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A Quiz to Grade Your Level of Financial Distress

Many Americans bury their financial heads in the sand, ignoring the fact that their credit card balances are growing, their savings account assets are diminishing or their monthly bills sometimes are paid past the due date.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) suggests consumers take a financial quiz. A personal grade at the end of the survey will help determine whether you need professional help to avoid falling into a financial quagmire.

Answer “True” or “False” to the following questions; then tally your score.

1. I normally pay only the minimum amount due on my credit card bills.
2. My credit card balances increase each month.
3. There are arguments in my home about money.
4. I sometimes hide purchases from my spouse.
5. I frequently charge items that I used to pay with cash.
6. I have thought about personal bankruptcy.
7. I have begun using cash advances to meet my obligations.
8. Most of my credit cards are near the limit.
9. I do not know the total amount that I owe.
10. I skip paying my bills some months, or pay late.
11. I have depleted my savings.
12. I am consumed with thoughts of my debt.
13. My debt interferes with my job and/or my home life.
14. Collectors have begun contacting me.
15. I have taken money from my retirement account to satisfy debt obligations.
16. If I lost my job, it would mean an immediate financial crisis in my life.
17. I use balance transfers.
18. I have no emergency savings account.
19. Next month’s bills arrive before I’ve paid this month’s bills.
20. I do not open my bills when they arrive, or soon thereafter.

Most people answer “True” for 2-3 questions. If you answered “True” for more than that, you might benefit from credit counseling. NEA Member Benefits and NFCC have teamed up to help with financial literacy and debt education. To locate the nearest NFCC agency, call 866-479-NEA2 or go online at:

NFCC member agencies have certified credit counselors ready to address your family issues. The advisors can discuss subjects such as financial mismanagement, concerns over meeting the mortgage payment or bankruptcy considerations.


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