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I Blame the Refs!

Previously I have talked about needing someone to blame with C’est La Faute du Federal, but after my current basketball season, I suspect that the real Villains in life are the officials (financially speaking, let’s blame the banks and the people who work there), however I blame the refs.

I must admit that as a parent, I have spent a fair amount of time “jawing” at the refs and various officials in many sports, and as an assistant coach, I have pestered my fair share of officials too, but at the end of it all, the referees and officials in this life don’t change much (on occasion there are glaring mistakes, but they are very few and very far between). So yes, I blame the refs (but I am usually wrong).

{Caution off topic rant ahead} Let me first say, that if you are someone who goes to their children’s sporting events, and yells like a crazed mocking-bird at referees, officials, opposing players and coaches and maybe even the janitors at the building, SHAME ON YOU! You have some serious issues living vicariously through your kids and all you are doing is embarrassing  yourself, but more importantly you are embarrassing or alienating your own child (at worst you are teaching them your bad attitude). {Off topic rant completed}

i blame the refs

Blind Refs?

I guess the point I am trying to make is that yes the banks and their:

  • Service charges that suck the life out of you.
  • Mortgage rates that pull the marrow out of your bones
  • Credit Cards that are more poisonous (financially) than hemlock
  • etc., etc.,

are really not to blame, we are. Am I back saying Canadians are Financially Stupid? No, remember I blame the refs (or the banks in this instance).

The financial problems most Canadians have (and I am saying most to be polite, I actually mean pretty much all of us), are of our own making, so we should stop complaining about the Referees (or the Banks in this case (unless you are a financial blogger, since that is our bread and butter)) and deal with the situation we are in.

Everyone else is dealing with the same Officials (mostly), so move on and play through it (or “suck it up buttercup” to quote a few of the coaches I know).


Bank Card Security (the saga continues)

About 4 years ago my wife’s bank card was fraudulently duplicated and used (to withdraw a significant amount of money from a non-branded “white” banking machine), and back then I wrote a post humbly apologizing to TD Bank (aptly named: TD Bank I Apologize)  saying, that while I dislike their service fees and many of their investment systems annoy me, I must say that their response to that fraud was very good. TD seems quite vigilant with their bank card security.

Yesterday, we saw that the bank security security system is getting even better at detecting frauds, but that fraud is also still going on (even with the new chip technologies, which is  supposed to stop this happening).

My wife and I were out shopping and as we checked out at Sobeys my wife attempted to pay for our groceries with her TD Bank card, she tried twice and got the message “Transaction Denied“, which was very disconcerting (since this is how things started 4 years ago), so I tried my card and it worked just fine (which meant we could also eat!). We rushed home to check out our on-line banking, but no transactions appeared that suggested any problems (and we were not over drafted, which was my other concern), so my wife decided to call the TD Help line.

The first thing that suggested something was very wrong was when my wife typed in her card number on the phone, the system took her directly to an Operator stating, “You must talk to a representative immediately“.

After a long conversation where my wife was asked about various transactions that had gone on with her card, she was told that her card had been “frozen” because of a suspicious transaction in New York State (where neither my wife nor I have been to in the past little while).  Since no transaction even showed up (so far) on the on-line banking, I am impressed by the alacrity of TD bank card security system in dealing with this fraud, however, I am now very concerned about my own cards.

As you know I replaced my TD Card because it was cracked (no not stolen, physically damaged) and inadvertently secured things a bit more (since I got a new card with a new number and such), however there was a story last week that in my area of Ottawa there have been hundreds of folks who have had their bank cards cracked and had moneys stolen from their bank accounts, so I believe I may be going and getting a new debit card myself (my own version of bank card security).

Question of the day: Have you had your credit card or bank card defrauded in the past little while?


Banks: What is with All the Paper?

After yet another visit to my local TD Branch to attempt to extricate money from my daughters’ RESPs, I walked away with the same question I have every time, which is, what is with all the paper?

This time through the Bank Maze, I only had to sign 2 forms (but that is 4 signatures, because I have to get a copy of these forms too, and I must sign those), and then I had to sign two forms that had not been filled in, but would be done later (I kid you not), two more signatures for that. I wondered what might have happened if I walked in with a rubber stamp of my signature and used that, what the “Financial Planner” might do (my guess is, ask if she can borrow it and she might then bang out another 10 forms for various types).

Why did I need to kill so many (more) trees? I was closing two RESPs, and then asking about another one (you sign a form to get information?!?), that is all. I should warn the B.C. forests that I might be going to the bank (so they can fall a few more Giant Red Wood for all the forms).

Banks seem to be absolutely in love with paper trails, with:

  • Cheques, those alone must wipe out acres of trees every year
  • Forms for every kind of transaction
  • Pass Books
  • Receipts for every transaction
  • Paper Statements
  • etc., etc., etc.,

My guess would be that the banks don’t actually have thousands of Warehouses where all this paper is stored, what actually happens is the papers are scanned, and then destroyed, so we are now killing trees for no reason? Banks are also encouraging their clients to stop getting paper statements (where encouraging means charging you for paper statements).

Anyone working in the banking industry care to explain to me the love of paper, and whether all of these forms and such are actually stored in hard copy, or whether they are actually stored digitally?


St. Valentine’s Day Financial Massacre

Today can effectively be for some of us effectively a recreation of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, in terms of our Credit Cards.

This one is an interested twisted tail to follow, so I’ll try to not wander down too many dark alleys, but it is this simple, right about now (February 14th) the Credit Card bills are arriving for the stuff you bought after Christmas (or stuff that didn’t make it into your Christmas bill, which would have shown up in January).

How bad could that be? Who spends lots of money after Christmas? You do!!


Valentine's Day Sentiments to Live By

Remember that big screen TV that you got for 40% off at the Boxing Day Sale? How about all that stuff that was on sale for Boxing Week/Month/Quarter? There is a tremendous amount of money spent after Christmas, and you might have planned for your Christmas spending splurge, but did you plan for your January spending binge? My guess is no (and if you didn’t have a post-Christmas spending binge, good on you (but are you sure?)).

In my house my daughter’s tuition appears on my Credit Card (we still have money to pay that off so that is good), but it is a HUGE number to appear for St. Valentine’s day, isn’t it?

Oh and all those, “live now, pay later” deals you got from the Furniture Mega-Store or the Electronics Mega-Store all have to start getting paid off now too. Future Shop’s new “don’t pay for 3 months” has a new catch, yes, you don’t have to pay it all in 3 months, but now you have to pay at least 1/3 every month leading up to the payment.

Are you now feeling the effects of a Saint Valentine’s Day financial Massacre?


Holiday Bank Cheer and Sunday’s Best

Another interesting week in the economic world, with the Central Banks propping up the U.S. green back, and thus causing an early Santa Rally, and then the Canadian Banks start announcing better than expected profits, adding more coal to the engine, we might end 2011 on a bit of an up tick, but there still is plenty of this year left to really predict. Advent is now in full bloom with lights and preparation for Christmas (Mrs. C8j and I even put out the Christmas wreath).

The year is coming to an end, are you ready for 2012? I am very ready, in that I’d like to see 2011 go in the books and be done (just a bit too much for me this year).

On my twitter feed (which I may start slowing down with, since I am not sure I completely feel I am getting much bang for my work from that social media feed), there were many interesting oldie but goody posts:

  • With Advent beginning last Sunday I figured I’d start with Advent it Begins Again, the season of waiting that is.
  • With the interesting times I am having with Dell I figured I’d go back to a Student Computer Safety Tip from not that long ago.
  • My first attempt at a flow chart I did by hand in my post The Cost of Cheques, which outlines that cheques are going to be bloody expensive very soon.
  • Continuing on about the importance of not standing for what is given I remembered The Answer is Always NO Unless You Ask.
  • Me being a little silly with Most Top 10 Lists, after my post about Financial Bloggers in general.
  • I am not being figurative when I say Debt Makes Me Sick, it keeps me awake and it I am sure has shortened my life.


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