Why I was worried about writing an article that can really help people

This week I wrote the Bank Charges reclaiming when you’re overdrawn article to run alongside the main bank charges article. The article is a text book solution of how to manipulate the financial system to enable you to reclaim charges even with an overdraft. The problem is the solution, followed without discipline, runs the risk of showing people who may already be in a dangerous situation how to borrow more money and cause themselves further problems.

While of course, the cheap personal loan or cheapest credit card for purchases articles also show people how to borrow, here I put in all the checks and balances; after all as I commonly say, debt isn’t bad, bad debt is bad – there’s nothing wrong with planned, budgeted borrowing that’s as cheap as possible.

Yet here the issue is heightened as in parts it relies on some deliberate financial manipulation. The aim is simple: reclaiming bank charges will often supply enough cash to pay off many people’s overdrafts, yet you run the risk of the account being closed and the debt called in, so there needs to be a way to avoid this, and of course that’s what the article does.

This is something I’ve often faced. This site aims to help a broad church save money. For some financial manipulation will produce benefits, but for others dangers. For many not in debt, finding the cheapest and best value 32″ LCD TV is massive MoneySaving, saving a fortune on what they would’ve spent, yet it runs alongside the debt free wannabe forum where such an expenditure is an anathema.

Overall my aim is to try and provide the information and mix it with some guidance and warnings where appropriate. I always remember getting an email that said “Martin I heard you on the radio saying never, ever, ever spend on a life of balance card, and I read the same in your article and got the card; but now I’ve spent on the card and my debts trapped in as you said it would be, what should I do?”

I won’t reveal the instant thought I had when reading it, and a huge sigh of disappointment that shouting “never, ever, ever, ever” isn’t a big enough warning. Yet ultimately I’m resigned to the fact that a few people won’t listen, they’ll read the article, take the bits they want, and ignore all the caveats and cautions and get it wrong; hopefully they’ll be the minority though.

Discuss this blog.