Editorial

Nebraskans better prepared than most for tough financial times

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Low commodity prices and weak farm incomes are a drag on the rural economy, according to a survey of bankers conducted on a regular basis by a team led by Creighton University economics Ernie Goss.

Some 2.1 percent more farm loans were in default over last year, more than half of the bankers said they had restructured farm loans and nearly 20 percent have increased their collateral requirements.

But the good news is, Nebraskans are better prepared than most to weather hard times, according to a Harris Poll on behalf of the National Foundation for Credit.

Overall, Nebraskans rank 12th in financial savvy, according to a WalletHub study (http://bit.ly/2xFEn0c) for National Financial Planning month, but we need some improvement in some areas.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 key metrics ranging from annual savings-account average to personal-bankruptcy rate to credit-card debt as a share of income.

Nebraskans are 15th best in debt and spending, 27th in financial literacy, second in creditworthiness and 34th in savings.

Overall, only two in five U.S. adults say they have a budget and keep track of spending, and a little over half say they are saving the same as last year.

Most U.S. adults carry $25 in cash, but 40 percent of us would not be willing to pay any money to use a debit card or get cash from an out-of-network ATM.

Most adults are saving at least some money for retirement, but 27 percent do not save any portion of their households annual income for retirement.

More of us are carrying credit card debt from month to month than last year, with nearly 20 percent saying they roll over $2,500 or more each month.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Wisconsin, California, Rhode Island and New York showed the most financial savvy.

The bottom 10, in descending order, included Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, West Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Taking stock of our personal finances now is a good idea heading into the holiday season, when temptations to overspend can be hard to resist.

Visit MyMoney.gov for a wealth of resources to help get your financial house in order.

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