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-FINRA survey compares financial competency of US states.

M2 EQUITYBITES-May 30, 2013--FINRA survey compares financial competency of US states(C)2013 M2 COMMUNICATIONS http://www.m2.com

30 May 2013 -- Washington, DC-based financial industry self-regulator FINRA's Investor Education Foundation said it has released the results of America's state-by-state financial capability survey.

FINRA said that the survey, which surveyed more than 25,000 respondents, was developed in consultation with the US Department of the Treasury, other federal agencies and the president's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

According to the findings, citizens of California, Massachusetts and New Jersey who were surveyed are the most financially capable. Those states ranked in the top five among all states in at least three of five measures of financial capability.

Mississippi stood out as the least financially capable state, placing in the bottom five in four out of five measures. Arkansas ranked in the bottom five in three out of five measures, and Kentucky ranked in the bottom five in two out of five measures.

Younger Americans, especially those who are 34 and under, are more likely to show signs of financial stress, including taking a loan or hardship withdrawal from their retirement account or making late mortgage payments.

Also younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to have unpaid medical bills. Of those surveyed, 31 % of Americans aged 18-34 reported having unpaid medical bills compared to 17 % for Americans aged 55 or older.

Fewer than half (41%) of Americans surveyed reported spending less than their income while more than a quarter (26%) of Americans reported having unpaid medical bills.

More than half of Americans (56%) do not have rainy-day savings to cover three months of unanticipated financial emergencies and over a third of Americans (34%) reported paying only the minimum credit card payment during the past year.

On a test of five basic financial literacy questions, the national average was 2.88 correct answers.

FINRA said that the state-by-state results break down financial decisions and literacy by gender, age bracket and region, and highlight how a lack of financial capability has disadvantaged many Americans.

The survey findings are available at www.usfinancialcapability.org, which features a clickable map of the United States and allows the public, policymakers and researchers to delve into and compare the financial capabilities of Americans across all 50 states and the nation as a whole.

FINRA's Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life.

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