I’m not exactly sure whether the planets were in alignment last week and we were having some kind of quantum irregularity but holy mother of G what a week it was! Maybe it was my own fantastic planning skills that caused some of the craziness but both my work and personal life were insane last week. I’m surprised considering it was March break and most people were not at work, the parking lot at the office was emptier than usual.
I decided in all my brilliance to schedule not one, not two but three financially minded activities last week for a total of three hours of my time consumed. It did have a happy ending however, I have saved some extra moolah, which is awesome, and my taxes are being prepared.
Bank Visit # 1
When something’s broke, it’s time to fix it. As you may (or may not) have read in my posts at the end of February I was on vacation in Hawaii and had some troubles with my banking. Nope this one’s not about the disappearance of the $4500 credit card payment, this is more fun! US BANKING.
As a Canadian who travels to the US at least once or twice a year, I prefer to be able to have access to US Funds and US credit, it just make life easier. So I got the great idea that I would try out the Borderless service available at TD Bank. It ended up being a not so great idea. Why?
Even though I had a US Dollar VISA, because it was issued by a Canadian bank, some merchants would not accept it. This was such a downer because this meant Costco would not take any of my cards and they don’t take cash for gasoline. Super sad face. My only back up was to use my father’s card, which are issued by a US Bank, which made it a little harder to keep track of my running total for gasoline. I have super awesome parents that when I ask them with a very serious face how much I owe them; they give me a much lower number than I’m sure it actually is. Awesome but not so awesome sometimes. I am an adult and even though they’re my generous, loving parents who occasionally embarrass me but I’ve gotten over it, I still want to PAY THEM IN FULL!
To the point, I spent an hour and a half in the branch Thursday evening paying off my US Dollar VISA, closing my Borderless plan and then re-opening everything with TD Bank North in the US over the phone.
TIP: Make sure you have your passport number and expiry date when you open US Bank accounts, they’ll ask for it. I had fun trying to find mine!
Awesome outcome from this visit: my bank fees are now $10.95 a month instead of $29.95! In addition, my US banking is all free provided I keep a $100 minimum balance in the account each month for the full month. By the way, do not get me started on how much lower credit card APR’s and bank fees are in the US. When the rep told me the fee structure, I just about fell off my chair, then got rather angry at how ripped off we are in Canada. Hello? Canadian Government? It took you ten years to figure out cell phone fees in Canada, will it be another ten for banking fees?
Bank Visit # 2
When did I see you last? After almost four years since being divorced, on Friday, I finally made it into this bank to remove the “Mrs.” from everything and change beneficiary info. I know, I know, I can hear you all shrieking, big boo boo on my part, I thought I had covered everyone I had dealt with but not so. This bank was a bit more difficult than the rest; they demanded a copy of my divorce decree in order to remove the Mrs. – how odd is that? This bank and Aeroplan are the only two that demand it.
Awesome outcome of this visit: This visit took only 20 minutes but beneficiary and the “Mrs.” are now taken care of.
It is my second year using an accountant and I don’t think I would ever go back to doing it myself. I have someone who is reputable, honest, claims what he can and doesn’t charge crazy fees. My taxes this year have a big change thanks to my employer who decided 3 days before RRSP cut-off to remove the Home Office allowance from our T2200 forms. I had a fairly lengthy rant in this post about what happened but for safety’s sake, I’ll sum it up in one word: Disrespectful.
I am thankful that the home office allowance really doesn’t affect me too much because I’m living with family; the square footage I can claim for an office is minimal and I don’t have a mortgage.
The crazy week caused me to have a complete meltdown on Friday night, which had me calling my family on Saturday to rant, watching all 6 hours of Season 1 of Downton Abbey (I’m hooked by the way), and missing my Saturday Style blog post. Thankfully, by Saturday evening I was all Zen, calm and relaxed after soaking in a hot bubble bath and reading Tony Robbins Re-Awaken the Giant Within.
Thanks to Tony, I have established that Something must change (finances, job), I must change it and I can change it. I figure if I keep meditating each night on that simple mantra, I will get there!