Yesterday was a good mail day. I received my Arbor Foundation bulbs which can still be planted and blooming by this summer. I received my AAA tour books and maps which I just love to look through, imagining where I'd like to go. I've travelled all across the country without leaving my living room. And the best piece of mail wasn't addressed to me, but to my son. It was his first paycheck!
As soon as he walked through the door from school I waved it at him, "Lookie what I got here." When he saw the return address he said, "Do you think it's a paycheck?" "Well, it looks like a check." "I didn't even know they mailed it. Cool!" He was so excited he practically ripped it trying to figure out how to fold and tear all those perforations. "Why do they make it so difficult to open? Didn't I already work for this money?"
When he finally got to it a huge smile spread across his face. "That's better than I thought it would be." That's because they didn't take any federal or state taxes out, just FICA and Medicare. "Did they make a mistake?" Probably not, it's not a king's ransom, just enough loot so that he'll have to file a tax return at the end of the year and nowhere near enough loot so that I lose him as a deduction. Sigh.
He grabbed a quick bite, as he only had fifteen minutes before he had to get to work to earn even more big bucks, and said we'd talk about opening up a bank account when he got home. I already checked his options, which pretty much stink. When I had my first job I had a passbook savings account that got around 5% interest. I don't even get 1% on my savings account now. Forget what my son would get. If he had direct deposit with a minimum of $1,000 he could get .50%. He doesn't. If he had over $2,500 and only made less than 6 transactions per month he could get .50%. He doesn't. About the only thing he can get is a free checking account with no interest. So when he got home I went over the choices. His response, "What's the point of even putting my money in the bank? They're playing with my money and I'm getting no return. You know I never trusted banks since kindergarten when some guy came in and tried to talk us into opening an account. I couldn't understand it then, and still don't now...why should I give you my money while you give me nothing back?"
He sorta has a point. The interest rates are pathetic at best. It's not really an incentive to save, is it? Still, he needs to establish himself with an account. I recommended the free checking to get started. Let the people at the bank know who he is, start a relationship with them. Even if he's not getting any interest I think it would be wise for him to put at least 1/4 of his check in the account. Once he gets to $1,000 then he could transfer to an interest bearing one. Meanwhile, God forbid if something happened to me or my husband, he'd be able to cash his checks, put money in the bank, write checks, etc.
He's always been a saver. He's ummmmm frugal, yeah that's it, frugal. But he's also practical. There is no way in hell he would ever spend more than $20.00 on a pair of sneakers, or on any article of clothing. You would never see him wearing a big fat gold chain, or any sort of jewelry. He's been using the same lousy cellphone, The Juke, for over two years and even though he's elgible for an upgrade he can't see going for a new phone that's going to cost more because it does more. "I need the phone to text and listen to my music, that's it." He doesn't have an Ipod or Mp-3 either. His biggest splurges are on video and computer games, going to the movies, Subway and the Baconator. So although saving in the account is a goal too, I'm more concerned to see how he'll use an ATM card. I never, ever use mine. Don't even carry one. I hope he'll be the same way. And I'm not even going to suggest a joint account with mommy. See, I'm letting go...