My State Flunked Financial Literacy. How About Yours?

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My CFP peers across the nation must be tired of hearing me sing the praises of living in South Dakota. But one of them recently emailed some disturbing news that put some sour notes in my “South Dakota is God’s Country” song. A recent national survey that ranked the financial literacy of U.S. states and the District of Columbia ranked South Dakota at 49th.

The survey appeared at WalletHub in an April 6, 2022, story by John S. Kiernan. It collected results from 34,759 responses that covered three areas: Wallet Hub’s “Wallet Literacy Score,” Financial Planning & Habits, and Financial Knowledge & Education.

You can test your financial literacy by taking the 30-question WalletLiteracy survey. Even as a financial expert, I didn’t get a perfect score, but I was relieved to score a 97%. South Dakota ranked 39th in this evaluation.

The Financial Planning & Habits survey rated 10 areas. The share of adults who spend more than they earn, that had rainy day funds, and were saving for their children’s college education accounted for 50% of the total score. South Dakota embarrassingly ranked a dismal 50th.

The Financial Knowledge & Education section rated seven areas. Having received a good grade in your high school financial literacy course, graduated from high school, and earned a bachelor's degree from college accounted for 75% of the score. This was South Dakota’s best showing at 22nd.