Often we hear comments about how technology challenges the older generations. Have you ever considered how challenging some basic, long ago established tasks that are not technology based can be to younger generations? A prime example I recently encountered was the basics of using an everyday standard checkbook.
A gentleman I know who is in his mid twenties recently started his own business and decided it was time to get a checking account. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
Challenge No. 1: He approaches me with checks and checkbook cover in hand, he couldn’t figure out how to get the checks into the checkbook cover. I showed him how to slide the back of the checkbook pack into the plastic holder inside the checkbook cover, then advised him that the register goes into the other side.
His Response: Register? I wondered what that weird empty book was for. Thought it looked rather useless and threw it in the drawer.
Challenge No. 2: He approaches me with the register and checkbook cover. The register and the plastic slip on the other side of the checkbook cover is slightly different from that of the checks. How are you supposed to do this? I put the register in and advised him that as the register gets written into, to make access to your current page easy use a paperclip to block open the pages. Don’t you love the amazing technology involved in that step?
Challenge No. 3: Things now appear to be going well. Then his next question: Is there a way to get deposit slips pre-printed so I don’t have to write them out all the time?
My Response: Look at your pad of checks, all the way to the back. Imagine his Surprise! Deposit slips right there, pre-printed the entire time and he didn’t know it.
Realization: He had asked the bank to bring him deposit slips because he didn’t have any (or so he thought). They probably wondered why he wasn’t using the pre-printed ones.
Challenge No. 4: First check written gets returned for not being properly filled out. Why? He used regular numbers on the amount line and didn’t sign the check. Why didn’t he sign the check? He didn’t know what that line at the bottom was for, it wasn’t labeled. Why didn’t he write out the amount in word format? He didn’t know he was supposed to.
Lesson Time: How to properly fill out a check. Numbers on the number line. The amount written out in long form. Example: One Hundred Forty Dollars and 40/100’s. Why can’t you just write out the words for the cents? You could, but it may take too much space, and proper format is fraction form.
Now we are on a roll. Deposits going in, checks being written in their proper format. Check register being properly filled out. What else could there be?
Discovery Time: Grace! Do you know you can write a check to yourself and then deposit it into your other bank account? Umm, yes, but if it is at the same bank it is easier to just do an electronic transfer.
Realization: Sometimes it is the little discoveries in life that make you happy!
Final Tip: I asked him if he knows that once a month when the statement arrives you are supposed to balance the checkbook. What does that mean? You take the statement the bank sends and check off all deposits and checks that have cleared the bank. Then write the “balance” from the statement down, add any deposits that have not cleared the bank, subtract any checks that have not cleared the bank, and the bottom line should match the balance on the statement.
His Response: That sounds like too much work. I just watch the balance through the month to see if it seems right.
Conclusion: The old-fashioned way of doing banking by maintaining a physical checkbook, check register and handwritten checks lacks the technology required for students today to learn this basic life skill in high school, which is where I was taught. In this automatic, fast-paced world the way in which something so basic was and is done amazes today’s young adults in a unique way and challenges them with having to handle a task without a computer, iPad or cell phone.
LET ME HERE FROM YOU: Have you encountered challenges by not knowing how to do something the “old-fashioned” way? Have you met someone who was facing challenges trying to deal with a non-technology based task? I would love to hear what products or tasks have created a dilemma for the younger generation.