Some comments from last week

Ramit Sethi

Last week’s post produced over 30 comments from readers.

My favorite:

For everyone who is saying they are stressed or worried they might lose money investing, this week is not about WHERE to invest your money.

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This biggest hurdle you can overcome is just getting started. Don’t let irrelevant details get in your way.

Dont worry about index funds or stocks, just open a high-interest bank account. Dont worry about whether to use ICICI, PC, ING… just pick one and open an account (you can always change later).

The important thing is to get your cash in one place, so you know what you have available.

My least favorite:

Reader: I’m a little frustrated right now. I have plenty of money, but up here in canada, ING is only paying me 2.75% (and last year it was a lot less). I want to invest somewhere that will at least beat inflation, but.. how? I literally don’t know *how* to do anything. ING offers a mutual fund, and I could probably call them up and move money into that – but it looks like it passes through so many hands it wouldn’t be worth it. I have no idea how to get at stocks or index funds. and all the info online seems to be for americans, not canadians. I don’t want all my money eaten up in fees… but I just don’t know what to do. everyone I talk to gives different, conflicting advice, and most of them probably have no idea what they’re talking about…

Ramit: Well, instead of doing nothing, why don’t you call up the right places? Call up Datek, Etrade, Vanguard, etc, and ask them.

Reader: I really don’t like using the telephone. really, really stressful. besides, wouldn’t they just tell me to buy their stuff? it’s hard to trust any company when everyone’s talking about how the fees are bad, how they’ll take most of my money… my uncle keeps saying I should give him all my money and let him invest it in stocks, but I don’t think that’s a good idea either… 🙂

Well, what can you do.

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  1. Mike

    If you are to scared to pick up the phone and call a bank perhaps you should just hide your money under the mattress? Call more than one bank and see what they same, some of what each bank will tell you will be the same, and use that advice as a starting point.

  2. Jennifer

    Just curious . . . how much is inflation in Canada? Wasn’t Canadian money really strong last year because of our energy needs here in the US?

    Also, didn’t Canadian ETFs make like 16% last year? Hasn’t Mad Money Jim Craemer been turning especially red in the face over some robotic solar power stock up there?

  3. jim

    The phone is probably one of the least stressful of interpersonal interaction because you don’t actually have to see the person you’re talking to. Plus it’s a bank… they’re faceless emotionless corporations, you’re not asking them out on a date.

  4. srh

    For many people, for a variety of reasons, placing or receiving a phone call is one of the most stressful activities they may encounter in a typical day.

    I don’t think that justifies financial paralysis, but perhaps for this individual it may be useful to find a brokerage that offers local services, like Schwab.

  5. brent

    I don’t mind calling my broker on the phone but it saves me time to do all my communication with him by email. just email around and find a broker who will promptly reply.

  6. blah

    people who do not want to do anything don’t deserve to make money.

    even if you are irrationally afraid of making calls, there are so many other things you can do.

  7. Jim

    Unfortunately, this guy almost seems too bad to be true. But I’m sure we all know friends (yes, friends!) like this. So the real issue is, how do we get them to get out of this mindset? Whether it’s being afraid to “pick up the phone”, or put away money in ING b/c it’s not “instantly accessible and what if I need it and blah blah blah” — WAIT! isn’t the meaning of savings that you don’t necessarily need it on a minute-to-minute basis?

    We need to come up with a way to appeal to these guys. Any ideas besides referring them to this awesome blog?

  8. Chani

    srh: thanks for understanding. my posts may not be well-worded… but at least I’m trying, right? actually, while one of my friends is only comfortable with banking in person, I don’t like that much either. I’m a lot more comfortable online (and at work I simply have no other choice, actually).

    That’s why I was looking for websites for canadians – and like I said in one of my other posts, I eventually found them.

    as for getting more people to put money in ING… I really don’t know ;P I keep reminding my friends that they shouldn’t be paying bank fees, but they just never do anything 🙂 laziness is a powerful force, and it’ll always be around.

  9. Mike

    Perhaps we could tie them up and force them to give us their account numbers and passwords so we can set up a savings account with an automatic savings plan that they can’t touch? That way they can’t touch the money or stop it…. Well back to reality, if you find a chart that shows the value of compound interest ( has some) that might peak their interest.

  10. Ansel

    Ok, Ramit… I am waiting for you to KICK MY FINANCIAL ASS!! **chomping at the bit over here to get started**

  11. Jonathan

    Personally, I’m more comfortable doing business in person than over the phone, but still, I have no problems using a phone when I need to.

  12. Alex Boutet

    That telephone illness is really sad. I suffer it myself, and I find it difficult to order a pizza.

  13. Karen K

    I have a phone phobia too, so I actually put on my task list items such as “Call credit card companies and ask for lower rates.” It does not get to come off the list til I do it. So then I pick a day that I know will have me feeling well rested and at my best, force myself to sit down, and make the calls. I give myself a break and only make myself do this type of thing once a week or so. Twice if I’m feeling really good.

    I order my pizza online, though. 🙂