The reason why I have six bank accounts is because I hate making phone calls. If I didn’t mind making phone calls, I would have four bank accounts.
In general, I don’t much like the phone, but I specifically can’t stand making “transactional” calls — to inquire about a gas bill or a medical expense or to book a taxi or the cinema or even to order a pizza. Can’t stand it. This is why I order my pizzas from the place around the corner — they take online bookings, I never have to talk to them.
Relatedly, I actually prefer those automated caller systems where a computer guides you through choices rather than having to explain your query to a live human.
I haven’t a clue where this aversion comes from. No one relishes these sorts of calls, but I haven’t met anyone who dislikes making them as much as I do; except for my brother. He really hates them too. Either something happened to us in childhood, where we forced to make a ridiculous amount of phone calls, or we were born this way. Theories welcome.
I handle phone dread in one of three ways: I procrastinate about making the call for as long as possible (sometimes a year); I make someone else do it for me (easy when you’re with friends and they’re also having some of the pizza); I find a way to take care of whatever I need to take care of without using the phone (increasingly an option with online bookings and other e-interactions).
But as I was saying, if I didn’t mind making phone calls, I would have four bank accounts, not six. I’d keep two current and two savings accounts and close down the once-used now-dormant other two. I still have these because I don’t feeling like calling the bank to close the ones that I don’t need. I especially don’t feel like doing this when it costs me nothing to keep them and when this very phone call would lead to another annoying call — this time to the estate agents who collect the rent on my property. I’d need to tell them to transfer the money (after they take their big fact cut), to a different bank account, since they currently send it to one of the pointless bank accounts.
But in sorting out my finances, these few phone calls make a big difference because if I’ve learnt anything this year it’s this: some things should be automated and some things should be kept manual.
Things that should be automated include money going into the right account without my having to remember to sit down and sort my accounts. This is especially true of money I’m trying to save — the sooner it leaves my current account automatically, the better chance it has of surviving.
As for things best left manual? Stay tuned to tomorrow and next week’s assignment.