Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

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This is a guest post from Eric at Narrow Bridge Finance as part of the Yakezie blog swap. This week, everyone wrote about their biggest financial pet peeve. You can view my post at Eric’s blog too by clicking here.

We all have opportunities to impact our personal finances. When you are offered a new credit card, when you go to the store, when you get a check in the mail, and when you are out for lunch you are making financial choices.
Nothing bothers me more than when people make choices, they have bad results, and they blame someone else.
When you were in college, you had a choice to say no to the free pizza for getting a new credit card. When you were at the mall, you could have walked past the shoe department. When you got your birthday check, you could have put it in the bank. When you went to lunch, you could have picked a burrito place over a steak house.
Not that any of these exact scenarios apply to you, but these, and many similar scenarios, happen to each of us every day.
You always have a choice. No one made you do anything. I have a few great stories from my days in banking that prove my point:
·        A woman came in crying because of her overdraft fees. She said her husband had been laid off and that they were struggling to pay the rent. I opened up her account and saw that they were chronically low on funds and had a handful of bounced checks. I also saw that she “had enough money” to go to the liquor store at least once a week. Now she is blaming the bank and her husband’s former employer for her financial problems. She should look in the mirror.
·         A man came in and said that the bank “stole his money” from his account leading him to overdraw. I went through his ledger with him line by line and proved that it was not the case. He blamed us for stealing his money. He should have blamed the ATM at the casino where he had spent the last two days. Without that weekend in the mountains, he would not have had a problem. We didn’t make him go to the casino, it was a choice.
·         A young woman was incredibly angry when the bank took money from her account an applied it to her outstanding credit card balance with the bank, which she had not made a payment toward in over six months. When she was done screaming at me, I read her the notes from her customer record. We had mailed six letters and called dozens of times. She did not respond to either. Maybe she should have responded or not spent the money she didn’t have in the first place. I didn’t force her to go to the store and buy stuff.
My biggest financial pet peeve is not taking responsibility for your actions. It is okay to screw up. We have all done it. However, you can respond by blaming someone else or taking action to fix the situation. I did overdraw once. I talked to the bank (calmly), brought my account current, and asked them to waive the fee. They were happy to. It pays to take responsibility and fix your problems.

How about you all? What financial moves that people make make your blood pressure rise? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • @ Accusing the bank for “stealing your money” – This story is a true gem! It’s wonderful to know that there are people out there that think that just because you swiped your debit card at a store, it doesn’t mean that you authorized your bank to take it out of your account! Pure genius!

***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/dfoster/2809020321/sizes/m/in/photostream/


  1. Yeah, people not taking responsibilities for their own actions bother me as well. I'm not good friend with the bank or anything, but I always pay on time and when I made a mistake they usually forgive the fee. I had a couple of late fee on the credit card in the last 10 years and they were forgiven so I don't hold a big grudge against the bank.

    Latisha really hates the banks though. 😉 http://retireby40.org/2011/03/greedy-banks/

  2. yesiamcheap says:

    I love this post! I am always on the wrong side of the coin when everyone blamed the banks for the mortgage meltdown, but I've always said that the banks never held a gun to people's heads and forced then to buy homes that they could not afford. What gets me are the people that WALK AWAY from homes they can pay for just because their homes are valued less than the mortgage. I want to kick them.

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