It All Boils Down to YOU: A Rant

It All Boils Down to YOU - picture of woman pointing at you with yellow background

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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.

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  1. Waaaaahhhhh!!! You big meanie!!! 🙂 . You say “low expectations”, l say “no expectations”. I had to laugh when you say balance your checkbook, when you have high school students who can barely string a sentence together or give the right change at the check out! How many times have l given them money back because they screwed up? I guess the debit card is like the everlasting gobstopper, the money keeps flowing, despite the absence of deposits. Those awful banks!!!! How dare they???

    1. Everlasting gobstopper, lol. That’s a good one!

  2. Ben Luthi says:

    Can I get an Amen?! Seriously, though. I reached a similar internal boiling point a couple of months ago when there was an outrage about Capital One saying they could, as a last resort, actually go to people’s houses and “harass” people who don’t make their payments.

    Really? IT’S THEY’RE MONEY. Maybe it’s time to bring back debtor’s prison. For heaven’s sake, people. Yeah, banks and credit card companies will do anything to squeeze the last dime out of your hand, but that doesn’t give you the right to blame them for your irresponsible and self-destructive behavior.

    1. Ugh! I wouldn’t want Capital One knocking on my door!

      I agree though. It’s their money. They should be able to *try* to recover it as long as they don’t take it too far.

      1. Ben Luthi says:

        Yeah, the way it was worded was pretty docile, so I honestly don’t think they’re planning on sending forces out. The societal outcry would be far too damaging. But people don’t realize that those banks and credit cards still have a legal right to their money.

  3. Oh my god thank you! So at work, we assign banks to our front desk agents. They’re $300 and it states clearly in the contract that they are to be used solely in the performance of their duties, have to remain at $300 at all times, and must remain on property. I go to do monthly bank audits and one agent’s bank is missing. We call him, and he has it it home. To me, this is a $300 bank shortage, and grounds for termination. But, when the agent brought the bank back, he claimed he “didn’t know” that bank couldn’t leave the property. We (accounting) said it was in his contract but because he “didn’t know” (nevermind that he signed the contract) not only was he not fired, he got a promotion. WTF??? Therefore, I will be taking the entire $30,000 safe that I maintain home with me this weekend, and they can’t fire me! Good God, people, take some responsibility!

    1. People should know not to take work money home. That is never a good idea, although I did take 10K home from work at my old job once when someone paid for a funeral in cash. I didn’t have anywhere to lock it or leave it and there were workers in the building that day.

  4. Prudence Debtfree says:

    We’re coming from opposite sides of the social/political spectrum, but I still appreciate your post. I agree with you that it’s not at all a good idea to foster a society of blame and victimization. It leads people to think we’re powerless – and we’re not. I DO think it’s a good idea to have eyes wide open – as you clearly do: “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.” (You’ve got a way with words : ) Not everyone has this awareness. And the institutions in question certainly don’t openly admit to their true character. It’s all about “serving” and “helping” according to their ads. So while it’s counterproductive to impose a scenario of big, bad corporations and the poor, helpless people, it’s very productive to shine a light on the fact that these institutions aren’t all about helping us, and we have to tread wisely.

    1. They are not about helping us at all. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any responsibility.

      1. I don’t think the general public is dodging personal responsibilities in the instance of this article. I think the focus should be more on a level playing field, what rules apply to one should apply to all. I don’t recall anyone sending me money to bail me out during the financial meltdown. But I do recall the American citizenry bailing out the banks as if the banks expected it. Then, those same banks who received bail out funds, instead of reinvesting the funds back into the community (approving loans), they invested the funds into high risk short term investments with very high returns (since the money wasn’t theirs to lose anyway.). The banks then came out wealthier than ever and bigger than ever (remember too big to fail?) while more and more Americans fell into bankruptcy or foreclosure often due to no fault of their own. The banks then lobbied congress to permit higher Usury fees (while everyone was defaulting on monthly payments while trying to keep a roof over their heads). These fees are now what account for the extraordinary $30 Billion in overdraft that is collected yearly as the banks cry to congress they they need more entitlements and more leniency for their own bad decisions. Again, it’s not about personal responsibility. It’s about using the same rule book for everyone. Maybe then the “whining” may stop.

        1. I don’t even disagree with you. What I’m saying is that *we* have some control. We can choose to balance our accounts and avoid paying those fees, no matter how steep they are. *We* do have some power here. We give it away when we simply act as if there is nothing we can do to avoid paying overdraft fees.

          I do not think that banks are always ethical. I think they should remain highly-regulated to make sure they aren’t breaking the law.

          You are wrong that it is not about personal responsibility. Personal responsibility is what lets me say, “I am going to balance my checkbook so I don’t have to pay that greedy bank those stupid fucking fees.” Meanwhile, a victim and a “whiner” would continue on their path to destruction, overdrawing their account and paying heavily for it, while hoping that someone else comes along to bail them out.

        2. Actually some banks were forced to take the money by the Secretary of the Treasury even when the bank said they didn’t want the money.

  5. THANK YOU, Holly, for saying it out loud. It’s time for people to wake up and start taking responsibility for their actions and stop blaming everyone else for every single problem they have.

  6. Yes, it is very easy to take this kind of stand when you’ve got privilege. When you are intelligent and middle class (*even* lower middle class) there’s no way of actually understanding what it’s like when you’re in a situation where you have no financial literacy, no hope, lots of stress, and no time. I used to think like you, but then I started reading the research and actually *listening* when my husband’s relatives talk about why they made the stupid choices they made. And they’re rational given the pressures that they’re under.

    And the hope is especially important. Or really, the knowledge that there’s something better out there. I just went to a talk that showed that Teach for America works not because the teachers are any good, but because those teachers with their prestigious undergrad degrees show poor rural and inner-city kids what a prestigious degree is, that applying for it isn’t out of reach, and how to apply for one. Without that hope or that example they don’t do it.

    Because equality of opportunity is important and when there’s no knowledge and no hope (and no time and no money), we don’t have that.

    1. So what is the answer? Perhaps we should make it illegal for banks to charge overdraft fees. Or maybe we could provide a fund for people to pull from when they overdraft their accounts so they could have an endless supply of money. (Kidding)

      I get what you’re saying. I really do. I am actually not some elitist living in an ivory tower. The town I grew up in is rural and relatively poor. Not everyone has access to the same kind of parents and education that I had access to, nor do they have anyone to give them advice or show them how things work.

      My sister was a teacher at an almost all-white inner-city school when she graduated from college, and the things she told me blew me away. In this very poor area, graduating from 8th grade was the big accomplishment everyone aimed for. And she would call parents for advice on how to help their kids and they would literally not answer or never call her back. It’s as if they didn’t care. Or maybe they didn’t. Faced with a situation like that, how are people supposed to learn about life, find opportunities, and ultimately get ahead?

      But I do think that we have to take some personal responsibility. And telling people that nothing is ever their fault is not the answer. Some things are our fault, and sometimes it is in our power to prevent things like overdraft fees.

      And I’m not defending banks. I believe they would rob us all blind if given the opportunity. I just don’t think we should give all of our power away. Some things are within our control.

    2. I have to laugh when a blog article talks about taking personal responsibility and not blaming others; then a complainypants shows up and immediately lays down the “privilege” card, thinking they’ve trumped everyone.

      Get over yourself.

  7. Loved reading this! You’re absolutely right, we’ve become a society of whining victims. People cry that they got run over by a car yet they were crossing where they shouldn’t and mindlessly walked out into the street. People cry that their finances are in a shambles yet do nothing about it and don’t personally take the blame for getting into that situation. Another thing I’ve noticed is that people mindlessly comment, speak to a situation or reply to an email without fully digesting what they just read and are responding to – and what’s the automated response? I’m a victim, down with Big Brother, I’m so oppressed by the system. No you’re not, you put yourself in that situation.
    Thank you for this post. 🙂

    1. I do think there are plenty of real victims of our society. I just don’t think that everyone who has ever had anything bad happen to them, like overdraft fees, is a victim. We’ve all overcome hardships!

  8. It is one thing to talk to your bank about a mistake and see if you can get a fee waiver, it is another to blame the bank for the a fee because of your mistake… But yea I know people my age who expect the government to “do something” about the student loans. I don’t plan on them doing anything, I just plan on paying them off. And I can feel for people who struggled getting full time jobs in area in which they studied, I see it ALL THE TIME. But that doesn’t remove your responsibility of that debt… it still needs to be paid and sacrifices needs to be made to ensure that happens.

    1. It will be interesting to see what happens with student loan forgiveness. I actually have quite a bit of sympathy on that issue because I know so many people dealing with six figures of student loan debt and no way out. I don’t know what the answer is =/

      1. While the increasing cost of higher education is really troubling, there are options for tackling student loan debt. An example is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which will forgive your debt if you make 120 payments while employed FT with a 501c3. Programs like PSLF is important for those who enter the helping professions that require advanced degrees and years of unpaid public service for internships (e.g., MDs, RNs, PAs, psychologists, teachers, social workers, etc.), but end up with challenging debt-to-income ratios. I couldn’t have paid for my degree without student loans, but I started and completed my PhD with intentions to participate in a loan forgiveness program and now work for a meaningful nonprofit that qualifies under PSLF.

        PSLF is also applicable to many jobs as most colleges and universities qualify under the program (i.e., you can work in maintenance, administrative assistant, IT, etc and still qualify). A bonus perk of working for a college includes free or discounted tuition for yourself and family.

        1. I think those are great options and certainly better than struggling with debt for the next ten-twenty years.

      2. Being irresponsible with student loan debt is no different than being irresponsible with your checking account. You don’t go into six figure debt if you cannot afford to pay it off after you graduate.

        Treat student loan debt like any other debt. Dreams do not make loan payments. Don’t go out of state or to a private school if you cannot afford the increased tuition. Know what your chosen career will pay and do not borrow more than that income can afford to pay back.

        Blaming colleges and universities (or the government) for the high cost of a college education is no different than blaming banks for high NSF fees.

  9. You are so right but it’s almost a losing uphill battle; you are mean or supporting evil companies or something of that nature if you point it out to the complainers. Listen, overdraft fees suck, and sometimes, they happen even to the people that have money (one time, I forgot my mortgage was coming out and a payment came out on the same day that I transferred money into my retirement account – overdraft fees) but you are right, it’s still a privilege to be able to take money that you don’t have. Banks are companies – they don’t just exist for your pleasure! haha.

    1. I dated someone once who couldn’t balance his checkbook, and it wasn’t because he was broke. He just didn’t bother. He would bounce a check to the utility company, yet have $500 sitting on his dresser. He never had money for bills, but always had money for new clothes, or weed, or baby back ribs at TGI Fridays.

      Of course, that isn’t how it always happens.

  10. Thank you for getting on the soapbox and telling the truth. I’ve gotten on mine and people don’t like to hear it. Like you said…acknowledging that people need to take responsibility doesn’t mean we side with the banks. Too many people like to blame their failings on something else so they can sleep at night. Oh and I just read Greg’s post about sports…same thing happened to me!

    1. I think we should empower people….not tell them that everything is someone else’s fault! =/

  11. I agree with what you are saying to one extent, but on the other hand I believe that the fees the banks charge should be proportional to the amount borrowed/overdrawn. A lot of the time they are not. To charge a £12 fee on a £1 unagreed overdraft is illogical and unreasonable. Hence all the court drama, at least in the UK.

    1. I can agree with that! Perhaps some laws could be put into place to ensure that overdraft charges make sense in the context of how much money was overdrawn?

      1. Ben Luthi says:

        I think the overdraft fee is meant to be punitive. That being said, as a former bank teller, I would tell people all the time who kept overdrafting to just withdraw the maximum they could and use that cash and get one charge instead of hitting their debit card five times in one day and getting a fee every time. There are always ways to work the system.

  12. I couldn’t agree more Holly. Taking control of your finances really makes it easy to ignore all of the propaganda that’s out there.

  13. Well said Holly! Your thoughts today really highlight an epidemic in our country – the victim mentality – which basically says that everything that happens to me is the fault of someone else. Listen … I know sometimes pigeons poop on us just because we are standing there. We get messy and are frustrated they decided to dump their business in our hair. But nothing would have happened if we hadn’t been standing underneath the pigeon coup in the first place. Own it people…the responsibility is on us.

    1. Right, and if we don’t make an effort to change, we will continue to struggle with overdraft fees or whatever it is.

  14. Holly, I absolutely love this post! Also, yes, you should be charged a fee if you’re trying to spend money you don’t have. Banks aren’t there to give us handouts, they’re there to make money. Just like any other service, the ability to overdraft is a service…it’s also a pretty expensive one. I love your rants by the way!

  15. I would love it if this post went viral Holly! You wrote exactly my sentiments on the subject. Why are people so quick to blame others because of their own irresponsibility?

  16. Holy cow that’s a big revenue stream for banks! I’m wondering now how they’d do if people were responsible and balanced their account each month? I can’t imagine they’d be very profitable, but I haven’t looked into it.

    But yeah I agree 100% with what you’re saying. This is a great example because it’s all voluntary. You voluntarily sign up for an account, you voluntarily overdraft, etc.

    1. Yep! Exactly. Some decisions and mistakes have consequences.

  17. If I had to pick, I would be a libertarian too!! And I hate politics more than I hate going to the dentist. I totally agree with you on this point, yes, it sucks that banks collect overdraft fees; however, YOU are the one who wasn’t managing your account and let it go below 0. How do you not know what is in your bank account? And now banks make it SO easy for you to avoid overdraft fees with account linking and text alerts that you really have to be an idiot to pay them. I view overdraft fees as the dumba$$ charge and it’s not the bank’s fault you are a dumba$$.

    1. I agree that overdraft fees suck. I also agree that they seem to be too high in many cases.
      I choose to protest unfair and high fees by not over-drafting my account and not paying them.

  18. Preach it Holly! So much of this goes back to the victim mentality so many have set themselves up with today. I know getting hit with fees like that sucks – I saw it when I worked at a bank. People did it all the flipping time. After a couple of months I saw that 90%+ of the people coming in to complain were the same ones all the damn time. It was never about accepting responsibility, but shifting the blame. At the end of the day, it’s simple math.

    1. It is simple math. And some people may not be that great at simple math, which is fine, but maybe those people should consider going cash-only? Balancing a check book is just simple addition and subtraction.

  19. This is totally true! Thank you for being brave enough to post this, the only problem is the people who need to read it probably never will.

  20. LOl Holly! Made me think of the – Wambulance – A fictional abulance or rescue squad for someone who cries or whines, most often without provication. A way to insult someone whom often cries for no apparent reason; a cry baby, a brat, or someone suffering from hypochondria.

  21. The buck stops at your own front door. I love when you get on your high horse, Holly! I’m gonna call you HHH – High Horse Holly! LOL 😉

  22. Oh Holly, I can’t tell you how much I love this post. The concept that no one is responsible for what happens to them absolutely makes my brain hurt. I got so angry with the Occupy Wall Street crown and protests that I just wanted to scream at them to go get a job and stop interfering with people who were trying to get to theirs. Before I retired, two of my co-workers were complaining about people who lived in one of the most expensive sub-divisions in our town. “Why should they be able to live there” was their whine. To which I responded, “maybe because they earned the money to buy a house there. Why do you care as long as they aren’t asking you to pay their mortgage?” They shut up at least while I was present. Not trying to get political either, but sadly our current administration promotes all the envy on one side and anger on the other side by saying that those who have money didn’t earn it and should have it re-distributed to those who didn’t do a damn thing to get their own. Like I said, it makes my brain hurt. Thanks for such a brave and timely article.

    1. Hey Kathy. I feel the same way. I don’t pay that much attention to politics but I have noticed the same things you have.

  23. Oops, obviously I meant Occupy Wall Street crowd…..not crown.

  24. Good one Holly! You are right. When I put up my credit cards are not evil post, I got some emails about it. That is why I followed with what happened to personal responsibility. It has gotten out of hand for sure. People find it easier to blame others for their damn problems.

  25. Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans says:

    YES! That cowboy picture is so freaking true! So many people on my FB feed love to complain about their “rights” but never want to take responsibility for when they mess it up for themselves. When you focus on what you can control and how you can better yourself, you start to realize that there is a lot more control in your own hands.

    1. Exactly. Never give away the power you actually have!

  26. Yes – don’t spend money you don’t have. But, my issues with overdraft fees are the transaction reordering some banks do to maximize overdraft fees and the fact that certain banks offer “protection” and then charge $12.50 to transfer someone’s money from savings to checking when it costs the bank less than a penny to make the transfer. Internet-only banks are a game changer in this arena, and hopefully it makes traditional brick-and-mortar banks step up their game in terms of charging “fair fees” and not charging for a simply savings to checking transaction.

    However, the only argument I’d make against the general overdraft fight here is that some people use overdrafts as a form of short-term lending. Those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder well sometimes turn to overdrafts over, say a payday lender. I saw this as a frequent issue during one of my business trips. However, a lot of those people took full responsibility and understood they were borrowing money, not being charged fees unfairly.

    1. Yeah, I’m not saying everything is fair all the time. I’m willing to bet that banks would charge $1,000 overdraft fees each time if society would allow it. I’m only saying that you can avoid the situation entirely by not over-drafting. Don’t like the fees? Balance your checkbook.

      I also think you make a good point. Increased competition is good for consumers because they can choose another bank if one gets too greedy with overdraft fees or anything else.

  27. Fun post!

    It’s funny cause I have never seen this type of stuff on my FB page.

    More just vacation pics and how life is so great.

  28. I’m not crazy about stupid bank fees here and there, but minor annoyances like that are a product in the society we live in. I hate the blame game too. Sometimes life isn’t fair, but own up to it, otherwise you are always a “victim” of something.

    1. Yep, I agree! Life’s too short to feel victimized the entire time!

  29. I avoid overdraft fees by using my credit card as a back up. I also balance my checking account and rarely ever (over 40 years) write a check without sufficient funds. I think this is another one of those things of not taking responsibility. It is similar to complaining about traffic ticket fees. You just were caught this time.

    1. Exactly. Sometimes decisions and mistakes have consequences.

  30. This post makes me fist pump with a “Hell Yeah!” shout to boot. Take responsibilities for your OWN mistakes and actions. Then, once you’ve pulled up your big boy (or girl) pants, take it a step further and fix it yourself too – after all, nobody is going to fix it for you.

  31. I completely and totally agree! I consider myself a social liberal and hate politics as well, but all I see is a society that accepts zero personal responsibility for their actions! I’m not talking about people on public assistance. I’m talking about the person who bought a boat, a fancy watch, enough stuff to fill a $3,000 square foot house and then had the nerve to go file bankruptcy because the system tricked them. Try again! No one is ashamed anymore, of anything.

  32. I work at a bank and decided to take a small survey at my branch in regards to NSF fees after reading this. The general consensus is that the people with more money (middle- to upper-class) tend to be biggest jerks about being charged for overdrafts. There is this thing that I like to call the Justification Speech whenever a more privileged person wants us to refund their money. It’s always a demand and usually involves the phrase “I have been a customer of this bank for over…” and sometimes even “I will close my account if you don’t…” Generally speaking, it is our lower wage customers that really rack up the fees, but as a whole they are far nicer about asking for some sort of resolution and are actually quite open to any help we can give them. (Opting them out on their debit cards, getting them mobile alerts when they get low, etc.) People who make demands and get snooty with me tend to make me far less likely to help them right their mistakes. But I guess all bankers are “evil.” 😛 Little known fact: Many banks have a policy where an employee overdrawing is grounds for termination!

    1. Which is why I use a credit union because it does not allow a transaction if funds are not available. This has to be requested on the account. Kind of puts it back to the old way before banks created this Insufficient Fund” type of transaction. They use to not be permitted but the banks realized…who! What a revenue stream this can be for us if we allow someone to go $10 over at the pump we can make $35 in Insufficent Funds. Nobody…is innocent in this scheme but I would say since this change in banking has been implemented, the consumer is more innocent than the banks. I’m saying this from having worked on the task force that lobbied congress to permit this.

  33. I dont think its unfair to be charged an overdraft fee they are lending one money. Credit cards charge fees….snd interest. People are perhaps just lucky banks dont revert ti the insufficient funds message whe.n someone tries to spend what isnt their balance.

    1. You’ve just hit the nail on the head in your last sentence about Insufficient Funds. I was a Director with American Express and was part of the team that prepared the banking industry to accept card transactions even if sufficient funds were not available. American Express and the other top Banks lobbied with Congress to grant them access to do this (all in the name of wanting to provide higher customer service and satisfaction. What the lobbyist failed to inform Congress of was the real reason they wanted to be able to approve a transaction even without sufficient funds…Amex and the banks had years worth of data indicating that behaviorally, even through an innocent transaction such as gassing up at the pump, consumers would be willing to take a hit (pay a fee) rather than be inconvenienced half way through filling up at the pump. So, in a back door manner, we all approached congress with the notion of accepting a transaction at the gas pump “for the benefit of the consumer”. Congress said, aw hell, since there aren’t going to be “that many” of these types of transactions, we’ll let you, the banks, assess a fee under those circumstances. Then the banks (as if innocently)…pushed the idea of opening up those transactions to any type of industry. Congress agreed but had no idea whatsoever that those occasional transaction fees were going to be the most profitable revenue stream in banking industry. The whole project was done in an effort to undermine congress and the consumer. You notice now how you do not get declined at most point of sales…because the bank is willing to loan you that extra $10 at the pump if they can make $35 on the overdraft fee. This…is why I said in an earlier comment here that the focus needs to be not (just) on personal responsibility but equally, on ensuring that the banks play by the same rules. These fees in essence exceed the Usury laws that are federally mandated by being labeled as overdraft. The consumer, on the other hand, was always fine with being declined at the point of sale and at American Express, we found through customer feedback (in the early stages of this project) that consumers appreciated that as a form of discipline against their spending.

  34. I completely agree that we’ve reached a point where most people refuse to take even the smallest amount of personal responsibility for the situation they are in. Blaming banks for overdraft fees is ridiculous!

  35. You’re right, Holly! We’re not all victims. The thing people don’t understand is that if they would take responsibility for their own lives, they would be happier and more successful. Blaming others and playing the victim only holds people back. There are real victims out there, but in regards to these things, not so much.

  36. OMG I am exactly like you. One of the reasons I deleted my Facebook account is because I couldn’t (bit my tongue – stop my fingers??) from arguing with people who put dumb shit like this on their timeline.

    I got into a pretty heated debate with one of my cousins after posting extremely stupid things about the government and the welfare system and had to make myself stop before my Aunt got mad at me lol.

    People need to stop playing victim. You know what happens when you overdraw your account. That’s not okay. I’ve accidentally done it a couple times and it sucks but that’s what happens. The bank isn’t going to give you free money.

    Think about what the world would be like if people took responsibility for themselves and stopped blaming everyone else for their self inflicted misery.

  37. Although I think of myself as moderate-to-liberal-ish, I have to completely agree with you on this. Yes, the system is rigged (in my opinion) in favor of big corporations and the wealthy, and in many ways they have an unfair advantage over the rest of us. But, at the end of the day, we all must be responsible for our own behavior. Don’t get mad a the bank for fining you for taking money that’s not yours.

    I had a similar feeling about some of the subprime mortgages stuff a few years ago. Did greedy bankers take advantage of people’s dreams and ignorance, ABSOLUTELY. But at the end of the day, they signed the mortgage papers, possibly without doing the math on whether or not they could afford the house.

    We all make bad choices at times, and sometimes other forces make it easier for us to make those choices. But they are still out choices.

  38. You go, Holly! Yup, an overdraft fee sucks because they are avoidable. You don’t spend what you don’t have. And while I would LOVE it if my bank would just give me money (for free, not a credit line) when my checking account is empty, I also don’t expect them to do it. I expect them to hit me with fees. I expect to grumble because had I paid closer attention I could have avoided this situation. I expect to know better next time. It does boil down to me and my personal responsibility. And I shudder to think of the lessons we are passing onto our kids.

  39. I actually know someone who just filed for bankruptcy and he just bought a car. Now even though I know he ended up with a ridiculous interest rate, I find myself thinking, “How in the world does he buy a new car and get approved for a loan when I had to have a cosigner on my first loan and I had good credit (just not a long history)?” It is very upsetting sometimes to think that the cycle just continues on and on and there never really is any sense of responsibility connected to the purchase.

  40. High five Holly!!!

    Unfortunately, speaking out with a victim mentality has become so socially acceptable that anyone who speaks up to the contrary has started to sound like an uncaring psychopath.

    Why can’t we call people out for being idiots!?

    The saying “suck it up, buttercup” comes to mind. If you don’t plan & execute your life properly, others will do it for you and you’re not likely to like it very much. Wah wah. ‘Nough said.

  41. I just wanted to point out a couple of things. TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) actually turned a small profit as it relates to banks. Banks paid back everything and then some so when we talk about the bank bailouts it was more like a quick loan as opposed to all the people declaring bankruptcy and sticking society with their debt. I still don’t love that we had to do this but it didn’t end up costing us much.

    The second point is that some of the problem banks got into was a direct result of the government forcing banks to give banks to people with horrible credit. These loans were forced by government because those brilliant people decided to wasn’t fair that only people who could afford loans had houses. So banks made a bunch of loans they knew were bad and guess what, they went bad.

    For the record I don’t work for banks or have a big love for them but I think a lot of the anger towards them is misplaced.

  42. Awesome stuff, Holly. Your post reminded me of Covey’s concepts of the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. People get way too wrapped up in the former, and don’t spend enough time thinking about the latter (let alone expanding it).

  43. A while back someone brought up Occam’s Razor and I began to wonder what a razor was. While looking it up, I found Hanlin’s Razor – and I have found it has become a major tenet in my life (especially at work). Hanlin’s Razor basically says: ‘Never attribute malice where ignorance and be the explanation’

  44. My thoughts exactly! I know I’m young and still have a lot to learn but at least I know that if you overdraft your bank account you’re taking out money that actually isn’t yours! If everyone can get away with this without any consequences, this will create a very bad money management for even more people and in the long run it will be bad for the economy as well.

  45. Wasdeepindebt says:

    Budget! ‘We don’t need no stinking budget!’ I started and tossed more budgets throughout my life than one has a right to. After a near death health issue (another story) and a 2 year battle to stop the carnage of my finances, I finally reached debt freedom. But looking back I only achieved that through personal responsibility and a plan (BUDGET). They should start teaching that in pre-school and continue it through to retirement and beyond. Also, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs should have included ‘Review your budget.’ in step 5.

  46. I think banks are sneaky with most of their fees but overdraft fees are common sense. Ive managed to avoid paying bank fees simply by reviewing my statements closely and (obviously) not going into an overdraft balance

  47. Gosh, this is exactly why I avoid Facebook now, silly people posting silly stuff and making silly comments. It is very telling to see what people post and comment on. I’ve found out some surprising things about friends this way. It’s a shame that important issues are boiled down to simple (and inaccurate) posts. I do think that banks and financial institutions prey on vulnerable people but that post definitely doesn’t help move forward the discussion.

  48. Hello to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from
    this web page, and your views are nice for new visitors.

  49. Facebook comments are probably worse than Yahoo comments now. I don’t know how, with the advent of the internet, in a time where we have greater access to ideas, knowledge, and education than ever before, crap like that happens. I don’t commit to much, but I’m with you on this one Holly.

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