Test Your Personal Finance Skills With These Quizzes

Kiplinger has two quizzes named “Financial Truth or Bunk?“, and they go through some of the more popular tips you’ve heard about personal finance, including lines like:

  • You can’t lose money investing in bonds.
  • Stay-at-home moms or dads need life insurance, too.
  • Don’t buy a red car — it’ll cost more to insure.
  • Dollar-cost averaging boosts investment returns.
  • The percentage of stock in your portfolio should equal 100 minus your age.

If you’re a longtime Consumerist reader, odds are you’ll score pretty high, because in the past year alone we’ve discussed 80-90% of the topics covered in the quizzes. But if you’re a new reader—or just bored at work and like to take quizzes—you should check it out and see if you learn something new.

Let us know in the comments how you did on the quiz, and which questions tripped you up. You know, so we can all laugh at you learn from your mistakes.

“Financial Truth or Bunk?” [Kiplinger]
(Photo: Getty Images)


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  1. yso says:


  2. Coles_Law says:

    Got the one about debt and investing wrong-mainly because they provide no percentages. Given the average credit card rate is 18% and I seriously doubt any return will reliably beat that, I stand by my answer of “pay the debt first”.

  3. proskills says:

    10/12, the only one I remember getting wrong was the one about getting out of debt before investing. I was thinking credit card debt, and buying stocks, not buying a home and investing in a 401(k).

  4. B says:

    92%. The only one I missed is should married couples file jointly, which I feel okay with, since I’m not married.

  5. Mr_D says:

    I didn’t like question 3 – What if your employer offers an absolute joke of a 401k? Does that mean it should still be your first stop? And what if they don’t offer a match – if it’s a good plan, shouldn’t you still take advantage of it?

    • proskills says:

      @Mr_D: Not according to some experts (Suze Orman comes to mind), they think you should invest in a Roth IRA if your employer doesn’t offer 401(k) matching.

    • B says:

      @Mr_D: Employee matching on a 401k is like getting 100% return on investments. How bad would the plan have to be for that to not be a good deal? Other than a 401k that forces you to invest heavily in your company stock, I don’t see why that wouldn’t be your first stop.

  6. bonzombiekitty says:

    I didn’t do so hot, but the questions I got wrong were things that haven’t concerned me (i.e. whether or not it’s usually best to file jointly or separately if you’re married) so I haven’t tried to look into them at all and assumed on those that they were trick questions and my natural instinct was wrong..

  7. floraposte says:

    I got an utterly bogus 83%, including scoring correctly on one question that I didn’t understand any of. However, the ones I got wrong were ones that don’t apply to me, so I’m not too worried.

    I was glad to see the red car thing debunked. I had a colleague who insisted it was true, despite the fact that I’d insured my new red car without them even asking what color it was.

  8. I got the red car question wrong. I can’t believe I’ve held on to that lie for so many years–why didn’t someone tell me? In all fairness, I don’t own a car, but still… [hands head in shame]

  9. nataku8_e30 says:

    I don’t give a crap what they say, I really don’t think you should be investing in any significant way if you have debts that you can’t pay off (with the exception of 401k w/ employer matching, but that sort of doesn’t count)

    • innout3x3 says:

      @nataku83: I was confused on that question. They should have included how much debt into the question. Mortgage debt is normal for everyone, but if you have half your money going to pay debt off, then investing is not an option.

      • TPS Reporter says:

        @innout3x3: Yeah, I was confused too. I thought it was talking about credit card debt, not like a mortgage etc. So I got that one wrong.

        • floraposte says:

          @MrBill38: I figured it was a trap and that they wanted me to forget about mortgages and student loans, so I got the right answer. I don’t have access to a 401k, though, so I have no idea how they work and got that question wrong.

  10. innout3x3 says:

    11/12 not too shabby.

  11. Tightlines says:

    I took their first quiz and got the fixed-rate interest mortgage question wrong. Incredibly, they’re still advising taking an ARM if you’re “certain” you’ll move within the time period. Why even take the risk?

    • crazymatt1 says:

      @Tightlines: This is working very well for my wife and me. We moved for a 3.5 year period for her to complete a residency and took a 5/1 ARM.

      We were able to get a rate .75% lower than a 30-year fixed and the broker paid the closing costs (which I know really means that they were built into the price of the loan, but still…)

      We’re in year 3 right now, btw, and definitely no regrets. Even if we were to stay, we would still have a year and a half to either sell the house or refi.

  12. krom says:

    “Never buy a house that costs more then 2.5 times your annual income: WRONG”

    Huh, really? I think that’s excellent advice, in fact a bit high. If everyone followed that advice, we might have staved off the bubble — and the complete and utter mess we’re in now. Can’t help but think Kiplinger’s advice isn’t really meant to help Joe Average but is meant to help bankers, heavy investors, and other high rollers. Plonk.

  13. homerjay says:

    Woo hoo! 100%
    I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!

  14. melak says:

    90%, only missed the question about the IRS audit, which I feel confident missing since I’m Canadian, so the IRS can bite me.

  15. czadd says:

    100% and I only guessed twice!

  16. zlionsfan says:

    They left out one question:

    13. Everything about personal finance can be accurately summarized in true/false questions.

  17. P_Smith says:

    Not bad, 10 of 12.

    Getting the 401K wrong was a silly mistake, and the red car question doesn’t matter, so I didn’t do too bad.

  18. reimero says:

    11 of 12. I missed the one about married couples filing. To be honest, it’s not something I’d looked into recently because of that whole not being married (yet) bit.

  19. ArtlessDodger says:

    I got 11/12. I missed the married couples filing, too. :)

  20. yagisencho says:

    10/12. I beg ignorance on that last question. I don’t buy individual stocks, and wasn’t familiar with the terminology. On the plus side, the retirement calculator they link to shows that I’m on the right track to retire in 25 years. Assuming of course that my 401k is still worth anything after the stock market bleeds dry.

  21. DeleteThisAccount says:

    Results: 11 out of 12 Right (92%) … SEE ID is not akin to signing the back of a Credit Card… I know I know, I’ve read all the stories here about how that’s not “legal” WHATEVER

  22. Zeniq says:

    I missed 1 and 12 because I’m not the smartest when it comes to investments. In fact, I had no idea what #12 was even talking about…

  23. Green Goth Brit Chick - AlternatEve says:

    Hah! 11/12 (I fell for the red car one, I fail), and I’m a) English and b) stupid.

  24. 100%! I guessed on the last one because I had no idea what it meant.