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Jim, I Am Considering Investing In Bonds. What Would Be The Advantage or Disadvantage Of Buying Bonds vs. A Bond Mutual Fund?
Jim, We Just Sold Our Home. We Lived In It For 7 Years, But Then We Rented It Out For One Year Prior To Selling. Is Our Gain Of $100,000 Subject To Capital Gains Taxes or Not? I Can't Seem To Get A Straight Answer From Anyone.

Jim, My Wife And I Need For You To Settle A Disagreement. I Want To Use Only A Debit Card And Online Bill Pay and Discontinue Using Checks. She Wants To Keep Using Checks. Which Is Better?

I hope I don’t upset my women readers, but I have to side with the husband on this one.  In fact, I don’t see checks even being around for more than five years.  In an electronic banking economy, why write a check?  Almost everything can be paid for using a debit card or alternatively online bill pay through your bank account.

Banks love checking accounts because they generate massive amounts of fees.  Have a single check bounce, and you may end up owing $50 to $100 or more.  Yes, I know some may insist this would never happen to them, but that is unlikely.  I know of no one who has a 100% perfect checking history.  I have received bad checks that I counted on to cover other checks, and had checks returned and I have made mistakes in my checkbook.

Banks love to offer free checking to draw us in.  The smallest error generates fees with names we have never heard of.  NSF, overdraft, negative balance, misc. service charge, etc…  Wow, this really adds up.

I personally don’t like banks and I especially dislike their crafty back-door methods of generating fees.  If you would have told someone 10 years ago, that banks would charge us $2 to $4 to take $20 from an ATM, that we would get no interest on our checking accounts, and that a single bounced check could cost $50 more in various fees, they would not have believed you.  Some banks even charge an additional fee if you ask to speak to a person rather than using their automated phone service.

Yes, I agree with going check-free and have joined that movement myself several months ago.  You can still have a checking account without writing any checks.  Just use your ATM/debit card and enroll in online bill pay.  This is the easiest and least expensive way to keep your banking costs under control.

I know one issue that my wife and I have had with the debit card is being sure to record all of our purchases.  I am guessing, but this may be the reason your wife is opposed to the debit card and more in favor of checks.  If you are using the card, and your wife does not have a record of your charges she would be justifiably concerned. 

Agree or disagree, click on comments below.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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