The 10 Most Fiscally Irresponsible States

Sometimes the best way to get someone to change a bad habit is by exposing them publicly. Well, when it comes to fiscal irresponsibility, the federal government wins, hands down. No single state in the union can hold a candle to Uncle Sam's raging, decades-long spendathon. But there are ten states that have distinguished themselves from the pack via the means of their citizens racking up a tremendous amount of debt. The following list comes to us courtesy of Moneywatch.

* The number in parenthesis indicates the average debt of each resident in the state.

1. California ($336,169)
2. Hawaii ($321,258)
3. Maryland ($263,524)
4. New Jersey ($257,462)
5. Washington ($243,758)
6. Massachusetts ($242,111)
7. Virginia ($239,186)
8. Connecticut ($229,684)
9. Colorado ($219,899)
10. Nevada ($218,010)

As you can clearly see, California and Hawaii lead the pack of indebted consumers by leaps and bounds. But the interesting thing to note is that these two states also show up on the list of top 10 states when it comes to those who have paid off the most debt over the past year. Hawaii leads THAT list and California comes in fifth. So it seems like there actually i

s some common sense beginning to appear on the horizon, as well as a recognition that you can't keep pulling out that credit card forever.

The truth is that, by this measurement anyway, fiscal irresponsibility is decreasing as consumers scramble to pay off debts. Moneywatch hypothesized that the overall downward trend in debt is driven by two trends: people are finally developing a sense of fiscal responsibility; and a tightening credit market is keeping credit out of the hands of those who can't handle it.

Yes, you read correctly. Some people cannot handle the responsibility of debt – it quickly spirals out of their control to the extent that there is no feasible way they will ever pay it off. Ten years ago, people like this were being handed blank checks to take a mortgage on a house that was a financial commitment entirely unsupportable by their income. Which brings us to where we are now – in bad financial shape but getting infinitesimally better, thanks mainly to a new “belt tightening” mentality by a portion of the populace.

This is one teensy, tiny, little thing that bodes well for the future of America. Maybe our public consciousness is starting remember that we are NOT a nation of deadbeat freeloaders.

The American Monetary Association Team

American Monetary Association

(Flickr / eliazar)

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