Got money?

Many of us who work at home find ourselves separated from the mainstream of the stumbling American economy.

While regular workers spend increasing amounts of time worrying about their money, we freelance types say in resentful, guttural tones: "What is this 'money' and how do we get some?"

But say you have some of this so-called "money." Do you know what to do with it? Are you saving for retirement? College? A rainy day?

Whether you work at home or in the usual slave labor, how you handle your money can determine whether you weather the current tidal wave of economic crises or become more welfare flotsam.

Money management is not for amateurs. Make a mistake, and you can regret it for a lifetime or beyond. Yet studies show that most Americans know more about football than they do about financial planning.

To see whether you're knowledgeable enough to handle your own finances, take the following quiz:

Question: To "invest" means to:

A. Plant your money in a place where it will grow.
B. Hide your money in the pocket of your vest.
C. Buy a new truck.
D. Wave bye-bye to your money.

Q. "Consumer debt" is:

A. Money you owe to MasterCard.
B. The fuel in the engine of the American economy.
C. Something we all have in common.
D. A lifelong pursuit.

Q: A "pension" is a:

A. Retirement fund.
B. Small hotel in France.
C. Pipe dream.
D. CEO's slush fund.

Q. The term "interest" means:

A. To hold one's attention.
B. Your share in a successful enterprise.
C. Money you earn on your savings.
D. Money you pay to a loan shark.

Q. "Mortgage interest" can be deducted from:

A. Your taxes.
B. Your landlord's taxes.
C. Your wallet.
D. The national debt.

Q. A 401(k) is a retirement fund that allows you to invest your pre-tax earnings now and collect the gains when you retire. What does the (k) stand for?

A. Karma.
B. Klutz.
C. Kick yourself.
D. Kill yourself.

Q. An "IRA" is:

A. A tax shelter.
B. A method of earning 2 percent interest on your retirement savings.
C. One of the Gershwin brothers.
D. The Irish Republican Army.

Q. The stock market is a way to:

A. Secure your future.
B. Diversify your portfolio.
C. Lose your assets.
D. Justify suicide.

Q. When considering a particular investment, you should:

A. Research it carefully.
B. Consult a professional.
C. Ask your Uncle Morty for a "hot tip."
D. Flip a coin.

Q. "Mutual fund" means:

A. A collection of investments managed by a professional.
B. A shared risk.
C. Read the fine print.
D. Community property.

Q. "Taxes" are:

A. Every American's responsibility.
B. To be avoided.
C. An albatross around the neck of the working man.
D. The largest state in the contiguous U.S.

Q. If you find ways to reduce your "tax burden," you could end up:

A. With more money to invest.
B. With more money to spend on a new truck.
C. In an IRS auditor's office.
D. In prison.

Q. "Wealth" is:

A. The measure of all your collected assets.
B. Relative.
C. Something your relatives have.
D. A pipe dream.

Q. The safest place to keep your money is in:

A. Mutual funds.
B. An interest-bearing savings account.
C. The stock market.
D. A cookie jar.

Q. To "diversify your portfolio" means:

A. To spread your money around among several different types of investments.
B. To carefully balance risk investments against "sure things."
C. To change the color of your briefcase.
D. To put your money in several different cookie jars.

Q. It's often said that "money can't buy happiness," but it can buy:

A. Financial security.
B. The illusion of happiness.
C. Politicians.
D. A new truck.


Anonymous said...

This column has my vote for top 10 - or maybe it's just tax weekend - either way, I nearly spit coffee on my 1040s.

Anonymous said...

Finally! Finacial advice I understand! Notice I didn't say, "trust," just understood.
Thanks for the tips!