Monday, 19 December 2011

A helpful banker

There are few things in life that are more grown up than making a consultation appointment with your bank. By doing this it means that you want to consciously discuss inflation, overdrafts, credit rating putting you in the black or red, insurance, bonds and monthly direct debits. If, like me, you've never been particularly good at handling money or understanding the financial world, this step into adulthood whereby you're going to have a suited fella talk at you about APR rates and so on is somewhat daunting. The last time I did it was before I went to university and I took my Dad with me to act as jargon buster.

That was six years ago, when I set up my student account and I didn't need Dad to translate 'a free young persons rail card for five years' to know I was getting a good deal. Now though, I've been graduated for two years and thought that maybe it was time to get a more grown up account, with fewer exciting benefits like free travel and exchange them for sensible grown up advantages like content insurance and preferential travel exchange rates. I also thought I was obliged to give up the 'student' on my account. Perhaps this is just another symptom of the quarter life crisis of wanting to radically change something so it looks like I'm being authoritative and sorting my life out.

It didn't really work though.

I knew it wouldn't when I walked into the room and the adviser looked no older than 19. As if discussing money wasn't intimidating enough, I was now to feel humiliated by being spoken to by a young woman that has a better grasp on finances than me. Fine, so be it. I put on my best, 'I know how to handle money face' in the hope I could convince her I knew what I'd be doing with my money over the last five years. I went in with it clear in my mind, strictly no credit cards and no overdraft. The idea of having a credit card or overdraft frightens me because if I have money then I spend it for the sake of spending it. I'm pretty pants at saving, so spending money I don't have, then finding the money I don't have to pay back the already borrowed money, means I'm set for failure!

It started off friendly enough with plenty of questions about yours truly so she could build up a profile. We discussed how I'd recently left me job; how a regular sustainable income would be tricky; how I'd like to find a job; how actually I'd like to up sticks and go travelling by the end of the year. It quickly became apparent that I was to find myself in a catch 22 situation, whereby she was offering me all these spangly credit card deals and money off package holidays, of the Silver or even executive Gold style account that would cost me a mere £12 a month and be debited straight from my balance, but I needed regular income...

Ah, now there's a problem. I just left my job on Friday to fulfil my wild, fanciful dreams of becoming a writer...again.

It was half an hour later that we discovered this and then my adviser girl came clean and said that my student account was as good as any current account they have to offer. All round the houses questioning, and promises of loans to enable me to go travelling, or the fab way to build up credit rating, were all just an adult step too far away. Plus I wasn't willing to pay over a tenner a month for an account just in case I decided to go on holiday or my brick of a Nokia phone breaks.

And so it was decided, despite my best adult intentions, that keeping my simple, straightforward student account was the best way forward for someone so indecisive about the direction of their life. Not such a productive day.    

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