Friday, 17 April 2009

I must open Erbie's Child Trust Fund - updated

“Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a savings and investment account for children. Children born on or after 1 September 2002 will receive a £250 voucher to start their account. The account belongs to the child and can't be touched until they turn 18, so that children have some money behind them to start their adult life.”

Can’t be bad. Basically the government give you a cheque for £250 which you can invest and then top up yourself each year. If you do top up by the maximum amount of £1,200 until they reach 18, then your child will have at least (in theory) £21,600, enough by then hopefully to pay for Erbie's further education instead of a student loan.

Of course the government suggest suitable accounts for investing the money and you can invest in stocks, shares or just a plain old savings account. We have decided on a plain old savings account, and I was just going to open a high street bank one, when the Belle Mere stuck her oar in and stopped me in my tracks by getting her financial advisor involved, suffice to say it now lies festering in a drawer. I think I shall make that my goal today, to open a savings account round the corner in the high street bank, then move it a later date if we decide on somewhere better. We thought a savings account would be less of a risk, but since the credit crunch it would appear no money is safe wherever you put it. We could buy gold.

So, we decided on the Skipton Building Society to open Erbie’s Child Trust Fund account and there is one on High Holborn. The GR decides he wants to come too, and realising Erbie has his surname rather than mine I agree it might be a good idea. We need to take, both passports for ID, a council tax bill for proof of address, Erbie’s birth certificate and the £250 government voucher. It’s a nice walk, through Bedford Square, Erbie on the GR’s back, up Lamb’s Conduit Street, where people are eating in the sunshine, and across Red Lion Square. We come out almost on top of the Skipton Building Society. It looks a tad worn around the edges from the outside and not much better within. Two lonely cashiers look surprised to see us, the place is deserted, we are ushered to sit and a nervous young man starts telling us the Skipton is a very safe society, alarm bells should start ringing, but we sit it out. He says his name is Yousef, takes our paperwork and dissappears. The vast backroom office is populated by 3 men at desks in faded Skipton turquoise ties and greyish shirts. Two of them are discussing who’s going to be paying for their drinks at the weekend. We wait, we wait a bit longer, we continue to wait, Erbie gets bored, I get bored the GR begins to seeth. I go to find Yousef, wandering around in the back of the building society unhindered. Apparently, the system has gone down so he cannot set up our account. Alarm bells should now be deafening. But no, I tell him to copy our paperwork and call me if there are any problems. I then sign something without reading it, more concerned with getting the 2 boys in my life back out into the sunlight and away from this stiffling place. Yousef says he will send a form through the post. On the street we have a heated discussion about money, wills, work, property and Erbie’s account all of which are sadly lacking. I for some unknown reason stick up for the Skipton building society, but meter it with, we can move the account at any time. We decide to watch it for aa year and see how it goes. This, of course, could all be academic, as we have no proof of opening an account and I handed over the voucher in our flustered ‘he’s hungry’, ‘no, he’s bored’ leaving.

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