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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Hawai'i No. 13 in nest-egg ranking

By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i residents do well when it comes to forging financial nest eggs, according to a ranking of states by how well their citizens save and invest.

The state placed 13th in A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc.'s Nest Egg Index, a rating that looks at a dozen financial factors, including savings propensity, net worth, housing values, debt and employment. Hawai'i, which ranked 21st last year, had the biggest move of any state, primarily because of a jump in housing prices, A.G. Edwards said in a statement.

The state's index rating was 104.86; the national average is 100. The annual barometer tries to gauge Americans' savings and investing habits in states and 500 communities. A.G. Edwards, a St. Louis-based financial services company, uses the index to remind people to examine their own savings and financial status annually. The U.S. had a negative personal savings rate last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The survey findings included that economic and employment situations can influence an area's ranking, but that building healthy finances requires solid savings and investing habits as well as discipline.

Honolulu came in at 93rd of the metropolitan areas surveyed by A.G. Edwards. Kahului-Wailuku on Maui was 158th, while Kapa'a, Kaua'i, was 259th and Hilo, Hawai'i, 435th.

The top state in the ranking was New Jersey; Mississippi was the lowest. The index uses data compiled by marketing information company Claritas and a cost of living index produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Reach Greg Wiles at gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.