His only question was "does it have payWave"?
I ditched Australian owned banks years ago because I was annoyed that despite me being a GREAT customer for my entire adult life - by great I mean having an overdraft because they offered it to me at the age of 18, always being in OD and then years later when we had a mortgage, paying them oodles in interest. But when as I got older I actually had decent sums of money sitting with them they quibbled over matching another banks term deposit rate. They needed to come up a measly .15% and they refused. I was pissed off so I not only took my $50,000 term deposit to another bank, I took ALL of my money to a new bank. The day I walked in to transfer it all out they were tripping over themselves to get me in front of their “banking specialist” (or whatever title they currently have). Nope, too little, too late. I moved to TSB.
TSB opened in New Plymouth in 1850 and it remains 100% New Zealand owned and independent with Donna Cooper as CEO. It has won the Canstar Blue Overall Customer Satisfaction Award five times and the Consumer NZ Customer Satisfaction award for Banking three times. They beat the Aussie owned banks hands down. They have branches, but I’ve never been in one, everything is doable online and they have excellent email or phone service if I need help with anything.
Even though I am sceptical about banks I have to say that I’m happy with TSB. Amazingly when you ring this bank, a PERSON answers the phone. And when you ask to speak with a particular person they say “I’ll put them on”. And they do, they don’t cut you off! Incredible.
Side note: I had to phone another bank that I hold my Visa card with last week but after three attempts I gave up after being told there was a 40, then a 20, then a 40 minute wait. So, I did what they wanted me to do in the first place, I went online. My interaction with their chatbot ended with me typing “you are f*cking useless”; it thanked me for my feedback. So I waded through their website to try to answer my question, which I eventually did, but the process sucked and was another reminder that I need to ditch this bank too (which I am in the process of doing).
Right, to the point of this blog post…
My 16 year old nephew has arrived home from living in Australia for the last 4.5 years and he needed a New Zealand bank account, so I said I would help him out if he wanted me to and it was obvious (to me at least) that he would use TSB. I’m learning a whole lot about teenagers since he came back and moved in with us for a couple of months. After our initial discussion, absolutely nothing happened. I incorrectly thought he might drive this process... So, I talked to his parents, who smiled a very knowing smile, shrugged and said “if he wants it, he can organise it”. They know the habits of a teenager only too well it seems. So, they talked to him and...nothing happened. I didn’t want to be the pushy auntie but time was ticking here.
An aunt who loves anything personal finance related COULD NOT BEAR leaving a 16 year old in charge because I knew by then that absolutely NOTHING would happen. It turns out he is an awesome kid with a wicked sense of humour and a love of soccer and zero interest in how banks work (what teenager does?)
So, in early September, I devised him his very own “master banking plan”, with four accounts each for a different purpose and presented it to him. His only question was “does it have payWave, I must have payWave”. Very important as entering your pin is so 2017.
This is a tricky process because he is not my son and I don’t know his habits as well as my own daughter. With my daughter I’ve spent 10 years teaching her about money so when the day comes for her to have her own bank accounts it will be an easy transition from piggy banks all over the house to piggy banks, well, in the bank. She will understand why she has different accounts and the purpose of each. And above all I know she will have the restraint to continue to save 50% and only spend the money set aside for spending.
With my gorgeous 16 year old nephew, uummm, I’m just not so sure.
I emailed the bank and ended up with Madie (not her real name) looking after us.
This took me weeks to bring together because I had to get a 16 year old boy motivated enough to take an interest (I pretty much failed), I had to get his parents to find appropriate paperwork (not helped by the fact they have just moved countries and didn’t have all the bits of paper they needed handy) and I had to get myself organised.
I like working to deadlines and when there isn't one then things can drag on a bit!
He needed documents which required a JP to verify (which I made him organise), he needed to track down his IRD number, his passport, and to fill out a little paperwork which I scanned back to the bank. Then we needed him to speak to the bank which I had to organise around school and soccer and eating the entire contents of my fridge and pantry.
But, we got there in the end!
He now has four accounts - which is potentially three too many for a kid who just wants access to cash so he can spend it all. Some of your may recognise that I’ve used The Barefoot Investor as a base for setting these accounts up for him:
All pay (when he gets a job) goes in here
Spending money that has an eftpos card attached to it (turns out he is too young for a debit card/paywave). Suck it up sunshine and wait till you are 18!
Short term savings account (saving for a car?)
Long term savings account (saving for university, house deposit...)
Once pay hits his number one account he will put 20% in spending, 30% in short term and 50% in long term. Working with Madie we put some restrictions in place so he can only transfer money INTO his short and long term savings but he can’t transfer it back out again unless he contacts the bank by email or by phone. We have made it deliberately difficult. This is to prevent him standing at the counter at Dominoes, realising he has drained his spending account and just transferring money into it.
Once he gets an income (birthday money from his Granny and Aunt will only last so long) we can set up some automatic transfers but for now it relies on him moving money from his pay account into these accounts - at which point we run the risk of him spending it all BUT he is 16 and it’s time for him to learn that if he does spend it all there will be consequences - like being broke.
Is this elaborate set up going to play like this in his mind:
One account with a eftpos card attached and BLA BLA BLA for the others.
All he cares about is if he can buy a $5 pizza from Dominoes.
BUT this could really play to his advantage because if we set it up right, with money being automatically transferred into other accounts that he can’t access then he is going to be so focussed on how much he can spend out of one account - he won’t even remember the others being there and the money is going to accumulate without him realising it!!! We can only hope.
One question I specifically asked Madie is “when he turns 18 will TSB start offering him credit cards?” The answer was an absolute NO which I was pleased about and is another reason why I like this bank over others who actively search out newbie bankers and offer them credit which is what happened to me. I want him to understand that borrowing money is NOT an option. Another thing I really liked about dealing with Madie was that she repeatedly referred to our Master Plan (which I had emailed her) - at least someone appreciated the wonder of it!
So finally, after Madie and I emailing and chatting for weeks (let me stress again that WE were the hold up, not her) she ran him through things on the phone and got his pin set up and online banking details sorted. I waited patiently as they spoke but all I could hear from him was “uh huh, yip, ok, no. Thanks”. The “no” related to her asking if he had any questions.
Then I received a final email telling me to step aside! After helping get him underway it’s all over to him now and I can no longer act on his behalf (unless he gives me authority to). He was pretty excited to have it all done, I know, because he told me so. He said “Thanks”. IF he does follow this master plan then this setup will work well for him for years to come, so it will be interesting to see how he goes with it and of course I will willingly help him if and when he asks. He won’t ask, so I’ll have to pry instead. I’m learning how 16 year old boys operate.
Then over the following weeks we did a number of things. We addressed the small matter of income. We set about creating him a resume and getting his application in at New World so he can get some money coming into these accounts IF they give him an interview that is...He told me he is pretty awesome and would be an asset to any workplace…Then I drove him to an empty car park, got out and told him to have a go at driving. Then I cooked him his favourite dinner WITH pudding. Then we even went for a WALK together and talked! I thought teenage kids were meant to be horrendous, this one is actually a decent human being and I’m a very lucky auntie!
I refer to him as a kid and he corrects me by saying “no no no auntie Ruth, I am a YOUNG ADULT” (honestly he is completely mocking me here). I’ve worked out that ‘young adults’ certainly need to be trusted by their elderly aunt (44) to make the right decisions, but they also need help and guidance that points them in the right direction and I was pretty happy with being able to help him. And for all his disinterest and mocking I know that he was pretty happy that I sat down and helped him too.
I wrote this blog about four weeks ago and I’m pleased to say that things have been going well for him. He has not started at New World BUT he has picked up some other part time work and he is actually using the banking system really well, with a few tweaks here and there (PROUD Auntie!). And I’ve also been able to do some homework because just last week I received and read the new The Barefoot Investor for Families book and without realising it I have actually done a lot of things right with my nephew. Watch this space as I will review the book and give a couple of copies away in the next week or two.