East Lansing among worst cities in U.S. for money management

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EAST LANSING, MI. (WLNS) – A new WalletHub report lists the best and worst cities in the U.S., when it comes to financial management. And East Lansing is ranked very close to the bottom.

It’s a long list — with nearly 2,600 cities. And East Lansing is sixth to last — just about the worst in the entire country.

WalletHub’s report shows East Lansing residents are right at the bottom of the barrel at managing their money.

“Having more money than you’re spending is really what it boils down to,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub.

Gonzalez says the opposite is true for East Lansing — which leads to debt.

“High credit card debt, car loans, student loans as well that they’re trying to pay off,” Gonzalez said.

The student loan debt-to-income ratio is one of eight metrics used to create the list.

So it’s no surprise more than half the bottom 20 cities — from Pullman, Washington to Athens, Ohio — are college towns.

Gonzalez says college students don’t make much money — but they still spend a lot.

“Oftentimes you hear about student loans being mismanaged, maybe getting a more expensive place to live with higher rent,” Gonzalez said.

East Lansing is ranked dead last for its student loan debt-to-income ratio — which is at 745 percent.

And while some blame colleges, Gonzalez says that blame is misplaced.

“I really do think that it does fall on to the students, because so many of these schools — Michigan State being one of them — have great financial aid programs,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says the best thing to do is put money aside every month, so you don’t fall behind on your payments.

“I think emphasizing that in a lot of these cities toward the bottom of the list might go a long way,” Gonzalez said.

6 News contacted financial experts in East Lansing and at MSU to get their spin on these numbers, but they didn’t return our calls or didn’t want to comment on the city’s ranking.

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