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Why Not to Pay ATM Fees

October 21st, 2007 at 07:26 am

http://www.thestreet.com/s/if-time-is-money-use-the-closest-...

Oh, I have lots of time on my hands today and decided to see what Cliff has been up to. He is the nephew of Jim Kramer(?) and has written some "interesting" articles lately about how you don't need an emergency fund (because that is what your parents are for) and how savings in your 20s makes no sense. So morbid curiosity got the better of me. I wondered what kind of bad advice he was doling out these days!

He actually had a couple of articles that made sense. But then that one popped out. It was pretty much a 4-page rant about why paying the $2 ATM fee is worth the convenience and how all personal finance writers are idiots for being anti-ATM fee. (Because we rather drive out of our way or something). His example how it was like a 1-minute walk to the fee-ATM vs. the 10-minute walk to his bank.

Um, he misses the point COMPLETELY. I for one don't have to pay a fee for ATM whether I go to my credit union right around the corner (part of the reason I chose it - for the convenience) or if I go to a different CU by my work. Or when I visit my parents or go across the country I can go to any CU. NO FEE. The whole point is don't pay fees you don't have to. Convenience is not part of the equation of all. It is easy enough for those of us in big cities to pick banks that are convenient and charge no fees. (Yes he lives in the BIG city). So it would be stupid to waste all your money on fees that you don't have to pay. That is the point we make. Yeesh.

Well I don't want to pick on the guy but I just kind of skimmed through the article thinking, boy, this guy doesn't get the point.

Along the same lines it is really quite easy enough to not pay money for:

Bank fees
Insterest
Overdraft Fees

etc., etc. Why pay stuff when you don't need to?

In his prior article, which was better, he was actually saying how it makes more sense not to pay for things that you can easily get discounted or free. Well, that is exactly the point with ATM fees.

I mean otherwise I could jive with the article. Is it worth it to go way out of your way to save $2 here and there? In many cases, not. But when it is oodles more convenient to avoid that fee, then the whole point is lost on me. I've probably saved thousands over the years avoiding fees like that. & it took little effort.

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BTW I posted quite a few pictures of my trip as well. Will have to look at my past 2 entries. Big Grin

5 Responses to “Why Not to Pay ATM Fees”

  1. Stein Says:

    Unfortunately, his advice of using your parents or government programs is what happens when wealthy parents fall a bit short teaching their kids.

  2. kimiko Says:

    His article reminds me of the argument people who dine out daily used to justify not cooking. Because their time is money, etc....

    Notice his article is under Investing. He really shouldn't write anything if he is that ignorance of what's available. The example he used is of extreme waste, heck, he could have hopped into his car and go to BoA and it would still cost less than the ATM fee.

  3. baselle Says:

    Oh that's charming in its bombastic-ness! Comparing the ($1) ATM fee to ($multi-billion) gold standard. Like comparing a squirrel to a sabre-tooth tiger. Didn't college teach you how to compose an argument, Cliffy-boy?

    And if you need to walk that 10 minutes to the ATM for exercise, then you are multi-tasking, burning off a few calories, clearing your mind, and getting money. See the life balance works...

    Perhaps with a few minutes of planning ahead during the beginning of the week, you wouldn't even get have to use the 1 minute ATM - you use the point of sale grocery on your way to another errand, thereby saving even more time and money!

    This is the lovely, lovely thing about the Internet. Two years from now, when Pig Man Jr. has to borrow from Pig Man Sr., and its news when Pig Man Sr. doesn't have it, well, here's the smoking gun.

  4. NoExcuseBudget Says:

    hmmm, I have advised one person, one person only that it was better for her to pay atm fees.

    The only reason I said this was because most people can be trusted to take a certain amount out of the bank as spending cash for the week, but this lady knew if she had cash she would spend it, but for some reason she hated to go to the atm, thus reducing her spending to true needs... crazy but true!

    Now as per that article, that guy definately has a "different" take on money. I'll have to read more of what he wrote before I say too much, lol!

  5. Broken Arrow Says:

    Is this the nephew of THE crazy stock picker guy Jim Cramer? Perhaps craziness runs in the family? Big Grin

    Unlike his more famous uncle, however, I too can not agree with his rationale. First of all, I completely agree with him about efficiency and convenience. This is something that I also value. However, I think it's also worth every bit of all the time and effort in order to IRON OUT the process of saving and investing. Once that's done, the actual practice of doing it should be minimal in effort if not effortless. (If it isn't, then it's not a good system.)

    For example, clipping coupons doesn't have to be a chore. It's hard work only when you don't have the habit or system in place to minimize the effort. The same can be said about the ATM example. In fact, I almost never even USE the ATM anymore. And of those times that I do, I make it such that they're quite convenient for me, such as using the ones that are to and from work.

    I wonder what kind of "quality control" TheStreet has if any?

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