South Dakotans Rank Third In Financial Literacy

by | Jan 6, 2011 | In The News | 5 comments

My friends around the country claim I am a traveling Chamber of Commerce. They say I am often caught articulating the virtues of South Dakota.  Maybe so.  Well, here’s another factoid my friends around the country will soon be learning about.  

According to a recent survey, it seems the fine residents of the State of South Dakota had the third highest financial literacy scores of any other state in the nation.  First was New Hampshire and second was Minnesota. That means the residents of 47 other states (including New York, California, and Texas) are a bit more financially challenged than those of us living in fly-over country.  That must sting a bit for some of my buddies in other states. 

Which begs the question, why are Dakotans are so intellectually savvy?  Could it be that for the past ten years one-fifth of the adult population of South Dakota can read my weekly column in their local paper?  I doubt it, but it’s an interesting question to ponder, especially in light of this next fact that I was going to conveniently not include in this post until my wife shamed me into including it.

So, here’s the rest of the story.  If South Dakotans are so smart, why are they also the fourth highest in the country when it comes to overpending?  Yes, sadly, 64.2% of South Dakotans spend more than they make.  So, what’s the deal?  Some suggest it’s because our wages are lower than most parts of the US and our expenses higher.  While I am unsure of the reason, the simple fact is South Dakotans have a huge disconnect between what they know they should do financially and what they actually do.

Here’s an interesting column that ran in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on the study.

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