Urban Survival: Reduce The Number Of Bank Accounts That You Have

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Pablo Edronkin

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Why pay more if you can get the same results for less? But there are more reasons to have less bank accounts, starting with the fact that simplicity helps our finances survive.

Consumer society has led us to have more than we really need - this is no communist claim but a fact - and the really bad about that is that such things cost us space, expense - in cleaning them, for example - and in some cases they imply directly recurrent payments, such as in the case of unnecessary bank accounts. These unnecessary or redundant recurrent billing products and services may even compromise our pockets seriously in times of recession or economic survival. So, the obvious solution to this is to reduce the number of bank accounts that you have by aggregating all services and payments into one of your choice but that may not be that simple both in time, that might even be critical, and legally, because if you have mortgages, tax payments, credit cards, associated to those accounts, modifying all those direct debit configurations could take time and involve some degree of bureaucracy. Thus, it becomes evident that the simplification of your personal finances is something that should be undertaken when things look good for you, and not when you are in trouble.

In all walks of life and nature, small structures adapt better. Confronted with emergencies or a catastrophe like the K-T event - the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago -, small creatures can find their way to survival with far less trouble than big or complicated ones. Mammals owe today's relative dominance over this planet to the fact that back then they were almost all small, because practically no animal weighting more than 20 kg managed to survive. From natural experiences and facts we can extract very useful lessons, as Gaudi, the architect, proved: He sought to imitate natural shapes in his structures, assuming that they evolved to what they are now for a reason, and doubtlessly he attained an extraordinary degree of success with his works of art.

So, going back to the main topic of this discussion, it is evident that simplification should be the norm. Ideally, a normal person should have only one bank account with all debits and other services integrated. It may also be advisable to downgrade the account type if it currently offers services that you really don't use. For example, if it gives you some sort of life insurance while you have another, better policy, or allows you to sign cheques that you never use, these things may be dispensed with and in exchange you will get a leaner account with a lesser cost. Security aspects should also be considered: If you never sign cheques and you don't pay attention to such operations because you simply assume customarily that you don't have to look at that, someone might steal one of your cheques, concoct you signature and other information and steal some pretty good money from your account. This is the most obvious and simplest forms of identity theft, but surprisingly, it still happens today.

Ironically, ID-fraud - not necessarily theft - was used in the past as a survival technique, especially in countries where there was persecution and discrimination. Let's remember that governments might persecute or prosecute people not only because of real violations of the law, but to seize their fortunes, make them shut up, because of discrimination and so on. Havy-handed governments can really ruin your life for no particular reason whatsoever but their only clumsimess (See Fraenkel).

Heirs of Holocaust victims also face sometimes suspicious activities and information that might indicate that someone is trying to falsify identities to cash-in capital and money pretending to be the heirs of the victims. While this might seem a little bit of a conspiracy theory, there are cases in which shuch things actually happened and also cases in which several factors indicate that this might take place or at least someone might attempt such a thing (see Hena Skowronek). In Poland alone, the government owes about 40.000 milion euros to victims of WWII and the communist regime. These numbers mainly consist of the fortunes of Jewish and aristocratic families that were persecuted by the Nazis and the Communists as well. Most certainly, it is a tempting figure for scamsters of all sorts to pretend to be heirs to some Count or banker.

Another thing that you should consider is the degree of exposure that several bank accounts guarantee in front to your local fiscal or tax revenue bureau. Many accounts make you more affluent and tasty in the little minds of bureaucrats that wan to inflict as much frustration to others as they feel for being mediocre. Of course, you should ask an accountant that understands well the intricacies of your local tax laws before starting to fiddle with them, but take it as a basic principle that if you "take cover" and stay low by lessening your exposure thorough the financial and banking system you will be at a lesser risk, fiscally speaking, and you will probably end paying less taxes as well. The more you appear or expose yourself, the more you call the attention and increase the excitement of the bureaucrat's lust.

Jews learned during the Middle Ages and posterior centuries this lesson the hard way, and this is why traditional Jews dress up very conservatively, even if they are rich. In the past, Jewish merchants and bankers were more ostensibly lavish, but since that only exacerbated the already-existing anti-Semitism in many communities, their leaders - mostly Rabbis - sort of "imposed" the current dress code (See The Mother of All Mistakes).

Don't break the law but remember that despite all the chit-chat about citizen's duties and the need of the state to get money in order to do things for the common good, the fact is that taxation hasn't changed in methods and the subdued sensation of fear that such agencies willingly transmit since the times of Nuada, so why make thing easier for them if they don't want to make life easier for you?

So, by being discrete it will be easier for you to move around; I am not telling you to do illegal things - again, go and see your CPA first - but remember that if you comply with the law nobody can ask you to pay more if you can pay less. Survivalists might also want to lessen their exposure and to increase their self-sustainability away from financial systems that governments might use to control them. In such cases, perhaps having two bank accounts would be better: If this is your case, just make sure to open your second one in a tax haven or fiscal paradise.

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