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Are you stuck in a love-hate relationship?

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our car. Usually, it’s love. Our car makes it easy to get where we’re going. It’s fun to drive. Sometimes our car even helps us make a statement about who we are.

Unfortunately, this relationship typically has a dark side. We don’t like having to negotiate a fair price with the dealership. Since most of us aren’t mechanics, we often must place our trust in a stranger to tell us what repairs our car needs and what they will cost. And, sometimes, our car simply refuses to go and we’re unable to get where we need to be.

This love-hate relationship is all too familiar to most of us, unless we’re among the lucky few that have a close, trusting relationship with someone in the automotive business.

OUR LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR BANK

Most of us have exactly the same kind of love-hate relationship with our bank. Our bank provides us with a safe place to keep our money. It provides us with loans to buy things. And it’s always happy to provide us with a new product when a new financial need arises.

However, as with our relationship with our car, there’s also a dark side. We don’t like having to negotiate for the best interest rate. Since most of us aren’t financial experts, we often must place our trust in a stranger to tell us what banking products are right for us. And, sometimes, our banking products simply fail to help us achieve our financial goals.

Once again, this love-hate relationship sounds all too familiar. However, unlike the car example, many of us do have a close, trusting relationship with someone in the banking business – we just don’t realize it.

THE COST OF GOING IT ALONE

Whether we need to or not, most of us choose to seek out our own banking solutions. And, since we’re not financial experts, we often rely on our bank to make recommendations. The problem with this approach is that we fail to shop around. In most cases, we simply accept whatever is presented to us. This means we may not get the best interest rate available or the best product to meet our specific need.

After years of “going it alone,” most of us end up with a hodge-podge of products that neither work together nor work towards our overall financial goals.

A study by two professors from Wilfrid Laurier University in 20011 shed some light on our banking habits. It concluded that the typical Canadian has, on average, at least nine separate banking products, spread between two different financial institutions.

In most cases, these products are not integrated in any way and fail to make efficient use of our money. And, because most of us don’t shop around when choosing these products, our banking ends up costing a lot more than it needs to.

In fact, this was borne out by a study in 2005 by Professor Moshe Milevsky of York University.2 He observed that the way Canadians are managing their debts (i.e. spreading them out among a range of financial products) was actually detrimental to their financial well-being and was costing the average family more than it needed to. He observed that, diversifying their debts over “space” (having so many different products) and over “time” (not paying them down with what money they have when they have it) was costing a family, on average, about $1,000 a year more.

But, even if we realize that we could do better, most of us don’t have the time or expertise to seek out the best banking products available. That’s the bad news. The good news is you’ve got someone who can do the work for you.

YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN THE BUSINESS

Whether you know it or not, you’ve got a friend in the banking business: your advisor. Many of us have never thought to ask our financial advisor for help choosing banking products, but there are some compelling reasons to approach your advisor for banking-related advice:

1. Your advisor is a financial expert. Your advisor can help you find the best banking products and the best interest rates. He or she can even access premium products and rates that may not be available to you on your own.

2. Your advisor knows you. Your advisor has an intimate understanding of your financial situation and goals. He or she can find, not only the best products but, the products that are best for your unique needs. Your advisor can even show you how to integrate your banking products with each other and with your other financial products to help you achieve your long-term goals more quickly.

3. Your advisor is on your side. Your advisor will help you find the banking products and solutions that are best for you. Your advisor can be your personal advocate in the world of banking.

ALL IT TAKES IS ONE CALL

If you’re not happy with the way you’re currently banking or if you’re not confident that you’re getting the best products and rates available, talk to your advisor. He or she may be able to help eliminate that “love-hate” relationship with your bank and show you banking, the way it should be.

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1 Independent study commissioned by Manulife Bank, 2002
2 To view this study visit, www.manulifeone.ca.

Content provided courtesy of Manulife Investments

© Copyright of this article is held by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife Financial). You are free to make copies of this article and to distribute it, either in paper form or electronically, as long as you do not change or remove any part of this work. All other uses are prohibited.

Manulife Investments is the brand name identifying the personal wealth management lines of business offered by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries in Canada. As one of Canada’s largest integrated financial services providers, Manulife Investments offers a variety of products and services including segregated funds, mutual funds, principal protected notes, annuities and guaranteed interest contracts.

WealthStyles, Manulife and the block design are registered service marks and trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it and its affiliates including Manulife Financial Corporation.

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Mark Huber is a certified financial planner, author, speaker, coach and successful online entrepreneur. Marks philosophy: "The best way to predict your future is to create it...." Marks top requested titles: "The 8 Top Simple Ways To Get More Leads & Sales For Your Business On LinkedIn" "How To Blog To Make Money" "How To Get Rid Of Credit Card Debt Fast" "How To Get Rid Of Your Mortgage And Create Wealth - The UnCanadian Way" Marks mission: "To teach, support and empower people as they transform their lives!"