Are You in Need of Financial Bypass Surgery?

by Ellie Kay
DIY Landscaping for Less photo

It is essential to get regular financial check-ups and monitor your financial health. If it’s been a while, this quiz can tell you if your finances are in stable condition or in need of emergency assistance.

When was the last time you gave your finances a check-up? You could be in need of financial bypass surgery without even realizing it.

Take this quiz to determine your monetary health.

Use the following point system to answer the following questions:
Rarely = 1
Sometimes = 5
Frequently = 10

  1. Do you currently live on a budget?
  2. Do you consistently stick to your budget?
  3. Do you only buy something because you really need it?
  4. Do you give ten percent of your income to your church or other non-profit organization?
  5. Do you regularly give away material possessions?
  6. Do you have a total consumer debt load of less than 10 percent of your annual income?
  7. Do you save at least ten percent of your income?
  8. Do you have a savings account with at least two months’ worth of income in it?
  9. Do you own a retirement account or mutual fund of any kind?
  10. Do you refuse to buy something because a commercial or ad influences you?

30 or Less

You are in the most significant need category and have all the characteristics of a born spender who has never modified your financial habits. If you haven’t filed for bankruptcy yet, it is possible you will do so within the next two years unless you change your course and set it for financial recovery. (See Am I a Good Candidate for Bankruptcy?)

Between 30 and 60

If you are a typical American family, you are somewhat content with the status quo but believe your family’s financial situation will somehow right itself on its own. You tend to behave like a born spender, but there is still hope for your saver characteristics to kick in and save the day – and the money! (See 8 Reasons You Don’t Have an Emergency Fund)

Build an Emergency Fund

With these simple tips and tools, you can build an emergency fund, even while living paycheck to paycheck.

Between 60 and 85

At least one of the partners in this family is likely a born saver with the ability to influence the household budget. This person may know many of the right things to do financially but could still lack some of the accountability to follow through in specific areas.

Between 85 and 99

You have a tremendous financial outlook. However, you are in danger of becoming out of balance if saving and investing become an obsession. You need to be sure that you find flexibility in negotiating your finances.


If you can honestly say you have balance and are still generous with your money, then you might want to consider mentoring others. Finding ways to use your talents to help others can keep you humble, compassionate, and prosperous.

Reviewed October 2023

About the Author

Adapted from A Woman’s Guide to Family Finances: Finding Real Money in an Unreal Economy by Ellie Kay. © 2004. Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

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