Best of: The Safe Deposit Box, Our Friend

Another chest nut from the past, however, now with new rules, you will not be allowed to write off your Safety Deposit Box (next year starting March 31 2013 so in 2014) on your investments, keep that in mind!

The Safe Deposit Box, Our Friend

Safety Deposit Boxes

Safety Deposit Boxes

There are very few things in a bank I view as necessary, but one thing I do view as really important is my Safety Deposit Box. In my Safety Deposit box I keep bonds, an old stock certificate, and my wills. Why couldn’t I just keep those things at home? I don’t want to do that thanks. The advantages of a Safety Deposit box are many to me (my opinions follow):

  • I can write off the cost of my box rental as a carrying charge (in Canada you can do this), that’s good. I pay about $30 for the box, before my tax kickback on the write off.
  • This is OFF-SITE storage from my house. I should really put copies of my insurance policies in there as well, that way if someone breaks into my house or my house burns down (God forbid), I have a copy SAFE somewhere else. Might be good to put a home inventory in there too
    • I love writing in this blog, because many times I think of things while writing, I wouldn’t have!
  • The bank is more secure than my house ever will be. Safety of this information is really important, and someone else worrying about it, is one less thing for me to worry about.
    • Who is going to break into a bank and then find my safe deposit box, and then steal what is in it? Maybe someone reading my blog? Hope not :-).

These reasons are why I have a safe deposit box, and not a home strong box, or wall-safe to protect my important papers. No matter HOW you decide to protect your important papers and information, DO IT! Use a Safety deposit box, a strong box, a wall-safe, but keep those papers safe! It’s important. It’s all part of the Financial Plan.

 

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Love Week, Lent and Sunday’s Best

Valentine’s Day week was actually quite interesting for me. I learned a few things, including you should not leave roses out if you have a young kitten around (she destroyed an entire set). I also learned that people really love complaining about the price of bank services, as I learned when I cut loose on TD about their jacking up their fees for Safety Deposit Boxes and seeing the reaction from my readers (wow, didn’t know you folks were that passionate about your financial safe places). Maybe everyone has porno movies or dark secrets hiding in those boxes (as Hollywood seems to imply).

We also seem to be going into another European funk, with Greece spiraling further down the financial whirlpool. Let’s hope this does not keep up all year.

On my twitter feed I found some of my favorite “oldie but goody” posts, including:

Enjoy your Sunday, no video today, maybe I’ll find one during the week.

 

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Carrying Minimum Balance for Free Banking

I got an interesting comment yesterday to my “bitching” about the jump in service charge on the TD Safety Deposit Box, which got me thinking about another great trick the banks have devised, and that is the offering of “free” services if you carry a minimum balance in your bank account.

The comment almost seems from a TD employee (but that is only my guess), but the comment points out that if I was smart enough I’d just carrying the minimum balance ($5000) and then it would be:

“… ┬ásaving all these fees which would be similar to making the money in an investment….”

To me that is a staggeringly interesting leap of faith. By pinning down $5000 a year in an account which has a rate of return of 0.10% annually (that is from the TD web site) this is a great investment, because I have saved $60?

I think the author of the comment is also mistaken, since it isn’t really listed on the web site that the Safety Deposit Box Fee is waived for the Infinity account (it is for the Plan60 account and there was another one listed, which I can’t remember). I stand to be corrected, and I will be going into the bank next week and asking if this fee can be waived for the year (never hurts to ask).

Even more interesting is that I am not actually complaining about the Fee for the Safety Deposit Box (I Safety Deposit Boxes are a good idea if you want to keep your stuff safe remember The Safety Deposit Box: Our Friend ), I was complaining about the price hike, which was astounding. Yes, the fees for losing a key and getting your box drilled are penalties, which are your own fault (much like overdraft fees), but jumping the cost by 42% is a pretty big jump.

So the question I leave you good reader is this: Is leaving a large minimum balance in an account to avoid banking fees, really like investing that money?

 

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Dang: Almost Forgot Safe Deposit Box

Remember that your safe deposit box is no longer a valid carrying fee.

Yup, whilst doing the Great American Novel also known as my tax returns for my Family I went over last year’s returns to see what I had forgotten and sure enough from Line 221 leading to Schedule 4 in my return, I had forgotten to declare my Safety Deposit Box (again). I do this every year but this is why it is important to review your previous returns to see if you are forgetting things.

This may not seem that important but each of these small things really do add up in terms of money back from your taxes. What other things have I almost forgotten over the years?

  • Active child tax credits (and this year, if you are an Ontario resident, you get some there too).
  • Charitable donations, in general. Many of these get forgotten and if there isn’t a receipt (or you were given the receipt last April, and you forgot to file it), you can lose out on some easy refund money.
  • Moving Expenses, if you are a new grad and you moved to somewhere new to get a job, that is part of your taxes, and you should look into this. I forgot this on my first taxes (but back then we did it with pencils and forms, so I can be forgiven).
  • Rental costs if you are a student (or if you rent), remember that could add up depending on how much your income might be.
  • Actually filing your return!

Yup, I know more than a few folks, who have not filed their tax returns for the past few years. I am astounded that these folks haven’t, since they most likely are owed money by the government.

Don’t forget some of these easy credits or deductions and for gods sake, please file a return!

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How Secure Do You Feel?

It is better to BE secure than FEEL Secure

This past long weekend I spent an emotionally draining weekend seeing two of my daughters off to school, and throughout the weekend countless ideas for postings came up, but this one incident was the most awe inspiringly interesting story for me.

My daughter who goes to school in Waterloo lives off campus, but was changing where she lived this year. Luckily she had signed a lease only until May for last year, so we didn’t have to pay rent on an empty apartment, but it did mean we had to “store” some of her larger belongings (since we didn’t want to schlep them all the way back home). One of her roommates was in the same predicament, and they managed to find a storage place that seemed reasonably priced, so that was where her belongings were stored for the summer.

When we went to this establishment in the spring, it had a fearsome looking front gate with barbed wire on it, and the storage consisted of a group of containers (like those you might see on train flat cars, or on trucks), which had been divided up into “lockers”. Each locker was then locked so this seemed like a fairly safe place to leave some of my daughters larger belongings (a bed, her desk, some winter clothes, etc.,). We didn’t leave anything too valuable in there (i.e. no high tech toys, other than a printer), and we left Waterloo with the sense of security.

As the past weekend approached I pestered my daughter to make sure we had the code to get into the Storage Facility, and we had the key to get into the locker (and the address since I had forgotten that as well). We had all that was needed (we thought), and so moving day arrived (Monday, Labour Day), we got to Waterloo, got access to the new Flat unloaded the things from home she wanted to take to school. My Brother in Law showed up to help move the larger furniture, from the Storage Locker, so he and I went off to the facility (with most of the important info in hand).

This is the fun part

We pulled up to the facility, with security code in hand, but as we got closer I saw a note was taped over the keypad (alarms were going off in my head, envisioning the worst). The note said to call a number to get access to the facility (remember this is Labour Day, a holiday), and it was obvious there was no power in the Automatic Gate either.

I sat there ready to scream Blue Murder and other obscenities, but decided to remain calm, and called the appointed number. Someone actually answered the phone, and then started asking questions about the locker I was attempting to get access to:

  • Who is the locker registered to? I hadn’t registered it, and I didn’t know the name of my daughter’s family, so that wasn’t any good
  • What locker number are you attempting to get into? Um, the one in the corner, I could see it, but didn’t see the number
  • Then who are you sir? From that point on I had little confidence I was getting anywhere near the storage locker

Rightly so the young lady on the phone said she couldn’t give me access to the facility until I had the right answers for her, and for this I applaud her efforts (yes, I was swearing under my breath at the time, but stress does that to you).

As I sat there attempting to find some way around this young lady, a car rolled up to the gate, and a gentleman got out of the car. My Brother in Law got out and asked the gentleman if he was from the Storage Facility, and the gentleman said, “No I am just here to get my boat”. The gentleman walked up to the locked and secure gate and simply pulled it open, and walked back to his car and drove in.

I sat there gob smacked, this alleged secure facility could be breached by someone simply walking up to it and pulling the gate open?

I told the young lady on the phone that I would call back soon with the info so she could give me access to the facility, then my brother in law and I drove in, opened up the locker, took all of my daughter’s stored stuff out of the locker, and the rest of the move went just fine.

Why do I tell you this story? How many things in your life do you assume are secure and safe, are you sure they are safe?

I did in the end call back and leave my name and number in case there was any problems, but I was quite amused/alarmed at the security of this Storage Firm.

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