Monday

Who Owes the Most?

There's a new study out that tells what area of the country is in hock the most and who owes the least

Analysts at Experian (one of the 3 national credit reporting agencies) conducted a nationwide study of consumers debt habits and turned up some interesting results. So, is your amount of debt higher than your neighbor's?

On a national average, the average amount of money owed per individual on revolving credit accounts, such as credit cards, and fixed payment accounts, such as car loans, but not including mortgages, is a total of $17,103. Also, the national average credit score of an individual is 693 on Experian's score card.

But if you live in the Pacific Coast region your debt load is nearly 20% higher than the national average while your credit score is only one point higher. Maybe that means west coast consumers have a highly optimistic attitude but no real excetional credit worthiness to support it. They have nearly twice the amount of debt per person than East South Central region residents like those in Alabama.

And the lowest area of the country that is in hock? The East South Central region, where the average person owes about twenty percent less than the national average but has a credit score that is nine points lower than the national average. So either those folks are living within their means or they just can't get the credit to outspend the west coast folks. More likely than not, it's the former we suspect.

Oddly, in spite of the survey's indications otherwise, numbers in the survey show that 14% of the population have ten credit cards or more, with New Jersey and New Hampshire leading the pack.

Meanwhile, Minnesota residents generally have the highest average credit rating.

If you'd like to know how you rate with your neighbors, Experian has a web page where you can plug in your zip code and see a snapshot of the statistics for your neighborhood. Click here to see how you compare: http://www.nationalscoreindex.com/AreaScore.aspx

For a state by state analysis, click here.

No doubt about it. Your credit use and your credit score matter more than ever in these tight economic times. If you live in a high credit score area, use your credit carefully. And if you live in a highly indebted area of the country, be very careful about your indebtedness. Having credit is great, yes, but it can also ruin you.

More than ever you have to be sure your credit record does not contain errors. Your family's ability to get by may depend on it.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers fix credit problems since 1978.