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Study reveals top 5 best and worst states -- financially speaking

As Tropical Storm Irene threatens to become a hurricane, we are reminded of the climate conditions of our state of Florida. We enjoy mild winters, plenty of sunshine and the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean but must pay for it with the occasional hurricane. Why do people choose to live in our state, or any state for that matter? It may be a combination of factors including the weather, the social climate and for some it may be the financial climate.

A study recently revealed the best and worst states to live in from a financial point of view. It may not be surprising to our Florida readers that financially speaking, our state is in the bottom five in the nation according to credit card delinquencies, credit scores, home foreclosures and bankruptcies. But we weren't at the bottom!

The following are the best five states in the nation -- financially speaking.

  1. North Dakota: Unemployment is just 3 percent, credit scores are high and foreclosures almost never happen.
  2. Vermont: "Freedom and Unity" is the state motto, which could mean freedom from debt! The state was second best in terms of bankruptcy and foreclosures.
  3. South Dakota: The state is almost as good as its neighbor to the north and beat it on the credit score.
  4. Montana: The state is great in all categories except unemployment at 6.4 percent.
  5. Iowa: America's Heartland state does well in all categories.

The following are the worst five states in the nation -- financially speaking.

  1. Nevada: Don't gamble on this state in any category.
  2. Georgia: The state was the next to the last to join the original thirteen colonies and it is next to the last today, financial speaking.
  3. Florida: Credit card delinquencies, foreclosures and unemployment are all very high. Credit scores and bankruptcy rates are bad also.
  4. Alabama: The state's motto is "We Dare Defend our Rights," although the residents' personal finances could use some defending.
  5. California: The state's motto, "Eureka... I have found it!" refers to the Gold Rush. There is currently a rush to foreclose and California has the worst foreclosure rate.

It would be pure speculation to draw a parallel between the weather and financial well-being, but it is interesting to note that the worst states are all mild climate or southern states and the best states are northern or colder climate states.

Source: CNBC, "The Credit Crunch: The Best and Worst States," Richard Barrington, Aug. 20, 2012

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