Weekly Wrap: Arms Race


Updated on Mon Jul 21, 2014

This week began with Veteran’s Day, the 24 hours we put aside each year to honor those who bear arms in the nation’s defense. But by the middle of the week everyone was instead obsessed with watching two military greats destroy their careers in a scandal that centered on a woman with the best bare arms in the nation.

Still, amidst all the hubbub about the hubba-hubba, we found time to think about banking and personal finance.

Unfortunately, much of what we thought about was how our finances were in even worse shape than Gen. Petraeus’ marriage.

We noted that Americans have done such a poor job of saving that we’ve become positively fearful of retirement.

That sort of shook us up. So we offered some advice on how to avoid having to work until you’re 80-years old. And we published a piece on how to know what you’re worth (and how to increase it.)

On a more positive note, we found that a concept we’re big fans of — a la carte banking — had arrived. And, Occupy Wall Street  might regain its spotlight in the media with the nice gesture of buying your debt and forgetting about it.

We also found some credit cards from retailers that are actually worth having.

Me too

But the theme of the week seemed to be that everyone was trying to act like everyone else.

Fifth Third Bank seemed to be channeling Chase with its new prepaid card. Chase, meanwhile, decided it wanted to be Zillow.

Regions decided it was a financial advisor. And Bank of America announced it was just like Square.

And Transunion apparently decided it wanted to be Credit Karma … or maybe Mint.

All that glitters

And no doubt everyone wants be just like your average billionaire from Kazakhstan. But the truth is that very few of us can afford a diamond-encrusted, solid gold Visa card.

And that’s fine. Really. We’re not all that jealous of the more crass Kazaks. As our own Simon Zhen reminded us, as long as we’re happy with our bank, it’s all good.


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