Most people might not realize it, but April is Financial Literacy Month, a time set aside each year by nonprofit financial counseling organizations to raise awareness about the importance of understanding spending and saving.
While you might think this campaign is perhaps unnecessary, consider that a recent study by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling determined that three out of every five people did not monitor their spending or keep a budget, and that over 40 percent of surveyed adults gave themselves a grade of "C" or lower on their understanding of personal finance.
Furthermore, consider a recently completed survey by the financial education website WalletHub, which rated the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the financial savvy of their residents.
What states were found to be the most financially savvy?
After crunching the numbers on 20 different metrics, including average credit score, mortgage debt as a percentage of income, annual savings account average, and personal bankruptcy rate to name only a few, the researchers found Minnesota (1), New Hampshire (2), North Dakota (3), Connecticut (4) and New York (5) to be the most financially savvy.
What states were found to be the most lacking in financial savvy?
The researchers found the least financially savvy states to be Missouri (51), Arkansas (50), New Mexico (49), Mississippi (48) and Nevada (47).
How did Florida fare in the rankings?
The Sunshine State ranked number 29 on the list, meaning Floridians might have to do some brushing up on basic financial principles. Indeed, it's worth noting that Florida actually came in dead last for having the highest combined delinquency rates on credit cards, student loans, auto loans and mortgages, and near the bottom for foreclosures.
What all of this really serves to underscore is that taking the time to learn a little bit more about basic money management can go a long way toward improving your financial future. However, it's also important to understand that in the event your money issues become insurmountable despite your best efforts, you are certainly not without options.