Banking

Checks and Balances: One Lady’s Haphazard Finances

I know how to balance a checkbook because my mother taught me how the day I opened my first checking account in the spring of 2003.

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Link Roundup! Fee-less Banks; Bankable Stars; When Success Isn’t a Straight Line

Success is not a straight line; success is a sine curve, even for the Internet famous. That can be really, really hard to remember, and harder still to admit.

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Screwing Myself With The Credit Card I Swore I’d Pay Off Every Month

I am a person who puts debit cards in her pocket and then leaves them there, and then goes a week without it and is just like, “Okay, I don’t know where my debit card is, I know it’s somewhere in a coat pocket or a jeans pocket or a tote bag, I’ll look for it later.”

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C is for Collateral

Loans with collateral are referred to as “secured debt,” and loans without as “unsecured debt.”

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‘Can We Talk Finances?’ ‘Not Tonight Dear I Have a Headache’

As it turns out, you can’t merely wave your hand in a languorous way and say, “Be a dear and invest it in low-cost index funds won’t you, Philip? There’s a good chap.” I mean, for one thing, who is Philip, is he the butler? And if so how does he have access to the accounts?

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Latina Working for the Grey Lady Tells All

Awesome excerpts are available in Salon from Daisy Hernandez’s upcoming book about working at the New York Times. Spoiler alert: she did not have a great time. The hardest part was trying to negotiate a White Male workspace. “Black boys consistently do badly in school,” her editor told her at one point, when she pitched a story about racism. “It’s like it’s genetic!” 

Still, for a long time, getting her dream job meant independence, career advancement, and the kind of financial security her parents desperately wanted for her.

At the Times, people spend their days writing and then get paid every two weeks. It happens even if you disagree with Mr. Flaco or if you write a bad piece that needs tons of editing. You still get paid. So, convinced that this life can’t be mine, I insist on taking my intern paycheck to the bank every two weeks and cashing it. Each time the black teller hands me the stack of hundred dollar bills, I feel that I am real and that this is really happening to me. It is a lesson I learned from my mother.

On Fridays, if she had been paid at the factory, Tía Chuchi would take my sister and me to meet my mother at the bank, where she would be waiting on line with a check, that precious slip of paper in her hand. She would take the money from the bank teller in one swift move, as if someone was going to steal it from her, and then she would move over to the side and count the bills, slipping them into a small envelope the way she would place a pillow in a pillowcase. Those dollars were freedom. We could afford an evening meal at McDonald’s and pasteles, too.

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Sobering Loan, Debt, Savings News; Or, Janet is Yellen at Us Again

We Americans are in dire straits. We need to pay people to find us roommates so that we can afford to live in grossly overpriced apartments on the outskirts of where the jobs are. Student loans are such a crushing financial burden, totaling $1.2 trillion, that an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street called Rolling Jubilee has started urging debtors to organize and fight back.

Americans have an average of about $30,000 worth of student debt, and one in ten borrowers default on their loans. According to Andrew Ross, a Rolling Jubilee board member and professor at New York University, this sizable group of people can make an impact if they act as a unit. … “Debtors often don’t identify their condition as permanent,” Taylor said. Unlike medical debt, which is usually perceived as unavoidable, “people with student loans feel like they made a choice. It’s their problem. They feel shame instead of outrage.” …

The long-term goals, group members say, are to challenge the very existence of student loans in the first place and advocate for free education. “There’s this strong sense in the United States of morality behind debt—that being a good person means paying what you owe,” said Thomas Gokey, 35, who has $67,000 in student loans and came up with the idea of buying portfolios on the secondary market for the collective’s first action back in 2012. “We hope to undermine this fake morality around debt.” Since the debt was bought for pennies on the dollar, he says, people “really don’t owe this debt at all. Someone is simply making a profit.”

The GOP blocked Elizabeth Warren’s student loan bill, again. And now Fed Chair Janet Yellen has some more grim news

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“I Stopped Carrying a Wallet When I Became Homeless”

I suppose I could use my old wallet, but it’s full of a life I no longer lead. The owner of that wallet once had an apartment, a full time job, and disposable income, an abundant life that utilized all of the slots.

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Overdrafting With Simple

I have a checking account with Simple, and now that we’ve combined finances it is my “fun money” account. My tagline for them is basically, “Simple: not as bad as most banks, but still a bank, ok?”

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The End of Signatures at the Checkout Counter

I have three different signatures that I use:

• My full name in legible cursive, which I use when signing personal checks and legal documents
• An abbreviated version of my name, which I use when signing anything digitally
• A scribble, which I use when I’m signing receipts for various merchants

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Russian Bank Loans Both Money and Cats

Here’s a heartwarming piece of financial news, which I also saw first on Jezebel:

In Russia, when you move into a new home, it is considered good luck if a cat is the first creature to cross the home’s threshold.

Russian bank Sberbank wants to make sure its customers are the luckiest people ever, so it is now loaning out cats to customers who take out new mortgages. You get the cat for two hours, during which time it crosses your threshold and gives you the good luck that all new homeowners deserve.

Even if you don’t speak or read Russian, take the time to check out the bank’s special “cat promotion” website. There’s an adorable video that explains the process:

There’s also a gallery of the 10 available cats and the number of thresholds each of them has crossed. (Yes, there is even a hairless cat for people who have allergies.)

Who here wishes their bank would also loan out cats? There was that time last year where Uber loaned people kittens, but we could all benefit from greater access to the cat loan economy.

Not to mention all that good luck.

Photo: Bob Mical

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