What are the most vexing problems bedeviling American consumers? Some
are new to modern times, while others are older than civilization
itself! Consumers can reverse nearly all of them to
become healthier, safer and more prosperous. Just as
importantly, you'll learn how to stop these problems before
they happen to you. Without further ado, here they are:
the dirty dozen... |
12. Settling for low interest rates. Astonishingly,
Americans have over one trillion dollars in
outmoded accounts that pay little or no interest. It's better to
earn over 5% interest in a money market account.
Alternatively you could try the stock market because it has
historically earned closer to 8%, but as we all know it can be
extremely risky. To get a better rate: Call local
bank(s), and/or use BankRate.com's Money Market Account Search
Also: Ben Franklin knew that the best way to build wealth
is to become a more knowledgeable and productive human being.
That often requires only a small investment of time,
if you know where to go on the Internet. Visit SmartConsumerTips.com
to find out which tips and sites are recommended by consumer advocates.
"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." |
|~ Ben Franklin (1706-1790), American Scientist, Publisher and Diplomat.|| |
"Please pass this on after reading. You could save a life --
maybe even your own!"|| |
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Everything in this report has all been confirmed by authoritative
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11. Buying a home you can barely afford. Nearly 1.3
million Americans had their homes foreclosed in 2006, at an
average loss of $75,000 -- that's about $97 billion dollars down
the drain. If foreclosures were to continue at that pace, most
of America's 75 million homeowners would go through foreclosure
at least once in their lifetime! Lenders too usually lose
tens of thousands of dollars when a home is foreclosed.
Understand the true costs and benefits of homeowning:
Visit http://www.truehomecost.com. Do you need
to avoid foreclosure? Read how at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/econ/econ.cfm.
|"Be he a king or a peasant, he is happiest who finds peace at home."||~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German Poet and Author|| |
10. Running up a high credit card debt. Americans owe an
astounding $876 billion in revolving credit, paying about $127
billion in credit card interest in just one year. About 15% of
Americans are on course to declare bankruptcy at some point in
their lives, often at least partly because of high credit card
debt! Learn what to do: see how to manage debt and
monitor the best credit card offers at: http://www.consumercardreport.com.
|"Credit buying is much like being drunk. The buzz happens immediately, and it gives you a lift. The hangover comes the day after."||~ Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-), American Psychologist, Television and Radio Personality.|| |
9. Letting safety slip your mind. The total cost of
traffic accidents is nearly $300 billion per year, but here's a
more startling statistic: half of all Americans will suffer a
painful traffic injury at some point in their lives, at the
current rate of 2.8 million traffic injuries in a year. What's
your chance of a fatal or incapacitating crash in your lifetime?
For an average driver, it's a sobering ten percent. For habitual
drunk drivers, crashes usually put them in wheelchairs or
graveyards. Best auto safety booster: http://www.autosafetyhub.org.
|"The safest course is to do nothing against one's conscience.
With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death."||~ Voltaire (1694-1778), French Philosopher and Writer|| |
8. Tolerating high fuel bills. The average American could
save at least $150 per year by adopting more energy-efficient
driving habits. Better yet, reducing our fuel consumption by
just 5% would actually halve the price of gas. "How is
that even possible?!", you may ask. A 5% reduction would drive
demand down to 2003 levels, when oil cost half as much. We would
spend billions less on oil imports. Americans would save over
$200 billion dollars per year: that's about $700 per man, woman
and child! Find out how to save: go to
|"A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children."||~ John James Audubon (1785 - 1851), French-Creole American Naturalist|| |
7. Money-draining investments. Each year, American
investors spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to
outperform the market. They often end up chasing "hot tips",
paying excessive commissions, or getting burned by risky stocks.
It's very risky to compete against smart, experienced traders.
Most people are better off minimizing costs and risks by
investing in a diverse, mostly buy-and-hold portfolio of stocks
and interest-paying accounts or securities. "The Motley Fool"
wonders: Brother, can you spare $350 billion? (http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2006/03/16/brother-can-you-spare-350-billion.aspx)
|"October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to
speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and
February."||~ Mark Twain (1835-1910), American Writer and Humorist.|| |
6. Not being careful about your spending. You can get
tripped up three different ways. Some consumers buy out of
temporary desire, and their stuff mostly sits unused. Others
maintain spending habits that cost them thousands each year, even
though they don't really enjoy those habits like they once did.
Thirdly, it's easy to lose control of recurring expenses (e.g.
utility bills) as they creep upwards year after year. It all
adds up to hundreds, even thousands of wasted dollars each year
for the average family. Best resources: there are
many articles at http://www.kiplinger.com and
http://bankrate.com/brm/news/news_finance_home.asp. A free e-course is
available at http://www.ConsumerFreeAll.com.
|"I don't have to have millions of dollars to be happy. All I need are clothes on my back,
a decent meal, and a little loving when I feel like it."||~ Ray Charles (1930-2004), American Musician, Singer, Songwriter|| |
5. Mediocre nutrition. Junk food makes us feel less
vital, shortens our lives, makes us more vulnerable to disease, and
costs society hundreds of billions of dollars each year in extra
health costs. Here's just one example: one in three
Americans are predicted to become diabetic, costing America
over a hundred billion dollars per year. Good nutrition isn't
rocket science: experts recommend that we (1) take a daily
vitamin, (2) eat lots of fruits and vegetables, (3) eat "healthy
fats" and avoid bad fats and sugars, and (4) eat whole grains
and proteins. By doing all that, we'll slash our chances
of developing cancer and many other health problems. Best
resources: visit http://www.everydaychoices.org
for more information, and/or http://www.realage.com to
get a customized health plan.
|"The greatest wealth is health."|
~ Virgil (BC 70-19), Roman Poet
4. Yielding to vice. Habits such as smoking, illegal
drugs and alcohol abuse result in health care problems costing a
staggering $500 billion dollars each year. The rest of us have to
pay for much of that cost through higher health insurance
premiums. Ben Franklin saw that vices have only a superficial
appeal: bitter lessons lie at their core. Best online
resources: http://www.quitnet.com to quit
smoking, http://www.drugfree.org to learn
about illegal drugs, or http://www.aca-usa.org to refuse
the booze (for best results, also talk to helpful friends and/or
|"Vice knows that she is ugly, so she puts on her mask."||~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American Scientist, Publisher, Diplomat.|| |
3. Not being crime-aware. The colossal cost of crime in
America has been proven to be over one trillion dollars
annually from theft, fraud, and the damage and suffering
caused by criminal violence and abuse. Being on guard
isn't about being afraid, it's about valuing your life and your
property enough to always stay safe. Learn about crime and make
plans for your own personal safety. Best online resource:
|"My lord fool, out of this thornbush of danger we shall pluck a flower -- safety."||~ William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English Playwright, Poet|| |
2. Career missteps. Most of the financial cost of crime
comes not from theft, but from fraud -- nearly a crushing $5,000
burden for the average American household! That's the terrible
cost shoved on us by those who use their positions to cheat. But
the truth is that even honest people often make career missteps
through laziness, timidity or wasted effort. If we all
dedicated ourselves to socially useful work, wouldn't our society
be trillions wealthier? Let's apply what Ben Franklin said about
"knowledge always pays the best interest": the best
reward often comes from investing your time and effort in your
own self-improvement. Best resource: our
own hearts, minds and souls! For a glimpse into Franklin's, visit
|"The greatest crime in the world is: not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world."||~ Roger Williams (1603-1683), British-American Indian Missionary, Founder of Rhode Island Colony || |
1. Drifting away from one's values. Isn't this
the consumer mistake that leads to all other mistakes? If we let
our core selves decay, it eventually shows up as a money
or health problem. And the reverse is also true: The smarter
you get about money, the more it will improve other areas in your
life. When we live according to our most deeply felt values,
when we appreciate the gifts of life and stay free from any
dispiritedness or meanness, we then become free to live our lives to the fullest.
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prosperity of your friends and many other people worldwide. Nothing
makes us happier than when everybody appreciates our tips and helps
spread them far and wide. The
more people you pass this on to, the more you'll be helping
people everywhere... and the sooner you just do it,
the better you'll feel!
|"Let the people know the truth, and the country is safe."||~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th American President|
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