In case you haven’t noticed, financial literacy is infamously absent in America. We don’t just receive inadequate money lessons in school, we go on to fail simple financial quizzes as adults. If we want to learn about money, we have to educate ourselves, or at least observe how family members handle their finances. Unfortunately, they may also be teaching us the wrong things. Let’s take a look at the three worst money lessons you may have learned from your parents.
1. Ignoring bank accounts
Gone are the days when you could build an actual relationship with your local banker and not worry too much about extra banking fees looking to squeeze every last drop of profit. Today, we live in a world of fees. The latest semi-annual MoneyRates.com checking account fee survey finds the average monthly maintenance fee is up to $13.29, or $159.48 a year. That also doesn’t include overdraft fees or out-of-network ATM fees, which average $32.38 and $1.73, respectively. Only one in four bank accounts offer free checking these days.
You can start to get a handle on your money by auditing your own bank accounts. Take the time to find out how much you’re paying in fees and ways to avoid them. Many banks have minimum balances you can carry in order to waive fees, though these are also on the rise. Other forms of banking can help you avoid fees too.
While your parents shied away from online banks and credit unions, they can be the best places to deposit your money. About 53% of online banking accounts have zero fees, more than double brick-and-mortar accounts. Bankrate finds credit unions are also more than twice as likely as banks to offer free checking, and none of the 50 largest credit unions in America require more than $100 to open an account.