When I was writing my first book (before 2010) Raising Pinoy Boys I introduced the term FQ to mean Financial Intelligence Quotient. At that time when I googled “FQ” it showed different meanings including a swear expression, but none that stood for anything financial. I thought of using it to rhyme with IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), AQ (Adversity Quotient) and all the other Qs parents have to contend with in raising their children. I probably liked the naughty ring to it too and so I wrote in Chapter 6 – Money Matters:
“I am proposing the ninth intelligence: Financial Intelligence. Let’s call it FQ (Financial Intelligence Quotient)…”
Little did I know that this would become the common favorite chapter among the readers. Then I came up with FQ Mom and the website with the same name. A colleague in the industry even asked me if I was sure that’s how I’d like to be introduced considering that FQ was not yet a commonly used term. I said, “All the more I’d like to use it!”
The need for Scorecards. In school we use report cards in measuring our degree of learning. When we reach adulthood and enter the workforce, the common scorecard of success is the amount of money that we make. It is not a perfect scoring system because of the presence of other aspects of success but since it is the universally quantifiable one, we often resort to it.
In a previous article I shared with you about Grit Score as developed by Grit Expert Angela Duckworth. It is a good indicator of success because grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. I like the simplicity of her grit scale because it makes it easy for test takers to accomplish. Click link if you want to know your grit score.
In terms of weight we have the Body Mass Index (BMI), an attempt to quantify the amount of tissue in an individual to determine if one is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. It is computed as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 to 29.9 is overweight, and 30 and above is obese. Click BMI Calculator to compute your own. My simple way is still your height divided by 2 is your maximum waistline. But of course, it’s better to stay as close as possible to your pre-pregnancy (if you ever got pregnant) and healthy waistline.
This need for scorecards is our way of knowing where we are now so that we know what to work on in order to reach our goals.
The Making of the FQ Test
For quite some time now I’ve been looking at tests/assessments on FQ. I’ve looked at local and international ones. Most of the time the focus is on the knowledge on financial concepts – inflation, interest rates, types of investment and debt instruments. Some are geared towards whatever product they are selling – credit card, insurance, investments, etc. I had been in my journey to come up with a scoring system that will have the important elements and yet not become too long and complicated that it would discourage test takers.
For the past few years of writing and talking about Financial Intelligence, I have come to confirm first hand that FQ is not a simple set of skills that can be learned by someone the way he can when it comes to other subject matters. FQ, because it involves money, should be a way of life. Here lies the parents’ critical role. And that is why my talks also involve going down childhood money memories.
In my exposure to Behavioral Economics studies on improving financial well-being, I came across a meta-analysis done in 2014 that proves that Financial Literacy does not work! Yes. We first shared this in our Family FQ Workshop in May 2015 and in a subsequent article I wrote entitled Only 6% of those who learned about financial literacy improved financial behavior.
All of these knowledge and experiences I took with me when I designed the FQ Test. This FQ Test is divided into two parts. Part 1 is the Knowledge part where there is only one correct answer for each question. Part 2 is on Behavior. There is no one single correct answer per question here as the only correct answer is your honest answer. This assesses your actual behavior and condition with regard to money.
One may be high in Part 1 but low in Part 2. To have a high FQ, you must have high scores in both parts because I define FQ as the ability to make sound decisions and actions in managing one’s personal finances.
A high score in Part 1 can be attained through education. And this is why some may be happy that the government has announced Financial Literacy to become part of our school curriculum. But there should be caution in doing this. Any move such as this has cost considerations, and based on the experiences of other countries, the positive effect per dollar spent is not worth it.
Studies show that only a negligible number of those who go through financial literacy classes improve their financial behavior. Someone who gets an A in a Financial Literacy Class may still obtain a low score in my FQ Test. Hence, I suggest that any attempt to spend for this financial literacy project should be coupled with nudges that would make the individuals really take actions in applying the lessons learned right away.
Take the FQ Test Challenge
So given the above, would you like to know where you stand? In the Behavioral Economics workshop particularly on the Psychology of Money that my husband and I conducted last Saturday in Singapore, we asked the participants to take the FQ Test. We were happy to note that the participants fared generally well in the test. The participants were our OFWs working in Singapore. They are members of a group called The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI) so there is already an assumed knowledge in Finance and probably some form of nudging from each other due to the nature of the group.
We all have dreams and let’s face it, dreams usually come with price tags. How much will it cost to send my children to good schools? How much will I spend for my dream wedding? How much will it cost to build my dream house? My vacation with the family? A happy retirement? The more aware we are of our FQ Score, the more we become conscious in preparing financially for all our dreams.
So here, take the FQ Test by clicking the link below:
I’d love to hear from you. You may or may not share your actual score with me but your feedback will be appreciated. It’s an assessment in progress. Who knows your input might prove worthwhile. And remember, your FQ Score is not carved in stone. You have all the chance to improve it.
Thank you and cheers to high FQ!
- Thank you to the TGFI Core Group for arranging Psychology of Money Workshop last July 30, 2016.
- Join the FQ Meme Challenge
- Watch out for my FQ talks in cooperation with Security Bank. Dates and venues to be announced.
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from the author and TGFI members. Images from webdesigndev.com put together to deliver the message of the article.