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Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Beat Wall Street (And you can too)

Wall Street wants Americans to be in debt. Wall Street wants Americans to suffer because of the debt that snowballs and causes them to struggle every day. Wall Street created a corrupt system based on keeping and growing their wealth that is designed to keep the poor little guy down. They must hate me, because I didn't fall for it.

When I first went off to college at 18, one of the schools I liked would have cost my $25,000 per year ($100,000 for a full four years). I had good grades, a great SAT score and a full list of extra-curriculars, but I still would have needed to take out at least half of the amount in student loans. Banks offered me the loans, chomping at the bit and hoping desperately that I would fall into their evil grasp. My parents, totally scammed by the system, offered to cosign my loans. After careful thought, I arrived at a decision: not wanting to be weighed down by $50,000 in student loans the moment I graduated, I turned down the loans and chose a school that I could afford. After two years, I joined the Army. They taught me several skills, paid me for my time, and are now paying for me to finish my degree - free of debt. Take that, Wall Street!

I decided, after joining the Army, that I didn't really want to be helping to finance a corrupt system by keeping my money in a bank that engaged in predatory lending practices and exorbitant fees. So I thumbed my nose at "Big Finance," closed my account, and kept my money safe and secure at a military credit union. Owned by the members, Credit Unions are smaller and more directly accountable to their customers - and they are still obligated to follow all federal laws concerning safe lending practices and deposit insurance.

When my ex-husband left a few years ago, he left me with the sudden need to find reliable (and affordable) childcare and no working vehicle. Because I was already broke, I knew that I couldn't afford to take on a car payment and an insurance payment (not to mention gas and routine or - God forbid - emergency maintenance). Sure, I could have taken out a car loan and gone into debt. I imagine that thought alone was causing them to wring their hands in anticipation. But once again, I held my ground against the oppressive, money-hungry crooks and walked to work for six months instead.

My financial situation was so desperate that I had credit card companies sending me pre-approved offers at least two to three times a week. I had the fat cats drooling so much that I had to dry the envelopes before I could even read the offers. But my stance was firm, and Wall Street failed again.

The fact of the matter is, Wall Street wants your money. Wall Street knows how to get your money. That's pretty much their job description. What Wall Street hopes you never figure out is that it's your job to learn how to keep your money. Stop whining and do it already, teach Wall Street a lesson!

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