Act 159

Does the tail wag this dog?

Over the course of this exercise – that I’m almost half way through, I’ve done a great deal of research on banks, banking, economics, debt, blah, blah, blah. I’m starting to get sick of myself.

However, every now and then, I come across some great finds such as the Swedish Bank JAK that charges NO interest or today’s find – some simple advice from a Canadian financial planner at http://retirehappy.ca – which implies, to me at least, that the banks and credit unions are the tail that really wag this dog debt because they have changed their approach to how to sell, well, happy retirement, for one.

It disturbs and discourages me but even still, information is power if it does nothing more than lead to a better understanding.

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Act 57

Make sure the eggs in your basket come from different chicken farmers

Defying my debt is about admitting to mistakes. And I’ve made my fair share.

One of which, I think, was the supposed convenience of keeping most of my financial “stuff” at a single institution. I do most of my banking at a credit union. It’s convenient. I like the idea of being a member owner.

I have my mortgage, my personal accounts, my business accounts, my old (sniff) RRSPs, my life insurance, my mortgage insurance and even my car insurance in the same place. I could be wrong, but I think that cost me.

What I should have done was get a mortgage broker and an insurance broker. I should have placed my teenie tiny “wealth” portfolio somewhere else too.

It’s more complicated and it takes more time but I think I would have been better served by seeking out specialists in each area rather than relying on the admittedly kind and helpful generalists at the credit union. I know, for example, that my life insurance meeting led to a discussion about my home’s value and the “opportunity” to refinance to buy some RRSPs. I also know that my request for a line of credit led to a conversation about cashing in those RRSPs to “simplify” things. Had I been dealing with specialists, I think I would have got well, I won’t say better, that might be rude, but more specialized advice.

And money is a very specialized business. My specialty it would appear, is spending it. I admit that too. But things are changing one day at a time. Saturday I will meet with the credit union again to see about options available to me. And I’ll have my LVC (Lifetime Value as a Customer) tucked firmly in my wallet (see Act 47).