The US Bureau of Economic Analysis review of 2023’s third quarter reveals that disposable personal income (DPI) per capita is on the rise, as is the nation’s GDP, which has grown by 4.9%, defying financial analysts’ predictions of an imminent recession.
With this in mind, personal finance experts at Moneywise have looked at which of the 50 states are best placed to benefit from the rebounding economy and reach their 2024 financial goals.
Vermont residents may find it easiest to reach their financial goals as research reveals the state records a below-average household debt-to-income ratio, high homeownership rates, and high average monthly search interest for saving and investment-related terms.
They analyzed seven measures relating to financial astuteness and scored each state out of 100 as part of their index. The factors incorporated within the index include average consumption as a percentage of personal income, household debt to income ratio, rate of homeownership, unemployment rates, personal bankruptcy rates, unbanked rates, and average monthly Google searches for terms related to savings and investments.
The states where it is easiest to save money
|Index score (out of 100)
Vermont ranks as the easiest state to save money, with an index score of 74.07 out of 100. The Green Mountain state has relatively high consumption rates, with residents spending 101.5% of their income, which contributes to the state’s debt to income ratio of 1.32. This means the state’s average debt is 1.32 times its average income. However, this falls below the national average debt to income ratio of 1.36.
Vermont also has the second-lowest unemployment rate at 1.80%, low personal bankruptcy rates, and high monthly average searches for terms related to savings and investments.
Maine ranks second on the list with an index score of 73.58 out of 100. The cost of living is relatively high in Maine, with the average consumption as a percentage of personal income in the state coming in at 105.2%, as is the debt-to-income ratio, which is 1.50. However, Maine has the second-highest homeownership rate at 77%, and a relatively low unemployment rate, at 2.5%. Maine also has the second-lowest rate of unbanked people of any state, at 1.3%. This refers to adults who do not use or have access to traditional banking services such as credit cards and savings accounts.
Delaware has an index score of 72.19 out of 100, ranking the state in third place. The state has the lowest personal bankruptcy rate of any state, with only 20.52 out of every 100,000 residents declaring bankruptcy. The state also records the third-highest homeownership rates at 76.1% and relatively high monthly average searches for terms related to savings and investments, with 1,209 searches per 100,000 residents.
Massachusetts is in fourth place with an index score of 67.73 out of 100. The state’s average consumption as a percentage of its income is 93.2%, which means that, on average, residents spend slightly below their disposable personal income. The state also records the highest search interest for terms related to savings and investments, with 1,617 monthly searches on average.
Scoring 66.53 out of 100, New York ranks fifth. The Empire State ties with North Dakota and Kansas for having the lowest debt-to-income ratio at 0.40. The state also has the lowest homeownership rate at 54.2% and records the second-highest search interest for saving and investment terms with 1,603 searches per 100,000 residents.
New Hampshire ranks sixth with a score of 66.01 out of 100. The state has a household debt-to-income ratio of 1.50 and ties with Vermont for the second-lowest unemployment rate at 1.80%. Pennsylvaniaranks seventh with an index score of 61.39 out of 100. The state’s average consumption as a percentage of personal income is 96.5%, and its debt to income ratio is 1.11.
West Virginia follows in eighth place with a score of 57.34 out of 100 and the highest homeownership rate of all 50 states at 77.9%. With a score of 56.98 out of 100, Alaska ranks ninth. The state has a debt-to-income ratio of 1.50 and the second-lowest personal bankruptcy rate at 22.49 of every 100,000 residents declaring bankruptcy.
North Dakota scores 56.60 out of 100 and rounds out the top ten. The state has the fourth-lowest cost of living, as its consumption as a percentage of personal income is 83.1%. North Dakota is also tied with New York and Kansas for the lowest debt-to-income ratio at 0.40.
Mississippi ranks as the hardest state to save money, with a score of 35.72 out of 100. The state has the highest rate of ‘unbanked’ residents at 11.10%, as well as the lowest search interest for terms related to savings and investments, with 587 searches per 100,000 people each month. Mississippi also records the second-highest personal bankruptcy rate, with 258.8 out of every 100,000 residents declaring bankruptcy.
Kris Bruynson, VP of Marketing and Product at Moneywise commented on the findings:
“The US economy is rebounding at a faster pace than initially anticipated, and inflation is also on the decline. This data provides a fascinating insight into the states that are most favorably positioned to capitalize on this turnaround. It considers the economic conditions within each state, their proficiency in financial management, and their interest in savings and investments to identify the states where people are likely to find it easiest to save money.”