Once upon a time, a happy girl was cleaning out her house to prepare for a move to a new house. This girl packed carefully, sorting through loose papers and boxes of school memories as she went. One day, the girl happened to be packing up her desk in the den. Buried at the bottom of a drawer full of computer and construction paper was a plain red paper folder, with the girl’s name written across the front in her mother’s unmistakable handwriting (the girl paused to reflect upon the similarites between her own handwriting and that of her mother. Could it be? Was she really turning into her mom? The signs all pointed in the same direction…).
Shaking those thoughts from her head, the girl opened up the folder. Oh, no! The first item in the folder was the title to the girl’s former vehicle, which she had sold just weeks ago. The girl had sworn to her mother that she did not have the title and had made her mother feel bad for losing it. They had had to request a new title from the state to give to the new owner of the vehicle.
The girl set the title aside. Oh, happy day! In the folder was a $50 U.S. Savings Bond with her name on it! It was issued six years ago, which meant it must have been a gift for her high school graduation. This was like finding money in the pocket of her jeans, except better! The girl clipped the savings bond to a magnet on the refrigerator so she’d remember it on her next trip to the bank.
A few days later, the girl needed to go to the bank. She gathered up her savings bond and her other necessary papers and drove to her local bank. The friendly teller greeted her with a smile.
“I’d like to cash this out, please.” requested the girl, sliding the savings bond across the counter.
“No problem.” said the teller. “Let me see how much it is worth.”
As she typed, the girl frowned to herself. Didn’t the bond say $50? Not wanting to make a show of her ignorance, she waited quietly.
“Okay.” said the teller. “I can give you $31 for this.”
“Um…alright.” said the girl. After all, bankers know best. Besides, it was free money.
“…unless you want to wait 24 more years for this bond to mature.” continued the teller.
Hmmm…thought the girl. Thirty-one dollars now or fifty dollars in twenty-four years? IF I can find this small piece of paper in twenty-four years.
“Thirty-one dollars will be fine.” the girl agreed, and continued with her banking business.
As she drove home, however, she reflected on the silliness of the situation. Who had given her that as a gift? How were these ever popular? Had the giver somehow believed that she would not be responsible enough to have fifty dollars until she was forty-eight years old? She wished that they had just written her a check and let that be the end of it. She decided to blog about her concerns that night, in the hopes that whoever gave her that savings bond would not ever read it.
Moral: When in doubt, give cash.