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Arizona in Bottom Half of Financial Literacy Rankings

A WalletHub survey ranks Arizona residents 29th in the country in terms of their financial literacy. (iStock)
A WalletHub survey ranks Arizona residents 29th in the country in terms of their financial literacy. (iStock)
March 31, 2016

PHOENIX - A survey of financial literacy shows Arizona residents need to improve their understanding how to manage their money.

The state ranks 29th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia for its residents' money-management skills, according to information from the online survey company WalletHub.

Jill Gonzales, an analyst with WalletHub, says based on a number of financial-literacy indicators, Arizonans have a lot of room for improvement.

"A few things that they can definitely work on are the number of unbanked households," she says. "They are at about 13 percent, one of the highest rates in the country. Also, a lot of people borrowing from non-bank lenders, and about 40 percent of all Arizonans are paying the minimum on their credit cards."

While the survey ranked Arizonans low for their financial planning abilities and daily financial habits, Gonzalez says there is one bright spot, Arizona ranked first in the country for the percentage of residents having a "rainy day" savings fund.

She says April is National Financial Literacy Month, adding research shows that a financially illiterate population can negatively affect a state's overall economy.

"Usually, the higher financial literacy we see someplace, it means the less foreclosures, the less unbanked homes, the less people borrowing from non-bank lenders, like payday loans, et cetera," she says. "So, typically the higher the score there, the better the economy of a state, in general."

Gonzales says the United States as a whole is doing poorly when it comes to financial literacy. She says Americans have collectively racked up more than $150 billion in new credit card debt since 2012, and more than half do not have any type of emergency savings.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AZ