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Boston vs. Los Angeles: Who Wins the Credit Bowl?

As the 2019 Super Bowl approaches, Americans are gearing up for another Boston versus Los Angeles championship matchup. It's just the latest in the historic rivalry between the cities, most notably from the 12 NBA finals the Celtics and Lakers have played, and most recently in the Red Sox and Dodgers 2018 World Series.

One common thread across all sports today is the use of advanced analytics to gain an edge against opponents by trying to understand them better than they do. The same concept can be applied to your own credit game plan and how you approach your personal finances. Knowing your spending habits and credit profile better can help you boost your own financial IQ.

So what better way for us to see how these Super Bowl cities line up against each other than using our own analytics to find out who has the credit edge? While we don't use advanced sports metrics like DVOA or wOBA, the football icons below keep score of who has the credit advantage in each category. Adding the national averages in parentheses for perspective, here is how it looks:

Boston leads in average FICO® Score*, 726 versus 703, but both markets boast credit scores above the 700 tier, which is considered good. Both markets also have estimated incomes higher than the national average, though Boston edged out LA here. Keep in mind that your income does not play a role in determining your credit score. It does help pay the bills, though.

While Boston and LA were both slightly above the national average in credit card balances, they came in below that mark for retail card balances. Boston had slightly less average student loan debt than its rival, and also maintained less auto loan debt. My sources tell me that no one walks in LA, and its market is much more spread out.

One area where Los Angeles stood out was in installment loan and personal loan balances, which were lower than Boston's. Both markets ranked below the national average.

For mortgages, well, we're talking about LA here, home to some of the most expensive housing prices in the United States. In fact, the average mortgage balance for Los Angeles was 46% higher than Boston's and 103% higher than the national average. Finally, looking at average overall debt, Boston comes in lower than LA, but both markets are significantly above the national average.

Tally up the score, and it's clear that Boston has the edge over Los Angeles in the credit game. This could bode well for Patriot fans on Super Bowl Sunday. More important, the beginning of the year is a good chance to take a look at your credit standing and make sure you are in control of your personal finance plan.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.

This article was originally published on January 28, 2019, and has been updated.

*Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more.

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