Quiz: Are you Ready to Support Yourself Financially?
- Megan Pacheco Chief Learning Officer, Lead Like Jesus
- 2013 6 Jun
If you’re living with your parents, chances are you’ve considered what life would be like if you had your own place. Many teens and young adults in their 20’s are in the same boat—trying to convince themselves that things would be greener on the other side. But in reality, most students and even young professionals have yet to consider the ramifications of leaving the nest.
As emotions rise, you’ll feel tempted to move out before thinking it through. Before you do, take the quiz below to find out if you are financially ready. Answer each of the following questions and check your score at the bottom of the quiz to see how you stack up.
1. Do you know approximately how much your parents pay for gas, electric and water each month?
a. Yes, we have discussed it, or I’ve looked it up.
b. I know it must be expensive because my parents are always yelling at me to turn my lights off when I leave and to take shorter showers.
c. Why would I know that if I’m not paying for it?
2. Do you have your own bank account in which you deposit and from which you withdraw from on a regular basis?
b. I have a savings account from when I was younger, but no bank account that I use on a regular basis.
3. How stable is your job?
a. Extremely stable. I have recently been promoted or hold a steady position.
b. I just started, but I think it should be enough to pay the bills.
c. What job?
4. If the whole family was going on a vacation to Florida, I would most likely:
a. Pay for my plane ticket and some of my meals.
b. Use my own money for meals and extra expenses if needed.
c. Make sure to tell my parents “thank you” for a free vacation to Florida.
5. You’ve found a place you would love to rent for $600.00 a month. Next, you:
a. Double check I am making enough money to pay the rent, and call to estimate how much gas, water and
electric bills will be to ensure I have enough money for everything.
b. $600.00 would be tough. I’d talk to my parents to see if they could help out, or consider getting a roommate.
c. $600.00 would be nothing for my parents. I’ll let them know that’s how much it will cost.
6. Which of the following most accurately describes why you want to leave the nest?
a. I am making enough money to cover my rent, utilities, car payment/gas, food and other expenses.
b. I am feeling pressure to live on my own by my parents or peers because I have a good job and I’m of the age where many of my friends are moving out.
c. I’m tired of dealing with my parents.
7. Which most closely describes what you currently pay for:
a. Gas, car payment (if you own a car), card insurance, credit card
b. Gas and food when I go out to eat
8. If you received $500.00 as a gift, you would most likely:
a. I’d take a look at my upcoming bills and try to get ahead by paying some off early, and save at least a portion of it.
b. I’d likely save less than half of it and spend the rest.
c. $500.00 will pay for that TV I’ve been eyeing for my bedroom!
9. You are looking to rent an apartment for about $700.00 once you move out. In your opinion, how much extra money should you have in your savings account, as an “emergency fund” before making the move?
a. Over $3,000. I’d want my emergency fund able to cover rent and utilities for at least a few months in case I suddenly lose my job or need to make a large, unexpected purchase.
b. $1000-$3,000. I figure doubling the amount my rent costs per month in savings will be enough to cover anything major.
c. Less than $1,000. If anything goes wrong, I know Mom and Dad have my back.
10. Do you keep a budget?
a. Yes, I decide in advance how to spend my money.
b. I rarely overspend but I don’t actually keep track of what I spend. Sometimes I wonder where my money goes.
If you answered mostly A’s: Only you can know if you are truly “ready,” but it sounds like you are on track to make the move! We recommend having an “emergency fund” with a minimum of three months’ worth of expenses saved up. This money should cover living expenses for a few months in case of job loss, emergency repairs, unexpected doctor visits, etc. Try to remember that as you’re just starting out, you might not be able to live like your parents are living now—start slowly and take saving money seriously!
If you answered mostly B’s: Sounds like you are in the process of building the right habits for living on your own, but are still fairly dependent on your parents. Start out by “practice play,” where you track your expenses and how much you are making. A budgeting tool can help you visualize how much you are making verses how much you spend. Then try factoring in rent and other bills (depending on your situation) including a car payment, gas, water, electric, cell phone, etc. Before you leave the nest, be sure to talk with your parents or a trusted source about how they save and spend their money, and unexpected expenses they’ve faced that you might not be aware of.
If you answered mostly C’s: There’s nothing wrong with Mom and Dad treating to dinner, then a movie, then filling up your tank with gas, right? If this is a frequent occurrence, you might be more dependent on your parents than you realize. Before you think about leaving the nest, consider taking on some smaller expenses to get a better feel of how much money you’ll need to keep up your current pace of life. Remember, moving out on your own changes things and you might need to downgrade the space or lifestyle you are accustom to living. For now, set a short-term goal (4-6 months) of saving on a regular basis for an “emergency fund.” This will get you in the habit of consistently saving, and prepare you financially for when you’re ready to leave the nest in the future.
Megan is one of the new additions to the Finicity (provider of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching) team. She comes with over 13 years of experience in the Biblical Finances area. Her content has been published by Money Matters, Do Well and Lifeway's More than Living. She is a mom of two young boys, and lives with her husband David in the Atlanta area.
Publication date: June 28, 2013