Be Relentless About Turning Off Marketing

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Your financial health is dependent on, as much as possible, avoiding financial mistakes.

Unfortunately, the health of many companies is dependent on getting you to purchase their products. Inviting their advertising is counterproductive to your financial well-being.

I’d forgotten how much marketing happens as a result of banking products from the Dark Side of Financial Services. Once a financial institution has you as a client, they make much of their money by offering you additional products. This is true of banks, credit cards, life insurance salesmen, and many other financial institutions with sales agents. They push products by other branches of the parent company. Then, they get paid to push third-party offers as well.

Marketing nudges us to spend money impulsively. It is most effective when you don’t realize that it is happening, and it is rarely the best financial move. If they have to advertise it, it probably isn’t the best option.

I have made it a discipline that whenever I open a bank account or receive a credit card the first thing that I do is call the phone number provided and ask them to turn off any and all use of my information for sales. Companies are cagey and often have several different settings. If any one setting is left on, it will result in your information being used to market products to you.

There may be a setting that allows them to sell your contact information to others. There may be a setting that allows them to use your information to send sales offers from third parties to you. There may be a setting that allows them to send you offers from them regarding other products and services. Whenever they tell me they have turned some setting off, I always ask, “Is there any other settings you can set to make my information even more private?” I keep asking this question until I have some confidence that they have done whatever they can to protect my information being used in any way.

And sometimes there are settings that they won’t tell you about, you can’t see, and you are unable to edit.

Recently I received this offer from PayPal for 1-800-FLOWERS.

Getting $5.00 off a purchase of $65.00 is terrible deal. When you are thrifty, no deal is too good to pass up.

PayPal gets paid to send this email. They are selling your email address.

I thought I had already turned all the marketing for PayPal off, but these settings are intentionally complicated.

This email was sent with this required statement of why I was receiving this email and how to turn it off:

This email was sent … because your email preferences are set to receive “News and Promotions.”

When I went to “Update your notification settings,” I was greeted with this message:

My account was not set to receive “News and Promotions” notifications from PayPal. I called PayPal. The service person who answered was mystified as to why I had received these emails. She put me on hold several times.

Finally, she told me that my account had a setting telling PayPal to send such “offers” to me. This setting was a private PayPal setting and there was no way for me to know about it or to change it. Only PayPal could change it and only by calling their number and waiting on hold could it be changed.

So if you have received an offer from PayPal, call them at 1-888-221-1161 and ask them to remove the hidden “offers” marketing setting.

By being relentless about turning off marketing, you protect your finances from the poor decisions that advertising inspires.

Photo from email screenshot.

Follow David John Marotta:

President, CFP®, AIF®, AAMS®

David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.