I'm rather amazed by our modern financial system. One the on hand, banks seem to go to great lengths to make life difficult for us: fees to visit a teller, minimum balances in accounts, annoying business hours, nasty IVR (interactive voice response) systems that pass for "customer service", and stupid procdeures.
On the other hand, there are a few things that are shockingly easy to do. For example, I'm in the process of consolidating some of my accounts. I asked my brokerage (Charles Schwab) to send me the necessary forms. It turns out that all it takes to get them to extract my assets from another institution is to fill out a one page form and mail it back in a postage paid envelope.
Saying it's a one page form is really not quite accurate. It's one page, but the amount of information required from me could fit on a Post-It note.
- account number at each institution
- social security number
Oh, and I have to check a box that says it's a brokerage account, and another one that says "transfer all assets".
Now, the cynical side of me says that it's this easy because banks and brokerages really want you to put more of our assets under their roof. But I just don't care. It's so damned easy--like it ought to be.
Posted by jzawodn at October 20, 2004 10:25 PM