Disclaimer: This post/series was sponsored by TD, but all views/opinions are my own.
If you’re reading this, that probably means you’re new to Canada and wondering how to get settled here as quickly as possible. One of the first things you may want to do is open up a bank account.
Let me tell you from my own personal experience, having numerous bank accounts and products with several banks is difficult to manage and so not convenient. When I was younger I didn’t realize all the various products and services I would eventually need from my bank. Instead I focused on what I needed at THAT very moment and opened up a bank account with the first bank I came across. Later in life when I needed loans to go to school, to buy a car, to start contributing to my RRSPs, and to eventually buy my first home…I had products and services all over the place and trust me, it’s so frustrating having to deal with multiple banks. For you, being new to Canada is tough enough when you’re trying to figure everything out here so please avoid my mistake of not thinking ahead. What you want to do is to make sure the bank you pick can provide you everything you’re going to need now—AND in the future.
In my previous post, I shared my advice on what you need to look at for your banking needs and today I’m going to tell you how TD has a package that they created just for newcomers! Check out their “New to Canada” banking package that has everything you would need to get started. The package includes: chequing account, savings account, and credit card options. See TD website for more details or better yet, why don’t you go to your nearest branch. Many TD branches have employees who speak multiple languages.
Having dealt with banks since I was a young student, here are some of my personal tips for making the best banking decisions for you and your family.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
There is no such thing as a ‘wrong’ question. If you’re unsure about something or something doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification until you understand it. Banking terms and requirements can get confusing and the financial advisors at the bank understand this. They will take the time to explain anything you ask them—that’s why they are there!
Whenever I make big decisions, I like to gather information from a variety of sources. I ask my friends and family about their experiences and research online. When I was looking into buying my first home, I spoke to many people about their mortgages experiences, what their rates and terms were, who they banked with, etc. Reading up on mortgages in the news or talking to friends/family can sometimes bring up a question or issue that you may not have considered. Hearing about other people’s experiences helped me know what questions I had to ask my mortgage advisor to make my decision. A good starting point is checking out the bank’s website—for TD’s website, click here.
It’s important you feel confident in your decision. If you’re unsure what is being offered to you is the best for you, go ahead and compare. Just like you wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around, compare the banking products you are looking for and make a decision that fits your requirements. For example, there are a number of credit cards you can choose from. Compare the ones you are interested in to ensure you pick the best one to fit your lifestyle and needs.
4. Take your time.
Nothing has to be rushed. Take whatever amount of time you need to research, ask questions, and compare products. Making decisions for your financial needs shouldn’t be taken lightly so don’t feel pressured to sign up for something on the spot. When you feel ready, you will know it.
5. Get to know your financial advisor!
This was so important for me when I moved to Toronto. I didn’t know anyone when I came here but all I had to do was walk into my nearest TD branch and ask for help. Right away I met with a financial advisor who not only helped me with the issue I had but she took the time to get to know me. We actually really hit it off and she gave me her direct office number for any future inquiries. Every time I would go back to that branch, it was nice to see a familiar face and chat about whatever issue I was having. She got to know me to the point where she had a better understanding of my needs and expectations and I got to feel comfortable knowing that I had someone I knew there to help me whenever I needed. It really makes a difference when you get to know your financial advisor—it’s all about establishing trust and comfort.
Always remember you’re not the first person to move to Canada to start a new life here. Everyone has at some point been in your shoes. It’s overwhelming and stressful but there are professionals here to help you. So ask whatever questions you have, get informed, and be confident in making the decision that’s best for you and your family!
Speaking of family, my own family immigrated here to Canada from India in the 1970s when things weren’t as easy as they are now. I have heard all their stories, especially from my mom, on what it was like packing up her whole life into one suitcase and leaving her home for the first time ever to travel across the world to start a new life in Canada with my dad. They knew no one, had no jobs, and little money. It wasn’t easy but their story is one that every newcomer can relate to. So check out my next post where I’ll introduce you to my amazing mom and share her story of immigrating to Canada and her personal advice on creating a better life for yourself in Canada!