The Most Financially Literate States in America

Financial literacy is highest in a small New England state, according to an analysis by a personal finance website.

The Most Financially Literate States in America Photo (cc) by Joe Shlabotnik

This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.

New Hampshire must be on to something. The state is No. 1 for financial literacy and it had one of the top five average credit scores in the country at the end of last year.

That success likely stems from a variety of things: New Hampshire requires personal finance education in schools, has one of the highest high school graduation rates, has some of the most educated residents in the country and has the lowest portion of unbanked households in the country.

In short: New Hampshire residents seem to have the resources to make smart financial decisions.

A recent report from WalletHub took several financial and educational metrics and analyzed them to come up with the country’s most (and least) financially literate states. The rankings are based on savings habits and spending patterns, in addition to states’ educational requirements.

New Hampshire came out on top, followed closely by several states with similarly high credit scores (based on 2013 credit score data from Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence reports).

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Utah

  3. Virginia

  4. New Jersey

  5. Minnesota

  6. South Dakota

  7. North Dakota

  8. Maryland

  9. Idaho

  10. Massachusetts

Five of those states are also among those with the top 10 average credit scores.

Financial literacy matters because everyone has to deal with money — and it’s crucial to manage money well by spending within your means, saving for large purchases and unexpected expenses, paying your bills on time and understanding the terms of any financial products (usually credit cards or loans) you use.

Even if you didn’t start out with the best financial foundation, you can learn from and correct past mistakes. One of the most helpful things you can do is learn how your past actions influence your credit standing and access to financial products in the future. Reviewing your credit scores and credit reports is a great habit to form, because you can connect how things like on-time payments and how much credit you use impact your credit scores.

If you want to see where you stand, you can get two free credit scores with a Credit.com account, along with advice on how to improve or maintain them.

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