Financial frustration may cause the death of Wally

News-DemocratMay 17, 2013 

The other day I was reading about how different levels of frustration can affect life spans.

Apparently, the more frustrated you are, the worse for your health.

That scares me.

I can stand some frustration. For example, when our washing machine requires that I bow before it, murmur words of praise, turn the dial reverently several times and then wait until it decides to work?

Not that bad for me because my wife does most of the laundry.

When I have to argue for hours with a medical insurance company because they have denied this or that as they always seem to do?

It involves a lot of yelling but I still get through.

But banking and personal finance surely is going to kill me.

Not long ago, I paid off a couple of long-standing loans. At the bank, an employee carefully checked everything on the computer and gave me a total to pay. So I did.

Then a couple of weeks later I got a bill for 24 cents in interest. When I went to ask about it, I didn't even have a quarter so I made them take it out of my account.

Stupidly, I managed to overdraw a couple of months later and the bank advanced me a couple hundred dollars to cover it. They sent me a bill for that money plus a couple of dollars in interest. I paid it.

Then, sure enough, a couple of weeks later I got a bill.

This time it was for 74 cents that they somehow had managed to charge me between the time they sent the bill to the time I sent the payment -- before the deadline.

I seriously considered ignoring it. After all, it warned me that the late payment fee was 4 cents. I could stand that kind of penalty.

Then it also warned me that not paying the amount might lead to the bank putting bad comments on my credit report.

I could only imagine that.

"Attention all you lenders. Mr. Spiers did not pay his 74 cents and now he is accruing four cents a month penalty. Please beware."

I wondered how much they were willing to spend to collect my 74 cents. I'll never know.

But no messing with my credit for me. Like the craven coward I am, I gave up and went to the bank. This time I took along three quarters and paid my bill.

I took home the penny in change and put it away as a start for when I get the next interest bill.

Or maybe it will be the basis for the new washing machine fund I better get started.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878 or email wspiers@bnd.com.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email wspiers@bnd.com.

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