Over the last five years or so, I’ve developed a shiny disorder around the house. It seems I’ve been quietly amassing a boatload of change. Oh yes. Coins. Coins everywhere! Muwahaha! In every nook and cranny: on the end table, in my shoes, in the keyboard, and on the floor. During a random sporadic organizational period (occurring every solar eclipse), I started gathering the coins together in jars and Ziplock baggies expecting to save up and one day make a fabulous bank run where I’d trade my bags of coins for bags of fresh paper cash and the title to a new Lexus.
It worked for my boss (not the Lexus part). She and her family saved up their money in a giant Tootsie Roll for a few years until one day they cashed it in for an astounding $350 and used it for an exotic cross country drive. This was excellent news. I’d even read online or in a newspaper that an older man from back east took his vast collection of pennies into the bank and it yielded him several thousand dollars. What a deal! If he could do it, I could totally do it. This was all the inspiration I needed. Actually, I didn’t need any inspiration. Money is inspiring in itself.
My collection grew and grew, week after week, year after year, until one day, I grabbed my stash and made that mythical bank run. A quick approximation based on a quick count of quarters in one bag suggested that in all the bags and jars I might, just might, have $150, maybe even $200, in my massive pile of magic found money. It should be enough for a medium range iPod, a couple car payments, or about half of a round-trip flight to see the family in California. Excellent stuff.
Of course, it didn’t turn out quite so well. I’d been a little worried that the bank might not have a speedy change counting machine, but this wasn’t a problem. After returning from her sequestered counting expedition, the bank person/maid/waitress reported back to me that my precious yield was only $70.94. Now, for found money, $70.94 is nothing to sneeze at, unless you’re planning a trip to Europe and discover that this US cash is only enough to buy maybe 3 cups of hot chocolate at a cafe in Belgium, so my wild visions of new found wealth were quickly brought down to earth.
I’d even considered the idea of saving up the dirty money from now until retirement, then one day, on my 70th birthday perhaps, dragging these pickle jars and colostomy bags full of coins into the futuristic coffeehouse bank stationed 5000 feet above my house in the New World Order’s airspace only to find out that they’ve gone back to using wampum instead. Based on my recent yield, it would seem that if I only collect $70 in change over a 5 year period, then in a 40 year period (8 times as long. Isn‘t that weird? Math is amazing.) I would only have $560 to see me through my retirement. This is still nothing to mock (for retirement, yes), but makes one mindful of the importance of retirement investments and producing rich children. I’m suddenly reminded that I need to clean out the edges of my couch and chairs. And have children. Less than two years after this initial coin cash-in, I did another home scrounging and got an even bigger payout. This time I got $118.21! This improves on my earlier retirement figures (nearly tripling), but still lacks the necessary funding for a total retirement party blowout with the other geezers at the rest home. I guess I’ll still need my 401k after all. Oh, and social security, if it’s still there.
A while back, when I worked in customer service, a woman called to make payment arrangements on her mother’s account. Her parents were retired and owned a house, but her father had just died, and at this point her declining mother had to go into a nursing home and, with all the related costs, they had to sell the old family home. The worried daughter took the opportunity to tell me about the need to acquire Long-Term Care Insurance. She wasn’t a salesperson, but merely a concerned citizen. She wished they’d gotten the insurance to help pay for nursing home care. I talked about this to my mom who assured me that she wouldn’t need the insurance because she was going to live with me anyway. I told her that this would work only if I had a separate house for her on this fictional property and she wasn’t able to get around well enough to come in and out of my house at will, and also wasn’t crippled enough to require frequent assistance like being turned over every hour or to avoid bedsores. Man, I love her.
To me, it seems weird that people work 40+ hours a week for 40-50 years, then retire in time to be old and die. That’s just too much of your life. Apparently, it’s important to enjoy your job after all. The company I work for teases us by putting out an obituary report every so often for employees and former employees. It was interesting and a little sad to see that there are some employees who’d only been retired 5 years before they died. The ones I like to see are the listings for those people who’d been retired 25 years before they passed away. That would be much better. Twenty-five years to live unencumbered by servitude and slavery would be great! You also wonder, though, how strapped for cash they might have gotten at the very end. That might be it’s own slavery. Hopefully they have large couches full of change.
Coming Up…Maybe: If I can lose those last 2 pounds, I’ll post about my awesome weight loss with joyful obnoxiousness! Problem is I’ve started cooking way too much, so I may have to post about that instead.