10 Clark Howard ‘Never, Not Ever’ Rules To Protect Your Money

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If you tune into the cash-saving advice of money expert Clark Howard, you learn that sometimes it’s not what you do to save or make money, but what you make sure to never do.

Here Are Some ‘Never, Not Ever’ Rules From Clark

To keep us safe from scammers, greedy companies and just poor money management decisions, Clark has some “Never, Not Ever” rules that he wants us to abide by.

1. Never Buy Travel Insurance From the Trip Provider

“Never, never, not ever, buy the travel insurance offered by an airline at its website, a cruise line at its website, a tour operator at its website,” Clark says.

Read up on Clark’s take on when and how to buy travel insurance.

2. Never Hire a Fiduciary Who Gets Paid by Commission

“The time I want somebody to hire a commissioned salesperson or a traditional stockbroker to handle their investments is never, never, never, not ever,” Clark says. 

Read our guide to see whether you need a fiduciary financial advisor.

3. Never Pay an Advance Deposit With Cash or Debit Card

No matter if you’re renting an apartment, hiring a contractor or booking travel, Clark wants you to protect yourself by using the right payment method for a deposit. A major reason why this is important is because a business can go bust at any time and you’ll be left with nothing.

“If you order a wedding dress at a bridal store, and you pay that deposit by cash or debit card, that money is exposed if that bridal store goes bust,” Clark says. “Just as it would be with an airline ticket, if the airline goes bust.”

Any circumstance where you’re paying in advance for something you’re receiving later, this is when you pay by credit card. Shopping online? Pay by credit card, he adds.

“Never ever, not ever, pay a deposit with cash or a debit card,” Clark says.

If you pay by debit card, you do not have protections if a business never sends you the merchandise or it comes to you not as represented or advertised, he adds.


4. Never Check Your Prescription Drugs on a Flight

When it comes to packing your medications for your trip, Clark has a rare Never-Not-Ever Rule when it comes to travel.

“Never ever, not ever, put your medicine in a checked suitcase,” Clark says. “In the baggage you take with you or in the backpack you have with you, your meds go there.”

In addition to prescriptions, there are three other things that Clark recommends that you pack in a carry-on if you choose to check a bag: three days of clothing, electronics and a toothbrush.

5. Never Buy a CD From a Big Bank

Clark occasionally recommends when to buy a CD, but where not to buy from is a constant.

“One thing never to do — this is a Never Rule — unless you hate your money, never go to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase or Citibank to buy CDs because they play you for a fool. They place such ridiculously low rates on their CDs. They’re taking advantage of you.”

A better option would be to go to a brokerage firm like Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard, which have competitive CD rates. (If you just have to deal with a big bank, show them this article and challenge them to lower their CD rates).

6. Never Exchange Money at an Airport

If you love to travel abroad, you will want to exchange your money for the local currency. Clark says that’s where you could be taken advantage of.

“One place you should never, never, never, not ever change money from U.S. dollars to any foreign currency is at any American airport — unless you just hate your money and you want to throw it away!”

“The exchange rates you get in an international terminal … in a U.S. airport are the world’s worst!” Clark says. As he always does, Clark wants you to wait until you get to your destination to get those euros or other types of currency.

Read our guide on the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

7. Never Invest With a Bank

When it comes to investing, what you put your money into will determine what you get back, but where you put your money matters as well.

You never, never, never — not ever — invest with a bank,” Clark says. “You think Jesse James knew how to take money from banks? Let me tell you how the banks will take from you if you do a retirement account or HSA with them. They’re not where you go unless you’re just feeling really charitable and you want to have less money.”


8. Never Talk Rudely To Customer Service

Instead of customer service, today’s businesses seem to specialize in “customer no-service,” but that doesn’t give you license to disrespect the consumer representatives, Clark says.

“Never, never, never not ever — no matter how fed up you are — ever unload on somebody you’re talking to on a phone call at customer no-service, someone you’re messaging at a company, or by posting on social media.”

Read how Clark wants you to respond to customer service reps.

9. Never Trade In a Vehicle You Still Owe Money On

If you drive your current vehicle to a dealership, you can bet that the salesperson is going to do all they can to entice you to buy a new or used vehicle from the lot via trade-in — bad idea!

If you’re still financing a vehicle, Clark says trading it in is a major mistake that can come back to bite you in many ways, including creditors hounding you for unpaid debt.

“Never, never, never trade in a vehicle you still owe money on. Period. Problem solved,” Clark says.

Read why it’s a bad idea to trade in a financed car.

10. Never Click a Link in a Text or Email

Do you ever get bombarded with email scams, which could expose you to identity theft or bank account fraud? Clark never lets it get to that point because of this Never, Not Ever rule:

“Do not give up any information, nor click on anything in an email or a text — or share information in a phone call you did not originate.”

Read our guide on how to stop and report spam emails.

Final Thoughts

Clark’s “Never, Not Ever” Rules mean that there aren’t any exceptions. If you stray from them, you may create unnecessary headaches in your life and expose your wallet to unnecessary losses.