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Two things you'll be surprised to read. OK, maybe not. The first is that Americans tend to say one thing in response to survey questions, and then behave another way when it comes down to their actions. The other is that Americans understand the notion of financial smarts, but that doesn't seem to stop most of us from acting like financial dummies. These findings, from an April report from Bankrate Inc., are based on a telephone survey of 1,000 people, 18 and older, fielded earlier this year by RoperASW. Bankrate's financial literacy poll quizzed respondents about personal finance awareness and action, which reveals people's tendency to try to fool themselves and others when it comes to fessing up about credit and bills and such. For instance, 58 percent of respondents said they usually pay off credit card bills in full each month. Actually, 38 percent do it. Also, although 95 percent of people surveyed agree it's very important to pay bills on time, only 83 percent actually do. Sixty-four percent assert living on a budget is the way to go, but less than half of us (48 percent) do that.

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