Being conservative may not be very exciting, but it has its rewards. Just ask officials in Missouri.
The state recently became the sixth in the nation to become a "triple triple" -- that is, to get a triple-A rating from each of the three Wall Street agencies.
Fitch Investors Service joined Standard & Poor's Corp. and Moody's Investors Service in giving the "Show Me" state its top rating. The agency said the outlook for Missouri was stable.
"They really have a very low debt, said Claire Cohen, managing director at Fitch. "And they are very careful and cautious about using it."
The state ranked number 35 nationally with a debt per capita of $204, below the median of $345, according to Moody's.
Five other states rated by Fitch are also triple triples: California, Maryland, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.
Missouri officials said they are glad to be in such company. "At a time when the fiscal health of states is having problems, it's nice to have your rating reaffirmed," said Jim Moody, the state's commissioner of administration.
He gave credit to the state resilient economy and a provision in its constitution that prohibits the state from using short-term debt to solve budget problems.
"I think the structural factors are important," he said. "Many states can use short-term notes to cover [problems]. We don't have that authority and we don't want it."