Do you have financial intelligence?

ON MONEY

April 14, 1996|By Susan Bondy | Susan Bondy,Creators Syndicate

I hate to reconcile my checkbook. So do most people. Some people hate it so much that they manage to avoid it altogether. These people have a low Financial Involvement Quotient (FIQ).

When it comes to handling their own money, there are three types of people: the Doers, or those who do everything they are supposed to do; the Procrastinators, or those who procrastinate to take action; and the Ostriches, or those who have perfected the fine art of neglect.

To find out where you stand, answer the following questions to the best of your ability. There are no right or wrong answers, so, "to thine own self be true."

1. I read the financial pages of the newspaper: a) almost never; b) once a week; c) every day.

2. When I don't understand my financial adviser's recommendation, I ask questions until it becomes clear to me: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

3. If I still don't understand the recommendation after I've asked my questions, I can turn it down: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

4. I reconcile my checkbook: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

5. I follow the prices of stocks I own or those that I'm interested in: a) every three months; b) once a month; c) daily or weekly.

6. Whenever I hear a hot tip, I try to verify the facts before putting any money on the line: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

7. I consider the tax consequences before making an investment decision: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

8. I feel I've missed the boat when a friend's investment does better than mine: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

9. When an investment I own goes down in value, I kick myself for not having sold it at its high: a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

10. When I think I've been shortchanged or cheated, I'd rather walk away from it because I believe that "You can't fight City Hall": a) almost never; b) sometimes; c) almost always.

Scoring

For questions 1 through 7, give yourself 1 point for each "a" answer, 2 points for each "b" answer and 3 points for each "c" answer.

For questions 8 through 10, give yourself 3 points for each "a" answer, 2 points for each "b" answer and 1 point for each "c" answer.

Total your points. Your score is your FIQ.

If your FIQ is between 23 and 30, you are a Doer. You are well-suited to handling your money and will probably enjoy the challenge. Go out and do!

If your score is between 16 and 22, you are a Procrastinator. Stay away from complex investments and fast-moving strategies that require constant monitoring. A family of no-load mutual funds is ideal for your needs.

If you scored between 10 and 15, you have a low FIQ. Instead of forcing yourself to get involved in something uncomfortable, you may want to spend your time finding an objective investment professional who is knowledgeable, trustworthy and prudent.

There's nothing wrong with being a financial Ostrich -- as long as you admit it to yourself and find solutions that fit your true personality.

Susan Bondy welcomes readers' questions, but the volume of mail prevents her from answering each letter personally. Write to Ms. Bondy in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or at 74774,3652compuserve.com. All letters will be treated confidentially.

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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