Banks are staying open longer to meet the needs of their busy customers, offering extended weekday hours and opening on weekends. You’d like to think they’d be able to deliver the same level of service during those off-peak hours, but my experience suggested otherwise.

My daughter and I walked into a TD branch Saturday afternoon looking to open a children’s savings account. We happened to be in the neighbourhood and had some time to kill. Well, that time was quickly wasted during this brief exchange with the teller:

  • Me: Hi there, I’d like to open a savings account for my daughter.
  • Teller: Yes we can help you. You’ll have to make an appointment with one of our advisors.
  • Me: I can’t just open the account now?
  • Teller: Sorry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Later I shared my frustration on Twitter, where many of my followers echoed similar experiences with not just TD but all the big banks in Canada:

It’s extremely disappointing that in 2018 I can’t open a simple savings account online, let alone when I walk into an empty branch on a Saturday afternoon. My nine-year-old doesn’t need to see an advisor – there’s no hope of upselling her a loan. C’mon, guys. Get your act together.

Weekend Reading Incompetent Banking Edition

Why though?!?

This Week’s Recap:

This week I brought attention to some of the most lucrative bank account promotions on the market today and, after checking under the hood, I explained why they’re not such a great deal for consumers looking to score a deal.

My Smart Money column at the Toronto Star looked at three ways to save on foreign currency conversion fees when you travel or shop online.

Many thanks to CBC’s Sophia Harris for interviewing me for her latest piece on Aeroplan. This week the loyalty program offered a glimpse into what their new program might look like beyond June 2020 when its long-time partnership with Air Canada ends. My thoughts: The new program sounds promising but many unanswered questions remain about the value of miles going forward.

Promo of the Week:

I used to pay to get my credit score from Equifax every few years to keep tabs on my score and look over my credit report. It cost around $25 a pop. Today you can get your credit score for free from online lenders such as Borrowell.

Checking your credit score with Borrowell is considered a ‘soft inquiry’ so it won’t affect your score. I make sure to check my credit score every few months, mainly because I tend to apply for a lot of credit cards and want to see how that affects my score (the answer is each credit card application lowers my score by about 10 points). I also look over my credit report to check for any inaccuracies.

My credit score usually hovers between 720 and 775. That’s not considered an ‘excellent’ score, but I’ve never had any issues obtaining credit or getting the best rate on my mortgage or other loans.

Weekend Reading:

Here’s the credit card churning secret: How to travel the world for free without ever damaging your credit score.

The federal Liberals announced that starting this month the Canada Child Benefit will be indexed to keep pace with the cost of living.

Also read: How families can get more from Canada’s Child Benefit.

This money diary post on the Refinery blog got the internet a-buzzing. It’s written by a young marketing intern in New York whose parents pay her $2,100/month rent and dole out another $1,100/month for living expenses.

A millennial reader asks PWL Capital’s Ben Felix whether she should go with Wealthsimple when she starts to invest.

Speaking of Wealthsimple, in his latest edition of Common Sense Investing Ben Felix tackles the topic of robo-advisors:

A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson wonders if expensive SUVs are ruining retirement savings?

Inflows into passive investments have slowed. Barry Ritholtz explains why index funds are going to be just fine.

Here’s Nick Maggiulli on rethinking how to view your time – the most important asset.

Equally as brilliant, Morgan Housel on optimism vs. complacency vs. pessimism:

Those are the three types of risk mindsets in the world:

  • Those who know stuff breaks and attempt to survive the breaks long enough to experience the eventual growth that occurs when people learn and improve from the breaks.
  • Those who think stuff doesn’t break and are broken when it does.
  • Those whose experience being broken leads them to believe there’s no such thing as eventual growth.

Optimist, complacentist, pessimist.

Warren Buffett has donated roughly $3.4 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities, most of which is going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A lesser known billionaire – former energy trader John Arnold – has also signed the Giving Pledge and promised to donate the bulk of his wealth to charity.

He retired at 52 with a $3 million net worth — here’s what a week of his spending looks like.

It’s easy to fail at personal finance. Here’s what smart rich people do with their nest egg.

A wife fears her husband’s retirement will destroy their happiness:

“I am afraid I will quickly become resentful of having to go to the office every day while he enjoys a never-ending vacation. I know I should not think this way, and I am sure a lot of women married to older husbands somehow find ways to accept this kind of arrangement, but what if I can’t?”

Finally, Global’s Erica Alini takes an in-depth look at reverse mortgages and asks if this is the solution if you retire cash-poor?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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