I have been a long admirer of Russell Simmons. The godfather of hip-hop that brought me “Krush Groovin,” the serial entrepreneur whose success and drive inspired me to start my own business, and the community activist who places a strong emphasis on giving, therefore motivating me to do more for the benefit of serving others. He is all of these things and more to many people, but why did Simmons get booed on television when he spoke on behalf of Occupy Wall Street?
We don’t have anything against him personally. We welcome him as a part of the OWS movement. However, just like the unwelcomed guest who wants to come along with the longtime family friend to dinner, he can’t come in as long as he brings that destructive, exploitative, wealth inhibiting RushCard with him.
The RushCard is based on principles that are contrary to the OWS movement. How long are we supposed to sit back and watch Wall Street Banks sit on their fattened profits as they gouge the pockets of the 99 percent?
Why should the 99 percent, some of whom live check to check and are often one negative break away from being homeless, spend money just to use their own money through his pre-paid debit card?
Why should the same 99 percent who were just mandated to reach into their pockets and bail out the banks to save this country now be “rewarded” by seeing Simmons on television selling his product that only makes the banks richer?
WATCH RUSSELL SIMMONS INTERVIEWED ON MSNBC ON OCCUPY:
Why should the same 99 percent who were just mandated to reach into their pockets and bail out the banks to save this country be “rewarded” by seeing Simmons on television selling a product that only makes the banks richer?
How can we trust Simmons when he continues to promote false, unsubstantiated statistics that claim 60 million people in this country cannot get a bank account and his is the only option we have available? Is his truly the only option available?
What about the thousands of credit unions and local banks across the country that are not only willing to allow individuals to open accounts but also have credit builder programs to help these individuals reestablish credit?
What about the secured cards with no fees attached which actually have a direct credit line to help people build credit? These are available to everyone.
What about the national “Bank On” initiative where many banks, especially smaller local banks and credit unions who didn’t have a role in this current economic crisis, are participating by allowing the previously “unbankable” to open accounts every day!
What about the hundreds of those who are homeless, unemployed, and recently incarcerated that I have personally worked with who I have helped get bank accounts with no fees and in fact now have access to the coveted VISA logo through a debit card? They didn’t have to resort to the RushCard.
Do you know why I and thousands of other financial advisors are able to help these individuals get bank accounts? Here are two reasons:
1. We actually know about financial literacy and take the time to research the most cost effective solutions for those we serve. I read Simmons’ book Super Rich. Great principles but there were no financial literacy principles (ironic how his book is entitled Super Rich but the RushCard only serves the purpose of keeping those who use it Super Broke). I urge him to take a look at authors like Carmen Ulrich, Jean Schastky, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Ron Blue, or even take a look at a book that I wrote called Living in the Village to learn about true financial/wealth building principles.
2. Those like me who are in the non-profit realm don’t have a problem with finding the free/best alternative for those we serve. We are not in our business for the profit; we are only in it because we want to help the people. Russell Simmons’ judgment has obviously been clouded with the profit driven fallacy that he is actually pushing a product that is good for the people.
We will accept Russell Simmons into the movement, but before we can believe a word he says he must publicly renounce his RushCard and stop pushing it to the people who can’t afford it anyways. When he does that nationally then he will truly be one of the 99 percent.
Until Simmons does that you will continue to be booed because he will be seen as just another one of the 1 percent who has discovered an opportunity to try to pimp the OWS movement to sell bunk and promote his own selfish desires in the same way those who are behind the RushCard are pimping him.
I write this in admiration of most of what Russell Simmons has done and have nothing against him personally. I don’t know him, but I do know his actions. Most of Simmons’ actions have been valiant, courageous, and uplifting; throughout the years I have followed his career as an admirer and fan.
However, the RushCard leads me to have serious questions about his true understanding of this movement and the sincerity of his objectives when he claims to have the peoples’ interests at heart.
(Which are very inconveniently placed in a location on the RushCard website that was not easy to find!)
Let’s examine the fees charged under your card that is so empowering. I would like to take a moment and remind readers that these fees are being charged for the “privilege” of using your own money.
Plan One – The Monthly Plan
A onetime fee of $3.95 – $14.95 depending upon the elaborate design you choose just to activate the card.
A monthly fee of $9.95 just to use the card.
A “convenience” fee of $1.00 to use your card PIN.
$.50 just to inquire about your ATM balance.
$2.50 PER ATM withdrawal after the first two withdrawals which are free…thanks for allowing us to have access to our own money for free at least twice.
$1.00 fee if I want to get a paper statement (I guess this is your attempt to discourage the wasted of trees and save the environment?)
An express cash fee of $30.00.
A bill pay enrollment fee of $2.00.
A bill payment fee of $1.00 just to pay your bills.
A plan change fee of $1.99.
Don’t lose your card or you will have to pay a $3.95 replacement card fee.
International fees including a $1.00 international convenience fee to use your PIN, a $1.00 international ATM balance inquiry fee, a $2.50 international ATM withdrawal fee, and a currency conversion fee which amounts up to 2 percent of the total transaction amount.
Plan Two – The Pay As You Go Plan
A onetime fee of $3.95 – $14.95 depending upon the elaborately designed card you choose.
A $1.00 convenience fee capped at $10.00 per month.
$.50 just to check your balance at any ATM.
$1.95 just to make a withdrawal from an ATM.
A $1.95 maintenance fee.
$1.00 to get a paper statement.
An express cash fee of $30.00.
A $2.00 bill enrollment fee.
A $1.00 bill payment fee.
A $1.99 plan change fee.
$3.95 to replace your card.
International fees including a $2.00 international convenience fee, a $1.00 international ATM balance inquiry fee, a $1.95 international ATM withdrawal fee, and a currency conversion fee of up to 2 percent of the transaction amount.