Living in Debt
Rent, car payments, student loans. Bills suck, but they’re part of everyday life. A new report from WalletHub shines a light on the state of individual finances in America and reveals that things aren't so hot across Texas.
With debt plaguing our nation, the financial website examined a host of U.S. cities to determine 2016’s best and worst cities at managing money. Credit card debt, mortgage debt, and number of late payments were among the factors considered.
Dallas ranks in the 27th percentile nationwide, and some of the statistics should definitely be cause for concern, specifically our high debt ratios. We have a 793 percent mortgage debt-to-income ratio, a nearly 73 percent car loan debt-to-income ratio, and a 121 percent student loan debt-to-income ratio.
Additionally, we use more than 25 percent of our credit limit and have an average credit score of 633. (The average credit score in the U.S. is 668, considered “fair” by standard scoring models.)
Our neighbors in Fort Worth didn’t fare much better, ranking in the 29th percentile. Fort Worthians are docked for the number of late payments each month (3.3 average); student loans (93 percent debt-to-income ratio); and their credit score of 640, considered “poor” by national standards.
Houston, Austin, and San Antonio place in the 30th, 58th, and 10th percentiles, respectively, and each city also has a "poor" credit score.
Finances across Texas are in even worse shape. Rio Grande City, Lancaster, and Killeen are among the worst cities in the nation, landing in the 1 percentile for money management.
We may want to take a lesson from California as four of the five top cities for managing money — each ranking in the 99th percentile — are in the Golden State. The worst cities at staying on top of finances are Pullman, Washington; College Park, Maryland; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Athens, Ohio; and Boone, North Carolina.
WalletHub points out that the inability to successfully manage money starts at a young age. The website argues that the accountability falls on parents and schools to educate children on being financially responsible. While this is valuable advice, we wouldn’t be upset if the government decided to erase student debt either.