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Bank Access Good or Bad?

I wrote this back in the day when banks weren’t open on Sunday (some not even Saturday). Is Bank Access vital? Hard to remember the days when you carried cash, or paid with cheque. ATM systems, Interac and easy credit have changed the entire consumer paradigm. Read this remembering the context and year it came from (2009).

Might be an old topic, but updated a little

The animated short that I found on the weekend from the National Film Board (Banks and Humor) got me thinking about how banking has changed so drastically in one generation (effectively 25 years).

When I was growing up, the bank was open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, reopened Thursday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and then was open Friday until 4:00 PM (I seem to recollect I may not have that correct). That was the only access you had to your money, other than being able to write cheques on your bank account. Where the idea of Bankers’ Hours came from.

I remember my Mother and Father did their banking on Thursday night, and it was a “tradition”, as it were, to go out Thursday night, get the grocery order for the week and go to the bank to do the banking as well. That was it, you could not do much else, because that was the only time you could “bank”.

ATM Brings a New Age

When I went off to University I was lucky that I lived on campus and the University had a branch of the CIBC on campus, so banking for me was relatively simple. That first year I even got a Credit Card (mostly just to buy text books with). 

Late in my first year or early second year, the Campus bank got the first ATMs I had ever seen and the world changed drastically again. Money was then available most of the time, you just went to the machine and you got your money (at the time withdrawals were about all you could do with the ATM).

A year later I moved off campus and then found the Canada Trust, which was open 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM every day and was even open on Saturdays, and I moved my banking there, and they had ATMs that were called Johnny Cash machines (I kid you not), and thus my access to banking was even easier.

Interac and On Line Banking caused a Paradigm Shift

With the advent of Interac suddenly the need to carry large amounts of cash, or have a cheque cashing card with your grocer disappeared (over night it felt like), after a short period of time, you could buy pretty much anything with no cash in your pocket (I still remember my mother being very nervous walking around with $100 to pay for the weekly grocery order), cash was now not needed, if you had a debit card.

On Line banking in the late 80’s meant you no longer needed to ever go into a bank, except for specific issues or to access a safety deposit box.

I rarely if ever go into my bank, I think the few times a year are to:

  1. Access my safety deposit box (once or twice a year)
  2. Complain and/or attempt to get my banking fees eliminated (once a year)
  3. Open a new account or investing account (once every year or two)
  4. Deposit a large cheque (once or twice a year)

Given I used to go to the bank at least once a week 30 years ago, it seems things really have changed a great deal in a very short period of time.

Is this a good thing, is my only question? If you were forced to only be able to “bank” at specific times, might you think more about what you were doing? I am curious to hear any opinions on this topic.

Retrospective

The world has changed so drastically when it comes to spending and banking. Is it for the better? No, not in my opinion. Some technological changes have been good, but loose credit and ease of access has created a monster.

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When did Cash Stop Being Money?

I have said many times that Cash is King, but I may need to review this idea given the odd situation my wife ran into long ago, where we had to ask, when did cash stop being money?

The Cash Tale

Our son’s Nursery School was running a Scholastic book fund-raising book service. My wife found a couple of books she figured my son would like, and she filled in the form. She gave the form in with the exact cash needed to pay for the order.

Money RESP
This is not money? What?!?

My wife has decided to see if she uses cash instead of cheques and direct withdrawal, if it will give her the “tactile feedback” she needs for budgeting (I applaud this idea). My wife’s plan is simple once the cash is gone, there is no more spending.

Mrs. C8j dropped off the order and thought no more about it. She was cornered by the mother who has volunteered to run the book order. The volunteer told my wife that Scholastic did not accept cash. A cheque was the only way to pay.

My wife then asked the woman, why didn’t the volunteer write a cheque on her own account and take the cash as a cash advance and the problem would be solved. The volunteer said she couldn’t do that. The volunteer told my wife that she must submit the order with a cheque or the order would be refused. My wife ended up writing a cheque to get the books.

Cash is not Money?

This incident leaves me scratching my head, asking the question, when did Cash stop being currency? I realize there are situations where cash shouldn’t be used (sending cash in the mail is a bad thing), but it seems more and more, society is frowning on the use of cash, or is making it very difficult to use cash.

This made me wonder what would happen if I did the following experiment: Buy a car and walk into the dealership with the entire payment for the car in cash, would the dealership take the money? I am curious to hear if anyone has actually done this.

With counterfeiting of Canadian $100 bills, most establishments do not accept bills over $50, and they don’t really like taking those bills either (try to pay for a $11.00  charge with a $50 bill and see the reaction of the cashier). How long will it be, before cash and bills in specific stop being accepted as currency?

Did Cash Stop Being Money ?

Canadian Money now is less counterfeited, but cash continues to lose traction as a method of payment.

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What does the new week bring?

Good question after the past couple of weeks, asking that question might not be the question to ask, the question might be, “How bad is it going to be this week?”, especially on the financial markets. I have no advice or wisdom for you right now, I simply watch and ask questions and simply react to what happens. Maybe it’s best to follow the Lawyer’s credo, “Never ask any question you don’t know the answer to before hand”.

Cash is Still King

On the personal finance side (micro) we (Mrs. C8j and I) continue to live with the credo “cash is king” and continue to keep our credit cards out of our wallets. How long we can keep this up, I don’t know, but for now, it is important not to allow any credit “build up” to occur thus causing financial haemorrhaging, as we have seen in the past.

More cash is appearing from transferring work related savings vehicles into our own RRSP and savings vehicles, so again, we have decisions to make about WHAT to invest in and WHEN to do that investing. For now, I am in a “wait and see” mode, since I still have little confidence in the current economic apocalypse.

Top 100 Employers in Canada?

Given I am still looking for a job, folks send me interesting information, and one I received from my mother. Evidently there is a company that rates the Top 100 Employers In Canada, with details about every company and why they are such good companies to work for. The information is interesting and is mostly on the “macro” level (i.e. benefits and such), and not much about the work environment itself, but still very useful information to have when searching for a job. Strangely my former employer is not mentioned, curious.

I am not that picky right now, I’ll take work, and not worry as much about whether there is subsidized maternity leave (given it doesn’t really matter to me either).

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Canada Votes While the Economy….

Burns? That is the question we will have answered today, but my guess is the answer will not really be an answer, just another question.

Financial Recovery?

So far, so good from the actions of the G7 nations, the equities market seems to be recovering, in some fashion or another (remembering full well, that one day does not a trend (or recovery for that matter) make). Stocks are starting to strengthen, but is this a simply stop on the way down or an actual restart or reset of things? I’ll tell you the answer to that…. in 6 months, since I have no idea, nor do I wish to even hazard a guess.

Tuesday is the first chance Canadian investors will have to show their support or concern with the entire recovery, so it will make for another interesting financial day. I will be watching banks very closely to see whether the statements about Canada’s banks being the most “solid” are actually taken as “truth” or “fluff”.

Vote Often!

Sorry, growing up in Quebec, that is one of the fun jokes you always heard, Vote Early and Vote Often!  Not to say that politics in Quebec was or is corrupt, just that it always had an interesting attitude.

On September 11th, I called for a Liberal Minority as My Election Prediction, and I will stand by that call, even though I feel Monsieur Dion has done his damnedest to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. My guess is there will be no majority this time, and that more likely than not we will be voting again in 2009 (possibly very early), we shall see if my ability to prognosticate elections is better than my ability to pick the next BOOM stock.

If I was going for an interesting long shot call for this election? There could be a Conservative Majority IF (and only if), the NDP, Greens and Liberals split the vote three ways and a bunch of Tories win in Ontario because of this, but I think this is a 20% chance (i.e. I’d want 5-1 odds if I was betting on this).

Cash is King

Currently I am collecting cash from my severance in a few investment vehicles (and look forward to the TFSA which is coming on January 2nd), but I am still unsure of what to do, so I may stay totally liquid until I am sure of what is going to happen. I think the TFSA is going to be my new favorite topic in the coming weeks, as every bank is offering it, so I am confident this thing is going to be something big in investing.

For now, in investing, Cash is King (i.e. if you have the cash, you are in control of things), no I am not saying cash out of your existing investments, just that it would be good to have some cash right now (as well).

Vote Canada, if you don’t you don’t get to complain!

 

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Cash is King as a Budgeting Tool

Written back in 2008 when GVO had one of her TV shows. Cash is King as a budgeting tool, is a message from many Financial Mavens.

My wife enjoyed watching Gail Vaz-Oxlade and her show where she helped folks who are in dire financial situations by helping them control their spending. The result, after Gail has studied the spending habits (and the family’s lifestyle), is she would give them their discretionary spending budget in Mason Jars, which held the cash for them, to show them just how much they had. The family was not allowed to spend more than what they were given, and that was Gail’s challenge (she rewarded them if and when they succeeded). From this we learned pretty much every week, Cash is King.

Cash is King

In a lot of businesses these days a favorite expression is “Cash is King” to point out that companies that have cash assets, are usually stronger companies, but for this argument, I believe that Cash is the King of budgeting tools.

If you are having spending issues, you must divorce yourself from your credit cards and especially your debit or direct withdrawal card as well. This is how I lived more than half of my life, since I didn’t have a credit card ’til I was into my twenties and the entire debit system didn’t come into play until my early 30’s, (heck Sunday shopping is a new thing to me, but let’s stay on topic).

Take care of your large bills on  your budget and pay them however you do (cheque, on line, or in the bank), but your discretionary spending like:

  • Groceries
  • Entertainment
  • Clothes
  • Mad Money (coffee, eat out, etc.,)

These (and others you can think of) you should use cash to control. The idea is  that once the cash is gone, you can’t spend any more.

Do I Practice What I Preach ?

This is how I lived as a student (and every other one of the folks I know of my age, tell the same story), if on Monday you looked in your wallet and you had $10 to last ’til Friday, you figured out how to live on it, and that was it. You couldn’t cheat, you couldn’t overdraft and you didn’t put it on a credit card for later payment, you lived with it.

I am attempting to live this frugal lifestyle now to slow down some of my “free spending” bad habits that I have picked up over the years, and it does seem to be helping out a little.

Remember, cash is the ultimate budgeting tool, whether you use mason jars, envelopes, your sock drawer or whatever, as your storage area.

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