HOUSTON - The average American wastes $139 a month on fees, interest, and impulse buying, according to a study by The Ascent. Experts say it's because we don't educate ourselves enough about money.
April is Financial Literacy Month. So I sat down with a certified financial educator, who says if we change the way we think about money, and learn more about how it works, we'd have more of it.
When asked about the biggest ways Americans are being ripped off, Steve Siebold answers, "There are so many, but one of them is pass book savings accounts."
Siebold co-authored the book How Money Works: Stop being a Sucker. He says consumers have trillions of dollars in low-interest savings accounts because most people aren't taught how to make smart money choices, and banks know it.
"They say, 'Hey, thanks for coming to the bank, we'll give you a credit card at 17.5% interest.' And their money doubles every four years and yours takes 7,200 years to double," said Siebold.
He says consumers should refinance debt with tools such as zero percent interest credit card offers, and work to pay off the debt they have.
"I would start with your highest rate interest credit card and pay that one down. Start there and go for the second one and third one, if you have them, and really eliminate those super high rates," he said.
Siebold says many people overpay for insurance because they don't update their policies as their needs change, and they don't shop around for lower rates, making insurance companies rich.
"That's why they have the biggest buildings in every city, pretty much. They're very wealthy because a lot of people do overpay," said Siebold.
He says financial education needs to start with students in school.
"We don't learn the basics about how money works. And the reason is the financial lobby doesn't want us to know. Because the more ignorant we are, the richer they get," he said.
He adds that we need to change the way we think about money.
"We're brought up with these pyschological programs that say money is very diffuclt to earn. And it doesn't grow on trees. And all these negative things. Money really is just an exchange for services. So the more service you provide, the more money you make," said Siebold.
NerdWallet offers a comparison of auto insurance rates, but you'll find other comparison tools online as well.
Bankrate.com and several other sites offer a comparison of credit card offers.
For more informationn on the best online and high-yield savings accounts of April 2021, click here.