Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Official Old Fart (Fartess?) Day

Today's the day.

It didn't happen on my birthday. It didn't happen the week after my birthday when things finally slowed down and I could reflect on the aging process. Nope. It happened today when I opened my mail box and found the big brown envelope from Service Canada a.k.a. Human Resources Development Canada. It's my application for the Old Age Security Pension. The pension won't start until July 2008, but there's no sense in applying late for it. I'd better give them lots of time to get ready to send me the money. It will probably take me at least that much time to completely accept my official status as an Old Fartess.

In the meantime, I've had tons of fun quarreling with banks, investgating the ins and outs of locked-in pension money. (Some free advice here - never lock-in anything if you can find a way to avoid it. At the time my money was locked-in against my wishes, it was required by law.) I discovered that some tellers don't know much if anything about what the investment specialists in their own branch are and are not responsible for. I won't limit my sniping to just one financial institution either. Both TD Canada Trust and Bank of Montreal have provided me with incorrect information.

The guy at TD, who might be all of twenty-one years old, gave me not one but two out-of-date telephone numbers to call for information from the Federal and the Ontario governments. He's consistent, I'll give him credit for that. Now that I'm an Old Fartess, I have time to search for numbers and to wait on the phone; and after only 35 minutes I got a real person from the Ontario finance department who was polite, kind and informative.

I'm afraid it took longer to figure out the BMO problem, but Old Fartesses are persistent. After two phone calls to automated systems that accepted my account number but refused the password that works online but apparently not on the telephone, I paid an in-person visit to the bank. I asked the pertinent questions clearly and carefully, but the teller said I'd have to speak to the Investment Specialist and to do that I'd need to make an appointment. It'll take five minutes - or less - said I. Can't be done said the teller - make an appointment. So, this morning I kept my appointment. Yes, you guessed it the specialist didn't deal with my particular problem and couldn't answer any of my questions. Call the number on your statement. Oh gee - why didn't I think of that? After I got home I called the number, again, and again and again, and ... by pressing the number for the wrong department I finally got a human being. And, goddess be praised, he told me what I needed to know.

Because I'm an Old Fartess, it will take me at least a week to crunch the numbers and decide what I want to do to ensure I can survive in the minimal style to which I have been accustomed until the government's largess arrives next July.

For the moment, I have been saved from applying for work at the local Tim Horton's, or, worse yet, becoming a Kelly girl, again.

This Old Fartess thing is not so bad after all. It's keeping me laughing.


No comments: