MN Financial Capability — December 2010, reviewed January 2013

The National Financial Capability Study was conducted in June through October of 2009.  State-by-state data was released in 2010. How did Minnesotans respond?

At a glance the financial capability was measured by focusing on four key components:

To measure making ends meet, the individuals were asked if they were spending more than, breaking even or spending less than their household income.  In Minnesota, 22% of individuals reported that over the past year, their household spent more than their income.  This was 2% higher than the national average meaning less saving by Minnesotans.

To measure planning ahead, the study asked if individuals had a ‘rainy day’ fund.  This meant they had money set aside for three months of expenses in case of emergencies such as sickness, job loss or economic downturn.  59% of Minnesotan’s lacked the ‘rainy day’ fund; the national average was 60%.

Numerous Americans have engaged in non-bank borrowing within the past five years, such as taking out an auto title loan or a payday loan or getting an advance on a tax refund.  21% of Minnesota individuals reported using one or more non-bank borrowing methods; the national score was 24%.

For the fourth component, financial knowledge and decision-making, participants were asked five questions covering concepts of economics and everyday finance.  The average Minnesota score was 2nd highest in the nation but Minnesotans were less likely than the national average to comparison shop for credit cards.

The study provides interesting information to ponder.  Check out how you would score on a five question quiz by going to: http://www.usfinancialcapability.org/.  There you will find much more detail about the whole study and the results.