★ Can You Answer These 10 Easy Money Questions?


[Please welcome special guest Derek Olsen today!]

It’s your money, can you answer the ten easiest money questions ever?

  1. What is 2 + 2? (That’s a warm up question.)
  2. How much money do you have?
  3. How much do you earn each month?
  4. How much debt do you have?
  5. How much money do you spend each month?
  6. How much do you spend each month on debt payments only?
  7. How much money are you saving each month?
  8. How much is in your emergency fund?
  9. What is your net worth?
  10. What’s your plan?
  11. Bonus question to make up for question #1: How many months until you are debt free?

How did you do?

I was talking with The Wife today about how so many people are so bad with money and how so many finance books and websites are waaaaaaaaay to complex for the average person.

I said something brilliant like,

“Maybe instead of getting more complex we need to dumb it down even more.”

If so many people are making money mistakes we don’t need more complex money teaching, we need less complex money teachings!

Talking about reverse mutual funds and backdoor interest retreats isn’t helping. We need the basics!


We need to dumb it down and keep dumbing it down until we fix the problem. (We also need a different phrase to use, like “smart down?” Nah, that doesn’t sound right either.)

If you can nail the basics month after month, the complex stuff will take care of itself.

If you can’t nail the basics, the complex stuff won’t matter anyway because you will never get there.

If you can’t answer these ten money questions, your homework for today is to be able to answer them and be in bed by 10:30… like a boss!

About the author: Derek’s two-year-old daughter hates boring finance blogs. To make her happy, Derek started How Do I Money? You want painfully simple financial advice, stories from my life that will make you feel better about your life, emails you will actually read? Well then, How Do I Money has your name written all over it. Podcast coming June 2016!

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Last modified: November 23, 2016

19 Responses to :
★ Can You Answer These 10 Easy Money Questions?

  1. Liz says:

    Had a similar conversation with my mom this weekend:
    “What’s the point of a financial planner if you have no money to plan with? People need money coaches in their lives (parents, friends, partners) who can guide them to the point of having money to invest. If you get that far, you’re already winning”.

    Happy to say I could answer questions 1-10 with some quick thinking and referring to my handy-dandy spreadsheet :)

    1. Boom! That’s awesome that you could answer all 10. You are like, waaaaay ahead of so many people.

      And you (and your mom) are right. You’ve got to get the basics nailed down before any of that fancy stuff will help you anyway, so, stick to the basics.

  2. J. Money says:

    #9 is the most important in my view. If you’re paying attention to your net worth you know pretty well what your money is doing on a monthly basis! And proud to say that just like Liz, I can also answer all of these with or without looking at my trusty spreadsheet – woo!

    1. Agree that #9 (net worth) is important. But that’s probably the most advanced question on the list. Even though net worth is super important, there are a few steps you gotta figure out even before you can get there.

      But, when you figure your net worth, you have to answer like 3 or 4 of the other questions anyway, so it’s a good place to start!

  3. Paul says:

    Keeping it simple is the way to go. If you do not have any money at the end of the month, you are severely cutting down your options. This might mean saving, going on holiday or even allowing yourself to study to improve your career prospects. Address your money habits and skills first and once you have that in mind, then look at 401k, compound interest, Roths, IRAs , ABC’s CDE’s…… We as a nations are too focused on our returns, but have not curbed our spending!

    1. Bingo! “Address your habits first.”

      More money is a *result* of your habits.
      (Less money is also a result of your habits.)

  4. TinaP says:

    Happy to say I sailed through 2-11. #1 was a little tough – sometimes that just depends on the day and my 5th grade daughter’s common core homework!

    1. Wow. That’s great. You are on top of this.

      Curious… what does common core say 2+2=???

  5. 11 out of 10! This one goes to eleven.
    110% FTW.
    p.s. nice Hot Wheels

    1. Derek says:

      Haha, when you need that extra little push over the cliff!!

  6. Charity says:

    A year and a half ago, I would not have been able to answer all of those questions. Today this quiz is just an easy A! Plus, my answer to the bonus question is pretty awesome – four months! *Technically three, I guess because August is when it will be gone but our payments are made at the end of the month, so I’m counting May as one of those months.

    1. Derek says:


      This is exactly what I’m saying. Most people can’t answer even half of these questions. But once you start paying attention, awesome things happen.

      Congrats on paying off the debt!!!

  7. If I can answer #1, I’m doing pretty well, right?

    Jokes aside, great post. I agree that sometimes it’s best to just simplify these concepts.

  8. ZJ Thorne says:

    My only problem is the how much do you earn each month. I’m a contingent worker, and that is not great for planning. I have an idea what will happen, but that can change with 20 minutes of notice.

    1. I feel ya’.

      My wife and I are both self-employed and our income is different every month. I suppose you could modify this question and ask, “How much did I make last month” or “What did I average per month last year?”

      Perhaps answering those two questions might help. (You probably can, but lots of people wouldn’t be able to!)


  9. Vanessa says:

    Check and check! I’m glad I could answer all of this. I have a plan, now it’s adjusting to stick to the plan…

    1. J. Money says:

      I have faith in you, semi hipster :)

  10. Michelle @ TheseTwoThings says:

    I was able to answer all these questions. Great to know I’m on the right track. Thanks for such an interesting post.

    1. J. Money says:


      And way to get the good $$ word out over in South Africa too! Love seeing blogs from all over the world :)

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