Monday, October 1, 2007

When High Yield Savings Rates Start Dropping, Save Money the Pirate Way

Author: Nick
Category: Money

here is the nearest starbucks

Photo by cameronparkins

Long-time reader and giraffe admirer Lynn recently sent a letter to Punny Money. I ignored it because it was written in lipstick, but then she sent me a check for fifty bucks, so I fished it out of the trash and read it:

Dear Nick,

With high yield savings account rates expected to plummet in coming months, I’m looking for a better place to put my savings. Preferably something FDIC insured with an APY of at least 6.00% or better. Do you know where I can find this?

Thanks, Lynn

Well Lynn, there’s a saying in the banking industry: “Customers are idiots, but we need them if we want to make this whole bank scam we’ve got going work.” So why would banks lower their interest rates since that scares away customers? The answer to that question is surprisingly simple—so simple that I wouldn’t dream of insulting your intelligence by explaining it to you.

Lynn does have a good point: savings account interest rates are dropping significantly. Just last week, major bank company place HSBC announced that it was lowering its high yield savings account’s rate from 5.05% to 4.50%. What does that mean for the typical American saver? If rates continue to drop the way they are, in ten years you will still be poor and have a house full of giant TVs.

The graph below demonstrates an even more alarming trend in savings interest rates. If these rates continue to fall as they did last week, your interest rate will be zero by late November. After that, the banks will actually charge you to keep your cash with them.

extrapolated savings rate for december 2008: negative 8 BILLION

So when Lynn asks for a savings interest rate of 6.00% or higher, what she really should be asking for is a safe place to hide her money from the coming bank plundering. Without a doubt, stuffing your money in a sock, putting it in a box, and hiding it in the ground is the best method for keeping your money safe and sound during times of financial meltdown. I mean, it’s exactly what the pirates did in ye olde days of yore. And how many times have you found pirate treasure? Huh? Huh? Yeah, zero. So burying your money is obviously the way to go.

Playing pirate with your savings seems simple, but you’ll need to make sure you follow these steps passed down through generations of my family watching pirate movies.

  1. Get a sock. Socks are known for preventing outside crap from getting to your feet. What works for your feet will also work for your money! If you have lots of money, you will need multiple socks or perhaps one really big sock. Use only white socks because—and I’m sure everyone in New York will agree with me—red socks suck.
  2. Get a box. A shoebox would be ideal here, but other boxes will work too, including cardboard boxes, Chinese takeout boxes, and boxing gloves. Put your socks in the box, and then have some lox.
  3. Find a really good digging spot. You’ll want to go deep into a forest in the middle of the night so nobody sees you. If you can, bring along a friend who doesn’t mind being eaten by wolves. Dig yourself a hole about five feet deep, drop in your socks box, and fill the hole. Make absolutely certain to post a sign nearby stating “No buried treasure here” or else someone might try to find it.
  4. Make a treasure map. How do you expect to find your savings without a map to follow? Fortunately the days of scrawling on parchment are over. Just like you monitored your bank accounts online, so too can you track your hidden treasure spots using Google Maps and other internet tools.
  5. Bury your treasure map for bonus pirate points.

In ten or twenty years when I’m President and have returned the country to its former economic prosperity, you’ll be able to dig up your fortune and use it to pay my hefty 110% income tax.

What’s that? “What about inflation?” Uh… dig your hole really deep so inflation can’t reach it. Problem solved!

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