The benefits of financial knowledge
One of my children was born with a lifelong disability. We filled out the paperwork and had him approved by Revenue Canada for the disability tax benefit. We then went to our bank to open a RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan) for him. At the bank we found out it is their one financial product that you have to open through telephone banking. We went home and called the number. Because of the way things are set up my wife is the one who had to open the account. While she talked to the bank’s representative I listened in on the other phone. From the get go the guy was trying to disuade her from opening the account. He said things like “This will take a while.” “You can phone back any time.” And kept questioning if she was ready to open it today. She countered each time that it was her day off, she had plenty of time, had all the documents needed and just wanted to get it done. The bank rep continued to stall for close to 30 minutes and told us he had seen many of these things get returned and perhaps it would be better to wait until he is 18 so he could open it himself. Once he said that I got on the phone and asked him what his reluctance was? After a stern pep talk he started to put some effort into the assignment and the account got opened.
My purpose for posting today is to remind people to get involved in their own finances so they know if the person at the bank, or wherever, is actually working on their behalf. This guy, to be honest, sounded like he was not confident in his job, did not like dealing with women and had the bad habit of telling clients what the government was going to do (or not do). When you need an answer go to the source with the question. Bank employees do not work for Revenue Canada and, therefore, should not be telling to you what the CRA is going to do with your file. Know the benefits and drawbacks of each financial product so you know which ones are best suited for you. Do not let the personal biases of the bank employee discourage you from getting what you need. (Another bank employee tried to disuade my wife from investing in growth mutual funds thinking GICs were the safer bet. If my wife had listened to her she would have missed out on over 300% growth in her investments during the last ten years). So the account was opened, our deposits to it have begun and on Friday we received a statement showing the government had made their matching contributions. If we had listened to the bank rep on the phone and not opened the account my child would have lost out on $3700 this year. If we had waited until he was 18 to open the account he would have missed out on over $30,000 in contributions and projected growth.
Take care of yourself and your finances and be careful about whose advice you take.