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Online Banking

I don't like online banking and online banking doesn't like me. So far, it's a stand-off.

Back in the 1980s I had an ATM card from my local bank, which allowed me to get cash 24 hours a day, anytime I wanted. This is not good for me. One night around midnight, I was at a local watering hole when I decided I needed to buy an electric keyboard because I’d always wanted to play piano.

I called a friend of mine who owned a local music store and somehow convinced him to meet me at his store so I could buy a keyboard. I hit several ATMs, brought cash with me, and went home with a brand-new Yamaha keyboard with all the accessories. I never did learn how to play it.

ATMs and I just didn't mix. I forgot to write in my checkbook the money I had withdrawn, and sure enough, a couple of weeks later I started bouncing checks. I never bounce checks, and I couldn't figure it out until I finally got my bank statement. I went to the bank the next day and turned in my ATM card and I've never used one since.

Every month I get my bills and look them over, and if they're correct, I write a check and mail the payment. I've been doing this for a very long time. At the end of every month, I get a bank statement and I balance my checkbook to make sure they match. They almost always do.

The Lovely Louise does everything on line and has been trying to make a believer of me. I'm not buying it. I don't have to worry about forgetting the password to my checkbook. I can't prove it but I know my bank is playing around with my money. Everything is done electronically, and I don't trust their numbers.

For years I paid cash for everything. Now I sometimes use a credit card. I’d just gotten used to swiping my card when the credit card companies decided to mess with me by adding that chip. Now I have some credit cards with chips and some without, and I can't remember which is which.

I've been after the Lovely Louise, who takes care of all our bills, to keep a profit-and-loss statement on our personal finances so she can tell exactly where all of our money goes. She has never done this, so a few months ago I started one in Quickbooks. Now, Quickbooks tried to convince me that they know how to do it better than I do, so I signed up for their newest fancy software, which will check all my accounts for me and import the information directly into Quickbooks so I don't have to input the data myself. Sounds good, right? Not so much. After a few months, I realized you actually need to be an accountant to do this stuff, and accounting was the only class I flunked in college.

It all reminds me of my first business in the 1980s. At the end of the year, my accountant brought my tax returns for my signature. “How did I do?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?” he said.

“Did I make money or lose money?”

“Well, that depends on how you look at it.”

“WTF are you talking about? Either I made money or I didn’t.”

“Yes, but you have one bottom line on your profit and loss statement and a different one on your tax return. One way you made money and one way you didn’t.”

This is the kind of doublespeak I get from accountants, lawyers, and my bank, so let me explain to you all how I look at it and you can decide if they’re right or I’m right. At the beginning of the year I start with a certain amount of money. All year long, money goes in and money comes out. At the end of the year, did I have more money than when I started or less? A simple question, right? Apparently not.

Finally, I just found out I'm not supposed to use the word “password” as my password. If you're trying to break into my accounts, know that I've changed it to 1234. That'll fool 'em!


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