Five states that did well on financial knowledge and behavior: Washington, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho and Utah, and five that scored poorly: Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia Financial Literacy State by State
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Financial Literacy State by State


When it comes to the basics of personal finances, there's considerable variation among the states of our union.

That's the finding of securities industry group Finra (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), which surveyed more than 28,000 Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It asked five questions about money management basics -- for instance, Buying a single company's stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund. True or false? -- to derive a Financial Capability score. Finra also asked five questions about how Americans actually managed their own money -- Have you ever tried to figure out how much you need to save for retirement? Yes or no -- to produce a Financial Behavior score. (By the way, you, too, can take the quiz.)

We added each state's Financial Capability ranking and its Financial Behavior ranking, then divided the sum in half to create a blended score. So what are the most financially literate and financially challenged states? The results may surprise you.


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