I’m a “Set it and forget it” kind of girl. When Ron Popeil came up with this slogan I’ll bet he had no idea that not only would it become one of the most catchy slogans of an entire generation, but he would also influence people to adopt this attitude in their daily lives.
As it turns out, not such a good idea.
I like money, but I really dislike keeping track of it, especially when all my various accounts are spread out at several different institutions. And what happens when we dislike doing something, but are forced to it? We do a sucky job.
So it should come as no surprise to me that for the past year and a half Bank of America has been charging me $12 a month to maintain a savings account, and I haven’t even noticed until now.
Mind you, this should not be happening. I’ve corrected this mistake at least twice, and the last time I was assured that it would never happen again. B of A, you are as honest as a politician.
(Joke of the day: How do you know a politician is lying? His lips are moving. Ha!)
So I tootled on down to my local B of A branch yesterday morning to straighten everything out. Shirley (not her real name, but she looked her name would be Shirley), was as bubbly and friendly as any banker trying to sell me long-term investments would be. She easily reversed the first year of fees, and put in a request to have the other six months reversed as well—all while smoothly conducting idle chit-chat and doing her best to convince me to transfer my retirement accounts to B of A.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
No, as soon as I get my money back ($216!), I’m saying sayonara to B of A. Checking, savings, credit card, mortgage—all will eventually be transferred elsewhere. I’m not sure where just yet, but keeping my money stuffed inside a mattress is looking more and more appealing.
There are always lessons to be learned from this kind of stuff, basic lessons we should all already know but only the most conscientious of us ever heed:
- Check all your financial accounts at least once a month. Checking, savings, mortgage, credit cards, retirement, etc.
- Know and understand all the rules and fees associated with your various accounts.
- Bank of America sucks eggs.
Bonus lesson: Check due dates and automatic payment dates. After spending hours pouring over all my financial stuff, I found that one credit card company changed my payment due date to the day just before my automatic payments are remitted. Scoundrels!
Most of my family and friends are very conscientious with money and would be appalled to know that their dear Christine, an educated woman, isn’t as conscientious as they would have thought. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone. Most Americans are more “set it and forget it” than they’d care to admit, and need to be reminded every once in a while to stay on top of their finances. If you’re one of them, consider this your reminder, especially with the holidays and the buying frenzy associated with it. (I bet Ron Popeil’s chicken rotisserie thing is at the very top of your shopping list, isn’t it?) In any case, “Set it and forget it” originated from kitchen gadgets being hawked on late night infomercials, and should probably stay there.