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Quiz: Are you a good financial role model?

April 02, 2012

| Money Rates Columnist

While you may not always notice it, your kids are likely paying attention to the way you handle your money.

A 2011 University of Arizona study revealed that parental influence has a 50 percent greater impact on college students' money habits than financial education -- and more than twice the impact of students' friends. But another recent study from T. Rowe Price found that nearly one-third of parents give themselves a grade of C or below for being a financial role model to their children.

So how can you know if you're setting a positive financial example for your kids? This MoneyRates.com quiz is designed to give you a quick indication of how well you're doing as a money role model. Choose the answer that best matches your habits and tally your score below:

 

1. When I visit the bank:

A. I carefully prepare my transaction slips to ensure accuracy

B. I quickly prepare my transaction slips, but I try to review the receipts later for accuracy

C. I let the teller prepare my deposit slips -- pretty sure that's what they're there for

D. I'm probably just getting a cash advance on my credit card

 

2. When I pay my children their allowances:

A. I always ask their plans for it

B. I sometimes ask their plans for it

C. I never ask their plans for it

D. I turn up the TV if they try to tell me their plans for it

 

3. I get phone calls at home from collection agencies:

A. Never

B. Rarely

C. Regularly

D. Never … since my phone was disconnected

 

4. In the last year, my credit or debit card has been declined by a merchant for insufficient funds:

A. Not at all

B. Once or twice

C. A handful of times

D. While attempting to buy a pack of Juicy Fruit

 

5. In regard to my household utilities:

A. My bills are always paid on time

B. I've been late on a bill or two, but it's never affected my services

C. I completely forgot a payment once and had my phone or lights turned off

D. I've come to appreciate the serenity of an electricity- and phone-free home

 

6. When it comes to my child's piggybank:

A. It has never even occurred to me to borrow from it

B. I once snagged $5 from it to tip the pizza guy, but I paid it right back

C. Oops -- I might still owe it something

D. My child broke it to destroy the reminder of his or her missing savings

 

7. Based on my use of credit cards, my children might think of them as:

A. Special cards that deserve selective use and prompt repayment

B. Special cards that enable necessary spending when money is tight

C. Special cards that are fun to use on all-day shopping trips

D. Special cards that must periodically be frozen in a block of ice and later hastily extracted in the sink

 

8. Around our house, payday means:

A. Virtually nothing -- we've never lived paycheck to paycheck

B. Usually very little -- our reserves can typically carry us through

C. It's time to handle a few past-due bills and pray there's some left over

D. Grab what you can: Two dark weeks lie ahead

 

9. If my children peaked into my financial records, they would find:

A. An exquisitely organized collection of receipts, tax records and legal documents

B. A somewhat organized collection of important documents

C. A haphazard mix of documents with a few overdue bills thrown in

D. Stacks of threatening letters and a passbook savings account with 47 cents

 

10. I expect that my grown children will describe the financial habits I modeled in their youth as:

A. An instructive blend of wise spending and prescient investing

B. A reasonable approach to meeting our family's needs

C. Good enough to get us by, but not by much

D. A hellish mix of reckless spending and broken promises

 

Scoring

Total your points based on the following values:

For each A response, give yourself 1 point

For each B response, give yourself 2 points

For each C response, give yourself 3 points

For each D response, give yourself 4 points

 

10-14 points Congratulations: You're likely doing an excellent job as a financial role model. Your positive behavior is modeling some key traits that your children should aim for as financially responsible adults. Keep up the good work.

15-20 points Not bad. You're probably modeling good behavior in most respects for your child. Just be sure to examine your score to improve any responses from the C or D options on the quiz -- those are the areas you can improve upon the most.

21-25 points If your children end up with bad financial habits, they probably can't put all of the blame on you. But you had to have at least one C or D response for this score, so examine that area to see where you can improve as a financial role model.

26-30 points While not all of your habits are necessarily awful, there is plenty of room to improve. First tackle the areas related to any D responses you gave to make the most-needed improvements, and then move on to the C responses (you probably had a few).

31-40 points Your habits are definitely not showing your children the way to financial health. While your actions won't guarantee that your child will struggle with finances, they don't represent the behavior that he or she should be aiming for as a financially savvy adult.

Fortunately, if your score isn't as strong as you'd like, there are plenty of ways to better it. Below are some MoneyRates.com articles that can help you improve your habits while also strengthening your standing as a financial role model:

5 ways to improve your budget in 2012

4 rewards for saving money besides earning interest

How I moved a mountain of debt

4 signs you need to cut your credit card spending

Certificate of deposit (CD) primer

 

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