While the economy is still improving slowly, many consumers across the country are still struggling with their money problems, and even those in the most financially capable states still have some problems.
Despite improving economic conditions, over half of Americans still live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a new poll on financial capability released by FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Fifty-five percent of consumers reported that their household spending is equal to or greater than its income. Further, 60 percent said they do not have enough money saved up in case of a fiscal emergency.
The poll also found that Americans could only answer three out of five questions about fundamental financial principles correctly, the report said. Young people were less likely to be financially capable than older consumers.
“This study highlights how important improving financial education is for Americans, especially during times of financial insecurity,” said FINRA Foundation Chairman Rick Ketchum. “While the current economic conditions can exacerbate the consequences of poor financial decisions, some states are still well ahead of others.”
On a state-by-state basis, New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire were the most financially capable states, ranking in the top five in three of five measures, the report said. Kentucky and Montana had the lowest rankings among all states.
Many consumers have had a harder time dealing with their finances for a number of reasons since the recession began, including mounting credit card debts resulting from loss of employment or the devaluing of their homes.