Report concludes consumers lack financial skills

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently released a report about Americans' finances, and as Tulsa World indicated, many consumers are handling their credit in ways that may lead to financial ruin.

For instance, as the paper points out, the NBER found 41 percent of credit card users in 2009 borrowed in such a way that resulted in high interest payments and fees.

Other findings by NBER indicate people are having troubles paying their bills, as nearly 50 percent of Americans report having difficulty or serious difficulty making monthly payments.

"Americans lack the skills and knowledge to make good financial decisions for themselves," the report concludes, according to the Oklahoma-based newspaper. "They poorly manage debt and are stung by higher interest rates and fees. Some don't know the interest rates paid on credit cards or mortgages."

Consumers who need help managing their credit accounts and keeping their finances in order should check their credit reports regularly to make sure all of their payment activity is accurate and up to date. Individuals who neglect to monitor their credit records may unknowingly have errors or unsubstantiated negative marks that are unfairly lowering their credit scores and subsequently raising their interest rates. Addressing and removing these problematic items may provide the credit score help a person needs to get a hold of his or her finances.