Financial Wellness Across America: How Does Your State Stack Up?

Financial Wellness Across America: How Does Your State Stack Up?

Hawaii is the natural place to learn to surf or do the hula.

But it turns out locals could also teach the rest of us a few things about financial fitness.

A Gallup-Healthways survey finds that Hawaii is tops among the 50 states when it comes to people having a positive sense of financial well-being.

Mississippi, however, came in at the bottom of the list.

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The Story Behind the Stats

The study defines financial well-being as the ability to manage your money to reduce stress and increase your economic security.

In order to get this full financial picture, researchers conducted daily polls during 2014. They asked people across the U.S. about any challenges with food or health care costs; whether they’d worried about money in the past week; their satisfaction with their standard of living compared to others; and if they had the money to do everything they wanted.

Each state got individual scores on each of those five factors, and then researchers combined the numbers to come up with an overall well-being rating.

Hawaiians, who had the No. 1 overall score, were also found to be most likely to feel they could fund their wish lists. North Dakota residents feel confident that they can afford food—which helped to make it one of six Midwestern states to land in the top 10 threshold.

As for the South? It's got some catching up to do. The 10 lowest-scoring states all hail from that region.

Researchers point to differences in income, employment and age as factors behind these regional patterns—while acknowledging that a fatter salary doesn’t necessarily equate to better financial shape.

The Highs and Lows of Financial Confidence

Here's a rundown of the best and worst well-being scores, ranked from 0 to 100 (the nationwide average is 59.7).

States With the Best Financial Well-Being
1. Hawaii 66.0
2. Alaska 65.1
3. North Dakota 64.7
4. Wyoming 63.8
5. South Dakota 63.4
6. Minnesota 63.0
7. Nebraska 62.6
8. Montana 62.4
9. (tie) Iowa 62.1
9. (tie) Wisconsin 62.1

States With the Worst Financial Well-Being
1. Mississippi 56.1
2. Tennessee 57.5
3. (tie) Georgia 57.8
3. (tie) Louisiana 57.8
5. Kentucky 57.9
6. Alabama 58.0
7. South Carolina 58.1
8. West Virginia 58.6
9. Arkansas 58.7
10. North Carolina 58.8

You can find more insights and the complete 50 rankings at Healthways.com.

And if you're looking to take better control of your finances, we've got advice for how to show your money who's boss.

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