10 Things Working In A Bank Taught Me About Money

Hello, beautiful people and welcome to the first post in a category I’d like to introduce to my blog: personal finances. Hold up – before you all pack your bags and walk on out, I’ll try to keep it entertaining and it’s not going to be all the time. But honestly? Money is really fucking important and I think it’s so helpful to talk about.

And you know why? Because, before I started working in the finance sector, I had basically no concept of money and all the fun, critical, adult things that surround it. In fact, my whole idea of money was “do I have enough to afford that dress I want? Great, now it’s gone!”.

Over the past year, I’ve worked in super (Australia’s pension scheme, essentially) and at a normal bank’s call centre. During COVID-19, I’ve been working for the financial hardship team for said bank – so I’ve had quite a lot of exposure to personal finances. Exposure that has greatly changed my attitude on money for the better.

Today I wanted to share with you some of the biggest lessons working for a bank has taught me about personal finances – so none of us have to learn them the hard way!

1. Saving is important. (I know this is obvious, but I cannot emphasize it enough.)

If you’re anything like me, savings are probably a loose concept followed by “for”. Saving for a new laptop, saving for a holiday, saving for that fancy dress . . . I’ll be the first one to admit that the idea of saving money is generally synonymous to spending it.

Train yourself out of this.

Have a savings account with a different bank than your everyday current account. Chuck some money into it every payday and forget about it.

A great way to save money without realising is using a cashback app or browser plugin. Cashback sites offer you normally 1-5% of your order total back when you shop from an eligible store. (So you might earn $5 back on a $100 haul.) If you sign up for Rakuten Cashback through my link, you earn $10 off the bat – and they offer cashback on big names like Ebay, Amazon and Urban Outfitters too!

2. Old age poverty is real – and it is scary.

One of the most depressing parts of my role was speaking to 70 and 80 year olds who had $10 in their account, a personal loan repayment due and rent coming out next week. Old age poverty is real.

In our post-COVID times especially, we are not going to be able to rely on the government to support us in our old age.

I think this harsh reality is one of the biggest things that hit home the truth of saving for me. As a 21 year old, if my bank account hits flat I can get a new job. Hell, if shit really hits the fan, I could run home and live with my parents.

As an 80 year old woman, the work opportunities will be significantly less. The fallback options will be significantly less. I’ll be able to rely on a pension, hopefully . . . but what else?

3. It is easier to make money with money – make your money work for you.

One of the most infuriating things about working in a bank is witnessing the poverty gap in action.

If you have money, it’s easy to make more. You can chuck money into a term deposit and benefit from a higher-interest, guaranteed return at the end. You’re eligible for higher-interest bank accounts – hell, you can negotiated interest rates with banks if you’re ballsy enough!

One of my biggest take-homes is learn how to make your money work for you. Investigate term deposits, high interest accounts and even stocks to see if you can put your savings to good use and make money out of them.

4. Budgeting makes a massive difference.

I don’t feel like I need to say too much about this one – learn to budget, guys, it’ll change your life. (Well, your life savings.)

5. Check. Your. Credit. Score.

I know that some people will fall into the “I don’t want to borrow money or be in debt” camp – but, honestly, it’s such a good option to fall back on. Shit hits the fan real quick; it’s better to have the option to nab a credit card or a personal loan if you need one.

If you have existing debt, check your credit score. It’s not going to magically disappear over time and it’s something that can have a massive impact on your life.

Need a personal loan to start up your business? Credit score. Want to get a mortgage to buy your dream house? Credit score. Just lost your job, but you’ve got a new one starting in a month from now and you want a credit card to tide you over until your first payday? Credit score.

6. Not all debt is bad debt.

This ties in well to the previous point.

I think we all have a negative opinion of debt. We don’t want to be tied down by it and owing money sucks; not to mention, I think there’s a negative perception around having debt meaning you can’t manage your money.

While this can be true, it doesn’t always have to be.

Mortgages, for example. They’re a massive debt – but often are cheaper than renting and you’re paying for something you own.

A personal loan taken to start your business. It might be a debt  but if it’s something you can easily afford the monthly repayments on and you’ve got the start-up capital it would take you years to manually save . . . maybe it’s not a bad thing.

7. I 100% want a house, sooner than later preferably

And I suppose this also ties in with the previous point.

Before COVID, I didn’t particularly want a house. It’s a massive task to save up for a deposit, it meant (to me, at least) being more tied down than I like . . . and, like, what’s the point? To be honest with you, it seemed more like a power play to me than something useful. 

“Look at me, I have enough money to own land! I’m rubbing my belly as I eat bon-bons, hu-zah.”

Yep, nope, my opinion has completely swung the other way. Mortgages are often cheaper than rent – and you own your house at end. You own it. It might be 25 years from now, sure – but you know what you’ll be in 25 years?

Old. You’ll be old. You might want to retire. Hell, you might need to retire. And once you reach that age and, like I mentioned above, your options for making cash are wearing a little thin . . . don’t you think the security of not paying rent will be a big relief? I bloody do.

8. Having money doesn’t make you a fat cat – fucking save.

Look, maybe you’re all way more switched on than me – it’s not hard. But I had this work association of money = soul, sucking corporate greed.

I viewed attachment to money as being part of capitalist evil and viewed it very much in the sense of “money is there to have fun and be spent with! You can earn it back! Don’t be one of the evil, will-stomp-on-anyone-for a-bonus-cheque black suits”.

This is so dumb. I am so dumb. Having money doesn’t make you a fat cat, it just makes you someone that has money. That has some savings – that has some security. All of which are good things.

And with that (and a word count of 1,110 plus…) I will round this post off here! I hope you guys enjoyed this – well, as much as you can enjoy finance anyways. Are there any money tips you swear by? Do you agree with these ones I’ve learnt? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Peace,

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32 thoughts on “10 Things Working In A Bank Taught Me About Money

  1. Love this!! Thank you so much – I’ve literally just switched onto saving in the last couple of months, more so since COVID and all the shit that’s happening in Melbourne. I think I’ve finally trained myself out of saving purely with the intentions of spending, now just to save as much as I can! x

    1. DUDE it’s such a great mindset shift! I still really struggle with wanting to buy craft supplies bc they pay off longterm bc of blog revenue, but aside from that I’m trying to be reallll strict with myself x

  2. This was such a very insightful post! I am with you on saving money for the purpose of saving, not on spending it. Thank you so much for sharing these valuable lessons, Mia! 💗

    In saving money, one thing I go by is that no matter how much I get paid, I can save money out of it. Even a small amount saved from each paycheck can add up over time. It pushed me not to make excuses and make saving one of my priorities.

  3. This was such a very insightful post! I am with you on saving money for the purpose of saving, not on spending it. Thank you so much for sharing these valuable lessons, Mia! 💗

    When it comes to saving money, one thing I go by is that no matter how much I get paid, I can save money out of it. Even a small amount saved from each paycheck can add up over time. It pushed me not to make excuses and make saving one of my priorities.

  4. Such a great post! 💖 I’m worried about money too because I really need a job which I love and earn money. I also associate money with something negative sometimes but we all need it. You definitely feel more stable when you have it and save it too. Money gives you freedom too.

  5. Hi, I nominate you for Ideal Inspiration blogger award because of your inspirational writings. Please do check on my post.

    I love this article a lot, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  6. Mia, I am so proud of you! You have learned a lot of great lessons at a young enough age that you can make your money grow, and work for you. At 21 I was like that will be problem for my future self. I completely agree that saving sound be something we all do in general, even if that means taking 5 percent from every paycheck and transfering it directly to savings as well as setting realistic budgets to live well below your means. That way when life happens a flat tire, car problem, hospital bill, ect. you can cover it. Owning a home is also great because you can sell it for more money than you paid down the road.

    https://kerielaine.com
    Keri

    1. Thank you so much, Keri! I’ve definitely got a big way to go before I’m super financially responsible (I have a real tendency to buy craft supplies haha) but it’s something I’m working on 🙂 That’s such a great point – life always throws you some curveballs, it’s definitely useful to have some extra cash to lean on xx

  7. I have a percentage of my paycheck coming out of my account the day after my paycheck arrives in my bank account. A percentage goes into my Help To Buy ISA and another percentage goes into my savings account. That way I don’t even have to actively think about saving because it is automatically being done without me noticing! I think the best advice I have ever been given is to think of your paycheck as less than it actually is. That way, you end up having more money than you anticipated! xx

    1. This is such a great concept, Hannah! Also I definitely need to think of my paycheques as less than they actually are – that’s a real useful mindset. If you’d ever want to collab on a personal finance post let me know lovely – your tips are fab xx

  8. Oh wow, this post was incredibly eye opening. I personally did not know a lot of elders had absolutely no money. That’s truly an eye opener. Personally, I’m actually very good with my savings considering I’m only 18 and still living at home with my parents. However, I know as soon as I move out and start uni, those savings will have to grow because my God life is just expensive lol. Also, I have many times considered investing some of my money, mainly because I think the market is really interesting and I’d hopefully earn a little as well. Absolutely incredible post! Thanks a lot for sharing Mia xxx

    1. Thank you, Karen! I didn’t know about elder poverty either (or how little government support is really available) and it’s so heartbreaking. It’s great that you’re saving while you can – I wish I saved more when I lived at home haha!xx

  9. It is so cool that you work at a bank! It is so important to be financially educated. You need to be realistic with your money and how you spend on your lifestyle. I agree with you. Not all debt is bad debt. Some end up being an appreciation than depreciation.

    Nancy ✨ exquisitely.me

    1. Haha – I’m glad you think so, Nancy! It’s definitely an informative job 🙂 I couldn’t agree with you more – I genuinely think it’s pretty concerning the lack of financial education we get as kids. Managing your finances isn’t always an innate skill, it would be so beneficial for people to have more information around it all xx

  10. This post was so eye-opening and informative! My mom works in a nursing home and it’s true that many of the elderly come there with no money at all. It’s such a scary situation to be in when you might not have other options, like you said. Thank you so much for sharing this, I loved hearing your perspective on all of this!

    melissakacar.blogspot.com

  11. I’ve been thinking a lot about saving money lately and just generally setting myself up for success. You’re never too young to start, after all! My brother just saved up $650 and he’s ten. I’m pretty gobsmacked by that but I know I’ll catch up and probably pass that if I’m strict about saving and don’t get tempted to make a purchase!

  12. Years ago now, I made the mistake after college to put all my savings on a makeup course. It was so disheartening to have my account wiped to zero. It’s such a good point you made on saving just to save – not to save for…

    It’s easy to not think about old age and what problems may arise with money. I hate picturing myself with white hair and wrinkles (I keep hoping our generation is going to come up with a no more wrinkles formula) but it is good to prepare for when old age comes knocking xx

    1. Ugh, I’ve done similar things – it sucks to see the product of all your hard work just gone in an instant!

      And definitely… It’s easy to just think “oh that’s 40 years away, I’ll have sorted something out by then” but realistically it’s the product of everything we save and earn from now that builds up to that ages. I would LOVE if someone could develop an anti wrinkle formula, I need that in my life! xx

  13. Yes to everything!! We have been working on our savings not just for ourselves but for our kiddo too. And budgeting is so so so important too! It saves more money in the long run when done right.

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