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Like many banks, Toronto-Dominion Bank offers a discount to seniors on monthly account fees. Unlike many banks, TD is actually making sure seniors get their discount.

The bank recently noticed that a lot of clients over the age of 60 were not taking advantage of a discount available on the monthly fees for three different chequing accounts. A decision was made to, first, automate the process of enrolling clients in the seniors discount program when they turn 60 and, second, reimburse seniors for discounts they were eligible for but didn’t actually claim.

The discounts banks and other financial firms offer clients can be a sham. Sure, these discount exist and are available for the taking. But if you don’t speak up, you don’t get. In TD’s case, about 450,000 customers will receive the reimbursement.

A TD spokesperson said the reimbursements go back as far as 2012, when the current discount for seniors was introduced. The average amount that will be credited to client accounts by Oct. 31 is about $65, and the highest amount is $500. The three accounts eligible for a 25 per cent fee discount for people aged 60 and up are the Every Day Chequing Account, the Unlimited Chequing Account and the All Inclusive Banking Plan.

A big part of my job is to point out the bad stuff banks do. Here’s an opportunity to point out something good: A new standard has been set for seniors discounts offered by banks. It’s not enough to have the discount. Banks actually have to apply it automatically, so that everyone benefits.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Eight excuses for avoiding retirement saving

Strong rebuttals here for a lot of the excuses people use for not putting money away for retirement.

Simplify your investments as you age?

The Blunt Bean Counter blog looks at some situations where it makes sense for seniors to simplify their financial situation as part of their estate planning.

Cheap air purifiers for your home

These widely available houseplants can strip out airborne toxins and contaminants like mold from the air in your house.

The flamboyant vices of the ultra-rich

An economic sociologist on how judgey we are with people on a low income while giving a free pass to the vices of some of the mega-rich.

Today’s financial app

Paytm is an app for your smartphone that lets you use your credit card to pay your property tax and utility bills, with no fees to you or the merchant. Paytm offers points to users that can be redeemed towards gift cards at various retailers. Here’s a profile of Paytm that appeared in The Globe.

Ask Rob

Q: I’m a college student and want to start investing for the future, but I don’t want to lose what little savings I have through poor investments. What investments should I look into if I want decent returns yet low risk?

A: Here’s the thing – there are no decent returns without risk of losing money. If your emphasis is on keeping your money safe, then consider keeping it in a high rate savings account. Here’s a website for finding the best return on these accounts. If you see yourself needing the money you plan to invest in the next five years or less, the savings account option makes a lot of sense. If you’re investing for the long term, what about a conservative mix of stocks and bonds via a balanced exchange-traded fund or mutual fund? There will be years when you lose money, but your overall returns over a decade or more should be better than you’d get from savings accounts or GICs.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

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