5 tips for protecting yourself against high-pressure financial sales tactics.
Bigger class sizes. Less time to plan or mark and grade papers. Countless students to coach, clean up after, and shuttle to and from school. Life as an education member is high-pressure enough. The last thing you need is to be pressured where your finances are concerned.
Yet a growing number of Canadians have come forward with their stories about being lured into high-pressure sales tactics. In fact, according to both the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office (ADBRO) and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), the past couple of years have seen an exponential growth in complaints to third-party agencies that investigate and handle disputes between financial institutions and their clients.
As an organization that is dedicated to protecting the financial wellbeing of education members, here are 5 strategies you can use to defend yourself against high-pressure financial sales tactics:
- ASK QUESTIONS: As an educator, you encourage your students to ask questions as a way to learn and share their opinions. This means enabling your students to have a voice. Your financial institution should be providing you with the same open forum for communication. If they’re not, then it’s up to you to challenge them—especially if they’re trying to sell you on something you are not comfortable with (or don’t need). If they’re trying to increase your limit on your credit cards, ask them why. If they are coaxing you to buy extra insurance, ask them if they’re even aware of your needs. If they present you with an interest rate for a mortgage or a loan, ask them if that’s the best they can offer. Remember, the whole purpose of high-pressure sales is to take control away from you (to the point where you feel your only option is to say ‘yes’). Asking questions will keep you in control of the situation and show that you’re not an easy target (challenging the sales associate to plead their case versus pressure you).
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK: It’s like we always say, financial literacy is your best defense when it comes to protecting yourself where money matters are concerned. So take the time to research what products you have with your bank. Are there fees or service charges associated with each of these products? How much are they? What are the penalties? That way, if you find yourself answering a 5pm phone call from your financial institution trying to upsell you on the latest credit card or insurance product, you’ll know what questions to ask to avoid being sold on something without knowing the fine print.
- GIVE THEM HOMEWORK: According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, 93% of educators are torn between teaching and home responsibilities. From those results, it’s pretty obvious you have a lot on your plate. So don’t be afraid to push back on your bank if they’re putting the onus on you to do all of the homework yourself. If they want to sell you on a credit card, tell them to email you information on all the credit cards they offer and how they differ from your current ones. If they’re trying to secure your mortgage renewal, get them to email you their full list of rates, including ones that are not posted on their website (because the posted rates are more negotiable than you may think). Whatever it is they’re trying to sell you on, make them work for it. Not the other way around.
- COMPARE WITH COLLEAGUES: If you’re continually feeling bombarded by high-pressure sales tactics from your bank, perhaps it’s time to take your finances elsewhere. Ask your colleagues in the teacher’s lounge about their own experiences with their financial institution. Are things better? Worse? The same? Word of mouth will give you a more honest point of view so you can weigh your options based on personal experiences (versus the whole rose-tinted sales pitch from a bank associate that is trying to lure your business). You can then take that personal insight back to your bank to use as leverage to negotiate better rates or lower fees. Or you can simply pack up and move your money elsewhere. Either way, the more you know about what’s available out there, the better position you’ll be in to make financial decisions based on being informed versus feeling pressured.
- SAY NO THANKS (or sleep on it at least): A study conducted by Ipsos last year discovered the majority of Canadians surveyed felt pressured into making big financial decisions way too quickly. So if that bank associate is pressuring you to say ‘yes’ but your gut is telling you ‘no’—trust your instincts. Or at the very least, say that you’ll think it over. Because no matter how time-sensitive that offer is being made out to be, it will still be there tomorrow. And if it’s not, there will always be other financial institutions willing to offer you the same deal (or perhaps an ever better one).
No pressure tactics. No quotas. No second-guessing. If you’re in need of unbiased financial advice from an organization that understands your needs, call on Educators Financial Group.
If you have any type of financial concern, you can feel comfortable reaching out to one of our financial specialists for advice. From where you are on the pay grid to the amount you pay in union dues and pension contributions—we understand how the financial decisions you make involve many layers. That’s because we’re dedicated to exclusively serving members of the education community. Which means you get solutions that are tailor-made depending on where you in your education career, versus being pressured into settling for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
Looking to take the pressure off your finances? Have one of our financial specialists reach out to you. Learn more about our commitment to serving the education community.
The information provided is general in nature and is provided with the understanding that it may not be relied upon as, nor considered to be, the rendering of tax, legal, accounting or professional advice. Please ensure to consult your accountant and/or legal advisor for specific advice related to your circumstances. Educators Financial Group will not be held responsible or liable for any losses, costs, damages or expenses incurred by reason of reliance as a result of the aforementioned information. The information presented was obtained from sources that are believed to be reliable. However, Educators Financial Group cannot guarantee their completeness or accuracy.