I've heard people make the argument that schools should be teaching students life skills like balancing a checkbook, paying bills, or creating/maintaining a savings program. I tend to agree, and seeing where our state ranks among "financially savvy" states justifies that feeling for me.

WalletHub, the personal finance site, is out with another of their state-by-state comparisons. This one is entitled "2017’s Most & Least Financially Savvy States." In trying to determine each state's (and the District of Columbia's) financial prowess, WalletHub's analysts looked at:

Financial literacy is key to sound financial health. But financial savvy is what differentiates the comfortable from the truly stable. Unfortunately, a staggering lack of money smarts plagues Americans, according to a study on financial literacy conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. About 42 percent of U.S. adults, for instance, grade their knowledge of personal finance a “C” or worse. Meanwhile, three out of five admit to not keeping a budget, one of the most basic life skills that every adult should master even as early as high school.

As this report reflects, however, residents of certain states are sharper than their peers when it comes to maintaining their household balance sheets. To determine where American consumers set the best example, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 key metrics that represent financial savvy — or lack thereof. Our data set ranges from median credit score to annual savings-account average to credit-card debt as a share of income.

Before we get into the Illinois numbers, here are WalletHub's top 5 most financially savvy states:

1) Massachusetts

2) New Hampshire

3) Connecticut

4) Minnesota

5) New Jersey

 

Next, the bottom 5, or least financially savvy:

47) West Virginia

48) Oklahoma

49) New Mexico

50) Arkansas

51) Mississippi

 

As for Illinois, our spot is in the bottom half at #27. Wisconsin is #7, Michigan is #19, Iowa has the #11 spot, Missouri comes in at #46, Indiana is #36, and Kentucky is #38.

Financial Savvy in Illinois (1=Most; 25=Avg.)
24th – Median Credit Score
20th – Mortgage Debt as % of Median Income
37th – Foreclosure Rate
9th – % of Credit Usage
41st – Housing Expenses as % of Median Home Price
31st – % of Unbanked Households
24th – Delinquency Rate on Mortgages, Auto Loans, Student Loans & Credit Cards
32nd – % of Adults Spending More than They Earn
13th – % of Adults with Rainy-Day Funds
9th – Total Debt as % of Median Income