From change collection to first savings account


Today I dragged the boy and two suitcases full of family pocket change to a local bank to open his first savings account. We felt like bank robbers (and curiously the guy tailing us looked like our security detail!).

I thought he was ready because he has done such a great job balancing his weekly lunch budget. He spends his money carefully - generously loaning it to cash-strapped friends and having his ‘frequent sandwich’ card stamped religiously.

We opted for TD Bank because their "penny arcade" promised to convert all our change to 'real money' - without taking a percentage.  No rolling coins for this generation! They also have a free  Young Saver Savings Account for minors.

Our seed money - twenty years of change - seemed to weigh a hundred pounds.  We signed up for the account in minutes (with our passports and social security numbers at hand) and then hit the Penny Arcade.

The machine filters out and returns the detritus of your coin collection.  We expected to find some yen, pesos, euros, old French francs (buttons, screws, rocks, paperclips) but we did not expect to see two New York City subway tokens. They were the most recently minted "Five Boroughs" Pentagram Token (1993 to 2003). But the boy  had never seen one since they were phased out a year before he was born.

We maxed out the machine so we were also able to peak inside! We guessed we would have $400 to $500 but harvested a whopping $938.25. We promptly withdrew $20 and splurged on a treat at The Donut Plant. Now to find him a passbook for balancing the account (alas, in the digital age they are no more).  


jane beck

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