Today’s Money




I can foresee soon that money as we know it, (That’s our currency, coin and notes), it will go the way of the dinosaur. Even now, I have some small change in my pocket, this same money has been there rattling around for weeks, untouched. I just don’t have the requirement or any way to spend it. Slowly but Surely the need to have and carry ‘cash’ is being turned into an obsolete exercise. It’s role is being taken over by electronic systems. I still have a ‘Cheque Book’ containing 240 forms. It’s about 10 years old, and there are still a quarter of it’s forms left. Today, nearly all our regular transactions from our account are made by an automatic transfer, with only another electronics advice telling me what transaction has taken place. I also have no need even to visit my Bank. I regularly I post in any deposits. Then weekly when at the Super Market, I pay for my groceries with my EF/POS Card. If I require extra money the ‘Check Out’ operator gives me some bank notes, just to pay for incidental expenses just for those folk who have refused to make the change.


Our monetary system wasn’t always this way. Even a small Bank not so long ago would be sitting on very large sums of cash, and especially at holiday time. This would be released as a huge pulse come Christmas and other holidays. The money would be out in the real ‘World’ for about three weeks, then it would come flooding back to the Bank, only to be packaged up and returned to the Reserve Bank as fast as possible. Cash as far as any Bank is concerned is an non earning debit.


Some folk have strange ideas regarding their cash. even back only thirty or forty years ago. I recall one wealthy lady who regarded me as her personal custodian of her family’s fortune. From time to time she called at the Bank, demanded to physically see her money. I would then approach our Head Teller, who would load up a trolley with a couple hundred thousand Dollars, wheel it over to her where she was waiting in an office. She would then ask, ‘Is this my money?’. ‘All of it?’ I would reply .’Yes’, ‘Do you wish to take it home?’ ‘No’, ‘I just wished to see it’.


When credit cards first arrived on our scene they weren’t widely accepted. The Bank of New Zealand did a cold drop. That is, that they sent out cards to each and everyone of their clients. Many then and even today, were people who should never have a card. They are just poor managers of money. They will never change, their spending patterns are always the same, I want it now. They are easy to spot. They can’t wait for some windfall large or small to arrive, they are at the Bank begging to borrow against it’s arrival.


Because we never went away at Christmas I was always an easy ‘Mark’ for every sad story that befell people on holiday. I can recall on one occasion when the thousand dollars I had taken home to cover any such contingency was gone. An hungry family then descended on us. All their cash had been spent on car repairs, and now they required cash for food and gasoline, so they could return home. It’s hard to refuse a car load of hungry crying kids. My youngest daughter Beth came to their rescue. On this occasion she opened her large ‘Pink Pig’ Money Box. We were able to extracted some $20 in 50 cent coins, and send them on their way. In all these occasions of helping lame dogs over styles, no one ever let me down. All the cheques I had taken for cash were good.


I remember one day while attending a manager’s conference in Wellington. I had just finished lunch, consumed a couple of beers, sitting in the sun I was struggling to stay awake as the business of the conference droned on. Then one bright ‘apple polishing manager’ asked the General Manger, ‘Could he could tell us exactly how we should go about cashing a cheque for a customer of another Branch’. The GM said, ‘Well there is one manager here who lives in a Holiday Resort. He cashes more cheques than this roomful of people put together. I’m sure he doesn’t have any trouble, so I will ask him’. I was wide awake in a flash when the spot light pointed at me. I said, ‘I now know why you are our GM’. ‘There is no perfect system. Most people are honest, and their mode of dress counts for nothing. I once knew a Multi millionaire who dressed appallingly, and even tied up his pants with binder twine’. ‘All I required was some identification, and them it actually comes down to personal judgement’.


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