As if banks needed more bad press, a few of them decided to levy new fees on checking accounts. Many people are understandably upset with the move, feeling like they are catching no breaks in this tough economy. Yet, more fees won’t be all bad news, especially when it relates to our retirement picture. Here's why banks trying to make more money off of us could even help our personal finances in the long run.
You will think more about whether your bank is right for you. One of the biggest traps in money management has got to be the lack of thought in our day-to-day decisions. Many people's checking accounts reside at a bank they were familiar with during much younger days. Have better options popped up since you opened your account possibly decades ago? Is your checking account still the best option for your situation? It's hard to say unless you compare it to what else is out there.
Your social circle will talk more about your bank. A huge positive of the recent financial crisis is that talking about frugal living has become a much more frequent occurrence at social events. All the news about bank fees has also entered into our conversations, possibly leading you to learn more tips about financial management or even to find an account that better meets your needs.
You will be motivated to look at your statements for fees incurred. It's easy to forget about checking our monthly statements for errors. But since we are so upset at our banks these days, this will motivate us to check our statements more carefully. How does this save us money? Maybe you signed up for a free trial via a promotion a while ago but forgot to cancel it. Or you might notice you are paying an annual fee on your credit card. By checking your statement, you could spot recurring and unnecessary fees and stop wasting money.
You will become more familiar with other services your bank offers. While you are trying to figure out what fees you are being charged and how to avoid them, you might find that your bank offers other services that will help you save money. Perhaps you will find that a mortgage refinance will help cut your monthly costs, or you might realize that the reward program for your credit card is actually free to join. Whatever the case may be, knowing more about your bank services is never a bad thing.
You are reminded that your bank is a business, with the primary objective of increasing the bottom line. There really is no need to feel emotional about what your bank does. Use the bank that's best for you financially. If the services offered are no longer to your liking, find another financial institution willing to help you meet your long-term financial goals.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.