A new survey reports that out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Carolina is the state most likely to have its residents living out that old Depression-era song, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
To calculate which states were drowning deepest in debt, WalletHub “combined internal credit report data with data on Google search increases for three loan-related terms.”
The site used Google Trends data for the terms “loan,” “payday loan” and “home equity loan.”
When putting all that together, South Carolina was revealed to be the state where residents are most in need of a loan, WalletHub reported Wednesday.
South Carolina was followed by the District of Columbia, Virginia, Alabama and New York.
At the other end of the scale, residents of North Dakota were ranked as the least in need of loans.
North Dakota was followed by Wyoming, Montana, Vermont and Utah.
In looking at the various subcategories that went into the final average, WalletHub’s survey found that residents of the District of Columbia are currently leading the nation in Google searches for the term “loan.”
Hawaii was tops in the nation for searches for the term “payday loan,” while South Carolina led the way in searches for “home equity loan.”
Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Utah were tied for the fewest searches for the term “loan,” while North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, New Mexico, West Virginia and the District of Columbia were tied for the fewest searches for the term “payday loan.”
Hawaii, Arkansas, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Utah, Vermont, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota were all tied for the fewest searches for the term “home equity loan.”
Kathleen Kraninger, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offered some financial advice on the agency’s website and noted that consumers can visit consumerfinance.gov for more guidance.
“The CFPB launched a dedicated page on our website for all COVID-19 resources to help consumers protect their finances,” she said.
“There are a number of steps they can take to help themselves and their loved ones, both in the short and long term. The information outlines steps to take, such as in the following situations: (1) if consumers have trouble paying their bills or meeting other financial obligations; (2) if consumers experience a loss of income; and (3) if consumers think they may be targeted by a scammer.”
“We are regularly updating our resources — particularly to ensure we get the best information out to support vulnerable populations such as older Americans. Social isolation is already an issue for older adults and can lead to a host of challenges, including an increased likelihood of falling for scams due to a need to connect to others.”
Kelley Long, a Chicago-based certified financial planner and CPA, advised consumers to consider their long-term fiscal health as well as the current crisis.
“You want to try to protect your credit and make it as easy as possible to recover once things get back to normal,” Long told MarketWatch.
“Think through what you might spend in a typical month on appearance maintenance and recognize that’s money you could set aside in a savings account,” she said.
Luis Rosa, founder of Build a Better Financial Future in Henderson, Nevada, packaged advice this way: “Try to reduce expenses first, increase income second, borrow as a last resort.”
Homeowners can try to refinance their mortgages.
“If your mortgage rate is around 5 percent or higher, it’s at least a good idea to evaluate refinancing,” Shon Anderson, president of Anderson Financial Strategies in Dayton, Ohio, told MarketWatch.
“If you’re going to have debt, mortgages tend to make the most sense by allowing the longest terms and lowest rates, especially with today’s rates. Refinancing may significantly lower mortgage payments.”
The downside: There’s currently a line ahead of anyone filing, which means that refinancing is not likely to help someone who needs cash now.
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