quarterly, and annual premiums and select the least expensive option.</p> <p>I shop across a few different insurance companies, or use a broker to help me.</p> <p>I have asked about discounts for my spouse and I both having policies with the same insurer.</p> <p>I decline coverage offered by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-calling-me-how-to-avoid-telemarketers">telemarketers</a> from my credit card company.</p> <h3>Policy Structure</h3> <p>I have enough life insurance to cover lost income, funeral expenses, pay off debts, and address any future needs (like a child's education).</p> <p>I've selected both a beneficiary as well as a contingent beneficiary on the policy application.</p> <p>I've indexed future needs (like a child's education or retirement savings for my non-working spouse) to inflation.</p> <p>I've reviewed all the riders on the policy and only have the ones that I need.</p> <p>I have reduced my insurance analysis needs by existing coverage provided through my employer or association membership.</p> <h3>Policy Maintenance</h3> <p>When I review my life insurance plan, I also review my premiums and compare them to current market rates.</p> <p>When something major happens in my life, I reevaluate my life insurance needs right away.</p> <p>I review my life insurance needs (if nothing has changed) every three years.</p> <p>I discuss my insurance needs and options with my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-you-need-to-fire-your-financial-planner">financial planner</a>.</p> <p>The insurance company always has my most current address on file.</p> <h3>General Knowledge and Maximizing Value</h3> <p>Smoking almost doubles my life insurance rates, but if I quit for a year and submit a form, my rates will drop.</p> <p>I know the difference between temporary (Term) and permanent insurance, and have selected the most appropriate kind for my needs.</p> <p>I know I'll have insurance needs in the future, so I got life insurance at a young age to guarantee my insurability.</p> <p>I understand the benefits of a convertible (Term) policy.</p> <p>I know what a cash value is on a permanent insurance policy, and what I can do with it.</p> <p>I know how to access the cash value of my permanent policy tax-free.</p> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:</p> <p>YES = 4 points</p> <p>NO = 0 points</p> <p>NOT SURE = 2 points</p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3>Score 0-30: Do you have life insurance at all?</h3> <p>This is not a criticism; some people don't need life insurance at certain points in their lives. But have you taken the time to do an analysis and educate yourself as to your options? Do you know if your employer has provided life insurance and do you know what to do with it or if it's enough? Best not to bury your head in the sand with the excuse that you'll be dead and don't care about your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/estate-planning-why-me">estate plan</a>. Check out some of the resources below, and talk to your financial planner about your needs.</p> <h3>Score 31-60: Not maximizing value</h3> <p>A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Although you have probably taken some time to educate yourself about life insurance, I would argue that you don't know what you don't know. You might be over-paying for your insurance, are insured for the wrong amount, or have an inappropriate type of policy for your needs. Make sure you review your needs regularly and are maximizing value wherever you can.</p> <h3>Score 61-88: You have a plan</h3> <p>If you scored in this range, then congratulations &mdash; you most likely have a life insurance plan of sorts in place. The industry is constantly changing, so make sure you reevaluate your needs, what you're paying, and the policies you have. Make sure your financial planner is on board with the plan, and check out the Wise Bread resources below to get some fodder for your next conversation with them.</p> <h2>Life Insurance Resources on Wise Bread</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-insurance-no-thanks">Credit Card Insurance? No Thanks</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-life-insurance-term-or-permanent">Choosing Life Insurance: Term or Permanent</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/universal-life-insurance-and-whole-life-insurance-a-comparison">Universal Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance: A Comparison</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-and-why-to-buy-life-insurance">How and Why to Buy Life Insurance</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-getting-life-insurance-for-your-children-prudent-or-prudish">Is Getting Life Insurance for Your Children Prudent or Prudish?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-i-need-life-insurance-for-little-ones">Do I Need Life Insurance for the Little Ones?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insured-annuities-for-wise-bloggers">Insured Annuities for Wise Bloggers</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-don-t-need-mortgage-life-insurance">Why You Don't Need Mortgage Life Insurance</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ad-d-insurance-no-good-no-bad-just-ugly">AD&amp;D Insurance: No Good, No Bad, Just Ugly</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-parents-give-you-a-whole-life-insurance-policy-heres-what-to-do-with-it">Did Your Parents Give you a Whole Life Insurance Policy? Here's What to Do With It</a></p> <h2>Other FINANCIAL IQ Tests on Wise Bread</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-debt-management">How Healthy is your Debt Management?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">How Healthy are your Bank Accounts?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">How Healthy is your Budget?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan">How Healthy is your Health Care Plan?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-disability-insurance">How Healthy is your Disability Insurance?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-do-you-have-the-best-auto-insurance-coverage-for-your-needs">Do you Have the Best Auto Insurance Coverage for Your Needs?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-financial-plan">How Healthy is Your Financial Plan?</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-life-insurance-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-life-insurance">How Long Does It Take to Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance estate planning financial IQ Test life insurance Mon, 09 Aug 2010 13:00:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 199842 at http://www.wisebread.com Financial IQ Test: Do You Have the Best Auto Insurance Coverage for Your Needs? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-do-you-have-the-best-auto-insurance-coverage-for-your-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-do-you-have-the-best-auto-insurance-coverage-for-your-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_in_surf.jpg" alt="Car in the ocean" title="Car in the ocean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How well do you know your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance">auto insurance coverage</a>? Have you read &mdash; and do you understand &mdash; all the fine print? Is it structured it properly? Have you researched and comparison shopped for your ideal policy? And are you sure you&rsquo;re getting all the discounts available to you?</p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine if you have the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.</p> <h3>Researching and Applying</h3> <ol> <li>I understand how my credit rating can affect my insurance premiums.</li> <li>Before I buy a car, I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance-rates">shop around for insurance rates</a> to ensure I can afford it.</li> <li>I understand how telecommuting can reduce my insurance rates dramatically.</li> <li>I&rsquo;ve weighed out the option of participating in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/car-sharing-why-own-when-you-can-just-share">car sharing</a> program instead, since insurance is included.</li> <li>I shop around for my insurance, and take the time to ensure I&rsquo;m comparing apples to apples with each quote.</li> <li>I&rsquo;m honest about my mileage in the application &mdash; if it&rsquo;s higher than actual mileage driven I&rsquo;ll pay more than I need to, and if it&rsquo;s lower than mileage driven I could get into trouble if I make a claim.</li> <li>I know what the exclusions are on my policy, and have agreed to them.</li> <li>I use an insurance broker who can help me comparison shop.</li> <li>I&rsquo;ve looked into group insurance options through my employer or industry association.</li> </ol> <h3>Policy Structure</h3> <ol> <li>I&rsquo;ve selected the highest deductible I can afford to reduce my premiums.</li> <li>I know the book value of my car, and pay only for collision insurance if I can&rsquo;t cover it myself.</li> <li>I only insure regular drivers on the car.</li> <li>If I have good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan">health insurance coverage</a>, I lower the medical payments portion of my auto insurance policy.</li> <li>If the annual premium is 10% (or more) of the book value of my car, I drop the collision coverage.</li> </ol> <h3>Saving Money</h3> <ol> <li>I&rsquo;m aware of the discounts applicable to me, and I&rsquo;ve asked my insurance company to apply them.</li> <li>I&rsquo;ve compared monthly to annual rates, and selected the cheapest option.</li> <li>I&rsquo;ve combined my auto and home-owner&rsquo;s/renter&rsquo;s insurance policies with the same company for additional discounts.</li> <li>I ask about &mdash; and ensure I&rsquo;m getting &mdash; a no-claims discount (if I&rsquo;m accident free).</li> <li>I&rsquo;ve asked about other ways I can reduce my premiums (such as having an alarm or immobilizer).</li> <li>I negotiate my auto insurance rates with my insurer.</li> <li>At renewal, I shop around for new quotes. If I find a better deal, I call my insurance company to see if they will match it.</li> </ol> <h3>Policy Maintenance and Making Claims</h3> <ol> <li>Every few years I calculate the deductible, book value, potential payout, and premiums, and I adjust the policy to minimize my expenses and maximize my available protection.</li> <li>When my car is fully paid off, I let the insurance company know so we can adjust the coverage and lower my rates.</li> <li>I call my insurer before making any modifications to the vehicle.</li> <li>After an accident, I get the other driver&rsquo;s details; including name, address, license, registration, insurance company name, and insurance policy number.</li> <li>I don&rsquo;t file small claims with my insurance company, as it&rsquo;s too detrimental to my record and no-claims discounts.</li> <li>I keep detailed records of phone calls and copies of all correspondence and receipts in making a claim.</li> <li>I keep proof of insurance with me all the time (for example, in my wallet).</li> </ol> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:</p> <p><strong>YES = 4 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NO = 0 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NOT SURE = 2 points</strong></p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3>Score 0-44: Start Researching and Reading Your Policy!</h3> <p>Chances are you&rsquo;re paying more than you need to for auto insurance, or you don&rsquo;t have the coverage you need and could end up in a jam if you make a claim. Pull out your policy, read the fine print, and research any terms you don&rsquo;t understand. To make the task less painful, consider using an insurance broker for relatively unbiased advice and the ability to educate you on various terms.</p> <h3>Score 45-88: The Devil is in the Details</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re part way there in that you&rsquo;ve covered off some of your bases and are maximizing value in some areas. But the devil is in the details &mdash; make sure you know exactly what coverage you have now, and not when the time comes to make a claim. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask how you can save money and what discounts are available to you. Go over your policy with a fine tooth comb, and make sure you understand every word &mdash; one word in the policy can quite literally make a world of difference.</p> <h3>Score 89-112: Top Dollar</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re doing a great job of researching the industry, structuring the policy in a way that suits you, and making sure you are saving money in the meantime. Take a look at any questions you said &ldquo;no&rdquo; or &ldquo;not sure&rdquo; to, and make sure you incorporate those strategies into the fold, as you may be able to save even more money and/or adjust the policy to suit your needs.</p> <h2>Wise Bread Resources on Auto Insurance</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance">4 Tips to Save on Car Insurance</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-insurance">Save Money on Insurance</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-a-telecommuter-paying-commuter-rates-for-auto-insurance">Are You a Telecommuter Paying Commuter Rates for Auto Insurance?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to Drop Collision Coverage on Your Car</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/car-sharing-why-own-when-you-can-just-share">Car Sharing: Why Own When you can Just Share?</a></p> <h3>Other Financial IQ Tests on Wise Bread:</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-debt-management">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is your Debt Management?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy are your Bank Accounts?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is your Budget?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy is your Health Care Plan?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-disability-insurance">Financial IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Disability Insurance?</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-do-you-have-the-best-auto-insurance-coverage-for-your-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance">4 Tips to Save on Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-cheap-auto-insurance-for-young-drivers">How to Get Cheap Auto Insurance for Young Drivers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident">What to Do (and Not Do) When You&#039;re in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/auto-insurance">Auto Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance auto insurance financial IQ Test Fri, 14 May 2010 12:00:15 +0000 Nora Dunn 78351 at http://www.wisebread.com Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Is Your Disability Insurance? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-disability-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-disability-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010529169XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Disability Insurance (and the integrity of your own coverage and how it suits your needs) is serious business; One in three people are disabled during their working lives, and those disabled for more than two months have an average disability length of two and a half years. Can you cover your expenses if you can&rsquo;t work for that long?</p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine how healthy your disability insurance policy is. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.</p> <h2>Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Is Your Disability Insurance?</h2> <h3>Disability Insurance Lingo</h3> <p>I understand the difference between the &ldquo;any occupation,&rdquo; &ldquo;regular occupation,&rdquo; and &ldquo;own occupation&rdquo; definitions of occupational coverage.</p> <p>I understand the difference between Short-Term Disability and Long-Term Disability plans.</p> <p>I understand some of the inherent pitfalls of employer disability insurance, and have weighed out the benefits and drawbacks.</p> <p>I know that pregnancy-related disabilities are almost never covered.</p> <p>I know what the exclusions are on my disability insurance policy.</p> <h3>Best Value</h3> <p>I have minimized my premiums by selecting an appropriate waiting period, benefit period, and benefit amount.</p> <p>I comparison shopped for disability insurance.</p> <p>I checked with my local industry association to see if they offer discounted disability insurance plans.</p> <p>I decline coverage offered by telemarketers from my credit card company.</p> <h3>Policy Structure</h3> <p>I have considered a waiver of premium rider, to reduce my expenses in the event of a disability.</p> <p>I pay for my disability insurance premiums with after-tax dollars only.</p> <p>I have a cost of living adjustment on my policy which indexes my benefit amount to the rate of inflation.</p> <p>My policy is non-cancelable (as in the insurance company can&rsquo;t cancel the policy; I can if I choose to).</p> <h3>Due Diligence</h3> <p>I have estimated what my monthly expenses will be (aside from medical expenses) if I am disabled.</p> <p>I know how long I can live without an income, and have structured my disability insurance policy to start payments before I run out of money.</p> <p>I considered the insurance company&rsquo;s financial ratings before buying a policy with them.</p> <p>I am aware of (and take advantage of) the &ldquo;free look&rdquo; period once I get my policy, to read it through carefully and ensure it reflects my needs.</p> <p>I have looked into Long Term Care or Critical Illness insurance as possible alternatives or complements to a disability insurance policy.</p> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:<o:p></o:p></p> <p><strong>YES = 4 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NO = 0 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NOT SURE = 2 points</strong></p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3>0-24: Don&rsquo;t Go Play with Traffic</h3> <p>Did you know that the biggest asset you have in life is your income &ndash; and your ability to keep generating it? If you haven&rsquo;t looked at disability insurance, maybe you should. Some even have features like &ldquo;Return of Premium&rdquo; riders that give you your money back at the end of a term if you don&rsquo;t make a claim. It&rsquo;s like insurance&hellip;for your insurance!</p> <h3>25-48: Covered&hellip;but how well?</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ve taken some time to find out what you need to know about Disability Insurance, but you may not have covered all your bases. Look into anything in the questionnaire that you didn&rsquo;t quite understand, and you may find a way to save money, or better protect your needs.</p> <h3>49-72: Sorted</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re at the top of the curve &ndash; congratulations! This means you probably have done your due diligence, research, and made the disability insurance decisions that are best for you. (Either that or you lied on the test)! Have a peek at some of the articles below to broaden your knowledge or fill in any of the gaps from the test.</p> <h2>Disability Insurance Articles to Increase Your Score</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disability-insurance-payments-and-pitfalls">Disability Insurance: Payments and Pitfalls</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mib-the-big-brother-for-insurance-companies">MIB: The Big Brother for Insurance Companies</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/long-term-care-insurance-for-wise-bloggers">Long Term Care Insurance for Wise Bloggers</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/critical-illness-insurance-for-wise-bloggers">Critical Illness Insurance for Wise Bloggers</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-insurance-no-thanks">Credit Card Insurance? No Thanks</a></p> <h2>Other Financial IQ Tests on Wise Bread</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-debt-management">FINANCIAL IQ Test: How Healthy is your Debt Management?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">FINANCIAL IQ Test: How Healthy are your Bank Accounts?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ Test: How Healthy is your Budget?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan">FINANCIAL IQ Test: How Healthy is your Health Care Plan?</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-disability-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-care-reform-good-for-people-like-me">Health Care Reform: Good for People Like Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-two-other-numbers-to-look-at">Health insurance: Two other numbers to look at</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/generic-drug-price-lists-for-six-major-pharmacies">Generic Drug Price Lists For Six Major Pharmacies - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty Insurance disability insurance financial IQ Test Sat, 27 Mar 2010 09:00:07 +0000 Nora Dunn 6062 at http://www.wisebread.com FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Health Care Plan? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/illness_0.JPG" alt="health care" title="health care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health care is big business in the States, and when your health is on the line, you want to be on the right end of that business stick. Your health care plan goes beyond the selection and payment of an insurance plan though; some people choose to self-insure, some have more than one insurance choice, and others yet are creatively resourceful with their options, tax breaks, cost-cutting, and getting free advice.</p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine how healthy your health care management plan is. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.</p> <h2>FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Health Care Plan?</h2> <h3>Comparison Shopping</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve compared monthly to annual insurance rates and chosen the most cost-effective option.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve weighed out the pros and cons of having dental and vision insurance coverage, and I only have insurance if I know I can&rsquo;t self-insure for it.</p> <p>I know what Health Care Centers will charge based on my income.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve priced out options to have major procedures done in a foreign country.</p> <p>If I&rsquo;m traveling or have a minor issue that requires medical attention, I understand what Retail Health Clinics can offer me.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve compared my insurance coverage with my spouse&rsquo;s coverage, and we&rsquo;ve selected the best plan for both of us.</p> <h3>Record Keeping</h3> <p>I keep accurate records of all my medical correspondence and transactions, plus copies of originals I&rsquo;ve submitted for insurance claims &ndash; just in case.</p> <p>I review any reimbursement checks for health care to ensure it was properly processed.</p> <h3>Researching and Seeking Advice</h3> <p>I research my symptoms online before seeing a doctor.</p> <p>I check with the pharmacist about non-urgent symptoms and medications for free advice before seeing a doctor.</p> <p>I research my physician&rsquo;s diagnosis and prescriptions before spending more money.</p> <h3>Health Care Hacks</h3> <p>I call my doctor&rsquo;s office to ask about non-urgent problems before scheduling an appointment. (Sometimes an appointment isn&rsquo;t necessary.)</p> <p>I take advantage of free tests and screenings (eg: blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer screenings) at health fairs or pharmacies.</p> <p>When I donate blood, I take advantage of the free readings (eg: blood pressure, iron, etc).</p> <p>I keep my prescription costs low by selecting the generic instead of name-brand drugs.</p> <p>Before taking a prescription, I ask my doctor if there is a free sample I can have.</p> <p>For dental and vision care, I visit student clinics and colleges to reduce my expenses.</p> <p>If I don&rsquo;t have insurance, I advise my doctor of it and ask if they can give me a discount.</p> <p>I use Planned Parenthood centers for inexpensive reproductive checks including for STDs, birth control, etc.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve asked about financial aid to help with any onerous medical bills I&rsquo;m paying.</p> <h3>Tax Savings</h3> <p>I take advantage of tax deductions with a Health Savings Account (if applicable to me).</p> <p>I keep track of my medical expenses so I can get related tax breaks when I file.</p> <p>I understand the benefits of a High Deductible Health Plan in combination with a Health Savings Account.</p> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:</p> <p><strong>YES = 4 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NO = 0 points</strong></p> <p><strong>NOT SURE = 2 points</strong></p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3><strong>0-31 &ndash; Could be healthier</strong></h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t even know <em>what</em> you don&rsquo;t know about maximizing your health care plan! You may be able to save some big dollars on health insurance, medical expenses, and taxes by taking the time to read up on and research your options. Check out the articles below for starters. Don&rsquo;t stick your head in the sand and wait for a medical crisis to whip you into shape &ndash; do it now!</p> <h3><strong>32-63 &ndash; Do you know all your options?</strong></h3> <p>You&rsquo;re not quite a health care expert yet. Are you aware of the health care hacks you can use to maximize your money, the various health clinics and their fees, and how you best fit into the fray? Are you keeping accurate records and getting the right advice? If any of the questions in the quiz stumped you, check out the relevant articles below to start your research.</p> <h3><strong>64-92 &ndash; Researching and Hacking</strong></h3> <p>Becoming your own health care expert is an evolution. And even when you think you know everything, new changes and legislations come into play that keep the learning curve going. But you&rsquo;re already towards the top of your curve, so pat yourself on the back, before hitting the books (or rather, web sites) again to make sure you continue to get the most for your health care dollars.</p> <h2>Health Care Articles to Improve your Score</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-two-other-numbers-to-look-at">Health Insurance &mdash; Two Other Numbers to Look at</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/don-t-cash-that-insurance-check-it-may-not-be-yours">Don&rsquo;t Cash That Insurance Check &ndash; It May Not be Yours</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/things-to-insure-things-not-to-insure">Things to Insure, Things Not to Insure</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-costs-too-high-alternative-not-pretty">Health Insurance Costs too High, Alternative Not Pretty</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ive-lived-both-sides-of-the-healthcare-system-this-is-what-ive-learned">I&rsquo;ve Lived Both Sides of the Healthcare System. This is What I&rsquo;ve Learned</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stay-healthy-live-longer-spend-wisely-making-intelligent-choices-in-americas-healthcare-system">Stay Healthy, Live Longer: Spend Wisely Making Intelligent Choices in America&rsquo;s Healthcare System</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-squeeze-value-from-your-healthcare-dollar-without-killing-yourself">50 Ways to Squeeze Value from your Healthcare Dollar Without Killing Yourself</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-check-out-medical-care-for-the-uninsured">5 Place to Check Out Medical Care for the Uninsured</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cost-comparison-emergency-rooms-vs-urgent-care">Cost Comparison: Emergency Rooms vs Urgent Care</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-online-doctor-a-good-use-of-your-health-care-dollar">The Online Doctor: A Good Use of your Health Care Dollar</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/generic-drugs-not-always-the-same">Generic Drugs: Not Always the Same</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/im-fleeing-the-country-for-healthcare">I&rsquo;m Fleeing the Country for Healthcare</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/medical-tourism-101-listen-live-for-big-savings">Medical Tourism 101: Listen Live for Big Savings</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-to-consider-declining-your-employers-health-coverage">3 Times to Consider Declining your Employer&rsquo;s Health Coverage</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-4-step-plan-to-manage-your-medical-correspondence">The Best 4-Step Plan to Manage your Medical Correspondence</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walgreens-clinics-provide-free-health-care-for-the-very-recently-unemployed">Walgreens Clinics Provide Free Health Care for the Very Recently Unemployed</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will a Dental Discount Plan Save you Money?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-cents-of-healthcare-with-a-phr">Make Cents of Healthcare With a Plan</a></p> <h2>Other FINANCIAL IQ Tests on Wise Bread:</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-debt-management">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Debt Management?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy are your Bank Accounts?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy is your Budget?</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-health-care-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-individual-dental-insurance-online-my-experience">Buying Individual Dental Insurance Online: My Experience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty financial IQ Test health care Sat, 20 Mar 2010 17:00:05 +0000 Nora Dunn 5925 at http://www.wisebread.com FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/first step to budgeting - full budget.jpg" alt="budget" title="budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="88" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting is one of the hardest things for any of us to do well &mdash; and stick to. It requires discipline, attention to detail, and persistence. But it doesn&rsquo;t have to be impossible; and effective budgeting can actually be quite empowering.</p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test to help you determine how healthy your budget is. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer it with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you score at the end. Then, check out the resource articles below to increase your knowledge base.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Budget Maintenance</h3> <p>I plan ahead for large expenses like repairs, appliances, or periodic bills.</p> <p>I amortize annual expenses over 12 months for budgeting purposes (I apply the same principle to other periodic expenses too, for example quarterly expenses are amortized over 3 months).</p> <p>I record all my expenses (or have an accurate record of expenses through bank statements or the like).</p> <p>Before I created my budget, I monitored my expenses over a few months to figure out what I spend.</p> <p>I review my budget regularly for effectiveness and modify as needed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Savings</h3> <p>My savings plan is an expense that is part of my budget.</p> <p>Extra money like pay raises, bonuses, and tax refunds go directly into savings or to pay off debt.</p> <p>Gifts and charitable donations are part of my budget.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Flexibility</h3> <p>If I anticipate that I&rsquo;ll go over the budget in one category, I find the money from another category that month.</p> <p>I have financial padding built into my budget for flexibility (and sanity).</p> <p>I have allowances in my budget for unexpected expenses.</p> <p><st1:place>Holiday</st1:place> season festivities and birthday gifts don&rsquo;t throw me off budget.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Accountability</h3> <p>I know how much money I live on each month/year.</p> <p>I balance my chequebook so I don&rsquo;t go into overdraft.</p> <p>I can account for all my spending.</p> <p>I live within my means.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t charge anything to my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-your-credit-card-canceled">credit card</a> unless I can pay it off in full by the due date.</p> <p>I pay all my bills on time.</p> <p>My income is larger than my expenses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Budget Lifestyle</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t allow myself to feel pressured by peers to spend money that I don&rsquo;t have.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t buy caviar (for example) unless it&rsquo;s in the budget &ndash; even if it is on sale for half price.</p> <p>I view my budget as a way to figure out what I CAN afford, instead of what I CAN&rsquo;T.</p> <p>I have a positive goal or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">vision</a> to keep in mind (like being debt-free, or having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">vacation</a>) for times when the budget is tight or I start to feel deprived.</p> <p>I budget for small rewards to keep me on track and motivated.</p> <p>Everybody in the family participates in the budgeting process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:</p> <p>YES = 4 points</p> <p>NO = 0 points</p> <p>NOT SURE = 2 points</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3>Score: 0-35 &ndash; More Budgeting Required</h3> <p>If you have a budget at all, you&rsquo;d probably agree that it&rsquo;s not particularly effective. You might manage your expenses on the fly each month, and although it may work for now, there may come a time when some unexpected expenses will railroad you &ndash; or you may simply not realize that you could do more with the money you have. A little more attention to what you spend could be enlightening.</p> <h3>Score: 36-70 &mdash; Getting There</h3> <p>You probably make an attempt to budget, but it&rsquo;s not quite effective, and you may not even realize why or where you&rsquo;re going wrong. Don&rsquo;t be too hard on yourself; budgeting requires a lot of discipline, tenacity, and attention to detail. This isn&rsquo;t easy for everybody. Check out some of the resources below to improve your technique.</p> <h3>Score: 71-100 &ndash; Budget Master</h3> <p>Although there&rsquo;s always room for improvement, you&rsquo;ve got a system that largely works for you. Take a look at the questions you answered &ldquo;not sure&rdquo; or &ldquo;no&rdquo; to, and see where you can improve. But for the most part give yourself a pat on the back &ndash; you are in the minority of people who have &ndash; and stick to &ndash; an effective budget. Congratulations!</p> <h2>Resources</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">The First Step to Budgeting</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ponder-it-to-budget-or-not-to-budget">Ponder It: To Budget or Not to Budget</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-hack-gift-calendars">Budgeting Hack: Gift Calendars</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prepaid-gift-cards-for-modern-envelope-budgeting">Prepaid Gift Cards for Modern Envelope Budgeting</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting a Game &mdash; The Price is Right Style</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-can-t-stick-with-a-budget">Why You Can&rsquo;t Stick With a Budget</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier">3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tricks-for-budgeting-as-parent">Tricks for Budgeting as a Parent</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-budgeting-pocketsmith-helps-you-forecast">Beyond Budgeting: Pocketsmith Helps you Forecast</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-restaurants-budgeting-tips-for-dining-out">How to Save Money at Restaurants: Budgeting Tips for Dining Out</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taco-tuesday-the-inner-mechanics-of-budgeting-on-vacation">Taco Tuesday: The Inner Mechanics of Budgeting on Vacation</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-your-next-vacation-yaycations">Budgeting For your Next Vacation: Yaycations</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-budget-envelopes-or-a-plan">Your Budget: Envelopes, or a Plan</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">A Budget is Not a Constraint</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/time-is-money-budget-them-both-out">Time Is Money: Budget Them Both Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-save-50-every-month">9 Easy Ways to Save $50 Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting accounting budget expenses financial IQ Test Thu, 11 Feb 2010 14:00:11 +0000 Nora Dunn 5111 at http://www.wisebread.com Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Are Your Bank Accounts? http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/financial IQ - bank accts pic.JPG" alt="hiding from finance" title="hiding from finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was chatting with a friend the other day who couldn&rsquo;t tell me exactly why she has three separate bank accounts, what the monthly and transactional fees were, or some of the basic terms and conditions. In a few short minutes, we found a way to save her over $300/year on unnecessary banking expenses, earn more interest, save paper (you gotta love those incidental <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-remove-yourself-from-mailing-lists-and-eliminate-junk-mail">environmental benefits</a>), and to simplify her banking so much that it no longer seems daunting.</p> <p><strong>How do you measure up?</strong></p> <p>Following is a Financial IQ Test, designed to help you determine how healthy your bank accounts &mdash; and your interaction with them &mdash; are. <strong>Simply look at each statement, and answer them with a YES, NO, or NOT SURE.</strong> Keep track of your answers, and we'll see how you fare. Then you can reference some relevant articles on the topics you need some refreshers on.</p> <h2>FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy are Your Bank Accounts?</h2> <h3>Knowledge/Awareness</h3> <p>I know how much money (within $10) is in my bank accounts at any time.</p> <p>I know the rate of interest my bank accounts earn.</p> <p>I am aware of the overdraft terms and conditions for my account.</p> <h3>Maximizing Value</h3> <p>I have a separate high-interest account for short term savings.</p> <p>I regularly transfer any excess funds in my chequing account to my high-interest short-term savings account.</p> <p>I have two or fewer bank accounts (in my name only).</p> <p>I have less than $3,000 in my chequing or (low-interest) savings account.</p> <h3>Fees</h3> <p>I know how much my monthly bank account service charges are, and what I get for it.</p> <p>I know what I can do to avoid the monthly bank account charge (if possible &ndash; eg: maintain a minimum balance), and I do this each month.</p> <p>I have an ATM nearby that is linked to my financial institution and doesn&rsquo;t charge fees for withdrawals.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t pay fees for debit purchases.</p> <h3>Transactions</h3> <p>I can write a cheque if I need to.</p> <p>I know how to balance my chequebook (to ensure I don&rsquo;t go into overdraft if somebody takes a while to cash my cheque).</p> <p>Paying my bills is easy (logistically), and fee-free.</p> <p>I never go into overdraft.</p> <p>I have direct deposits and deductions set up where possible.</p> <h3>Security</h3> <p>I read my bank statement at least once a month to ensure there aren&rsquo;t any suspicious transactions on it.</p> <p>My PIN number is committed to memory and kept securely at home somewhere.</p> <p>I shred my bank statements when I get rid of them (if I receive paper statements at all).</p> <p>The bank has my current address and contact information.</p> <p>I know what to do if my debit card is lost or stolen.</p> <h2>Scoring</h2> <p>Did you keep track of how many times you answered YES, NO, and NOT SURE? Great! Give yourself the following points for each answer:</p> <p>YES = 4 points</p> <p>NO = 0 points</p> <p>NOT SURE = 2 points</p> <h2>Analysis</h2> <h3>Score 0-30</h3> <p>Aha! You like to play the ostrich game with your bank accounts: bury your head in the sand and hope everything works out! With a little bit of awareness of the banking tools at your fingertips, you can probably save money on unnecessary banking fees, earn more interest, and protect your accounts better from fraud or security threats.</p> <h3>Score 31-60</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re not doing badly, but you could stand to know more about your money and how it can work for (or against) you. Take some time to read the fine print, familiarize yourself with the rules of engagement of your banking institution, and ensure you aren&rsquo;t paying more than you need to for the services you want.</p> <h3>Score 61-84</h3> <p>Excellent! You have a good general awareness of your banking habits, you try not to pay anything in fees if you don&rsquo;t have to, and you manage your short-term money effectively. Keep this solid foundation moving in the right direction by continuing to educate yourself, staying on top of your bank&rsquo;s policies and procedures, streamlining your banking practices, and ensuring you are getting the best bang for your buck every day.</p> <h2>Resources to Raise Your Scores</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">The First Step to Budgeting</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-bank-fees">Avoid Bank Fees</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-introduction-to-high-yield-reward-checking-accounts">An Introduction to High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-manipulate-your-transactions-may-charge-you-1750-overdraft-fee">Banks Manipulate Your Transactions: May Charge You $1750 Overdraft Fee</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-to-lower-the-cost-of-banking">10 Tips to Lower the Cost of Banking</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/separate-bank-accounts-till-death-or-banking-do-we-part">Separate Bank Accounts: Till Death &mdash; or Banking &mdash; Do We Part?</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-prepaid-debit-card-really-cheaper-and-better-than-a-bank-debit-card">Is a Prepaid Debit Card Really Cheaper and Better than a Bank Debit Card?</a></p> <p><input type="hidden" id="gwProxy" /></p> <!--Session data--><!--Session data--><p><input type="hidden" id="jsProxy" onclick="jsCall();" /></p> <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-are-your-bank-accounts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-by-avoiding-multiple-bank-accounts">Save More by Avoiding Multiple Bank Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Budgeting bank accounts banking strategies financial IQ Test financial test Tue, 19 Jan 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Nora Dunn 4454 at http://www.wisebread.com