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Simplifying my savings strategy

For the last 5 years, I’ve talked about how multiple savings accounts have worked for me. It helped me keep track of my money and stay organized.

But, I don’t think it’s working for me anymore.

When I was eliminating my credit card and student loan debt years ago, it made sense to keep my goals separate because I was organizing my finances so that I was maximizing my debt repayment. Then, when I got out of debt, I shifted my efforts over to creating and managing a system of automatic withdrawals into multiple savings accounts. This worked because I had defined targets and I could see exactly how much money I could spend on certain things – like travel or gifts.

However, over the past year, this system has turned into a nightmare. I have so much fluctuating freelance income that the automatic savings withdrawals I had originally set up just isn’t working anymore. I find that I’m making multiple manual transactions into my savings accounts every couple of days.

Plus, if I’m being totally honest, I have a handle on how to save money now. I no longer need to monitor my finances like a hawk because I’ve broken that paycheque-to-paycheque cycle. It’s taken nearly five years of hard work, but saving comes naturally to me now. Sure, I still input my data into Quicken every week, and I still calculate and tally up every single purchase. But at this point in my life, I think I could use some simplifying.

So my eight savings accounts have disappeared. In its place stands just two: my savings account, and my emergency fund.

Do you have just one savings account, or do you spread your money across multiple accounts?

Resolving my RRSP problem with TD Canada Trust

My issue with TD Bank has been resolved. But I feel like the only reason it was resolved (and resolved quickly) was because of yesterday’s blog post, and my irritated Twitter messages.

When I spoke to the last Mutual Fund rep on the phone on Monday, he suggested switching my e-series funds over to a Canadian Money Market fund. That way, they will be out of the tricky e-series funds as quickly as possible, and then I could go into a branch and someone would be able to cash them out for me using the Home Buyer’s Plan. The money would be in my account within 2 business days. Exactly the solution I was looking for: simple, quick, and straightforward. Why that took 4 days of frustration is beyond me.

Yesterday, as soon as I got into the office, another Mutual Fund rep called me. Actually, he might have been the Manager. He was nice enough, and said that he understood how frustrated I must be, blah blah blah. He said that I could fax him a letter stating that I wanted to withdraw my RRSPs, and they could authorize the transaction from the call centre – eliminating the need for me to make an appointment to go into a branch. Why, thank you!

So there you have it. I have the funds in my bank account now. And, since the stress of figuring out my financials is almost over, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Still. I can’t help but be angry that the solution to my problem was so simple, yet it seems like nobody offered to do anything for me until I escalated my issues to the internet. What’s up with that?

My (new) RRSP headache with TD Canada Trust

If you follow me on Twitter, over the past few days you will have probably noticed my irritated tweets about how much I hate TD Canada Trust at the moment. It’s just one problem after another with them it seems. And the only reason I’m still a customer is because their e-series mutual funds can’t be beat.

Anyway, this all started when I needed to withdraw those lovely TD Canada Trust e-series mutual funds out of my account for the First Time Home Buyer’s Plan. Seems simple enough, right? I’ve never heard of anyone else having a problem, so I was shocked to say the least when I ran into issue after issue. Here’s what I did:

  1. Made an appointment at a local branch. The man there – although nice enough – told me that he would not be able to help me get my mutual funds out of my account, because they were e-series funds. He even called his internal help desk to verify his answer. He told me to call Easy Line telephone banking and they can walk me through how to do it by myself online.
  2. I went online and tried to figure out how to do it myself. No such luck.
  3. I call Easy Line. They don’t know what to do, and tell me to go back to the branch. After I tell her that I was already at a branch, we spent the next 18 minutes going back and forth. Then the rep puts me on hold, and the call disconnects. Awesome!
  4. I call Easy Line again. They tell me that they can’t do anything, and to go to a branch.
  5. I go to a local branch, hopeful of a walk-in appointment. The person says all mutual fund transactions need to go through Easy Line.
  6. I call another local branch to make an appointment (because I think the previous person was wrong). He puts me on hold to find out. Then he never comes back (8 minutes on hold). I hang up.
  7. I call Easy Line again. The woman tells me to go back to a branch and have them walk me through the steps. UGH.
  8. I make an appointment and go into a branch. The woman calls her internal help desk, and then tells me she has nothing to do with e-series funds and to call Easy Line. Or I could do it myself online.
  9. I get angry on Twitter. The person monitoring TD’s Twitter account said she will get back to me and “we’ll figure this out together.” As of writing this article, I still have not heard from them (3 days).
  10. I call Easy Line. AGAIN. The guy who answered was kind of rude and tells me that it’s impossible to do it myself online, and doesn’t know why anyone would tell me to do that (even though TWO people told me I could do it online). He made me feel like it was my fault this was all happening, and went on to say that nobody at his department was going to be able to help me. He told me that I needed to fax a piece of paper into their offices in Toronto, and then the process can get started. A piece of paper!? Why didn’t any of the other billion people I spoke to tell me about a piece of paper and a fax number? Ugh.
  11. I fax in the piece of paper.
  12. I call Easy Line and finally get a rep who offers me a solution. Relieved. But it’s not over yet.
  13. Now, I need to make ANOTHER appointment at a branch in order to finalize the transaction.

So that’s where we stand, after 4 extremely frustrating days. If all goes according to plan, I should have $25,000 from my RRSPs sitting in my chequing account by tomorrow. Thursday at the latest. Fingers crossed!

Let me finish off by saying that it’s not the process that is irritating to me. I don’t care if there are 27 steps to cashing out my RRSPs. I’ll do them all and jump through every hoop necessary, just as long as I know exactly what I need to be doing. It’s the fact that nobody at the bank seemed to know how to help me. No one knew the answer to my questions, and I kept getting passed back and forth between Easy Line customer service and the branch. I felt like nobody cared about me or what I needed to get done. The only cared about the fact that they couldn’t help me, and never once offered a solution. Not only did it waste hours of my time, it left me feeling extremely frustrated and angry.

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