Special Report: "The Twelve
Biggest Consumer Goofs!"


 

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...



"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
~ Ben Franklin (1706-1790), American Scientist, Publisher and Diplomat.
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 at http://bankrate.com/brm/rate/brm_mmasearch.asp. 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.
   
"Please pass this on after reading. You could save a life -- maybe even your own!"

Tips For Better Reading


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"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

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.



"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.

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.



"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

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.



"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

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 http://www.gasconserver.com.



"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.

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)



"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

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.



"The greatest wealth is health."
~ Virgil (BC 70-19), Roman Poet


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.



"Vice knows that she is ugly, so she puts on her mask."~ Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American Scientist, Publisher, Diplomat.

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 counselors.)




"My lord fool, out of this thornbush of danger we shall pluck a flower -- safety."~ William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English Playwright, Poet

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: http://www.crimedoctor.com.



"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

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 http://www.smartconsumertips.com/ben.htm.



"Whose quote should go here?" Visit http://www.herovote.com to cast your vote.Should we quote Martin Luther King? Eleanor Roosevelt? See all five candidates at HeroVote.com!

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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