savings

How Useful Are Financial Rules of Thumb?

These guidelines are often touted as gospel truth. Do they point you in the right direction -- or lead you astray? Take our quiz to find out.

Making financial decisions often involves a lot of "on the one hand, on the other hand." But sometimes you just want a fast answer -- a simple guideline to point you in the right direction.

That's where rules of thumb come in: They aim to break down a complex financial choice into a quick one-liner. You know, "Never spend more than 36% of your income on housing," for example, or "pay off debt with the highest interest rate first."

They may be touted as gospel truth, but when it comes to money rules of thumb, some are more helpful than others. Many are time-tested words of wisdom that set you on the right path. Others are downright wrong and could wind up costing you, no matter how well-meaning the giver of advice. The misleading guidelines may be outdated, impractical or simply a misunderstanding. The trick is evaluating these oft-quoted principles to see if they make sense for your personal situation.

Just how useful are the financial rules of thumb? We've pulled together a QUIZ to see if you can sort the most truthful advice from the misleading.

Of course, the one solid rule of thumb you can count on is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to most financial decisions. But if you can zero in on the best rules of thumb, you're one step closer to making good choices with your money.

TAKE OUR QUIZ: Financial Truth or Bunk?

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security
social security

How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security

When it comes to maximizing your Social Security benefits, there are many elements to consider. One factor that can be especially enlightening is your…
August 30, 2021
Spend Without Worry in Retirement
Financial Planning

Spend Without Worry in Retirement

Fears of running out of money prevent many retirees from tapping the nest egg they’ve worked a lifetime to save. With these strategies, you can genera…
August 30, 2021

Recommended

15 Things Retirees Should Buy at Costco
Making Your Money Last

15 Things Retirees Should Buy at Costco

From its house brand Kirkland Signature lineup to name brands and hidden gems, the warehouse club offers bargains aimed at mature shoppers.
September 8, 2021
17 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Raising Money-Smart Kids

17 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’ve got lots of kid-friendly activities to do at home that will keep your family safe and your finances sound.
September 8, 2021
13 Costs of Owning a Cat
how to save money

13 Costs of Owning a Cat

Housecats may be known for their aloofness and low-maintenance attitude, but they're not cheap. Here's what you can expect to spend if you plan on ado…
August 30, 2021
Free (or Cheap) College for Retirees in All 50 States
retirement

Free (or Cheap) College for Retirees in All 50 States

Whether it's to complete a degree, gain new knowledge or just for fun, retirees can collect their books and get on (back) to school in a most inexpens…
August 25, 2021