College students are struggling with their finances and getting themselves deeply in debt, according to WalletHub, a web-based financial information source.
WalletHub ranked 2,570 cities across the United States on how well their citizens manage their money and half of the 20 cities that came out on the bottiom of the list are college towns.
“The cities toward the bottom of the list are struggling when it comes to money management. Most of them are college towns where students have yet to understand the intricacies of personal finance,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst says.
“A third of college students admit that they are not aware of late-payment fees [on credit cards and debt], which is not surprising since only 17 states require high school students to complete a personal finance course,” she adds. “A high number of these students have part-time jobs or none at all, but are still acquiring a great deal of credit card debt, car loan debt and student loan debt.
“Many times, students or recent graduates are actually using credit cards to help with car or student loan payments, which actually perpetuates their debt even further,” Gonzalez says.
Among the bottom 20 cities and the colleges that are home there are Boone, N.C., Appalachian State University; Athens, Ohio, University of Ohio; Gettysburg, Pa., Gettysburg College; College Park, Md., the University of Maryland; East Lansing, Mich., Michigan State University; East Stroudsburg, Pa., East Stroudsburg University; State College, Pa., Pennsylvania State University; Collegeville, Pa., Ursinus College; Statesboro, Ga., Georgia Southern University; and Indiana, Pa., Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, trouble with money management is not confined to college students, says WalletHub. There is a “shortage of fiscal prowess in our nation,” according to the WalletHub report, 2016’s Best and Worst Cities at Money Management. Nearly one in four adults confess to not paying their bills on time. Only 40 percent of Americans have a budget and keep close track of their spending.
Part of the problem is that many parents are unwilling to talk to their children about finances and a majority of teachers feel incompetent to teach finances, WalletHub says.
WalletHub compared the money management skills of citizens of the cities based on eight key metrics that speak to consumers’ ability to keep their financial house in order, including credit score, average number of late payments, and the ratio of mortgage debt to income.
California cities dominated the places where residents have a good handle on their finances with Cupertino, Saratoga, Laguna Woods and Los Altos winning the top four spots.