Venmo You Money? Here’s a Benjamin Instead

My PayPal account was hacked in December. This long-lost remnant of paying, a throwback to 2012, came back to bite me in the ass smack in the middle of the holiday season. After a courteous conversation with the company, they compensated me for thousands of dollars and then reversed course – and added the debt to my account.

Needless to say, I have emails outlining our conversations. If they think I’m going to reimburse them after they reversed their decision, I’ll politely tell them to go pound sand up their ass.

It illustrates a broader issue when it comes to money, families and digital payments. Money used to come in two versions – cash and checks. Before digital currencies and payment systems existed, hacking someone’s checking account took a serious set of skills. This was wonderfully portrayed in the movie, Catch Me If You Can. Now it takes a Russian with a server and a lot of free time.

When one was handed cash for doing something, it was an immediate reward redeemable everywhere. Today, if you owe someone money, there’s an app you have to download.

Despite the fantastic advances in payment methods, it begs the question: dude, where’s my money? For families with kids, and the financial burdens that parents bare, why are we so quick to hop on the next app bandwagon?

Perhaps, like always, we blame it on the millennials! That trite… yet digitally savvy… generation! I love them as much as you do so get over it, they are not the problem. The problem is, on many levels, we’re disconnected from the money we make… physically.

It’s nice to look at a bank account after one’s direct deposit is made. When you’re a father and you bring home the paycheck, or perhaps a stay-at-home dad where one’s wife is the breadwinner, paychecks equal food, clothing, shelter, etc. When you pay with a credit card, Venmo someone money, use your debit card countless times a day, a look at one’s checking account can represent a mirage. When you’re not accounting for daily credit card transactions, those come back to bite you on the ass when it comes times to pay bills.

So – here’s the ‘dad suggestion:’ stick with cash. Withdraw a weekly amount, ask your spouse to do the same, and see how far it takes you. The physical limit of having cash (or not) in your wallet will provide guardrails when it relates to day-to-day expenses.

It’s about money management, and for those of us who grew up in divorced households, God knows we know what happens when life goes sideways. Our mothers often faced financial challenges. Hopefully, you’ve got a few things going for you that the past generation of parents didn’t have – i.e. a spouse you love, stable marriage and a healthy approach to money.

So if you want mo’ money, try it. It beats having an, ‘oh shit’ conversation with your wife at the end of the month when bills are due.

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