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Kid blows family’s savings on candy

By Claes Bell, CFA · Bankrate.com
Friday, November 9, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

People get annoyed about institutions charging them bank fees to access their own money, but bank accounts do have the underrated benefit of making it impossible for a disturbed child to steal your life savings and use it to buy mass quantities of candy.

That's exactly what happened in Ukraine, where a young boy is in deep trouble with his parents. From the Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti:

A 9-year-old boy has emptied his parents' piggy bank, spending almost $4,000 on candy in the Ukrainian city of Konotop, the Ukrainian edition of Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda daily said Wednesday.

A total of $3,300 and 500 euro (about $600) -- the family's entire savings -- went missing from the stash, which was kept hidden under a sofa.

"The disappearance was first spotted by the father, a shift worker who had just returned home," said Tatyana Kushnerova of the local police department. "He opened the stash and saw that it was empty."

After a brief family row, the son admitted stealing the money, saying he wanted to buy some sweets.

During his autumn vacation, the boy took various sums of money from the stash and converted it into Ukrainian hryvnas with the help of an adult acquaintance. The man, who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, always received the biggest note for his services.

As the boy was unable to eat all the candy he bought, he shared it with friends.

I get a lot of people in the comments section of this blog and on social media threatening to take out their cash and stuff it under a mattress because of insultingly low interest rates, high bank fees, etc. But while the fact that the kid went and blew all this money on candy is kind of funny, this incident illustrates exactly why keeping large amounts of cash around your home rather than in a checking or savings account is a terrible idea.

To get an idea of how much $4,000 is for a Ukranian family, the gross national income per capita in Ukraine is $3,120 a year compared to $48,450 in the U.S., according to the World Bank. In other words, losing that $4,000 probably felt like what an American family would feel in losing $62,115.

Now, I'm sure the family had some good reasons for keeping the money in cash. Ukraine is experiencing massive inflation of around 10 percent annually right now, so the family was probably keeping its money in hard-currency euros to avoid that.

But whatever reasons that you have for keeping a large amount of cash in your home, it's important to remember that in doing so, you're risking a total loss. After all, when it comes to money, all it takes is one family member or friend who knows about your stash to succumb to temptation for that cash to be gone.

What do you think? Have you ever lost a stash of cash? Did you wish afterward it had been sitting in a bank instead?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

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125 Comments
Checker99
November 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

To think your money is safer in a bank is folly -- identity theft and check fraud are very common. I recommend a safe and a little more parental supervision.

Chuck2
November 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

Gerald...would you mind offering a full name and address...and of course, next time you'll be on vacation, alarm code and safe combo?...your point made...but thought a bit of levity was due.

Paula Countryman
November 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

If I had any money, I'd send it to them. This is so sad.

GFG
November 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Maybe an opportunity for the family to recoop their money...approcah the candy manufacturer with the child with this slogen "Candy so good, you'll steal your parents last eoro for."

Gerald
November 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

They make these devices called safes and they work quite well. I have a considerable stash of cash, gold, silver, and ammo in a safe that weighs 1200 lbs and is bolted to a concrete floor via 4 2 inch lag bolts. I also use a checking account but roughly 20% of my savings \ emergency fund is where I can access it immediately in an emergency.

Rainne
November 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

My brother dated a woman whose son did something similar. She had her monthly bill money in cash, in envelopes in her dresser, to cover all of her expenses and bills while she was in school and not working. The boy, age 13ish, took one - a full month of bills - and went to the skating rink. He spent about half of it, flashing cash to all his little friends and so forth, before the rink staff got suspicious and called his mom.

Carol Sandoval
November 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I keep most of my money in the bank. However, that also is scary and not just because of fees and low interest rates. Someone can get the necessary information to hack one's account online and transfer the money out of the account in large amounts. Someone can steal a person's debit card, figure out the PIN number and empty the account. I've tried to set up all the safeguards I can, particularly online, but I've come close to having some criminal get into my account. I check it often and have alerts set if withdrawals over $100 are made. And I know often people get the money back if taken without authorization. Not always and not without a lot of hassle. For that reason, I keep some money in cash so I could at least eat if my bank account is emptied.

John Y
November 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

You don't have to worry Chuck. Your money is safe for at least 4 more years. Romney lost big time!

Keetoosya
November 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

The reason Ukraine families, and even Russian families, keep their money hidden in their homes is this.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, anyone who had kept money in banks lost 90% of it's value! AND now, if you put money in and it's lost or stolen, you receive nothing in return!
The banks are NOT FDIC insured over there and there is no way I would allow my family to deal with banks, because while I was living in Russia, my money was stolen by an employee. Yes,it was the Director and his girlfriend who stole it!
The corruption there is unbearable!!!
As for this child who took his own families money he should be put in the hospital for insane children! Also the adult who helped him should be forced to pay this money back but it would take him the rest of his normal life to do it, therefore that families money is long gone...... never will they see such a sum of money again.

Dexter
November 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Candy, only "anyone" should have been in quotes.