Poor Little Rich Girl….

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Poor Little Rich Girl

I am a poor little rich girl. It is one of those labels that results from living in an affluent area, loving all the opportunities and purchases that comes along with having the best of the best at your fingertips with a salary that doesn’t match my tastes. Hence I sometimes red-line!

I once thought I was alone on an island in a sea of mismanaged bank statements with only a paper trail courtesy of Bank Of America leading to my whereabouts somewhere between balance zero and fat fines.  That is until The New York Times’ Ron Leiber and Andrew Martin docked a boat right on my island with their article, Overspending on Debit Cards Is a Boon for Banks.

Things I am: creative, artistic, driven, magnet to driving infractions, occasional consumer, recovering shopaholic.

Things I am not: an accountant, grammar buff, money manager, number cruncher.

My approach to banking until TODAY and I don’t recommend this route to anyone is to carry on my merry way with my debit card as long as it is approved.  It seemed pretty simple, if the money was there, the card would approve, if the money was not, it would decline.

And so it was, that the extra-value meal which I do guilty order on occasion ended up costing as much as five-star brunch as my card approved on a red-lined bank account. This happened more then once throwing my account deep into the negative. Imagine the distance to the center of the earth and then you begin to get an idea of where zero on the scale is and where my negative balance positioned my account.

Leiber & Martin report:

“Banks market it as overdraft protection, and the fees it generates have become an important source of income for the banking industry at a time of big losses in other operations. This year alone, banks are expected to bring in $27 billion by covering overdrafts on checking accounts, typically on debit card purchases or checks that exceed a customer’s balance.

In fact, banks now make more covering overdrafts than they do on penalty fees from credit cards.”

Moreover, the journalist describe the bankers defending themselves by saying “they are merely charging a fee for a convenience that protects consumers from embarrassment, like having a debit card rejected on a dinner date. Ultimately, they add, consumers have responsibility for their own finances.”

Thanks, I think I will take the embarrassment so that my account and my mail box don’t flood me stranded on debt island!

I may be have fancy tastes but certainly not when it comes to Happy Meals!

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