Spent: Looking for Change

2014, Economics  -   74 Comments
Ratings: 8.11/10from 159 users.

We all want to get the most out of life. A great family, an education, a business, a home... but for a growing number of Americans, the price of getting ahead is higher because of a financial system that leaves millions underserved. Despite his tough past, Justin's built a small production company and wants to start a life with his girlfriend, Brittany. He makes a good living shooting videos for corporate clients. But while business is good, Justin's at a disadvantage.

Justin is 1 of 70 million Americans who lack access to the traditional financial system. And as that number grows, it includes more and more people who once lived in the mainstream. When Melissa first met Alex, he had a career in the music industry and was doing what he loved most. With two kids and two incomes, Alex and Melissa had a healthy, happy home. Their son was diagnosed with autism. Shortly after, Alex was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Alex's illness affected his ability to work, and he was forced to give up his job. So they did what many Americans do at their bank. When a customer withdraws more money than they have in their account, they can give their bank permission to cover that cost with an added fee. This is called overdraft protection.

Some customers didn't make money for banks, so they found other ways to meet costs. When Alex and Melissa paid their bills, their grocery and student loan checks cleared okay, but the price of power went up, and that bill emptied their account. One overdraft fee, $35. But if all three debts posted on the same day, their bank had software that reordered their purchases: power bill first, then loan, then groceries. Three overdraft fees, $105.

If banks can't keep those customers, there's an alternative that will. Every year, over 30 million Americans use check cashers. And for many of them, the service works. Underserved Americans spend the same percent of their income on fees and interest as the typical American family spends on groceries. That amounts to $89 billion a year.

More great documentaries

74 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Jack Stovesand

    I am moving to Cuba!

  2. larry morris

    all i saw was people not understanding money and leaving over there head

  3. Urban Dweller

    "Borrow responsibly. But do borrow. You've been warned. But borrow if you need to. Don't blame us. Here, take the money, we've got offices conveniently located everywhere!"

    How many people do you think American Express think needs to borrow some help in today’s market?

    You have to ask yourself, “What kind of people choose to create a world like this?” Because I guarantee you it isn’t the neighbor you love or the neighbor you hate that’s the reason.

  4. Urban Dweller

    But there is an answer: We can print our own money interest free! Yes, it would just be paper (fiat) that we all "agree" would have value. But that's exactly like the paper (fiat) money we already have with the Federal Reserve… but with huge interest payments and beholding to scoundrels! Meaning job loss, low-salaries, destruction of the middle-class, loss of freedom and an enjoyment for life because well…they don’t give a damn!

    That’s why when there’s a presidential election the money lenders pay money to both sides. That’s why when there’s a war they sell ammunition to both sides.

    So, don't go blaming your neighbors, or people who live on the other side of town or immigrants, or the person who leaves comments. And don't get mad at the teller at the bank or those who work at some ”PayDay” lending company but instead blame the CEO's of multi-national corporations, their major stock-holders, and government officials (those elected and those who are appointed) that suckle from the "tits" of "central banks."

  5. Urban Dweller

    The Federal Reserve HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOVERNMENT AT ALL - IT'S A PRIVATE CORPORATION WITH A PHONY GOVERNMENT SOUNDING NAME like FedEX. Average citizen pay interest on loans taken out by our government which then devalues the dollar. Small banks and good companies go under and these international mega-corporations gobble them up. Just like PacMan:) It goes on and on.

    Governments are often "forced" to borrow money (remember 2008 TOO BIG TO FAIL?) but it's the American people who end up forever paying the interest (hum...just like student loans) because we can never afford to pay-off the principle.
    Salaries hardly move-up but the cost of living sky-rockets and the job market dwindles away to other countries because the cost of labor is cheaper (that’s Free Trade).

    Unfortunately, we're in a catch-22 situation. If we stop spending then businesses go out-of-business and MORE people loose their jobs.

  6. Urban Dweller

    Twoeggshuffle...be careful what you say or think about other people because one accident, one "unexpected" illness could have you going through the same system.
    What no one addressed was that (1) the "documentary" didn't talk about the countless people who didn't make it through their difficulties and ended-up living out of their cars, in shelters, on the streets or those who committed suicide (2) that companies like American Express have made a deal with the devil (central banking) because the reason you have to take out a loan is because the value of our currency is depleted by the loans taken out by our government...from whom? The Federal Reserve.

  7. you

    I wanted to smack the lights outta that guy who said "oh I would love it if it had a pool" whaaat??? u piece of miserable crap! u need a pool? your gf is much wiser!

  8. debnajd

    I watched this and just wanted to cry. Although I have never been in debt and have saved for the future, I can understand how a major life event can adversely affect ones ability to survive. I feel for the people in the film and others going through the same situation that work hard for what they have. But I have to say that I don't feel bad for those who try to live above their means and rely on debt.

    1. Progressive Patriot

      I think you have just totally missed the point.

  9. Rika Blythe Milten

    I used to be surprised by how much vitriol people express in their comments in response to films like this one. Now I am just uneasy about the trends I've been seeing more of than I ever have, trends of judgement, hostility, and blame among people in response to hearing about someone in distress, especially someone they will probably never know. When did we become such misers with our empathy? Is it the mere thought of armies of worthless and contemptible - in our estimation, anyway - human beings benefitting from our industriousness and forethought? I can't accept that. Why is it such a big deal to help others, even if they don't 'deserve' it? To do anything else is ultimately self-defeating. Why should someone else's bad fortune become a rallying cry for all out class warfare? So the person who's run into trouble can learn a good lesson while he's struggling to stay afloat? Where is the value in leaving others to go under in life? It's difficult to overcome feelings of entitlement over others because the level of work and income is so skewed now. I get that. But since when do decent people let their own shortcomings get in the way of, at the very least, not standing in judgement of someone else?

    1. Gabby

      I could not agree more. Bless you, for being out there in this world. This world would be a much better place if others took heed to your words. Thank you . Sincerely....A fellow "empathizer".

  10. Shadowblur

    ...I've never ever used a credit card to pay off more than i have in my account or taken a bank loan in my life, and I’m 57 yrs old, i see the trappings of loans, all i can say is, people who loan are lazy people, think about it, i say, just go out and work and SAVE money, no need to loan, simple. OK, paying student debts are a concern, but if you have to take out a big loan, then why not get any job and save up, then go to college or university when you reach the required fee amount, even if it takes years, do it, it's never too late to study in any time in life.

    Of course people will tell me here, every case is different, it isn't, SAVE money, SAVE money, is that too hard to do, if it is, and then you're weak! I remember one British man saved enough money to reach 1 million sterling pounds, he was real stingy, buying second-hand clothes, never eating in a restaurant etc, but he reached the mark in around 20 or 30 yrs, but for me, not enjoying yourself so drastically as this for decades means there's no point in life.

    1. Scott Anderson

      It has nothing to do with how much money you make or save. It all depends on the value of the money you make. How would you expect one to save when working 50 hours a week is not enough to pay the bills? get a better job? well that's great but there are not jobs for everyone. As well the jobs they would be leaving still need to be done. 30 years ago this plan would have worked but sadly the day is different. thank your politicians for ignoring the real problem. our dollars value...

    2. hpthoroughbreds

      Thank you Scott. Just a few years ago I was sitting rather prettily
      Having a great business horse farm, working 16 plus hours a day and loving every minute of it. Wow. I could finally help my family and was Damn happy to do it. When my back suddenly quit functioning I was a goner. Thankfully sold the farm, no pun intended. Loaned my last 15 thousand to my brother. Seven years later have yet to get a nickel back. Went from six figures to low 5 figures in one gigantic heap. No health care. Tried to buy some.Oh yeah. Won't cover my pre existing condition. Had to wait for Affordable Care Act.One income is very humbling. Thank god I started out poor. Funny thing is, I always behaved the same way even when I might have been a little extravagant I shopped as if I was still poor. For me, money is just a tool I need to pay the bills. It has always been a great feeling to write those checks with absolute confidence. I'm not feeling so confident these days. That dear people who point fingers is a reality no one creates for themselves or anyone else. You know, all those slackers and welfare cheats. I never wish harm to anyone. I only wish you might have a chance to trip up or have a hiccup at some point. Just to experience the terror of not having enough

    3. Get Your Life

      You are a beautiful soul. I'm in my own hardship. I can only pray it gets better for everyone who is having troubled times. Be well.

    4. Progressive Patriot

      Half of the nation? There is clearly something wrong with the system. None of the people featured in this film are lazy. Most of the "poor," ARE working and most certainly are NOT lazy. Look it up.

  11. Marvin L Eason

    lol Justin, instead of getting feed every transaction use their monthly fee which is far cheaper. Derp

  12. Maxime

    These persons all have cars, cellphones, houses, haircuts and wide screen tv. Poor them!

    1. Rodney Bresch

      Wealth...like everything else...is relative. You understand?

    2. avd420

      And relative to the rest of the world, the people in the video are very wealthy. We understand.

    3. Rodney Bresch

      Those who have some kind of shelter(even if shanty) and access, if nothing else, to the growing level of knowledge, that is increasing exponentially...and spilling into all human places(obvioulsy more in the richer countries)...they still have better chances or circumstances, than animals, who are being starved into all out extinction, in polluted or depleted ecosystems.

      We are not the pinnacle of civilization, we all think we're. Look at the price of school. We are forced to be slaves to this system, and live survivalistically...just like most other humans in the world. Just because we have a few more toys, please don't think that means eveything is ok. We all seem to think it's all ok, and have, and that's why it's not...cuz we don't realize, we are still very savage, in many ways.

    4. avd420

      Rodney, I challenge you to name a time that it was better to live. I'll reply with why today is better.

    5. Rodney Bresch

      Yes, we live better than kings of old. It's how it should be, as tech progresses exponentially. But, that's cuz as good as kings had it, compared to others of the time, they still lived like complete uneducated savages(compared to us)...cuz they were. The standard of living for slaves in the US, generally got better during slavery, does that mean slavery was a success? Many slaves had it much better than people in some other countries at that time, just as we slaves do.

      We have so much more potential, that is right at our feet. We just insist on being slaves.

    6. Rodney Bresch

      I see that you liked my comment, but I didn't really make my point, maybe. We live in a world, where wealth inequality is worse than it's ever been, and getting worse. Where, eco-systems(that support our "precious" well being) are getting wiped out all together, and faster and faster. Where, we still think that just cuz we're ok in our bubble, everything is ok. We live in a world...well, in our own world. I'm not as freaked out as everyone, about our current status, but to act like this is the best time to live...well...like i said, it's all relative. I'm sure someone who wasn't in w/e position you're in, might disagree. Poverty is off the charts worldwide currently(the mightily civil US included), and getting worse, in the world's most technologically advanced state yet...but everything is peachy keen.

      No...it doesn't make sense.

    7. avd420

      Hey Rodney, I don't feel life owes me much. I don't think utopia is possible. There will always be problems. I accept that. And I feel that living in the best time in history is a pretty good deal. I don't think wealth inequality is a big deal as everyone else. Why should wealth be spread out equally when we don't put in equal work? I've noticed those who speak the most about how the world should be are the ones that contribute the least to it. My time here is short, I'm going to enjoy it. You can fight until your dead and they'll still be lots and lots and lots more fighting to do. Your solutions become the problem. I've checked out of the race. I enjoy rather than complain. I don't need every person born in this world to have a great life according to ridiculous standards in order to enjoy and appreciate my opportunity at existence.

      I liked your comment because I like all comments that respond to me. I appreciate people taking the time to do it and I especially appreciate it when it's like yours - well thought out and lacking in personal attacks. I like it even if I disagree with the point the person is making. So thank you and keep it up.

    8. Rodney Bresch

      Thank you sir. Not for the compliments per se, but for carrying yourself, like i try to, but fail to at times.

      We may still disagree on a bit, but in this ever complexifying world, there are always different ways to look at things. As you were hinting at with your likes, it's not the "end of the world", if we don't see eye to eye on everything. I feel the same, but it never hurts to be reminded...several times even lol.

    9. Rodney Bresch

      Or not. I took your like and backing away from commenting, as u didn't want to get into some long debate. I feel i may have possibly forced u into getting into a longer discussion, than u were looking to have...with my "incessant" posting. I could be wrong, but that's why i liked your post(cuz i agree with some of it) and withdrew. Who knows tho, ya can't win, no matter how u go about it often.

    10. Rodney Bresch

      and most is stirred up by the good ole boys...us americans...or at least those who run us...all...however they please.

      The tech that is making our world so "advanced", is also being used against the masses...from "security" or warfare, to the increasing expendability of the workforce(which may be inevitable, but still shouldn't be used against us). We sit around like apathetic "kings", too unaware our "empire" is crumbling before us.

    11. Progressive Patriot

      Wake up. While you kick those that are down, greedy corporatists and banksters are breaking laws, tearing down the ecomony and turning the US into a third world nation, while they have you so brainwashed that you pick on hard working people.

  13. Guest

    To any of you saying that people just need to stop being greedy. We live in a world, governed by self righteous pronciples. Capitalism is about being greedy. If you'd like to address the core of the issues, that is it. This goes for the bankers, as well as the people...except the bankers are getting away with it.

  14. henrymart81

    Most Americans need to stop playing the victim and learn the word culpability.

    1. Rodney Bresch

      Of course americans make irrational choices, but we are byproducts of our environment. If you don't think the system we're raised in matters, look at third world countries. How many options do they have, but to fend for themselves.

      Yes, we make poor choices, provided our options. So do people in poorer countries. But our options, while they may be good in comparison to TWCs, are still relatively shitty.

      I bring up the skyrocketing price of education, in a society surrounded by an ever evolving technological capacity, as the sole point. It should be the only point needed, as it should be free now, relatively of course.

      To some extent, we all have to be self righteous, as we live in a self righteous society. We need to replace our materialistic, self righteous, societal mindset, with a more contemporary view of how many fruits collaborating offers.

  15. henrymart81

    In all of these extreme/fringe stories, every single one of these people made extremely terrible decisions coupled with some pretty bad luck.

    Me, I live wayyyy below my means. I drive a 16 year old car, and my rent is under 10% of my income.

    It's tough to be disciplined sometimes but you won't see me ending up in one of these documentaries, and it really pisses me off when my taxes go up to subsidize these people.

    1. hpthoroughbreds

      Just exactly how much tax do you pay. With all of your discipline and ability at self control perhaps you might exercise it when you comment on the misfortunes of your fellow human beings.

    2. Progressive Patriot

      Would you rather subsidize the Koch Brothers and Bank of America? ALL of the economic growth since 2009 has gone to the 1%. Productivity is through the roof. Who has benefited?

  16. twoeggshuffle

    I am by no means a wealthy person, but I hate how some people are acting like this is all the bank's fault and that this has nothing to do with greedy people living outside of their means.

    Also I don't get why people think banks are anything but a business. You have to be some special kind of i*iot to go to your bank and think they'll bail you out with nothing in return. Bank's are just an option you have, nothing you're forced into.

    Having worked at a bank for many years though, I'll tell you that as a ball-park figure, atleast 80% of the people who get themselves into debt is due to the fact that they live outside their means. I've seen families of 5 take huge vacations, have massive cable packages and more cars than they need. Just to keep up their image. People going out to restaurants too much, too many clothes, anything. And these are always people with no type of savings whatsoever.

    Then life smacks them in the face somehow, a job loss or an illness and they think that the banks should bail them out because they wanted to live like kings when they couldn't afford to.

    I'm not sayings banks do no wrong. Massive interest rates and fees can really hurt someone, but these fees are ALWAYS expressed beforehand. I've seen too many people throw away their information packets on fees and rates, or neglect to check their bank's website for such information, and then get pissed when they have charges.

    I hate the entire Western attitude where people try to absolve themselves of any responsibility by blaming big corporations. Do some f--king research and live within your income.

    1. Rodney Bresch

      Yes, we def have a careless materialistic mindset as a society that isn't helping. Those in power have been nurturing this mindset. as it benefits them. Often tho, people are just trying to survive, and are deprived of resources to do such.

      But, was it the customers of individual loans, that pooled large amounts of those bad loans together, and found a way to sell them as triple A rated securities?

    2. twoeggshuffle

      If you read what I wrote, you'd see that I said banks aren't without fault. My issue is that people use banks as a scapegoat when they get themselves into a bad spot. I waited to get a house until I could afford it. I could have gotten a loan or done it a number of ways that would have left me in debt to a bank.

      By not being greedy I am living in a cozy and affordable place that isn't going to break my bank. No one is forcing you to get loans or anything. This documentary shows me that people are still driving cars they can't afford and buying luxuries they don't need.

      I've seen people max out multiple lines of credit, as credit cards paying for vacations then they ask the bank to bail them out when they can't afford a cab ride to the airport from their 5-star hotel. Everyone seems to want to be entitled to the luxuries others have instead of just living off of what they need.

      There's exceptions to the rule, but from my experience I have zero pity for the people who
      complain about how the banks f--ked them. There's always another way, and the most obvious way out doesn't mean it's the best way for what particular person.

    3. Rodney Bresch

      The reason so many are upset, is because the banks and others who were making a killing, handing out and approving bad loans, were mostly bailed out.

      Yes, people who were lured by wanting a better life made bad choices...they also paid for them.

      If you're trying to get to the core of the issue...you're looking in the wrong place. The bankers and their clever schemes, were not only let off the hook, but rewarded.

      As more poor people get **** on.

    4. twoeggshuffle

      SO for the third time Ive said now, Banks aren't without fault for preying on the disadvantaged, But the only reason they can is because people live outside of their means and get f--ked because they are greedy. If I, at the time, a 20 year old student can control my finances while going through school with no help from my parents -- then I fail to see why a pair of grown ass adults can't do the same.

      And I have complained on this site about how nonviolent criminal offenders who do the most damage to the economy should be put in jail. But just because someone is doing something bad does not absolve one's self from the tribulations of their own greed.

      Two wrongs don't make a right, I'm sure we've all heard that before, But because banks can be greedy doesnt mean that they held a gun to your head and forced you to take out a loan. These people need to grow a sack and admit they f--ked up.

    5. Rodney Bresch

      the banks got off...that little detail somehow is making it's way thru the cracks...the rich get away with murder.

      You say the people should fess up, have the banks? Who was punished...regardless.

    6. twoeggshuffle

      When did I say people should fess up? You're being really ignorant in avoiding the fact that I'm saying banks are not without fault. They did get bailed out for their greed, but still doesn't mean people living outside of their means on credit is not stupid.

      People have been beating the drums for years about how evil banks are. What good has that done? Yes people want change but are you just going to sit there and wait for it? Some choose to be proactive by not relying on the credit system for them to buy luxuries they don't need.
      Maybe if more people stopped relying on credit, then the banks wouldn't hold so much power over you.

      Two wrongs don't make a right.

    7. zee788

      Both sides have been greedy. People wanted a free house before the housing crisis. Then when the SHTF they all complained and pretended they had nothing to do with it. Sure, the banks were wrong and greedy, but so was the average American.

    8. Rodney Bresch

      "Two wrongs don't make a right". I guess not punishing banks and/or creating new preventative laws, and basically promoting the careless and manipulative schemes that caused the mess, is right?

      The people were punished. I'll just keep saying it. We can round and round. It doesn't make sense.

    9. twoeggshuffle

      No, thats's a wrong. Jesus, there is no limit to the stupid things you keep saying. Please actually read what I wrote if you respond this time. I'm sick of having to talk like to you like you're a child.

    10. Rodney Bresch

      Yes people have careless and outdated mindsets. Didn't i say that in my original post? If we made laws, preventing banks from usury all together, wouldn't that help people's decision making along? What was the cause of the crash...fractional reserve banking, essentially. It should be outlawed. It promotes the very mindsets, you wish people to abandon. They are playing on people's insecure desires to maintain status or some other superficial items...yes...but also people's inherent desire to survive. Society needs training wheels.

      None of that changes, how you have yet to address, why people are so pissed at the banks...because the people paid for their choices. The banks didn't. Just saying you've covered that, doesn't mean you have.

      You can insult me all you want. It won't lend any more credence to your ideals tho.

    11. Rodney Bresch

      When did u say people should fess up? Look at the comment above this...your last one. You said, people should grow some balls, and admit they f--ked up.

      How am i misinterpreting that?

    12. twoeggshuffle

      Because admitted you screwed up to me is different than fessing up which to me sounds like you committed a crime or something. Not saying average people committed a crime, but they're just stupid with their money and don't want to accept any type of responsibility. I used the words I did for a reason.

      But your really just grasping at straws now for anything relevant to say it seems.

      Now that I've talked in circles with you though and you still don't have anything worthwhile to say maybe you can just move on? I've said my piece, but you are not worth this much of my time.

      So whether or not you reply I've said everything I needed to already.

    13. Rodney Bresch

      That makes more sense. Yes, u still didn't address the main point i felt, in any of your victory laps. But...yes we have been going in circles.

      Take it easy on humans tho, you're one of them.

    14. twoeggshuffle

      Fair enough. I also didn't realize the Marvel / DC going between us til just now.

    15. Rodney Bresch

      I'm usually better about graciously ending disputes that have run their course, cuz i don't think we should be against one another...but u took adavantage of "fate" on that one. Wow, that is awesome.

    16. twoeggshuffle

      Me too. Just a too heated, but good debate. Sorry for the insults.

    17. Rodney Bresch

      Likewise...catch ya next time on here hopefully.

    18. Rodney Bresch

      But, have the bankers admitted they messed up? Cuz, yes the people are only guilty of screwing themselves over...but the bankers are actually guilty of criminal actions...that they got away with.

    19. Progressive Patriot

      You have been smart enough to avoid credit. Good for you. You have been fortunate enough as well. The point is that more and more americans are just one unfortunate event from disaster. The point is that there is something wrong here beyond just laziness. The point is that the system is becoming more and more unjust and that what they represented in the documentary will be the majority future soon if we don't address the income and power gap. The wealth that those banksters are making by rigging the system used to be invested in America. Now it is invested in the off shore accounts and gated communities and in the saleries of lobbiests who will further rig the system against the people.

    20. Progressive Patriot

      I look forward to reading your trolls at the bottom of Corporate articles too. Have you posted on Jamie Diamon, and how lazy and greedy he is too?

    21. twoeggshuffle

      So again, since you seem to have a hard time reading what you're replying to yes, banks have done bad things. No one is saying they haven't. What I'm saying is that people can avoid getting f--ked over by greedy people if they themselves are not so greedy.

      Do you understand that or do I really need to dumb it down for you some more?

    22. zee788

      That is an exaggeration. 'Just trying to survive'?? Really? Is the situation in the video really comparable to someone in a poor village who barely has enough water or food and lives in a hut? That is 'just trying to survive.' Once the over the top language stops, we can have a serious discussion, until that happens this whole thread is pointless.

    23. Rodney Bresch

      Go look at my response to henrymart at the top of the comments. I'd respond similarly.

      Just because we have more options, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to better our position.

    24. deliaruhe

      You're right. The problem is not with the banks. The problem is with people like you.

    25. twoeggshuffle

      Go ahead an elaborate if you actually have anything worth saying. Please tell me how the problem is with people who've learned to save for major purchases they need instead of relying on credit? I spent my 20s working average paying entry-level type jobs without buying a car or house or furnishing I couldn't afford until I actually had the physical funds to do so.

      The problem is with people smart enough to rely on themselves and not those who go to a business and expect charity? You're pretty delusional. But like I said, if you can actually explain it, go ahead. I'm guessing you're just some i*iot who got themselves into credit problems, too.

      An I worked as an illustrator at the time. But I was smart enough to know that careers in art and music don't provide a lot of job security. Now these people get a small taste of life and are completely unprepared. It sucks and I don't wish anybody to suffer, but these issues are caused by people spending too much and having no foresight.

    26. henrymart81

      I know too many baristas at Starbucks who have degrees in things like Theatre, Psychology, Sociology, English, etc.. *facepalm* Even if things had worked out for the best, what careers would they have gone into!?

    27. Progressive Patriot

      Did you even watch this documentary?

    28. henrymart81

      I know a girl who I thought was pretty wealthy. She was always taking trips to foreign countries - you see all the pics she posts online. Now she filed for bankruptcy. It turns out she is in major debt. She even has one of those pages where you ask for money from people online. Absolutely ridiculous.

    29. Progressive Patriot

      You totally missed the point. You are pulling the statistic of 80% (living outside their means) out of thin air. Did you watch the documentary? Most people are NOT living outside their means, they are just living. Groceries has gone up, rent-up, gas and transportation-up, medical expenses-up, education-up. Wages flat or down. These people were just trying to live, period. This is the American dream form half of our citizens now, and it's only getting worse unless we restore the middle class.

  17. joeysnow

    This movie is presented by American Express, which is not revealed until the final credit. Is movie presented so they can get a bigger piece of the Payday Loans scam?

  18. Eric Lawson

    I am a self employed musician. My health failed .After three CD releases and many many performances. My money ran out. I had to pawn my equipment and my prized Guitars . I took out a pay day loan and am still on the merry go round 1500 dollars in fees and interest latter i still owe the same principal. This is a great Documentary and should be watched by all !!!Thanks to the Producers !!

    1. twoeggshuffle

      The problem isn't the bank here. You got yourself into a volatile industry with almost 0 job security with what sounds like no type of nest-egg and your health fails but somehow this is the bank's fault? And not your's for not planning ahead?

      Yeah fees suck, but you likely wouldn't be in that position if you have thought about your finances at all.

  19. Jules

    I have a question for someone living in the US;
    In the documentary, I got the impression that pay checks are paid with checks...is that right? So you have to wait 3-5 days for your paycheck to clear?
    In Australia our wages, or pay is direct deposited into our accounts which we access with a debit card straight away. We pay for everything with EFTPOS, or cash money from an ATM if I want cash. Only businesses pay with checks.
    Because I want the benefits of a credit card without the traps, I have a Visa debit card. Its my money, not the banks.
    In the doco, Justin had to pay hundreds of $ to convert his paycheck into a credit/debit card.
    It's a bad system which opens it up for predatory check cashing and pay day loan company's.
    It's also sad to start life with a huge student loan.
    Up until July this year, we had interest free student loans which were paid back to the tax department once you earn over $50,000pa or sooner if you wish.

  20. MoCeBird

    Just stop trying to live this silly "American Dream" people. Things are so different now that the dream is nothing more than just that: a dream. Stop with the loans and credit cards. Stop reaching for the stars and start living in reality. Stop spending money you don't have. It's that simple. BTW, this "documentary" was brought to you by American Express. Did anyone else notice that, or were you dreaming?

    1. twoeggshuffle

      Thank you! It's disgusting to me how people try to live like kings when they can't afford it. They go to a bank, which is a business and not a charity to bail them out of their own mistakes and get mad when the bank wants something in return.

    2. henrymart81

      I use my credit cards all the time. If you are disciplined and pay them off monthly, you can make some decent money with cashback and things like that. On the other hand, I will NEVER get a debit card. You get stuck with all kinds of fees for those.

  21. bionara

    The more you watch the more you see that America is truly a 3rd world country.

    1. Jules

      I agree. A good example is healthcare; the wealthy can afford it, not the poor, just like in India.
      America doesn't have sufficient safety nets in place because the government thinks it costs too much.
      In the EU and Australia, they recognise that by providing universal healthcare, unemployment benefits (until you find a job) minimum wage linked to inflation etc, it has the reverse effect by stimulating the economy.
      If the average person can't afford to buy anything, then businesses have to close. Another reason is because people spend differently and are willing to take more risks when they know there are safety nets in place.
      America isn't the land of the free - it's the land of the rich, for the rich and by the rich.
      Many Americans are living lives of quiet desperation.
      It's unconscionable to foreclose on someone's home because their unemployment has finished and there is 25% unemployment. I'm so happy to be living in Australia, I really am. I have cancer. My medication is subsidised so I pay $12 per month. I worked until I was 45 and now through no fault of my own I can't work.