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I’m a Bank Teller: 7 Money Lessons I’ve Learned from Other People’s Finances


Nothing brings you face to face with other people’s money – and their money mistakes – like a bank teller. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone come in desperate to withdraw money because they’ve spent too much,” says Rachael P., a veteran bank teller.

Through her work, she has witnessed firsthand the consequences of poor budgeting. “It’s not about how much you earn; it’s about how you manage what you have.” These are the lessons she’s learned from watching other people make mistakes with their finances.

The lure of instant gratification

“People like the idea of ​​getting something now and worrying about the consequences later,” says Rachael. “Trust me, I am too, but I’ve seen it destroy people’s bank accounts.”

In today’s world of easy credit and buy-now-pay-later options, it’s incredibly easy to get carried away with shopping until you literally drop. Rachael says she’s seen customers drain their bank accounts with purchases she deems non-essential – and she’s learned a lesson from it. “You don’t need half the things you think you need – what you Actually you need money in your savings account.”

The importance of an emergency fund

“Life happens,” Rachael said. “I’ve seen people need to empty their accounts because of an unexpected medical bill or car repair.” She has seen firsthand how a single unforeseen event can disrupt someone’s financial stability if he or she has no safety net. “Having an emergency fund can prevent those financial setbacks from becoming catastrophic.”

She says she will never run out of an emergency fund based on what she has seen. “It is by far the most important lesson I have learned.”

The burden of debt

“I really hate seeing people in debt,” Rachael said. During her time as a bank employee, she has witnessed the heavy toll that excessive debt can take, including credit cards, student loans and high-interest mortgages.

Rachael strongly recommends prioritizing paying off debt – or better yet, living below your means and staying out of debt in the first place.

The value of financial education

“So many people come to me with questions about investments, interest rates and retirement planning,” says Rachael. And that’s a good thing, because people who don’t ask questions are the ones who get in trouble. “That lack of knowledge can lead to costly mistakes.”

Rachael believes everyone should educate themselves on the ins and outs of their finances so they always know what’s going on. “Even if you don’t have much, it helps to know what to do with what you have.”

The power of compound interest

“It’s amazing, and not surprising, how many people don’t understand the concept of compound interest,” Rachael said. As someone who continually sees the power of compounding interest, she understands how this fundamental principle can dramatically impact one’s financial trajectory.

“Compound interest is how the rich get rich and if you can figure that out sooner or later, you might join them!” she said.

The importance of estate planning

Rachael said that after seeing clients deal with the death of a loved one who had not done estate planning, she understands why this process is so important. “You’d be surprised how many people neglect to plan for what happens to their belongings after they’re gone.”

For this reason, Rachael drafted her will and set up a trust, even though she is in her 30s. “It’s never too early.”

The value of professional guidance

“Manage your finances a lot of, especially when it comes to things like investments and taxes,” Rachael said. “Most people would rather not watch – and that’s a problem.”

If you’re having trouble taking a good look at your finances, Rachael suggests seeking help. “Get help! There is help! A little expert advice can go a long way,” she says.

Rachael works with a financial expert who operates out of her branch, but she said even if you don’t want to get help through your bank, you have to get it somewhere. “Make sure it’s a licensed person too. I’ve seen a number of scammers operating in this area.”

The last word

Rachel has seen it all as a bank employee and says she really only wants the best for her customers. “I have so many great regulars and I have learned so much from them.”

From their triumphs to their struggles, Rachael has experienced much more than just handling physical money. By following her advice – which happens to be the advice she also follows – you can help take control of your finances.

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