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I saw the world change and I saw the financial world change too and with it people changed. Their feeling for numbers, money did and the number of those with high debts increased dramatically.
Money in my wallet, visible cash is totally different from having a wallet with 4 debit cards and ten credit cards. Debit cards with a loan and credit cards which are loans too. If I hear and watch movies where people pay for one article with three or more different cards I wonder how this can be possible.
In the Netherlands, it is not. You can not get a credit card if your income is too low or if your expenses are too high. Expenses like the costs for living, paying off your loans, paying off your debts, alimony, paying off a sofa or mobile phone. What you do not pay immediately is considered a loan and all those loans are registered at the BKR (Bureau Credit Registration). This means young adults frequently have debts. Debts caused by buying the latest cellphone, a motorcycle, bike, car, paying their study... It's all noted and if your income doesn't cover the expenses and there is not enough money left to live you will not receive a credit card, you will not receive a loan, you are not able to buy what you like and your account is frozen. Even if you find a way to pay it off you will be on the blacklist for the next five years. After those years your file is deleted.
Five years should be long enough to change your way of spending, to realize a lifestyle without debts benefits you. It's long enough to learn how to put aside an amount for those rainy days. That cold winter that will arrive sooner or later in most people their life. If your parents or school never taught you financial management you have to learn it yourself.
Like said my life started in a world where having a bank account wasn't common. A bank account costs money. If you had one at that time you went to the bank (building) and brought your cash to save it and you were rewarded with interest. If you needed cash you went to the same building again and a bank employee helped you, handed over the wanted amount.
An ATM didn't exist in those days and your debit card was good for... nothing. You could not use it to pay within a shop. You paid with cash and you counted the change they gave you back. We all could count we learned it at school. We learned to count and with it the value of money. There were boxes with plastic coins, money, in the 1st and 2nd class (today the 3r and 4th because Kindergarten no longer exists) used to teach children the value of money. They taught us what we could buy for 50 cents, how long we had to work for it, how much of our time we had to invest in working to buy bread or pay for the rent.
Later the cheque was introduced. You filled out a paper and signed, showed your bank card so the receiver could check the signature and name. It was a way of paying with some delay. No cash needed and the cheque was covered by the bank till a certain amount. The cheque didn't last long, not with us. I think I used the last one around 1990.
The simple bank card turned into a debit card, a card we can use to pay with many lost their feeling for the value of money. The plastic card was good for making payments even if you are out of money. You enter your pin code and pay. As long as you succeed there's no reason to panic... yet. It all depends on how frequently you check your finances (at first we received a slip once a month, today we check it online because we are forced into online banking and have to do it ourselves) how fast you discover how high your debts are. This can be ignored for a long time if you can still count on a regular income but sooner or later you are standing with your back against the wall since a loan, debts do cost you money. If you are not able to pay off within a set period they, the bank and creditors, find you and there's a very small chance they will have mercy on you. A bank is an organization that makes money. It uses your money to make more money and you cannot just take it out of the wall whenever you are in need, something children seem to believe.
Like said I was born at a time having a bank account was special, it was mainly for the rich. Today a bank account is for everyone but most of them charge you high fees and you can forget about receiving interest. If so many have an account the bank can do and charge as she likes. Ever calculated how much money you save on fees if you do without a bank? By now most of us need one. We are forced into it and can not do without because no one accepts cash except for the gas station and some shops.
I know people who still don't have a bank account. They receive their salary cash just like many of us did in the old days. Just like my overwork was once paid. To be honest I liked it better that way. For a moment I felt rich with the earnings of my hard labour in my hand. Today I don't see my money, I do not touch or count it and if I do not check my account on payday it's gone. It's already sent and spent in all directions. Spent on the electricity and gas bill, the rent, taxes, insurances, banking costs and more. The small amount left is for shopping (groceries), petrol, medication, clothes, shoes, school, bus, et cetera and food is the last thing I buy because they all want their money.
That last small amount left I visit the ATM for. Each month it is smaller but it the amount I can spend and I find a way to manage with it, to manage my finances.
I am glad I learned it at a young age, I am happy I am not a shopaholic and I still have the energy to search for cheaper options. What I do notice is payments done with a debit card, by now even contactless, are negative for my finances too. They are good for the shops, good for all those rich "aid" companies begging at my door but they are bad for me, me and those who do not have a bank account, those who live on the streets and need cash, visible cash. Will we give them a bread or can with baked beans in the future?
It's not the coronavirus that makes people stop using cash but the banks and after them, the shops force you into it. Both earn with it. There's no longer a need to print money, make coins, put people at work. Without visible cash we all buy more, pay those 7 cents instead of 5 and need more frequently and higher loans. Without the opportunity to receive and pay cash we simply need a bank account and agree with everything the bank tells us. By now we depend on, need that debit card, need the latest phone for online banking, and we are forced to pay all those extra fees. Money for which bread and some fruit could be bought.
A few of us are wealthy, a small part lives without debts and the rest struggles to stay alive, alive or they try to save.
I can not imagine a life without visible cash. It scares me to depend on online banking only. Since paying with a debit card was introduced I can not count the times I stood in a shop and they asked me to pay cash because their payment method didn't work or the power was off. Imagine online banking is all that is left. Imagine you wake up and your money is gone or... you cannot use it? What would you do? Which plan do you have in mind to survive?
If it comes to cryptocurrencies they say "If you don't own the key, you don't own the money". Do you own the money in your bank account? Who does if it isn't you? The bank, the government or... the power station? We are so used to the luxury of power, being online, living online and by now we depend on it always being available just like internet. It feels as if our life is over if we have to do a day without but to more and more people this is a fact and it's not said you will never be one of them. The power grid is overloaded, old and many still do without a decent internet. I learned it is not wise to bet on one horse only and let others be in full charge of you, your life and money. So my question to you is "What is your plan?"