Recently, I was asked to weigh in as an expert on "what financial products consumers should avoid", as part of an article on the WalletHacks website.

Avoiding this important step could quickly become a disaster to your wallet and sanity!

As I thought to myself, the list of products that came to mind became long and even overbearing. Here's the lowdown...

Consumers (that's you) should not be using ANY financial products or services without first acquiring proper and detailed knowledge about them. Avoiding this important step could quickly become a disaster to your wallet and sanity!

Some common high risk financial products include high interest rate loans and quick cash loans. They are real budget breakers, along with the more well-known payday loans and check-cashing services. While these may be convenient, it is going to cost you more money over time or in the end. Unfortunately, people think they may not have other financial options besides these when they find they're short on cash.

It may seem like that, but check out our loan articles on this website. Read our "high interest loans" article, for instance.

Other risky financial products for consumers are rent-to-own services. With these, consumers (again, you!) often end up paying more than double for the same product versus paying with cash. That's throwing money away! Read our "rent to own" article to learn more.

Finally, you have your plastic. Financing small purchases on credit cards (unless it's an emergency) can wreck your budget for one. You can easily forget how much you spend and suddenly, it adds up! Read our "ostrich syndrome" article.

Another plastic product that many consumers utilize is prepaid debit cards, as these cards might seem like a convenient way to access funds. But they often pull people in by (sneaky) advertising like: "no credit check required" and "no overdraft fees, ever".

What the company doesn't want you to know, are all the fees they will be charging you just to use this card. These fees include everything from monthly service fees, to charging you to check remaining balances. Those small charges add up fast, and before you know it, you've thrown away a lot of your hard-earned cash.

Whatever you do when it comes to your money, keep in mind that many industries are spending their time and money marketing to you, the consumer. They do this, because these businesses know one thing: If they can get a consumer (YOU!!!) to use their financial product or service without knowing how to use it correctly, they know they can make big bucks.

You should also know that almost any rushed or emotional purchase will cost you more money. Don't be a fool, and become a healthy skeptic. At FoolProof, we say: question anyone or any company that wants to touch your money or well-being. Use caution and rely on independent research... like ours.

Make sense? I think so. Oh, and if you're interested, here's the full WalletHack story. Enjoy.

Cheers, Will