Hattiesburg American (CFED)
By: Ellen Ciurczak
March 16, 2012
State at bottom of financial security list
A new report from a Washington economic group struck a chord with me. The report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development found a growing number of Americans are unable to cover basic expenses if a job loss or other emergency strikes.
I must say, although I do have some savings, I do not feel prepared for a financial emergency. I certainly feel unprepared for a job loss.
The report found 1 in 3 Mississippi residents had almost no savings or other assets available in case of financial crisis.
The national nonprofit organization ranked Mississippi 47th in the nation overall for how its residents fared in terms of achieving financial security across 52 measures in five different issue areas.
The CFED found while many of the state's residents have jobs, they lack adequate savings or other assets to cover expenses for three months if they lose a steady income.
In the United States, 27 percent of households are "asset poor," according to the CFED - meaning they lack the savings or other assets to cover the basics for three months in case of emergency.
In Mississippi, 31.9 percent of households are asset poor, according to the CFED.
For asset poor families, living day-to-day is a struggle and investing in the future is all but impossible, according to the CFED.
"Growing numbers of Americans have almost no savings or other assets to fall back on if they lose their jobs or face a medical crisis," said Andrea Levere, president of the CFED in a news release. "Without those savings, few will be able to invest in a more economically secure future, including buying a home, saving for their children's college education or building a retirement nest egg."
The CFED ranked Mississippi 50th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia on the issue area of Financial Assets and Income, giving the state a grade of F.
The report found 22 percent of the state's household have zero or negative net worth.
On the issue area of Business and Jobs, the CFED ranked Mississippi 50th and gave it a grade of F.
The report found 56.5 percent of household lack sufficient assets that can quickly be converted to cash, like bank accounts or stocks.
On the issue area of Home Ownership, the CFED ranked Mississippi 22nd and gave it a grade of C. Mississippi had a 69.8 percent home ownership rate, while the nation's rate was 65.4 percent.
On the issue area of health care, the CFED gave Mississippi a grade of C and a rank of 31. Forty-eight percent of residents had employer-provided health insurance compared to 57.6 percent nationwide.
On the issue area of Education, the CFED ranked the state 50th and gave it a grade of F.
Only 21 percent of its residents were reading proficiently by eighth grade, compared to 33.5 percent nationwide.
Georgia came in last overall for how its residents fared in achieving financial security.