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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
MrTuscadero
November 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm

YeaH, sitting in a bank drawing a whopping .1% interest with an inflation rate that is going to top 20% by the end of next year.

myyams
November 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

"But while the fact that the kid went and blew all this money on candy is kind of funny..."

It is definitely NOT funny. I feel so sad for the family. They must have saved for a long time and now it's gone. Heartbreaking.

freebird
November 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Do I see future CEO material here?

mitt rooney
November 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

What is this thing called candy

David
November 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

"But while the fact that the kid went and blew all this money on candy is kind of funny..."

Is it? Is it "kind of funny" that this family in a very poor country lost their life savings?

charles
November 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Given the rate of exchange, what did this amount to, one M&M?

Debra
November 16, 2012 at 7:17 am

Is there a way we can help this family? This was their life savings. If everyone who reads this story donates their Starbucks money for one day....

Nicki Patter
November 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

For sale one kid, slightly damaged $3,900.00 or will trade for good running truck.

Jay
November 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Bank don't perform during total regional blackouts. I worked for one for 15 years. They have limitations. Victims of Hurricane Sandy with cash on hand got their supplies quicker than those with plastic or checks that stores could not process without electricity or phone lines. One of the first things that they do during an extreme catastrophe is close the banks to avoid a run on the money. FYI, keep some precious metals on hand for bartering such as gold and silver. Brass and lead should also be kept on hand to help with trade negotiations if necessary. Good luck with all those eggs in your one basket. Easier to teach your child that the reserve is for his benefit too. Stealing it would only be stealing from himself. If there is still a problem try something with a lock instead of a box under the couch.

Santa Obamaclaus
November 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

If this is equivalent to losing $53k in the US, I can see why the kid needed an adult aquaintance! He would've needed a truck to haul the stash somewhere. Can you imagine spending $53,000 on Halloween candy this year? You could've started throwing it off the Empire State Building at dusk and wouldn't have had enough time before the witching hour came to get rid of it!