Illinoisans less likely to live paycheck to paycheck

By Becky Yerak
Posted Dec. 8, 2010 at 4:11 p.m.

Illinois residents are less likely to live paycheck to paycheck than the national average, although citizens of New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire are considered the most financially capable in the nation.

The three eastern states ranked in the top five in at least five measures of financial capability, according to a new survey of 28,146 respondents, or about 500 per state plus Washington, D.C.

The nation’s first State-by-State Financial Capability Survey was released Wednesday. It was developed in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department and the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy.

Among the results:

– 51 percent of Illinoisans live paycheck-to-paycheck. By comparison, 55 percent of Americans report spending more than or about equal to their household income.

– 62 percent of Illinoisans don’t have a “rainy day” fund to cover three months of unanticipated financial emergencies. That’s slightly worse than the 60 percent of Americans nationwide who don’t have one.

– 19 percent of Illinoisans have used  some form of high-cost, non-bank borrowing during the last five years, including taking out a payday loan or getting an advance on a tax refund. That’s compared to 24 percent of all Americans.

– On a test of five basic financial literacy questions, Illinoisans answered on average 2.99 financial literacy questions correctly, the same as the national average.

– 64 percent of Illinoisans did not comparison shop for credit cards, worse than the national average of 62 percent.

To see the five-question quiz, click here .

To see the graphic showing which states do the best and worst in the five categories, click here.

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