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Do You Pass the Financial Stress Test?

Banks have to. Shouldn’t you? Five critical criteria to check now.
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Photographer: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The big U.S. banks on Wednesday passed the second of the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests, which determine whether they can move ahead on plans to use capital for stock buybacks, dividends, or acquisitions.

How would your own finances hold up under stress? Will you have enough of a capital cushion? Most of us don't evaluate our finances 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.