With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, many customers have shopping and credit on their minds.

We are getting asked a lot of questions about what customers should know regarding their credit score and how it might influence their ability to buy gifts this holiday season.

Whether it is an item you are hoping to put on your card, eyeing that new or used car on the local lot, or being prudent and looking to refinance your home, we have the research to help you have the best holiday season yet.

Here at Experian, we have over 28MM customers across all 50 states. Whether you are under 25 and new to credit scores or recently retired and wondering how you compare, we are here to help.

First, let’s look at a financial breakdown across age groups.

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It’s not surprising that younger generations with less credit history have lower scores.

Interestingly, on average, people don’t typically achieve a credit score of 700 until they reach their 50s, even though average income is about equal to younger age groups.

This appears to be because people continue to add to their credit balance into their 40s.

Let’s break this down a bit further to see how credit changes as people mature and obtain more disposable income.

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As expected, spending on credit cards peaks between the ages of 46-55. However, that is also when people start paying down their mortgage balances.

Outside of home loans, student loans represent the most significant portion of an individual’s credit. If you are thinking of going back to school for an MBA or another advanced degree, here is a great article one of our colleagues wrote about student loan options you might consider.

While looking at how spending and credit patterns change as we age is interesting, a geographic analysis can provide insight into different nuances across regions of the country. First, let’s look at states with the highest population.

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Not surprisingly, California has the highest income and highest credit balance. This is driven by home loans. To see the analysis our colleague Matt conducted on consumer debt featuring this in more detail, click here.

Texans seem to love their cars with an average of over 25% more debt on auto loans than any of the other states in the group. You can see more insight from Stefan Lembo Stolba on how Texas cities stack up versus other cities with significant car debt in this article, ranking the top 25 cities with auto loan debt.

Given Texas’ debt profile, it currently ranks among the bottom ten states based on people’s average credit score.

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Of these states, the average auto loan balance is $21,882, relative to an average income of $66,657 and a credit balance of $73,398.

Juxtapose this with the top ten states based on average credit score, and we see a materially lower average auto loan balance of $18,043 and a significantly higher average income of $79,696.

This can be seen in the table below.

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If you found this analysis helpful, we will be publishing our Q4 research reports on Jan 21. For more information on how to boost your FICO score, click here.