If you have ever felt that financial institutions and lenders were taking advantage of the difference betweeen their knowledge and yours, there's a new Sheriff in town. Recent Federal legislation created a new form of regulator to watch out for consumers. You can find out more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at its Website, www.consumerfinance.gov.
No matter how many regulators there are, and there are more than one for banks, more than one for credit unions, and now this one that crosses borders, you as a consumer can do more to protect yourself than all of them.
Do business with those you have dealt with awhile or with whom you have been referred by several trusted friends.
Know about the products and services you need whether loans, savings accounts or complex investments and mortgages.
Say "no thanks" when you do not understand the contract and your obligations, and what can happen to you later.
Understand that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably will hurt you.
Put follow up dates, reviews and events on your calendar; as long as a contract is valid, events you miss can be costly.
The television frequently airs advertisements that reflect the economy and the general condition of the common consumer. ITT Tech, Phoenix and other schools are letting us know they are there. Why? Unemployment is up. The suggestion is that one sure way to make more money, to strengthen one’s career prospects, or to accommodate a career change, is education.
Consumers are smart. Some figure, if they put their money in savings, earning a dividend or interest, keep the checking account at zero, and link the checking to the savings for overdraft protection, then they have the equivalent of a checking account that pays. Smart as that is, it keeps the Fed from doing its job.
To be “unbanked” means not having an account at a financial institution. In America today, millions are unbanked and the reasons are many. I will disclose to readers that, in general, I cannot support being unbanked for a lifetime; I know of no other legal and ethical way for the average “Joe” to build up assets without having someplace to store and grow cash. Also, my father was a banker and I have worked in the credit union segment of the financial services industry my whole career. Since a teen, I have never been unbanked. Should you ever be?
I thought they were gone but they’re back. Auto companies are again offering zero percent interest on certain vehicles. Sounds great on the surface. You know that if you finance a vehicle you will pay more in total than if you negotiated for a cash sale (don’t roll your eyes, buying with cash is possible and, ProfiTuit members will learn the techniques for that at our financial literacy and ProfiTuit Strategy sessions). When you finance, you pay for the vehicle and to rent the money.