Tag Archives: debit cards

Three Grad-Year Resolutions That’ll Last a Lifetime

Happy Wednesday, especially to all grads, whether it’s high school or University. On a personal note, that includes my stepsister Brigitte McKenzie in Victoria, now Pastor Brigitte, who just graduated as a Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church this week. I’m so incredibly proud of her!

Her aside, for the 18 to 25 year old grads, it’s unlikely you’ll believe me or your parents. But one day – years from now – hopefully you’ll remember these three resolutions or heads-up before it’s too late:

Go vote in every election: Every level of government politicians make financial decisions for you that YOU have to pay for over many decades. You are the most impacted by their spending (or not spending) priorities. But your 18-24 age group won’t invest the half hour: Less than 38% of you vote. Compare that to the over 65 age group where 75% vote. Easy math: Which group gets their way? Which groups gets the most benefits? But also which group will pay the most and the longest?

Keep using your debit card: If you’re 18 or so, you always have because you couldn’t get a credit card. If you’re graduating from University, you’ve probably been using one for most of your purchases. Keep it up. It’s the best way to stay out of 20% credit card debt. Stats say you’ll change over to credit cards by your early 30s. It’s the powerful credit card marketing making you think you’re getting a lot of free points or perks. Maybe you will…but it’ll cost you 10 to 50 times what you’re getting through the fees and interest.

Fight the attempts of retailers to make you stupid: For a few years now, almost every advertised payment is weekly or bi-weekly – for expensive vehicles, I’ve also heard payments per day. It’s just stupid and designed to make the payment for whatever it is sound so tiny you’ll want to buy it and finance it.

In Red Deer, off gasoline alley, a large new apartment building has a huge poster on the front: Rent for $295 per week. The stupidity continues. Who rents an apartment for a week? That’s called a hotel! But the dummy-down marketing continues to expand. Better something stupid like $295 a week than the reality of actually paying $1300 a month.

Stop and think: Pull your phone calculator out and multiply it by 52 weeks and divide by 12 to get the real payment!

Adult Graduation – To Financial Success

We’ve talked about graduating high school and graduating out of college in the last few weeks. Today, let’s talk about adult graduation. It’s not about school – it’s about graduating to financial success. You may be 30 or 55 and haven’t really gotten to the point of managing your money and finances – instead of your money running your life. When you graduate is up to you – the sooner the better. There’s a great Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.

Adult graduates make a financial plan and follow it. Kids do what feels good in the moment. It’s called delayed gratification.

Adult graduates have discipline in choosing between what you want now, and what you want the most.

Adult graduates actually practice what they teach their kids or tell coworkers at lunch that they ought to do. News flash: Your kids emulate what you do and not what you say and have you ever noticed it’s all the broke people that want to give you financial advice?

Adult graduates don’t just focus on the immediacy. They don’t get conned by the 0% headline.

Financially successful grads live on less money than they earn. That’s Money 101 – if not – they’ll never graduate. They have a game plan and serious goal of getting out of debt, starting with their smallest bill and working their way up. These graduates slowly start changing over from paying everything on the planet by credit card to moving over to a debit card. That’s changing their life from living on debt to living off their chequing account balance.

An adult graduate will have read at least two books on credit, finance and investing. It’ll make them more money-smart than 95% of the population and yes – smarter than most bank employees – honestly!

And a small group will graduate with their financial PHD: They’ll have at least one week of net pay in an emergency account, and set aside one-twelfth of their annual bills for Christmas, property tax, car insurance and the likes in a separate savings account.

Are you graduating one financial class or a bunch of them? Is this the year you want to get your financial PHD? I’ll never know how many adults will graduate sometime this year. I hope it’s you – you’re worth it – it’s worth it. But I can’t fight harder for you than you’re prepared to fight for yourself…

Bank of America Blinked

Bank of America blinked: Two weeks ago, one of the largest banks in the world announced they would start charging a $5 fee for debit cards. We talked about it, because I believe what happens in the US comes to Canada.

But Bank of America actually blinked. When the heat and negative feedback got so bad, Cit, Wells Fargo and a number of other banks who were also testing a debit card fee stopped it. Yesterday, Bank of America decided to withdraw that idea as well.

Ah, the power of the consumer. We don’t get mad very often, but when we do, it has powerful consequences. It’s too bad we don’t get mad more, instead of just tolerating higher and higher fees for less and less service. Apparently the impetus for their reversal is the Wall Street protest movement that’s now spread to so many cities, including some here in Canada. Their spotlight is partly on large corporations, and in this case, we all benefit.

When will you have an ah ha! or ENOUGH! moment with your personal finances in one way or another? At what point is the pain level of everybody getting rich from your pay cheque be high enough where you’ll do whatever it takes to turn it around and get out of your personal financial nightmare? What’ll it take? Because I hope it comes soon – it’ll be so worth it!