GC and I want to travel a little, maybe go to Newfoundland or New Orleans or San Francisco…anywhere, really. But when we have money we don’t have time, and when we have time we don’t have money, and sometimes we have neither. So we decided to start tucking a little bit of money away each month in a joint travel account.
Our appointment to open a joint account at the RBC Royal Bank was…peculiar.
We explained to the accounts manager what we wanted to do.
No problem, she said. She’d just create a new account for me, set up GC’s profile, and then make the account joint.
She then proceeded to pull up my account information and swivel the computer screen around to face GC and me. There was a list of my accounts and balances.
“Oh,” she said, almost as an afterthought. “Is it okay if he sees this?”
Since he’d already been looking at it for 10 seconds, what could I say?
“Okay,” I said.
I’m not particularly private about my financial information. I’ve always been a little puzzled by people who guard their financial information like it’s some kind of state secret, or who keep their salary a secret from everybody else. But I know there are plenty of people who would freak out if someone at the bank showed their financial data to someone else, so I was pretty surprised when she did it. Especially since she already knew by then that we aren’t married and we don’t live together.
But then she went even further. After setting up the joint account, she asked if I’d seen My Finances, which is an online Royal Bank tool for tracking one’s money. I said I had looked at it, but I didn’t use it.
She then clicked on it and showed GC and me exactly how much money I make, how I spend my money, and how much my net worth has decreased over time. We watched as bar charts and pie charts of my personal financial data materialized at the end of her cursor. How often I take money out of the ATM. How much my mortgage payments are. Etcetera.
As we left the bank, GC said “Did you think that was weird?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“It was like she was snooping through your financial information right in front of us,” he said. “I felt like I shouldn’t be looking.”
I keep thinking about how I should have said something to her before things got that far. But then it would have seemed like I have financial secrets, which I don’t, and it would have been awkward.
What would you have done?