THE BLOG
10/02/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Take Back Your Money

Want to know how to take back this country, or start a revolution? The answer is as obvious as the nose on your face. Banks.

Take your money out of the banks. Get a safe. Personally, I don't hold money long enough to even need one. As soon as I pay my bills I'm left with just enough to live till the next check. Probably most people are in the same boat. Yet they have bank accounts. Why? All that does is make interest for banks on their money.

It's easier to get direct deposit and pay your bills by check. But is that really the best way to go? You are likely paying a monthly fee for your checking account. If you need some cash you may have to pay fees to get it. If you write checks they probably cost. If you have an ATM/Credit card you run the risk of overcharging and running up overdraft fees.

I'll tell you what I know about what happens at Bank of America. When a check bounces or an overdraft happens, the bank assumes they can redeposit the check three times. Each time, if the funds are still not there the bank makes another $30 on an overdraft fee. If one check bounces that adds up to $90. If that depletes the account to where other checks are not covered then they could all bounce with each one costing $90. The kicker is that the bank simply deducts all this from your account. So the next time you make a deposit or your direct deposit goes in, all that money is taken from you, and you may not even realize what's happened until it's too late and hundreds of dollars have been charged. Do you really want to give banks the right to do this to you?

What's the downside of no bank account? If you don't have a checking account you'd need to use money orders at around a dollar each. But assuming you have 10 bills to pay per month, that's only a $10 expense. When you cash a paycheck at a bank without an account, you may have to pay a $5 fee. So, your expenses for 10 monthly bills with no account are averaging $20 with two paychecks a month. A checking account probably costs $10 a month, plus a per check fee. So not having a bank might cost you. But would it really?

When you have a bank account you run the risk of a lot of people knowing exactly how much money you make, how much you have available to spend, and what you have in your savings. You think this information is protected? Don't count on it. If people know you have money they'll take advantage. Certainly government agencies, lawyers, and collection agencies all have access to this information. But if you don't have a bank account, they don't.

Besides, if you have enough money to keep a healthy bank account you'd do better to invest it somewhere else.

Regardless, when you have a bank account, the bank has your money and gets rich on the interest from it. But you don't have it or make interest. So why let banks get away with this?

On top of that when banks want to charge you a fee, they don't need to clear it with you first. They just take it right out of your account. After all, it's in their bank. So technically it's their money by possession, and 9/10 of the law is possession.

What about bank failures? How about Freddie and Fannie? Bear Stearns anyone? This is something that was once, not too long ago, considered virtually impossible in this "great" nation. No more. We had one of the biggest banks in the world fail recently, IndyMac Bank. When it failed a lot of people who had their money there lost it. THE FDIC insures against this but only to a certain limit, and there's no guarantee that the FDIC would be able to honor this insurance if a widespread bank run or failure occurred and at this time that is not too remote of a likelihood. Freddie and Fannie still teeter on the brink of failure. If the wind blows the wrong way, they'll go down and take down half the country with them. How solid do you think the FDIC will be then?

There have been numerous bank failures since IndyMac, but they are relatively small and are kept out of the media headlines. The fact remains, things are on a downturn.

In any case, if you truly want to revolt and take back this country all you need to do is take back your own money. After all, it's yours.