You Break Up with Your Bank?
David Cunningham, M.Ed
There’s a lot of attention on the economy right now and the
difficult times we’re in — many people are worrying and pre-occupied with their
finances and economic struggles. This type of stress can take its toll on
you. It’s more important than ever to ensure that the financial
choices you are making are right for you. Should you invest with that company?
Or should you break up with this bank and move to that one over
there? There’s a lot to consider, but before you sign your
John Hancock on anything, pause and reflect on why you feel that you need
to invest in a new financial relationship at all.
One could say that the quality of your life is determined 1%
by what happens, and 99% by how you react to what happens. While we can’t
control everything that happens in life, we have a lot to say about how we
Let’s look at what this means specifically related to
finances and the choices we make about money. If you look at your personal
situation and the impact of the economy on that situation, you’ll notice that
you may have certain worries, concerns, thoughts and feelings about what’s
going on. You have certain interpretations about what is going on and what
But those opinions, thoughts and interpretations are totally
distinct from what’s happened.
For example, your 401K may have dropped 50% from what it was
a year ago. That’s what happened. But that’s not where it
ends. You and I add our interpretations to what happened. For instance,
you might say, I’ll never have what I need now when I retire... or that My bank
doesn’t care about me; they’re always charging me fees.
Even if we don’t say it out loud, this can start to become
REAL for us, always there in the background coloring our thoughts, feelings and
actions. We’re now living in the scary world of “We’re in big financial
trouble, and we’re not going to be able to retire, and I don’t trust this bank.”
What can give you power as an individual is separating what
happened from your story about what happened. Then you can choose to deal
with what’s actually happened and create a powerful plan for how to move
forward, and yes, that might even mean choosing a new bank.
Here’s a great exercise you can do to invest in
your financial well-being so it is strong and healthy in any
1. Get clear about
This is where you look at what’s happened and write it
down. “My bank’s credit card fees have gone from this
amount to that amount.” Or “Overdraft charges used to be this much and now
they’re this much.”
Or maybe it’s something like... “There’s been no change at
my bank… but I have been turned down for a loan.” Putting it all down
on paper in black and white gets you clear on what the basic facts really
2. Delete your
additions to the facts.
The fact may be that your credit card fees are
higher. But what you’ve concluded about that fact isn’t necessarily true: “There’s
nothing I can do about this.” Or “My credit’s not perfect, I’ll never get a
great deal.” Or “If I just switch banks, everything will be better.” Our
interpretations of the facts are not necessarily true, and regardless, they get
you in trouble and limit what’s possible.
Now that you’ve separated what actually happened from your
story about what happened, what powerful actions can you take? Maybe it’s
taking the time to call someone at your bank to make requests and explore
options, or a promise to make an appointment with a new bank to talk
about options there.
Maybe you can speak to an expert, or consult with a
non-profit about your credit card debt (which will follow you to any
bank). Perhaps you’ll use this as an opportunity to grow your money and
your ability to make choices for your whole life, not only choosing the best
bank for yourself.
Remember, we say the quality of life is determined 1% by
what happens, and 99% by our reactions. While nothing can take away the
fact that sometimes life includes difficult circumstances (and annoying bank
fees), there’s no more important time to have power and clarity than when
you’re dealing with challenges. Getting clear about what’s actually
happening and then taking effective action to get what
you truly want, will not only enable you to choose the
best bank, it will make a difference in every area of your life.
David Cunningham, M.Ed., is a communication expert and
seminar leader for Landmark, a personal and professional growth, training and
development company that’s had more than 2.2 million people use its programs to
cause breakthroughs in their personal lives as well as in their communities.
For more information, visit: www.LandmarkWorldwide.com