There were really some disturbing statistics announced at the end of last week by the Corporation For Enterprise Development which is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
As reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the study by the CFED ranked Georgia dead last in terms of the financial security of its residents, based on factors such as their high debt load, lack of savings and assets, and the prevalence of personal bankruptcies.
Georgia's statistics included the following rankings in comparison with other states, where 50th would be the worst ranking: unbanked households - no savings or checking account (49), consumers with subprime credit (48), borrowers 90+ days overdue (48), bankruptcy rate (50), and income poverty rate (42).
According to the AJC, Georgia households' average net worth of $48,425 fell far below the national average of $70,600 -- yet one more indicator that even amid signs of an economic rebound, many Georgians' finances are precarious.
I certainly am not bringing this up to be alarming per se, although it certainly is. Even though signs of recovery seem to be there, we have an underlying, major crack in our foundation, and it would appear that many of our neighbors are stuck in it.
I had to stop and think to myself, are we really worse than neighboring states? How can that be? How can we be dead last?
The organization did make suggestions as to what could be done to increase the financial security of Georgians.
Two of the suggestions function like entitlements and would cost the state coffers significant amounts of money, which frankly, we do not have. Suggestion number three is to provide state support for microenterprise (7 employees or less) programs. That I agree with.
This is a very critical time for our state, and these numbers bear that out. We need brave leadership on the state level which looks for productive ways to help those that need help, and supports those that can provide it through the creation of jobs and wealth.
It is becoming clear that the status quo is an ever increasing dreadful option for the vast majority of our state's residents.