Debt Denial Quiz

January 4, 2010

Debt reduction is a good thing to tackle at the start of the year but sometimes we’re in denial about how much debt we actually have and how much work it will be to pay off those debts.

A reader sent me the debt quiz below; you give a yes or no answer for each question.  Each yes answer is a hint that you should take a closer look at debt in your life.

1) I carry credit card balances for a long time and often pay only the minimum
amount due.

2) My credit card balances are growing each month.

3) I am at or near my borrowing limit on one or more of my credit cards.

4) I no longer have a savings account, or I am using savings to pay bills I used to pay
from my checking account.

5) I try to manage my money to a budget, but I often come up short when I sit down
to pay bills.

6) I use cash advances from credit cards or the overdraft feature on my checking
account to pay bills and basic living expenses.

7) I borrowed from friends or family when money was tight and haven’t yet paid it
all back.

8 ) I juggle payments, paying one creditor one month and another the next so that
they are both getting something.

9) I often transfer balances from one credit card to another because I can’t afford to
pay all of my monthly credit card bills.

10) I have “consolidated” my debts into a home equity loan or a single credit card more
than once.

11) I rely on overtime pay or money from a second job to pay my regular bills.

12) I don’t have the money to pay irregular bills, like real estate taxes and insurance.

13) When I come home from shopping, I sometimes hide my purchases or lie about
how much they cost.

14) I no longer pay attention to how much I owe.

15) I sometimes get notices in the mail or phone calls telling me I’m late with
a payment.

16) My heart rate increases when my credit card is run through the machine because
I never know if it will be accepted.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to Debt Denial Quiz

  • Joan

    Thank you Very good post! If someone says “yes” more than twice, their situation is scary. However it’s OK, in my opinion, to say “Yes” to # 3 “I no longer have a savings account”. Why would anyone have a savings account paying a minuscule interest if every dollar can go against a mortgage instead or better be invested in equities or so? I do not have a savings account, as I find it useless.

  • Jean McDowell

    There are some good ideas in this article but one of the main problems is that it all seems so hard. Debt can be so overwhelming that there seems no way out, we think of it first thing as we wake and last thing at night before we sleep and as the problem is so big we don’t know where to start so we do nothing. What I found is that if I just look at one area at a time and start to make changes after a while those small steps become big changes.

  • Kate

    I have been working on my debt for a long time and there are times I felt that I was not even making a dent in my financial future/current stability. Thankfully I can answer ‘no’ to most of these questions and the few ‘yes’ answers I am already working on.

    Thanks for the quiz/post.