Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely hate politics.  I hate politics so much that I refuse to commit to a political party and ignore anything and everything that is overtly partisan.

I’m probably a libertarian, but I don’t really want to commit to that either.  I just want to think what I think, you know?  I don’t need anyone spoon-feeding me and I don’t feel the need to belong or be on the “winning side” or the “losing side.”  I’ve always hated team sports.

With all that being said, there’s something that bugs me about the recent push I’ve noticed to make everyone a victim of some sort, some kind.  The idea that a giant boogey-man is out to get us, and that we cannot possibly succeed because the odds are far too low.  I see this idea spread in a variety of ways across all mediums from the national news to the blogs I read, but I see it the most on Facebook.

Someone actually posted this on Facebook the other day.

My first thought was, “Wait a minute.  Weren’t the people who over-drafted actually taking money they didn’t have?”

Then I noticed a huge chain of comments on the post, saying things like:

“That is totally unfair.  How do they get away with this?”

“I hide my money in my mattress.  F%*K banks and banking and bankers.”

“Overdraft fees should be illegal.”

My head started hurting.

Everything Isn’t Someone Else’s Fault

I’m not going to argue that banks are fair or even ethical.  We all know they aren’t.  I don’t think Chase or Citibank or Wells Fargo would piss on me if I were on fire, let alone be fair to me if they were not required to by law.

But, should there be no penalty for overdrawing your account?  For taking money that isn’t yours?  Does it matter if it’s the result of bad money management or a simple error?  Whose responsibility is it to make sure these things don’t happen?

The answer is simple: It all boils down to you.

Someone else posted this picture in the comments.  I’ve never thought of it that way, but I think it’s true.  We’re always so busy blaming big business or the government for all of our problems that we’ve almost forgotten that we do have some control.  Don’t want to pay overdraft fees?

Don’t overdraft your account.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, tall or short, fat or thin.  It’s a matter of balancing your checkbook.

And if you do not have the basic math skills required to balance your checkbook, you should not have a checking account.  It is not in your best interest.

It All Boils Down to You

I worry about a society that is so intent on convincing us that we are too stupid to do anything for ourselves, or that we are incapable of holding ourselves to some sort of standard.

Some might call it setting low expectations.  I call it the belief that everything is beyond our control, and that there is simply no way to get ahead because the <insert corporation, social class, or government entity here> is always one step ahead of us and ready to crush our dreams.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I wanted people to know that there is a simple and proven way to avoid paying overdraft fees.

It’s called balancing your checkbook, and it doesn’t require blaming anyone else for your problems.