Show me the money!

magic money machine

My magic money machine

Last week I (twice) had the satisfying experience of lugging my piggy bank down to Metro Bank and entering the contents into the Magic Money Machine. My cash was exchanged for a chit (see below) which I gave to the (nice) person at the counter who in return offered me some crinkly purple beer tokens which have lasted me all weekend.

Metro Bank money exchange

Exchanging coins for notes is about as mechanical as financial services gets these days and spending notes makes me feel like a money launderer. The Cockpit is very approving of my conversion to cash and agreed to me putting cash behind the bar on Friday which I hope is still there (you can trust a publican in Blackfriars rather more than the Banks!)

My point is that cash has a lot going for it and much as I love the blockchain, Bitcoin doesn’t quite do it for me. I like the simple ledger “cash in….cash out’.

Swap smoking for saving!

I love the story told by True Potential of their customer who makes a daily deposit into his pension of the equivalent of a packet of fags. This contribution type doesn’t appear on most pension application forms but you can see the logic. Giving up fags leads to a longer life and a greater need for cash in later years. By saving the money , previously spent poisoning the lungs, the gentleman is making perfect financial sense.

A recent survey suggests that the popularity of squirrelling away the spare cash into a long-term investment has increased markedly since the introduction of the pension freedoms. Infact this survey suggests that for a third of us savers, the pension is the first port of call for spare cash.

But just how easy is it to deposit money into a pension? My trip to Metro Bank led to me having two choices, cash or a reduced overdraft. Nowhere was there an option to send money to my pension provider. I guess that had I a True Potential Sipp, I could have simply instructed the money to sweep past my bank to my pension but I don’t (perhaps I should have!).

Spend on your future, not your belly!

I often moan on this blog about the inconvenience and expense of getting money out of pensions. But it’s no easier getting money in. The impulse to save rather than to spend, or- more properly- to spend on the future and not on the day, is one that a third of us have regularly.

In a world of contactless payments, of Apple-Pay and Oyster, is it really so hard for pension providers to help us save? Instead of spending fortunes telling us how good they are, I do hope that L&G and NOW and NEST will spend a little more money showing us how easy they are.

Give me a simple way to save and the coins that are already rattling around in my Piggy Bank, will be on their way to a long-term investment in my pension.

And I guess the same goes for many like me!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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