Debt management is a skill that all of us pick up as time goes on, but mastering it is another challenge entirely. A lot of factors affect how and when we can pay off our debts like credit cards and home mortgages.
One such factor is the place where we live. A new study has revealed which states are the best at managing their debt. Read on to find out how your place of residence affects your ability to manage your debt.
When you choose a place to live, especially as an older individual, a lot of factors come into play. The cost of living, average income, and the overall pace of life are considerations.
Your debt-to-income ratio is dependent on how much you can realistically make in any given state, so this factor alone changes how well you can manage your debt. To better understand factors like these, Credible performed a study on the best states to live in for managing your debt (which looked at credit card debt, debt from student loans, housing payments and debt to income ration.
Mortgage debt can be a large portion of one’s debt-to-income ratio. In fact, the study found that 1-in-5 borrowers is a homeowner. While a majority of the 540,000 people included in the study were not homeowners, the ones who were had nearly double the average housing payment.
Those who expect to pay a mortgage or rent should focus specifically on the cost of living in the state they choose to live. In a state like Michigan, this will play a large role. Here the average monthly payments for housing are lower than other states.
Combined with credit card payments that fall below average, this state moves up in the study’s rankings. The opposite is true when we look at a state like Hawaii. Here the average credit card payments and housing costs are much higher, making it more difficult to manage debt.
Best states for senior Americans
The best states to live in for low housing and credit card payments are Michigan, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri. Here, the residents only spend 25.3 percent of their income on debt payments. It is the lowest percentage in the United States.
States with higher debt-to-income ratios, like Hawaii spend upwards of 36.2 percent of their monthly salary on housing payments, student loans, and credit cards. It can be difficult to make headway on your debt when you spend a large portion of your salary on monthly payments.
The takeaway — the smartest approach is to choose a state where things like housing costs won’t be working against you. Combine this with smart budgeting, and you can easily get your debt under control.
Carol Marak, aging advocate, Seniorcare.com. She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.