For the first time in about a year and a half, I put my account into overdraft mode about three times this month.
I know! This isn't something a financially savvy, on-the-ball, ex-spokester would do, right? Well, its been one of those months. I was traveling quite a bit for work, and since I don't have direct deposit (I know, right) I had to shuffle money from my savings to my checking account.
Since the overdrafts all occurred from automatic bill pays (thumbs up to not having to write out a check for cable every month) they were all expected and I got my account back in good standing before the overdrafts went into effect.
It was about this time last year when legislation went into play mandating that "overdraft protection" must be opt-in. Since the regulation occurred, 77% of Americans allow some form of overdraft protection on their accounts.
What does this say about how we interact with our accounts?
Natasha over at Credit Union Times poses an interesting question:
Like all generations, Gen Y makes its fair share of mistakes, and an overdraft fee pales in comparison to the consequences of more serious actions, such as making a severe error at work or driving under the influence. But maybe Gen Y is accustomed to being rescued. The parents of many Gen Yers who make the same mistakes over and over again consistently bail their children out by offering money or housing. If a person always has a safety net waiting below, how does he or she become motivated to correct the mistake?
The answer, as always, is not so clear. For me and the majority of other Gen Y-ers that I know, overdrafts are a rare event, triggered by an unfortunate series of events - late paycheck, emergency travel and the like.
But for every group of people I know who experience overdrafts rarely, there is one person who uses overdrafts as their own form of payday loan. For this person, a $35 fee is a small price to pay for getting what he wants NOW.
Obviously, the way Gen Y deals with their personal finances run the gamut across a broad spectrum, but one year later, how do you think the legislation has affected the way people view overdrafts? Left me know in the comments!