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Feb 1, 2013 3:27 PM by Tara Grimes - MTN News

Financial issues faced by Montanans spotlighted

GREAT FALLS - The non-profit group Corporation for Enterprise Development is showing off data in the form of scorecard, and hopes to influence Montana's lawmakers.

Their scorecard focuses on poverty, wealth, and financial security in each state. It shows that 40% of Montana households are liquid-asset poor, which means they have less than three months of savings to fall back on.

The company also says nearly half of Montana's consumers have sub-prime credit. Montana also ranks 49th in the nation for the number of families covered by health insurance, according to the agency.

Rural Dynamics staffers say there are things residents and lawmakers should do to improve these numbers.

"We need to encourage people to build assets so they have something to fall back on because if they don't have something to fall back on, what happens? They go to public support, their churches, their family and friends to help them out. We need to look at policies that help them build their wealth, whether it's matching savings, tax credits for savings, things like that," RDI Asset Development Director Karen Heisler said.

She added that introducing school classes geared towards financial education could help, as well as expanding healthcare coverage.

She would also like to see lawmakers help bring livable wage jobs to Montana, along with the training programs that allow workers to get these jobs.

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