Many Maine residents could use financial literacy help

Parents play a large role in developing sound financial habits in their children. Ask Cerina Leeman, 32, who is a financial services student at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Leeman said her mother didn't budget or invest in a retirement program, which resulted in her not knowing how to effectively manage her money, according to Maine news provider the Kennebec Journal.

But the 32-year-old isn't alone, as many of the state's residents have struggled in recent years with their finances. The news source reports that bankruptcy filings increased 82 percent from 2007 to 2010 within the state. While many of these filings may not have been avoidable because of the economic downturn, some families may have been able to save their homes had they known how to manage their finances and keep their credit in control.

For example, many consumers are unaware that there may be unfair or inaccurate marks on their credit reports that are wrongfully lowering their credit scores. As a result, they may be settling for insurance premiums and mortgage rates that are much more than they can, and should, pay.

These problematic items may result from account errors or because a credit company didn't take the appropriate steps when reporting a person's information. In both cases, individuals have the right to submit dispute letters to counter the unfair blemishes. With the help of a credit lawyer, a consumer may have support he or she needs to hold the creditor accountable for practicing fair and accurate credit reporting.