Frustrated.

Ok, so most of you know that I’m married to a banker. Obviously, that impacts my view of banks in a way that may be different from someone outside of this situation. So that’s my disclaimer…

This morning two girls on a local radio show were talking about some new bank fees that are coming in the new year (sidenote: holy cow, we’re nearing the new year). I will admit that some of what they are talking about was annoying, as responsible customers who pay off their balance every month were going to start getting charged an annual fee to have a credit card. I’m going to skip over that part because it’s something else that really irked me.

They were talking about overdraft fees for checking accounts/debit cards, and how you can pay for overdraft protection, but it was only slightly less expensive than one actual overdraft charge a month. One of them mentioned how you can rack up hundreds of dollars of overdraft charges at $25-50 a piece when you’re only debiting a $3 coffee at Starbucks from your account, and how that’s so unfair. Here’s where my frustration sets in…she’s not talking about someone debiting necessities like medication and overdrawing (still a problem, but a different scenario). And so much of this country is in the same place: I want it, so I’m buying it, whether I can afford it or not.

Let’s get something straight here: the bank is taking a risk on you every time you spend more money than you have in your account. You might not pay them back. And if I remember correctly, money is not free, so it’s not even free for the bank. If you can’t afford a $3 coffee at Starbucks, or your ability to keep track of what you’ve spent is so poor, then maybe you shouldn’t be buying it. Novel concept, no?

We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we live comfortably. And that’s simply because we live within our means. We don’t take trips we can’t afford. We don’t buy cars or homes we can’t afford. When we were first married and making not much money, we didn’t take a big first anniversary trip that we had to finance; we went to Branson. Exotic? No. But it’s what we could afford, and we had a good time anyway.

I just loathe the sense of entitlement that is running rampant in this country…it’s not only disgusting to watch, but it makes my job as a parent even harder, which is where my real concern lies.

{Stepping down from my soapbox now. Thank you.}

13 responses to “Frustrated.

  1. I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE ON THIS. I think living within your means is like a foreign language to a lot of people.

    And, depending on who you are, money IS free these days. See prior comments re: “Obama money.” Grrrrrr……

  2. I would have been irritated in the same way and to the same extent and I’m not related to any banker.

    I am not cool with paying an annual fee for a credit card that I pay off each month. I think that bank will find that those customers are going to take their business elsewhere.

    But the whole entitlement thing is just ridiculous. Utterly.

  3. Agreed.

    I heard a *really* disturbing commercial on the radio the other day from one of those debt-consolidation companies. Basically the premise was that they would help you “stick it to the man” (aka the bank), by helping you “get back” your money (aka the money you borrowed from the bank in the first place.)

    I think there is some validity in the claim that buisnesses charge too much for certain services (banks, but also other service-oriented industries), but the responsibility for making smart choices rests w/the consumer.

    And I’m not married to a banker… or anyone else for that matter 😉

  4. I agree! I also work at a bank and have for several years. I am surprised on a daily basis on the actions of some people. I don’t think the concept is hard to understand, if you don’t have money, don’t write checks or use your debit card. And if you borrowed money, you have to pay it back! And also, let me know if Matt has heard this one, not making your loan payments in order to get a lower interest rate is not a good bargaining tool.

  5. I couldn’t agree more! I could fill this screen with overdraft stories from when I was working at the bank. It is required by law that all of the account information is presented at the time of account opening, yet somehow the fees, etc. always surprise these people when they overdraw.

  6. I heard the girls on the radio too & was shocked at what they were saying!!

  7. WOW!!! And we wonder why foreclosures and bankruptcy rates are so high in this country!!!

    We don’t live outside of our means…..we have had financial bumps along the way because of my mismanagement of credit cards in college (you know, get a free t-shirt and here’s a card with a $5,000 credit limit…..go nuts!) – BUT, I learned how to manage money and I love to find the best bargains possible now and we pay cash for everything.

    I have watched marriages fail because of money troubles, I have seen families torn apart because of money……is it worth it to live in a home you can’t afford and to drive a new car every year? Not in my 28 year old home with a 1998 Bonneville parked in the driveway! ; )

  8. I totally agree with you. When Aaron and I got married, I helped him pay off his $10,000 credit card debt because I am serious about debt reduction. Now we don’t even own credit cards. I shop at resale stores just so we can enjoy some nicer vacations, although our one year anniversary was just at the Lake of the Ozarks.

    A lot of my friends go into debt to finance home improvements like a kitchen remodel. Even though I want to remodel our kitchen, we won’t take on more debt for anything – a remodel or a vacation or anything! We already have our mortgage and student loans…I don’t want any more debt!

  9. a few things

    1) i agree with you on the point that if you don’t have the money don’t spend it. live below or within your means and you will never have money problems. simple concept that many people fail to comprehend.

    2) i think that banks (and other industries) do have some ridiculous fees. example – now that i don’t have direct deposit into my checking account it costs me $8 every single month to simply have the account. to me that is ridiculously high…especially since between my husband and i we have quite a bit of money in this particular bank.

    3) something i have always wondered and curiously thought that maybe banks do to simply get quick money from those that aren’t careful with their money…on debit cards why does the card not decline when you have a zero balance in your account? it allows customers to debit up to $200 in some cases once you have already hit a zero balance? i just have a hard time understanding this one…

  10. AMEN to this!!!!! I have no idea what is feels like to carry a balance over on a credit card. NO idea.

  11. Great post! Nothing meaningful to add–just giving my thumb’s up.

  12. Per customer requests, most (if not all) banks will turn off that “overdraft buffer” so once you hit a $0 balance it will just decline the card and not overdraw your account. The view of the bank is they want to save the customer the embarrassment of getting a decline in the checkout line. However, the bank is assuming that when the customer swipes their card they actually know their balance in the account (and therefore would be aware they are overdrafting).

  13. Preach it Sister!!!

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