Money Management: How States Rank
Here’s something fun to play around with: CreditCards.com has ranked U.S. states according to their residents’ money management acumen. The interactive graphic and table below show their conclusions.
How Is “Money Management” Defined?
But how are people’s money management skills judged? Savings? Debt levels? Debt to income ratio? Sticking to a budget? All of these and more are arguably part of money management, but here’s what CreditCards.com did: It obtained credit scores and median household income information. CreditCards.com’s money management ranking is based on the difference between these two pieces of data. Their theory is that people who can achieve a relatively high credit score despite a relatively low income must be doing a good job of managing their money. Similarly, if your income is high but your credit score low, maybe you stink at money management.
That sounds pretty reasonable, with one quibble: cost of living differences. Earning $75k a year in Jackson, Mississippi is not the same as earning $75k in San Francisco, to give one example. Still, there’s surely some merit to CreditCard.com’s methodology.
Also, we have to bear in mind that data were collected at a point in time. Booms and busts in local economies will have a temporary impact on both household incomes and credit scores.
What surprises you most about CreditCard.coms’s rankings?