Mississippians have poor financial literacy

A recent study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation reveals that many Americans, including those in Mississippi, are not financially capable. In fact, millions are having trouble meeting their basic needs. In light of these findings, FINRA vows to take steps to help individuals become more financially literate. There are also steps that individuals can personally take, like attempting to eradicate their credit card debt.

The FINRA study presented its findings on a state-by-state basis, revealing that financial preparedness varies significantly depending on which state a person lives. For instance, those individuals who live in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey are apparently more financial capable. In contrast, people living in Mississippi and some other Southern states have worse financial literacy.

Overall, the national findings were startling. Over 50 percent of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover three months of expenses in the event of an emergency. And, over one-third of Americans claimed to have made only the minimum payments on their credit cards.

To remedy the situation, FINRA plans to take action at the higher level -- policing security brokers and complex income-oriented vehicles.

There are also individual modifications that local residents can make to improve their financial situation, particularly outstanding credit card debt. One change is making more than the minimum payments and actually trying to pay off monthly credit card bills. Of course, this change may not be realistic if an individual has significant debt. Other options include bankruptcy, which can eliminate credit card debt either through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Simple changes like staying with your means and comparing process can help reduce financial challenges as well.

Getting a handle on your financial situation may not seem easy, particularly in a society with poor financial literacy. The first step in tackling the problem, however, is recognizing personal responsibility and what little measures you take to start chiseling away at consumer debt.

Source: Forbes, "Why Americans Aren't Financially 'Capable'," John Wasik, June 5, 2013

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