Americans are continuing to lose money because they do not understand finances, according to the National Financial Educators Council.

The council asked 2,506 adults how much money they thought they lost during 2019 because they lacked the financial knowledge they should have. The average reported amount was $1,279, compared to a 2018 survey that had almost the same result at $1,230.

Extrapolating to the population of the United States, as much as $307 billion was lost last year because of financial illiteracy, according to the council, an educational resource and advocate for financial education. Seventeen percent of those surveyed reported losing more than $2,500 last year and 39% reported losses of more than $500 for the year, the report said.

"Today, Americans must negotiate a financial landscape that's becoming more and more complex,” said Vince Shorb, CEO of the council, in a statement. “With recent changes to the tax code and the emerging digital currencies, that complexity is only going to increase.

"Increasing citizens' access to financial education and improving their ability to make informed financial decisions is more important now than ever before,” Shorb added.

In previous studies that asked different questions, the council said participants indicated they lost an average of $9,725 over a lifetime. One-third reported lifetime losses of more than $15,000, and nearly one quarter said they lost more than $30,000 over a lifetime.

The council noted in the report that the numbers probably fall short of reality since many people lose money because of a lack of financial knowledge, but don't remember or are unaware of those losses.

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