"In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert, which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilization. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south, is a region of desolation and silence." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

Saturday, October 17, 2015

South Dakota and New Jersey, Neighbors at Last

South Dakota was recently rated the 6th best state for Money-Savviness. #7? New Jersey. How did these two very different states end up ranked next to each other? Arbitrary methodology.

The survey from GoBankingRates.com considered "use of banking services, strong saving and investing behavior, and strong financial education policies." Without the third element, South Dakota would have been higher and New Jersey would have been lower:
With stronger financial education policies than most states, New Jersey requires high school students to take both an economics and a personal finance course.

South Dakota's financial education requirements are average, requiring only that both economics and personal finance courses be offered in the state's high schools but not requiring students to take them and not requiring testing.
If simply requiring a course made a notable difference, it eventually show up in the better financial statistics: fewer bankruptcies, better spending, and better use of banking services. Merely requiring a course does not guarantee learning, and may have originated from residents' financial problems.

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