I started this blog mostly thinking it would be a travel blog for Sama and I to publish all the awesome things that we were doing in Australia and to make everyone jealous, but since we aren’t gone on our travels yet, It has been mostly about packing and preparing for our trip. Here is another non-travel related post that is about banks and banking in general.
Last year I went to a talk at Western University to see Gail Vaz-Oxlade from TV shows such as “Til Debt Do Us Part”, “Princess” and “Money Moron”. She talked mostly about money/money managing and getting out of debt. A few things that she said reminded me of things that happened to me in the past regarding banking.
Most of my experiences with the bank have been very pleasant. As a young child my parents set me up with a savings account at Scotiabank, I was always fascinated how my small amount of money gained a whole 10 cents interest each month! It was fun depositing money into my account so that the interest would get to be higher and higher.
Fast forward a few years to high school. My parents suggested that I get a credit card to start building good credit. I start off with a GM Visa through TD bank (By now I had switched banks to Libro Financial and TD Bank). I used that card for about 5-6 years and collected a fair amount of points to use towards a new GM vehicle… well I probably am never going to buy a new GM vehicle ever in my life, but my credit is now good.
So as you can see, I have had great interactions with the banks, no complaints other than the useless points collected for a GM vehicle, which was probably one of the only credit cards that I could get at the time. I definitely should have changed it a lot sooner than I did, so I am at fault there.
Next comes January of this year. I met with an advisor looking to invest some money and to transfer all of my money from Libro over to TD bank – why not keep all of my money in one place, right? So I book an appointment with a Financial Advisor over at TD bank. We talk and I sign some forms to authorize the transfer of money from my Libro account over to TD. I leave feeling great; my advisor was really nice, he gave some good advice, everything seems to be going well. One month later I’m checking my account and my balance from Libro still hasn’t moved over yet. Basically after a few months and several phone calls from me to the branch, I finally get a hold of my financial advisor and he says that he is unable to move my money and that I need to do it myself.
Anyways, now that I have all of that stuff solved, I want to talk about a few things that every person should do. Most people spend about 160 hours a month making money but they wont spend 3-5 hours a month managing it. Take a look at where your money is going. Maybe you spend $1.25 on coffee everyday – well that adds up to around $450 a year! Maybe you go out to subway or McDonald’s 2-3 times a week – that can add up to around $1000 a year! Make sure you know where your money is going.
My next tip is more related to the title of this blog. Banks may seem like they are your friend, but in reality they are a business. You need to know what you want when you go to a bank. You wouldn’t walk into a used car dealership and say “I have this money and I need to know what to do with it.” They would obviously tell you to buy the most expensive car on the lot! The bank is similar in many ways. I believe that you should know what your options are for investing, accounts, credit cards, ect. BEFORE you go into a bank. Make sure you understand how everything works. Don’t just let some financial advisor make your decisions for you. Some of them may not offer the best options for you.
Well that is the end of my rant for now! If you have any questions regarding banks or managing your money just ask away in the comments below! I would also love to hear your stories with banks or financial advisors in general.