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A decade ago or more I had 3 bank accounts. One at a traditional large full service bank which held my main checking account. One at a credit union which had a savings account and my car loan. The final at a local bank which kept my money in a passbook savings account meaning that the only way I could get the money was to walk into the bank during their limited hours.

It was a effective money management scheme when I hard a regular check that was directly deposited. The strategy was that the credit union had the amount of the car payment plus a little extra automatically deposited from my paycheck. The credit union would then automatically pay the card payment leaving the extra in the account. This extra built up quickly and became an occasion extra car payment or emergency money. As a savings account it also earned some interest.

Next, $25 per paycheck was automatically put into the passbook savings (things could go in but I had to visit the bank to get it out). Sometimes I’d put extra. This added up incredibly fast since I never looked at it and it earned a decent rate of interest which was fun to watch grow. This became mad money or emergency money.

Finally, the remainder would go into my checking account (also interest bearing) which was set up to autodraft all the utility bills and some others. This was bill paying money and what remained was used for living expenses and some luxury.

Well, a few years ago the credit union sent a check for $8.75 saying “Due to inactivity your account is closed.” That was fine. One less thing on my mind.

I’ve been wanting to recover the passbook account but can’t find the book. I think about it every few weeks and have for the past 2 years or so. Today I finally stepped into a branch and asked if the account was still alive. They said after 3 years of inactivity they start billing $2 per month until the money goes away. I think I like the credit union’s approach better. Certainly puts a damper on these movies (like Futurama) that base a character’s wealth on some loose change that earns interest over several hundred or thousand years.

It is comforting to know it is gone. I have simplified. I can quit looking for that passbook. And I have one less reason to schedule a stop in my day.

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