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Credit card debt study: Minnesotans most fiscally irresponsible in upper Midwest

Compared to our five-state-area neighbors, Minnesotans like to live beyond our means.

According to a new study by the Washington nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development, the average Minnesotan carries $10,355 in credit card debt. Residents of 27 states have more per-consumer credit card debt, so in the grand scheme of things we aren't doing so bad -- unless we're compared with Iowans, Wisconsinites, and No and SoDakians.

With average credit card tab of $5,873, Iowans actually carry less credit card debt than residents of any other state. North Dakotans are second in the nation with an average debt of $6,094.

South Dakotans clock in with an average credit card debt load of $6,641, with 'Sconnies not far behind at $7,870.

Though the macroeconomy seems to be pulling out of The Great Recession, consumer debt remains a problem. A Federal Reserve report from early this year concluded that overall consumer debt jumped 10 percent in November 2011 to $2.48 trillion -- the largest one-month jump in exactly a decade. The jump could indicate greater confidence from consumers who expect to have money in the future to pay down their debt, or it could reflect the simple fact that shoppers didn't have the dough to cash flow purchases they wouldn't have charged to credit cards in previous years.

So next holiday season, keep in mind that in many cases, the best presents are handmade and heartfelt, not store-bought. It's a lesson that our neighbors on all sides seem to have already learned, at least when compared to us free-spending Minnesotans.


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