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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
Crusader2010
November 18, 2012 at 9:00 am

"losing that $4,000 probably felt like what an American family would feel in losing $53,600." obviously you've never gotten divorced. I feel bad for them.

Nina
November 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Wow....... My brother took a couple of my parents coin sets when we were small. my parents were mad! I would keep my money at home too or in gold. the banks today are way to unstable these days!

Nessy
November 17, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Rick, you dont understand one thing - the annual income in Ukraine is about $3,120... but the candy ( and food and clothes and such) cost same as in US. And yes - i dont know how people survive on that kind of salaries but they do. I ve been in Ukraine a month ago so trust me.

Sean
November 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

That's really sad for that family. I don't know that anyone meant any wrong-doing, but it's really unfortunate.

Martha
November 17, 2012 at 2:58 am

Even if he lost half of the funds during the currency exchange to the mentally disturbed adult "helping" him, I figure that would have been over 3000lbs of candy. 3000lbs of candy would fill about 11-15 bathtubs. The child must have had alot of friends to help him, which makes him a very popular kid in the neighborhood, even if he is not very popular with his parents at the moment!

Fiatcurrency
November 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Gold and Silver have been the most liquid forms of currency for 5,000 years. In the town I live population 100k, we have 5 coin shops, that will al buy your silver or gold for greenbacks all day long, and also jewelers will. Everyone knows gold and silver are money. It's easy to trade an ounce of silver for an oil change or a haircut, etc. Also through their miracles of the pneumatic press, you can stamp the coin 1 troy ounce, and you don't need a scale. Also most people have access to the internet, and know how to Google, "Live Silver Price". Also please Google "Bank Holiday" to see how banks handle disasters.

Rick Mollica
November 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I'm just curious . . . if the per capita annual income in Ukraine is $3,120, how much candy would $4,000 buy? Several tons?

William
November 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

If this family insisted on keeping their life savings stashed at home they should have at least invested in a safe. Hiding the money in a sofa is crazy.

January24
November 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Spike -- Don't be naive. There are retail locations everywhere which give cash for gold and silver. Keeping some gold coins at home is wise in these odd and unprecedented economic times. LOTS of people will want gold if the dollar collapses.

Spike
November 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Jay - they absolutedly don't close the banks ahead of a natural disaster to avoid a run. They, like most businesses do close however to let their employess get home safely and if the disaster is big enough, to secure the bank location from damage. Who is going to barter precious metals? most stores don't keep a scale handy, nor a current price list of precious metals.