So I’m driving to work this morning, and listening to the radio, as I am wont to do, the program I am listening to is in an ad break, and there are women oohing and aahing over the “free checking” deal their bank is giving them. “How can they do all of this for FREE?” one of them bubbles happily.
Jee-sus. Please tell me the average American isn’t so blind as to how the banking system works. I’m begging you. Lie to me if you have to.
Look, folks: if you are paying any kind of monthly fee whatsoever to a bank for a checking account, you are a DOLT. When you open a checking account, you are essentially letting the bank borrow any money you have in there for as long as you have it in there, for free (in most cases, keep reading), to invest how they see fit, in order to make more money that they get to keep for themselves.
Let me put that another way: I wanna buy some Microsoft stock. So you’re gonna buy it for me, and when the stock goes up, we’ll sell, and you get your money back and I get all of the profits. Sound good? Of course not.
Now, that’s not to say that checking accounts are completely worthless. There is a significant value to having your money represented in a safe computer for instant retrieval rather than keeping a coffee can in your cupboard or stuffing it in your mattress. But, rest assured that the money the bank makes from your free loan more than makes up for whatever it costs them to provide whatever services they provide to you.
“But my bank gives me .25% if I have more than $10,000 in checking!” Ooh! Pinch me! Do you know what kind of RETURN they get from that? They turn that into a 10% or 15% car loan, rest assured, they can afford to give you .25% of that, and it ain’t gonna keep the filet off of their table.
So the next time you’re in a bank opening a new account, and they’re gushing about all of the “free” crap you get, and they kick you that $15 toaster as a “free gift”, remember the $250 KitchenAid mixer you’re putting in the bank executive’s kitchen.