Yesterday I wrote about the 52-Week Savings Plan and how I would like to end this year more financially secure than the previous one. Because I generally like to do what I say, I took a fresh $10 bill from my pocket and decided I would start saving.
Just like eating, I have financial triggers. There is no way I will save money if I see it in a jar and there is especially no way I will end up with the kind of savings I would like to achieve if it’s linked to my checking account. In order for me to succeed in the beginning, I need to give myself the best shot. To do this, I decided that Alexander Hamilton should stay in a new bank and not my credit union.
Off I went to TD Bank where they absolutely bullshit you into believing they’re “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” Smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke and mirrors. I prepared my $10 joke about how long it would take me to write all those zeros, but of course I couldn’t use it because the joke was on me: at TD Bank, you have to maintain a $250 minimum balance for savings. If you do not, you will incur a monthly fee until you maintain that level. The employee or Minion from the Gates of Hell explained that, yes, she could wave the fee, but only for three months.
So I laughed and walked right the hell out.
This is a slow build, people. My savings plan, within a few short months, would turn into the bank’s incredible pile of money they refuse to dish out to us serfs. In three months, I would have a paltry $78, which is $172 shy of the NO FEE ZONE, which I guess is supposed to be an end zone of awesome, but it’s really a flaming pile of HOW IS THIS EVEN LEGAL?!
Just in case this wasn’t clear: Alexander Hamilton was still ready, willing and completely easy. Disease free and looking for a long-term commitment.
Next, I head to Citizens Bank which is also the sponsor of the Philadelphia Phillies and conveniently open on Saturdays. Judging by TD’s policy, I have a feeling this visit is going to be a dozy. If TD charges a savings fee, than of course another institution is full on pillaging so that TD can be all: but we only kinda rape your wallet. It’s the whole rape vs. legitimate rape that only a moron from Missouri could understand because IT’S THE SAME DAMN THING.
At Citzens Bank, I meet Megan who wants to immediately check my nail polish against hers to see if I make choices dependent upon color. Fortunately for me, I don’t and hers are chipped. This time I get right down to brass tax without bringing out my $10: What are your fees for opening a checking account? What’s the minimum balance? Over at Citzens, they’re pillaging. There’s a $300 minimum monthly balance and a $9.99 fee if you cannot maintain that level of savings.
I look at Megan with a sense of confusion like I have been bred too much because I didn’t know that in the 21st century in order to start saving, you need to have already saved.
After finding out that I 1) don’t have any money 2) have accounts elsewhere 3) those accounts are at a credit union, she takes persuasion to a new low by asking: well, how many locations does your credit union have and are they open on weekends?
Sure I could pay for great sex with a professional, but I can get it just fine for free from Slasher. Same thing with banking.
And with that I leave because I’m not looking for a bank that turns tricks, I’m looking for a husband. Which, by extension, makes Alexander Hamilton gay, but in the state of Pennsylvania he couldn’t legally marry his male bank, so he’s even more screwed.
He probably likes that kind of thing.
But I don’t, so after three hours, two banks and 10 miles I end up two minutes from my home at the credit union where I’m already a member. There’s no fee, there’s no minimum and the “savings share” will not be attached to my checking account.
By “savings share” what they really mean is: this account wears an invisibility cloak. And because cloaks are cool and Alexander is gay, he loves it!
All gay cloaks and turning tricks aside, there is a serious issue here and that just happens to be the very real fact that banks are robbing us blind. Banks are the customers to the public; not the other way around. It is a privilege for any institution to hold my money and yours. These greedy sons of bitches do. not. get. it and far too many folks are complicit in accepting fees as “par for the course.” And, even worse, bankers are self-righteous assholes who have tried to school me on ethics and how to keep track of what I spend because I have incurred countless overdraft fees over the years. Which, make no mistake, is like getting advice on healthy choices from a crackhead.
There used to be a line where a respectable profit margin was enough, where executive pay wasn’t a gross 400% above the average worker’s take home pay. We have allowed greed to turn into corruption to turn into worshiping at the alter of “high income earners,” which is a polite euphemism for cheats. Banking fees keep the working poor exactly where they are: without a financial safety net. We do not have a savings problem in this country, we have a class one: where the surest bet to a “fair” shot is to be born into wealth and to stay there.
photo credit: epicharmus