Mrs. S and I dipped into our meager retirement savings — again — in an effort to bridge the gap between now and whenever we can land jobs that will help us return to what historians refer to as the “middle class.”
As I am on the phone with the people who oversee our retirement fund, deciding how much we are going to need to survive in the near term and how many more years we are willing to work (assuming jobs exist then), the woman tells me that there is a low-funds fee of $35, to which they will be helping themselves before they send us a check.
Can someone tell me the purpose, or at least the rationale, for these fees, other than to set up a barrier for have-nots who are on the cusp of becoming have-somes, another hurdle for the poor who just don’t get it and insist on trying to live like the well-to-do, with accounts and savings and financial people and portfolios and such? I don’t see how accounts with less money cost a company more money or more time or more effort to maintain than those with more money in them. Seems to me that accounts with less money probably have less activity than larger ones and, therefore, should cost companies less to maintain. If that’s the case, shouldn’t they charge an “excess funds fee” for accounts with lots of money and lots of activity? I understand that companies don’t want to create a deterrent for people looking to open large accounts. But they don’t mind deterring poor people from having retirement accounts, mutual funds and other sources of capital gains. Fuck them, right?
Of course, these companies could charge fees based solely on the amount of account activity, without regard to the amount of money in the account.
Not discriminating against the poor? Gee, there’s a novel thought.