We’ve all got pet peeves, you know those little things that drive you crazy in life. I have a few. Lately I started thinking about some of my financial pet peeves. These are my top three.
1. Sales tax on used items
When someone buys a new car they pay sales tax on it. It often works out to thousands of dollars. If that same car is sold a year or two later, the next buyer also has to pay sales tax. In fact every time that car is sold, the person buying it has to pay sales tax even though the tax was paid in full at the time of the first purchase.
One of the reasons I like shopping on Kijiji or Craigslist is so I can avoid paying sales tax. It doesn’t work when it comes to car buying but it’s a great way to buy other things without having to pay tax. The government shouldn’t be double dipping. Used items, including cars, clothing, furniture and other items should be free from sales tax.
Don’t even get me started on the proposed HST for Ontarians. Lets just say, if we ever do get a dog we’re seriously considering the names Dalton or McGuinty.
2. Bank fees
People should not have to pay to keep their money in a bank. Having an account should be free. Basic cheques shouldn’t cost you anything. By placing your money with a bank, you are letting them borrow your money and lend it out to others for a profit. Most banks charge a fee between $9.95-$13.95 per month for an unlimited chequing account. You do not have to pay this fee. Many of the banks have a minimum balance, often as high as $3000 where they will waive the fee. Other banks have a mulit-product rebate where you can get reimbursed on your bank fees by having a certain number of products with the bank.
If you pay bank fees, ask your bank how you can get them removed. If they won’t, there is always PC Financial. I’ve been banking with them for 10 years and I’ve never paid a bank fee, my cheques are free to order and I have unlimited chequing and debits.
At $13.95 a month for unlimited transactions, it may not seem like much but that’s $167.40 a year and $1674.00 over ten years. All for just keeping your money in the bank.
3. Items as ‘investments’
Have you noticed recently there is a trend that people are calling things ‘investments’ that clearly aren’t? I heard someone say the other day, “I couldn’t decide between the two sweaters so I decided to invest in the more expensive one.” A sweater is not an investment! You may have chosen to pay more for a quality item but it’s not about to start increasing in value. I hear this all the time. A car is not an investment unless it’s an antique that’s going up in value. Some items are questionable. I had a friend who collected comic books and swore they were a huge investment. They were probably worth thousands of dollars if he ever sold them. They are technically going up in value. Yet, they still sit in boxes in his basement. I once asked him if he had any insurance on his investment. He didn’t.
We all have pet peeves that drive us crazy. What are some of your financial pet peeves?
Kathryn works in public relations and training for a non profit. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Her passions include personal finance and adult education. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.