Do you pass the financial stress test?

Banks have to. Shouldn’t you? Five critical criteria to check now.

The largest U.S. banks find out today if they passed one of the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests. The goal is to be judged strong enough to weather the economic fallout from a major financial crisis like the one in 2008 that led to the tests.

How would your own finances hold up under stress? Most of us don’t evaluate them rigorously until we want a mortgage or auto loan or face a crisis. Running a quick personal finance version of the banks’ test now can pay dividends down the line and be a lifesaver when you’re in turmoil.

Five ways to see if you could withstand the stress:

Calculate your readiness

Try the calculator on the site of the financial education nonprofit Mpowered to get a quick idea of where you stand. It asks 20 questions, including whether you pay the minimum on your credit card bill each month, pay more than a third in housing costs, and have more than three months of living expenses saved. It doesn’t require plugging in many numbers or making tricky assumptions.

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