New study: Financial distress rises in third quarter

Financial distress increased for consumers in the third quarter in Georgia and nationally, according to a study released Wednesday.

Weaker household budgets, renewed strains from housing costs and continued high levels of unemployment drove down the Consumer Distress Index published by CredAbility, a nonprofit credit counseling service based in Atlanta.

For the quarter ended September 30, American households scored an average of 64.4 on the index. On a 100-point scale, that’s down from 65.2 in the second quarter. A score below 70 indicates financial distress.

Index scores fell in 41 states, including Georgia, CredAbility said. The Peach State posted a score of 61.24 — the ninth worst in the nation and below the national average.

Michigan posted the worst score on the index, with a 58.11, replacing Nevada as the state with the highest level of financial distress.

North Dakota again had the best performance, improving its score to 79.45, CredAbility said.

States with the Worst Financial Distress Scores (100-point scale)

Michigan               58.11

Mississippi            58.76

South Carolina     60.10

Alabama               60.23

Indiana                 60.68

Nevada                 60.71

Florida                  60.81

Ohio                     60.83

Georgia              61.24

California             61.31

States with the Best Performance

North Dakota        79.45

South Dakota       76.19

Nebraska              74.87

New Hampshire     72.77

Wyoming               72.54

- By Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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29 comments Add your comment

On the Rise!

November 17th, 2010
7:29 am

Georgia’s #9!!! Yeah baby!!! With more effort, Ga can be #1!


November 17th, 2010
7:33 am

So which is it? You have Georgia wrong either in the rankings or the score you list within the countdown.


November 17th, 2010
7:44 am

According the the scores, Georgia should be 5th worse, not 9th. At least Alabama (Shelby) and South Carolina (DeMint) are worse off than Georgia.

Frustrated Reader

November 17th, 2010
7:53 am

No one at the AJC can spell so it would make sense they can’t do math either…

Awful, Awful, Awful

November 17th, 2010
7:56 am

Statistics show that ten out of ten people die before they leave earth :) i. e., I no more believe the statistics quoted above than I believe I’m gonna leave this earth alive.


November 17th, 2010
8:01 am

Are none of you able to recognize a typo?? Perhaps we could find our way to focus our criticisms on some things with substance.


November 17th, 2010
8:05 am

I went to CredAbility and the stat for Ga. is 61.24… typo Henry.

Buckhead Dawg

November 17th, 2010
8:11 am

GA is in the top 10!

#9 by count’n.

Go Dawgs!!! We know that you will be #1.


November 17th, 2010
8:21 am

Unemployment is the culprit. At least some temporary holiday jobs are going to be available. But then, a lot of us think we’re still in a recession.


November 17th, 2010
8:28 am

I help folks through financial crisis as a coach, and debt is ruining families and relationships. Debt is the biggest cause of this stress. Funny though that most of my clients refuse to give up cable and cell phones. Bad behavioral choices are 80% of the problem. Quit blaming it on the economy and redifine needs versus wants. The best way to cure the stress is to change your behavior. More money will not be a cure, the problems and stress only change.

Travis McGee

November 17th, 2010
8:32 am

Not to worry folks. The enlightened electorate has elected candidates that have all the answers and very soon the trickling will begin. All we have to do is reduce taxes on the businesses and the rich and before you know it prosperity will begin trinkling on us as “Showers of Blessings!”

Now, forget about the fact that the guy who’s going to be heading up this glorious recovery couldn’t even manage his own personal finances and is for all intense and purposes bankrupt.

Don’t worry about little matters of incompetence, the Ol’ Boy is a God-fearing Chrustian and will make everything glorious.

And, all God’s chidren said Amen and amen while ol’ Travis sez horse hocky!

Henry Unger

November 17th, 2010
8:39 am

Yes, thanks. I had a typo in the chart. Georgia is 61.24 for No. 9. Thanks again.


November 17th, 2010
8:53 am

I’m so not going ot turn this into a political argument…but I must agree with sladersaan, it is more a behavorial issue. Along with the free wheeling and overspending of our government (both Dem and Repubs), the “trickle down” is evidenced by the lack of fruglaity of our fellow citizens. To say that it was the economic sector fault that individuals purchased homes beyond their means, is false, to a degree. Financial institutions did turn their heads in the lending process and allowed those with meager incomes to purchase over-inflated property, then allowed those to sink further in debt by allowing the same people and others to take loans against the very properties they could not afford. With this the people sank themselves into further straits by buying high end cars, clothing, etc. Credit was available to everyone, no matter the income. We can certainly say it was the financial institutions fault, but we fail to accept personal financial responsibility. Look at the median savings rate and that has steadily gone down over the years. Through forclosure, retirement savings have been severly impacted, forcing people to work longer in an economy where jobs are scarce and are markedly not paying as they used too. Healthcare expenses, commodoties, etc., are now costing more…and frankly, the people are no longer preprared to survive these times. It continues to get worse and we continue to lose jobs that are moving overseas for cheaper labor. It’s the loss of employment that is forcing this continued recession. The government is hamstrung as it cannot dictate to private business to keep their industries within our borders. We do not tax them for producing the very goods that were once produced here, yet they can sell their products here. This needs to change. NAFTA needs to be rescinded (and I’m a Dem), and those jobs brought back here. I think that’s something that any citizen of any party can agree with. But in the meantime, we cannot keep spending as individuals without understanding and exercising our financial responsibility.


November 17th, 2010
9:02 am

What do many of the Worst states have in common? CLUE: They are mostly in the south. Answer: They are ran by Republicans.


November 17th, 2010
9:18 am

Poor Joe Biden really does not have any crediblity does he? For months he has been telling everyone who will listen that we are in “recovery summer” or what ever other lame expression he can muster. Why would anyone believe anything he says, ever?


November 17th, 2010
9:19 am

Trickle.. (your Momma shouldn’t have named you stupid, no matter how appropriate)

What does the sorry state of the US economy have in common with Greece?
(I’ll just tell you .. you being stupid and all)
The’ve been run by ignorant Communists for the last 4 years.

Motocross Survivor

November 17th, 2010
9:20 am

Anybody else notice that the most distressed states (except for maybe Nevada) are all heavily populated with minorities, while all the least distressed states are lily white? Do minorities
over extend themselves?


November 17th, 2010
9:30 am

No @#$%!!- we are very financially distressed!!


November 17th, 2010
9:45 am

TrickleDownStupid says … “What do many of the Worst states have in common? CLUE: They are mostly in the south. Answer: They are ran by Republicans.”

No, moron, it’s not about being “run” by Republicans. It’s because the states listed were big migration increases from other parts of the US. MI & OH had a mass exit of people so they are on the list as well.

slandersaan & TRUTH have it right. Many people in trouble simply failed to do the right things. Many of us could have gotten the no money down toxic loans but we did not. Many of us saved $$ for job losses as well. It’s all about personal responsibility.


November 17th, 2010
10:19 am

Looking at the best performers, I would be willing to guess what else they are the best at….They have the lowest ILLEGAL (No I did not mean undocumented) IMMIGRANT populations…Does it take a brain surgeon to get where our financial distress comes from…


November 17th, 2010
10:20 am

ha ha ha, look at the red-state vs. blue-state comparison.

As far as the idiots above preaching “personal responsibility” and such, as in “those in trouble are not responsible”, it is telling the states in trouble are red-states. It appears your type of people, GOP voters, are not responsible at all.

Which makes sense. Red-states tend to not pay their own way in federal taxes and, in fact, take more out of the system than they take in.

Look it up. Red-states are welfare states.


November 17th, 2010
10:42 am

itpdude, you hit it right on the nail!

ron allen

November 17th, 2010
11:07 am


had enough

November 17th, 2010
11:21 am

I have to agree with Truth, I am so glad someone understands why we are in the situation we are in now. It is obvious, NAFTA was the downfall of our great country. I do not understand why business are rewarded for taking jobs away from the citizens of America. I am a baby boomer, I remember when I was growing up “made in America” was stamped on practically every item. Now it is an endangered species, when will everone understand the consequences of outsourcing American jobs. If big businessess want to support other countries and spit in Americans faces, then I have a proposal, how about they become residents of the country they are sending jobs to.
It is because of greed that financial institutions approved loans for people that could not afford them, however, the individual has the ultimate responsibility. It is absolutely incredible how stupid these people were, they knew exactly how much money they made per month. The dumbest rock should be able to add and subtract to know just how much they could afford to per month on a loan repayment. If you are making $10 per hour how in the f*$k could you afford a freaking $300,000 house, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
I am not loyal to neither party, but perhaps everyone will quit pointing fingers and concentrate on this great country and bring back prosperity. I am anxious to see if the majority in the house will dig this country deeper into the mess it is already in or will everyone work together for the good of the American citizens.
I hope in the process of cutting government spending, unemployment benefits will not be on the chopping block.
As far as healthcare goes, I want someone to explain to me in detail why all Americans are not privy to the same medical benefits as Congress.


November 17th, 2010
11:41 am

Oh yes, big bad business. Let’s take a look at the car companies – unions are their downfall. Why in the world should a person who assists a robot in building a car earn $50-70 per hour but yet when times get tough, they won’t give an inch. Why should an electricians, plumbers and mechanics charge $100’s of per hour? Is there time REALLY worth it? Why shouldn’t a business move to another country? Most of your blogging buy goods made in other countries because they are CHEAPER than American made products. Why should businesses have to overpay employees so they can do dig a big debt hole? I am tired of everyone blaming big business and the rich. Without big business and the wealthy, there wouldn’t be any jobs. As the above poster said, the govt, businesses and individuals all need to review and revise their spending habits. This is a big wake up call and I am amazed by how many folks aren’t listening.


November 17th, 2010
11:49 am

Wow itpdude, you really show your ignorance. This article is about individuals that reside in the states and not about state governments. Could it be that the states you list as “welfare states” are high on the stress list because of the amount of people on welfare? How many of the people on welfare have big screen tv’s? How many financially distrssed folks have cable, cell phones, hi-speed internet, iphones, gas guzzling cars, an overstuffed closet, multiple tvs in multiple rooms?

It never ceases to amaze me that when I meet a client for the first time and they claim to be in a financial mess, the client has a Starbuck’s in their hand. Within 3 seconds of looking at them I can tell it is a spending problem. People are financially distressed becuase they spend too much and don’t save for a rainy day. Most people want me to say it is ok to fille bankruptcy. I have never had a case that was truly bankrupt but plenty of cases where they are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to dig out of the hole. Most folks think more money will solve the problem, but all they do is spend more money and remain in a similar circumstance. All you have to do is look at the statistics of lottery winners.

Answer me this, do you really need all those channels or can you do something more constructive with your time and money? Think about that for a while.


November 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

Michigan, Indiana, Ohio – Very high union participation (Auto Industry). Brain-drain states that saw many college graduates move out of state. Many migrated South and have lost jobs there (see below) as well.

Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia – High welfare states with heavy illegal alien populations. These states saw big population increases during the boom years.

California – the name speaks for itself :)

Buckhead Dawg

November 17th, 2010
4:42 pm

It’s true.

Them states am ran be Republicans.


November 17th, 2010
10:16 pm

One of my tenants just asked me if he could avoid paying rent in December, so that he could spend money on Christmas. His kids have the latest electonic gadgets and nicest clothes. Another one of my tenants is being evicted for non-payment of rent. They had the nerve to use me as a reference to a future landlord. I have been in business for over a decade and have never seen so many people that blatantly think they are entitled and have no sense of responsibility. It began when we started mortgage mods.,gov’t healthcare, more foodstamps, and more unemployment benefits. Why give a @3!! when some responsible fool will do it for you. New motto…Yes we can sit around all day and do nothing and live just as well as those that bust their a!! all day. Gimme the good ol’ days when people were ashamed to be on the government dime or lose their house and did everything they could to stay afloat.