By: Austin Quinn
Here’s My Story, I Hope It Helps Those In Need My most recent employer was a large financial institution so my hope is that I can contribute what I’ve learned. I left my job because I did not approve of how my coworkers and I were being treated by our manager. I won’t bore you with details but lets hope what I do have to say will shed light on my fellow reader’s perspectives. Personal experiences were said to be encouraged so here’s some of mine.
I’ve seen the devastation that a general lack of funds can bring upon those not fortunate enough to have given financing and money management proper thought. People came through the door almost every day with an overly cautious and skeptical mindset concerning the subject of financing. They believed it was risky, full of pitfalls, and ultimately led to even more debt. I won’t deny that I shared some if not all of their beliefs during my first couple of weeks on the job. As time went by however I saw these same people over-drafting their accounts because they bought a Gatorade when they filled their tank up at a gas station or because of a small insignificant purchase that pushed them into the negative. A three dollar drink would end up costing over 30 in fees. Thats the equivalent of over 1000% interest on a single item.
I received a call once from an elderly lady who was concerned about fees on her account because she ordered a pizza that put her into the negative. I asked her why she knowingly spent money she didn’t have. “I knew it would over-draft me but I didn’t anything to eat”, she said. She told me that she could no longer drive and that she usually picked up a few dollars worth of groceries once or twice a week. The friend that normally gave her rides had been hospitalized for several weeks and she had been unable to find an alternate ride. She then said her social security had come in and after taking out for bills and the fees she incurred, there was no money left for the entire month for food. I talked with her for a considerable amount of time trying to explain the benefits of overdraft protection via savings account, debt consolidation with a small loan, or a credit card to serve as emergency funds. In the end she refused and pleaded with me to have the fees removed as a courtesy (I was able to get my manager to waive the fees, in case you were wondering).
I’ve seen financing at it’s best and at i’ts worst. The majority of my experiences however have been positive ones. A short term loan helped a teen start college when financial aid couldn’t. A single mother was able to send her two sons to a soccer camp for the first time since a harsh divorce. I once had a woman cry after I helped her pay some bills online because she still had a decent amount left over. She had recently taken out a small loan to pay off some various expenses. “I’m just so glad my bills are paid and I still have a little bit of money for me”,she said.
It is all about responsibility and more importantly self control. Taken seriously, a credit card or small loan can really turn someone’s life around. Financing in it’s many faces (credit cards, small loans, etc.) can help make that grind until your next paycheck not only bearable, but enjoyable. On top of providing funds for emergencies or just to help you get by on a regular basis, financing done right helps prepare you for the onslaught of credit checks that your bound to come across in the future.
I’m twenty four years old, I work full time, attend school full time, and I’m currently saving to give my fiancé the wedding she deserves. One thing that has helped me get by so far when unexpected expenses pop up, like books and tuition, is my credit card. I have a whopping limit of $300 so far (it’s my first card, please don’t judge :P) but it’s already helped me through several tight spots.
The lesson I hope is taken from my rant is simple. Make sure you know what is available to you. Make sure you look at every road that can be taken with an open mind. Participate in the American pastime of weighing the pros and cons whenever the chance presents itself. Take 20 minutes out of your busy routine and look at your finances once a week. Most importantly, realize where your money is going and where it could be instead. Oh, and always read the fine print!