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I have talked before about how I learned so much about managing money from working at a bank. One thing of value I learned is how important it is to see a banker at different life stages (aka the financial life cycle).
Depending on what you are doing and your circumstances at the time, you may be missing out on a lot of benefits you don’t even know about simply because you haven’t sought the counsel of a personal banker!
For example, did you recently graduate college and are receiving a rather high salary? (I know, everyone’s dream, right?!) Your bank may have an account specific to high salaries where you can receive extra benefits such as high interest earnings, a free safe deposit box, and free cashier checks. You really don’t know what options are available to you until you go into your bank and talk to someone.
Take a look at the list of life stages below and see where you currently fall. With each of them (other than Birth) I am going to talk to you as if you have just entered that particular stage of life. If you’re not there yet, think about what steps you can take once you are!
I always enjoyed seeing parents come into the bank with their newborn to open a savings account for them.
Getting accounts started early for kids means they can start saving money before they can even walk or talk! This isn’t meant to spoil them, but it’s a way to help them learn good money management skills early on. For instance, and obviously when they’re a bit older, having a savings account will help them learn to save money. You can teach them where that money came from so they know it didn’t just appear.
Eventually, they can learn how to put money into their account. For example, help them determine how much of their birthday money they can keep to spend and how much they should put into their savings account to save.
When you get your first job
Getting your first job is a great time to open up your first checking account. You can start learning how to use a debit card and be able to take money out of your account without permission from your parents.
Keep in mind that assuming your first job is before you are 18, your parents will still have ultimate control over your bank account and can take away your privileges at any time. However, they should start putting trust in you to go into the bank by yourself and make transactions on your own behalf. After all, since you’re finally making money for the first time, you should be able to be somewhat independent with it!
If you don’t happen to get a job by the time you are 16, I would still suggest talking to your parents about opening up a checking account. You can still learn how to manage money!
High School Graduation
You’ve done it! You’ve graduated and you’re finally ready to be independent!
It’s time to get a bank account in your name only, instead of you and your parents. In fact, you can do this as soon as you turn 18, even if you haven’t graduated high school yet.
Now if you’ve received a lot of money for graduation, before careful with it! Consider saving some or all of it by putting it into your checking or savings account. First of all, it’s just wise not to spend all of the money you receive. And secondly, you will want to have money in the bank whether you go away to college or right into the workforce.
Talk to your banker about the best account for you with it being your first one independently and the fact you will have it if you’re away at college.
Congratulations! After almost an entire lifetime of being in school, you are finally ready to begin your career.
This is another time you have possibly received a lot of money gifts. That money needs somewhere to go! If you’re anything like me, you might want to use it to start paying off your student loans, should you have any. You can also consider saving some of it and using the rest for something fun. Hopefully by now you’ve been taught well how to manage your finances so you can divvy it up that way. Of course considering you have students loans, putting it all all toward those makes a lot of sense, but I think you’ve earned a little fun too. 🙂 Just be smart about it!
Assuming you get a job right after graduation, this is also a time where you will likely be receiving a larger salary than you have in the past. Depending on what your salary is, there might be a better checking or savings account available to you the standard one. You might even want to consider investing money. Talk to your banker about what options are available to you.
Not all, but most couples that get married join their bank accounts. This could be one account merging into the other or opening up a whole new account. It would be wise to go to the bank and discuss with a banker some of the options available to you now that you’re married.
Also, are you going to start saving for a home? There are savings accounts specifically available to help you do that. Or perhaps you’re in a place where you’re ready to actually purchase a home and talking to a mortgage adviser would be beneficial.
This kind of goes along with the newborn life stage I mentioned earlier. When you have kids, one of the best things you can do for them is open a savings account in their name. That way when they reach an age to begin learning how to manage their money, they will actually have money to work with.
You might also want to look into college savings or investing accounts for your kids so they are prepared financially immediately after high school.
A lot changes when you retire! You might want to consider investing more of your money or moving your accounts into one without minimum deposit requirements, depending on what money you may or may not have coming in.
Also, are you going to keep your home or consider downsizing? How about moving to a different climate altogether? Your banker will know the best options available to you.
Don’t think you have to be in one of these life stage to see a personal banker. Not at all! In fact, it is in your best interest to see a banker at least once a year for an account review. Not only could there be minor changes in your own life that you have no idea could provide you more benefits at the bank, but the bank may have new options available to you.
Some banks require you to set up an appointment to meet with a banker. It really just depends on how busy your bank is so a good idea would be to call them first.
And don’t think that national banks or credit unions always have the best benefits. There are plenty of local banks out there that have very good options for you that they didn’t have the last time you checked. And sometimes having that local, know-you-by-name kind of feel is a nice touch. 🙂
So if you have just entered one of these life stages or haven’t met with a personal banker in over a year, what are you waiting for? Make that appointment today!
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Eve Mitchell says
It’s so crazy that personal banking is important at every stage in our lives. I’m hoping to get better at personal banking. Maybe a professional could help me do it.
Vivian Black says
It is a good idea to seek the counsel of a personal banker. I loved the advice to college graduates. It is a good idea to put the received money gifts somewhere constructive. Starting to pay off student loans is a good fit. A professional banker who has been in it for long enough to know the details is something to look for.