Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Money - ATM



The ATM has been around since I’ve been alive.  When I was 3 years old the ATM machine used to be called “Green Machines”.  I told my parents that when I grow up, I wanted to be a “green machine”.  I was fascinated with money and wanted to be a part of it.  My parents had a good chuckle and never let me forget it.  My father said, “They will just hang you up there and you can hand out the money.”   

I never really used the ATM machine until I was the Army.  When it was time to get haircuts in Basic training, we all lined up to the mighty ATM machine to withdraw money.  A few times the machine ran out of cash and put a damper in the drill sergeants plans.  This was the first time I experienced the evils of the ATM.  Now granted ATM fees have gotten better since they were back in 1999…at least I hope.  I’m not completely sure since I refuse to use them.  Hopefully some of our readers can educate me.  
Transaction fees were $2 or more per withdraw!  That is a hefty fee.  If I withdrew a measly $20 I instantly lost $2 or 10% of the money I withdrew.  If I withdrew $100, then the fee was down to 2%.  This brings up a very important point and skill.  You really need to start thinking in percentages.  Wealthy people think in percentages.  This skill or subject was probably just glossed over when you went to school.  It is a shame really since this skill is much more important than Geometry.  I do not have an ATM card for a couple reasons.

ATM cards seem to be a thing of the past.  Many times people are given debit cards now.  I’ve had my share of experiences with debit cards…and they were all bad.  I have had my debit card number stolen and used twice.  When I mean stolen, this doesn’t mean out of my wallet.  They used it to make a purchase over the Internet.  Getting money back from my bank was a big hassle.  This has never happened with my credit card.  If it did happen, at least my cash wasn't taken.  

Second, reason why I do not like ATM/debit cards is because life is about people not machines.  I want to talk with people and get to know them.  I do not want to know my ATM machine.   Knowing your banker is very important to becoming a military millionaire.  

Third, ATM machines fall into that convenience area.  This is why people were so heavily taxed every time they withdrew money.   This was free money for the banks.  I spent one day in Advanced Individual Training (AIT) on the weekend just watching people walk up and use a particular ATM machine.  The line was constantly 20 people deep or more.  I think I counted over 200 people who used this machine for a few hours.  It was like this all payday weekend.  I figured that whoever owned this ATM machine probably made around $5,000 in ATM fees each payday weekend.  I remember several soldiers who lived in the same barracks as me taking out $20 multiple times per day and being charged this fee each time.  Please do not be like those soldiers!  Find a way to avoid convenience fees!  Open up a local bank or credit union that pays you interest.  Close out banks you no longer need.

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