Don't Keep Your Money In A Shoebox, Or At Least Don't Pose For A Photo With It

Thanks to the New York Post, we know there’s a 48-year-old man named Richard Cruz somewhere in Manhattan who’s hoarding his daughter’s college fund in a shoebox. We even know what he looks like, because in the photo that accompanies the article, Cruz is posing on the sidewalk with his withdrawn cash like he just won the shoebox lottery. “‘No one hides their money under a mattress any more,’ he said. ‘That’s the first place people would look.'” Good thinking.

The article also points out that more people are investing in gold, which at least makes sense. But may we suggest you consider moving your cash over to a credit union before you glue it behind the wallpaper in your bedroom? Just make sure you ask the credit union manager about their Texas ratio first, so you don’t inadvertently put your savings at a greater risk.

“Savers Banking on Shoeboxes” [New York Post]
(Photo: Brian Branch Price | New York Post)

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  1. hypoxia says:

    When I was a financial advisor I met a woman who claimed to have nearly $20K in a box under her bed because she was saving for her kids’ college funds and this way she couldn’t lose money. When I explained that the money was not only decreasing in value due to inflation and it wasn’t insurable, so if it was stolen or the house caught fire it wasn’t replaceable, she said, “Oh, really? I didn’t know that.”

    *Facepalm*

    • katylostherart says:

      @hypoxia: how would putting it in a bank increase its value? inflation still affects money in a savings account and with most of the interest rates in a lot of banks unless you already have a significant amount of money earning interest you basically get back a few pennies for your trouble. you would earn more panhandling or just keeping your eyes on the ground for loose change. i just left wachovia and if they charged me a $2 fee a month that pretty much wiped out a year’s worth of interest because their rate was .15%

      • @katylostherart: At $20,000 she should have no trouble getting a fee-free account. More to the point, an account which awards interest would be the way to go to help combat inflation. It isn’t hard at all to get 3.5% APY on a savings account. She could be taking advantage of nicer CD accounts.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @XianZhuXuande: there is another downside to banking education funds though – you’re ability to obtain student loans. assets like coverdell accounts are factored into your eligibility for pell grants & stafford loans.

          that’s one thing that always pissed me off about education in america. the rich can afford it, the poor get it for free & the 90% of us in the middle get to put up everything we own for the chance.

          sorry, /rant.

          • ShariC says:

            @mac-phisto: The poor don’t get it “for free”. I know because I grew up very poor and did get the grants of which you speak (as well as GSLs), but it was nowhere near enough to pay for college and I lived at home rather than in a dormitory to reduce the overall expense of college. I had to borrow 1/2 to 2/3 of the cost every year depending on how many grants I happened to qualify for. I ended up with debt from college like everyone else. It may have been less debt, but I didn’t have a credit card or spend my college years like they were a chance to live free and easy. I also worked to keep the costs down.

            I’ll grant you that the middle class gets the shaft, but the poor don’t get to go for free, not by a long shot. If they did, a lot more poor people with be getting college degrees.

            • mac-phisto says:

              @ShariC: i know. maybe “on the cheap” would’ve been a better way to put it. my aggravation isn’t really with the idea that people of lesser means gain access to education thru the pell & stafford programs – it’s that middle class folks don’t get enough access thru those programs.

          • kamikazee05 says:

            @mac-phisto: I can totally empathize! I go to a city college where 80% of my classmate don’t pay a dime and even get stipends for attending school, while I work 40+ hours a week to pay my tuition. My favorite part is going to the bookstore and buying the cheapest notebooks I can find, while the kid in front of me is buying Five Star using book vouchers.

        • katylostherart says:

          @XianZhuXuande: well i figured a cd rate would be great. although those are hovering pretty low and depending where you are aren’t much better than savings rates. but for a basic savings account the rates are pretty crap. i’ve never seen a 3.5% under say 10k. i guess assuming she already had a good chunk of the education savings built up it would be worth it, but if it’s under 10k it’s difficult (at least in my own personal attempts) to find an interest rate that makes it actually worth it.

          • mac-phisto says:

            @katylostherart: credit unions & mutual savings banks often offer compeititve rates at minimums of $500-$2500.

            another often overlooked option is savings bonds – particularly, i bonds. i bonds build the CPI-U into pricing, so your rate is hedged against inflation. the current rate on i bonds is 4.84% -> [www.treasurydirect.gov]

            compare i bonds to ee bonds here –> [www.treasurydirect.gov] generally, in inflationary periods, i is better & in deflationary periods ee is better.

            bonds are guaranteed, they have greater safety than cash (you can replace lost/stolen bonds), they earn interest for up to 30 years & there are possible tax advantages if they are used for education.

            only disadvantages i can think of are liquidity & short-term use of bonds – you cannot cash them for 6 months from issue date & there’s an interest penalty if you cash them within 5 years.

        • Landru says:

          @XianZhuXuande: I don’t think there is a savings account or a CD account that beats inflation. And the only thing deflating today is real estate values. Everything else is up.

      • hypoxia says:

        @katylostherart: Yes, inflation always affects money’s value, but you can partially or fully offset it by putting it in a high yield savings account (although you are paying taxes on your earnings). You can put it into a CD, or two or three CDs with laddered maturities. You can always invest in mutual funds. You can always put it into a ROTH or, in her case, a 529 since it was for college. The benefit to having it in a bank, at the VERY least, is that it’s FDIC insured.

        I’m guessing you didn’t have a lot of money in that account and it was probably a checking account.

      • @katylostherart: It’s pretty silly to assume that all banks give such poor interest rates.

        ING Direct’s online account gives 3% currently, and was as high as 5% a couple years ago. You can get near-CD rates at most online banks.

        Oh, and if you’re paying fees for a bank account in this day, you’re nuts.

    • TVarmy says:

      @hypoxia: I guess you could be inflation in theory by buying gold bonds, but I hear that even they aren’t holding up so well these days. Still, any long term savings account is better than under the mattress. So long as there’s FDIC insurance, this is moronic. Plus, interest lessens the blow.

  2. wgrune says:

    You can get a wall-safe and mount it to the wall or floor for less then $100. It wouldn’t stop a thief who came prepared (power tools required) but would definitly stop your casual breaking and entering type. Keeping that much money unprotected is stupid.

  3. christoj879 says:

    I’d rather keep it somewhere where I can easily keep track of it, transfer it to other accounts and have physical safeguards in place other than my fat ass on a mattress.

  4. Princess Leela says:

    DUDE. For serious. A safe deposit box, at least? Or one of those fireproof boxes that fits under the bed? Can we at least ask that much?

    • laserjobs says:

      @Princess Leela: NEVER keep cash in a bank safe deposit box. It can be confiscated by the IRS.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @laserjobs: seconded. AND the bank will not cover you for lost cash.

      • Princess Leela says:

        @laserjobs: Okay, I guess I learned something too. I’m confused, though. You mean if you didn’t pay your TAXES they can confiscate it, right? Not just roll into the bank one day and clean it out for kicks and giggles?

        • mac-phisto says:

          @Princess Leela: if they THINK you didn’t pay your taxes. someone can correct me if i’m wrong here, but i’m pretty sure you can’t fight a tax judgment until you pay it. in short, they say you owe the money, you say you don’t, they take your money & you get play david in the epic fight against goliath to take it back.

          • @mac-phisto: Technically, you are right. But that does not happen very often. And when it does happen, it happens 99.99% of time to people who fudged their taxes. Most people fall into a bracket where the IRS doesnt even care if theres a cpl K dollars here or there.

            I think i read it on consumerist itself, that people are a LOT less likely to run into IRS than they think they are.

      • @laserjobs: Or if you pay your taxes, you don’t have to worry about that…

    • katylostherart says:

      @Princess Leela: and then you read stories on this site about safe deposit boxes basically getting “acquired” by the banks that were renting them out between all the mergers and loss of paperwork.

      at a certain level, all this garbage surrounding currency exchange for goods and services makes ideal communism sound perfect…

    • Mistrez_Mish says:

      @Princess Leela: BUT, it’s a Reebok box!! …. those some pretty high quality shoe boxes… surely it must make some difference?

  5. samurailynn says:

    My mom keeps the change from tips she gets at work as a waitress in a jar in her house. One night while I was visiting she counted out the quarters (she’s a little OCD sometimes) and she had about $120 just in quarters. I told her she should put it in a high interest savings account, but she didn’t want to. I think she just likes jars of shiny things in her bedroom.

    I’m just kidding, Mom! I know it’s because you’re just old fashioned and you believe that money in a jar is more stable than money in a bank.

  6. B says:

    One of my high school science teachers claimed to have a bunch gold buried in his backyard. At the time he was just holding it until the value went over $400 an ounce. I wonder if he still has it.

  7. downwithmonstercable says:

    My friend’s grandpa just passed away, and when they started cleaning out the house to sell it, they found wads of cash stashed EVERYWHERE. He didn’t believe in banks after the great depression. Then they had one of those, “Oh grandpa!” moments.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    The older generation definitely has a distrust of banks. But when it comes to storing money, no bells and whistles like investments, 401(k)s, etc. a CD is the best way to go about it. At some point, people need to be wise about this. I’d hate to be a high school senior who realizes that her father keeps what is potentially her next four years of livelihood and education in a shoebox.

    • P_Smith says:

      @IHaveAFreezeRay: The older generation definitely has a distrust of banks.

      There’s paranoia, and there’s distrust.

      Paranoia is people 10 years ago thinking “the banks are going to collapse tommorow”. Today, thinking they are going to collapse tomorrow is distrust.

      Ten years ago, older people said, “WHAT? Pay five fees to have access to my own money?!” That’s not just distrust, it’s common sense and those today who willingly put up with an endless string of “fees” are the dumb ones.

      I’m definitely not advocating keeping more than half a paycheque of cash in one’s house, but banks have shown they are no more trustworthy with your life savings than your next door neighbor.

  9. Gopher bond says:

    Investing in gold now may or may not be such a great idea. My friends laughed at me back in 2000 when I started buying gold and silver. Gold was like $290 an ounce and silver was $4! How could you not buy? But buying now? maybe not such a great investment.

  10. sasper says:

    My parents cashed out their 401k’s in 1999 and bought gold since they thought Y2K was going to wipe everything out.

    They still have all of that gold and aren’t planning on selling it until gold hits $2500/oz.

    Makes. No. Sense. They’ve given up on retirement in 10 years and are planning to work for the rest of their lives. Good luck!

    • Gopher bond says:

      @sasper: oooh, investing in just one thing isn’t a good idea. I started buying gold back when it was $290 an ounce, but I still contributed to my 401k, still do. I significantly reduced my contributions a few years ago but will probably start buying things up at a low price sometime soon.

      Gold was at $1000/oz earlier this year, I sold a bunch off then and would be surprised if it hit that high anytime soon.

      • ludwigk says:

        @testsicles: Since I’m a noob, how exactly did you invest in gold?

        Do you buy certificates of gold like a security, or do you literally buy bouillon that sits in a safe deposit box or safe in your house? Is all investment gold considered fungible

        • Gopher bond says:

          @ludwigk: Gold investing can be fungible or non-fungible. Boullion investing gives you all the benefits of the security of gold but presents a storage risk while gold certificates, shares, or offer portfolio diversity but lack the security features of actually having the gold in your hands. A combination of the two is probably the preferred method.

    • katylostherart says:

      @sasper: well considering the state of lots of 401k and ira accounts they accidently did something ok for the time being.

  11. PeteyNice says:

    You can either buy GLD (or SLV) which are funds that invest in gold (silver) or you can buy the actual stuff. Coin shops are usually good places and there are tons of online stores that sell gold (silver) coins, bars, etc.

    I have a “Bush wants a third term” collection in a safe in my home. It has gold, silver, euros and a 22 caliber pistol. I estimate that I have enough value to live for two years or so in there and when that runs out I have the gun to get more!

  12. I was expecting the next shot in the series where some guy ran in from the side and hit the bottom of the shoebox, causing the money to jump out, which he then grabs and keeps running.

  13. rellog says:

    My Mom’s friend’s husband is taking his 12K out of the bank to keep in his basement… Simply moronic…

    • Gopher bond says:

      @rellog: I always tell people to leave their money in the bank, especially if they’re just going to keep it in their house. If you take money out of the bank, then presumably you don’t think it’s safe their. If the money isn’t safe in the bank, then it’ll likely be quite worthless in your house. The only reason to take money out of the bank is if you plan to quickly convert it to usable goods, food, ammo, clothing, cigarettes, booze.

  14. I can’t believe there wasn’t a rash of muggings outside IndyMac branches when everybody was carting their money away in bags and pockets.

    This guy’s asking for it.

  15. Credit Unions. You don’t hear much about them getting into trouble. Our little tiny nest egg is in one. But, as a double safety check, we keep it in a credit union I joined many years ago-

    The Congressional Federal credit union.

    I figure that as long as my money is mingled with the money of so many current and former members of Congress, it will get a GREAT bailout if ever needed!!!

    Plus my debit card has a cute little picture of the Capitol on it. What more can you ask?

    If you buy gold- do you actually get the gold?

  16. ClankBoomSteam says:

    Okay: so The Consumerist is pointing out what a terrible idea it is for 48-year-old Manhattan citizen Richard Cruz to store his money in a shoebox, and how it’s an even worse idea for him to pose for a picture of it on the streets of Manhattan, all because this greatly increases the likelihood that Mr. Cruz will be mugged/robbed/ murdered for said shoebox full of cash, and that would be a terrible thing…

    …SO THE CONSUMERIST POSTS HIS PHOTO, HIS AGE AND HIS CITY OF RESIDENCE ON THEIR WEBSITE.

    Well done, Consumerist. I’m Sure Mr. Cruz will thank you in advance for your conscientious efforts at protecting him from the criminal element.

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      @ClankBoomSteam: Dude the douche flouted it and talked about it on the news. I’m pretty sure the criminals knew where to find his dumb a** before the consumerist made this post.

      • ClankBoomSteam says:

        @gc3160 – that homo that u know: I certainly didn’t. And now I do, because The Consumerist told me. The same, I’m sure, can be said for any number of others visiting this site. Now, if I were so inclined, I could use the info posted here to track him down and take his money. Dumbass or not, The Consumerist isn’t exactly protecting him by identifying him and posting his picture here.

    • Decaye says:

      @ClankBoomSteam:

      I don’t remember them saying they were trying to protect his identity. Pretty sure they were trying to call him an idiot.

      • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

        @Decaye: exactly. if you’re stupid enough to go on the news and talk about burying the gold in your backyard or showing off your pretty box of money then why should we hide your identity. Clearly you didn’t care enough or have enough sense yourself.

        • ClankBoomSteam says:

          @gc3160 – that homo that u know: Attitudes like this lead nowhere fast, THTUK. No one deserves to be robbed, no matter how stupid they are.

          And this isn’t a matter of whether The Consumerist should or should not hide this man’s identity — it’s an issue of whether or not The Consumerist crossed a line by specifically TARGETING this guy for exposure. It’s not like he was already going to be here on the site, like it or not. It’s not like The Consumerist was faced with deciding how to handle his inevitable appearance here. They picked up his “story”, mocked him publicly, and told us his name, his age, where he lives, and that he habitually carries a big box of money. In so doing, they have potentially put him in danger — certainly more potential danger than he was in BEFORE this article was posted here.

          We all make stupid mistakes. Do you think YOU deserve to be robbed or killed for YOUR stupid mistakes, or does that logic only apply to the ‘entertaining’ dumbasses out there like this guy?

      • ClankBoomSteam says:

        @Decaye: I never said they were trying to protect his identity — in fact, that was my point. If The Consumerist is so concerned with keeping people from exposing themselves to a potential mugging here, perhaps they shouldn’t help things along by publicly identifying the guy who walks around NYC with a big box of cash, and showing a zillion people out there who, should they be so inclined, to mug.

        Is the guy an asshat for doing so? Hell yes. But is The Consumerist playing a dangerous game by pointing out this asshat to thousands of (potentially unscrupulous) people? Absolutely. It’s irresponsible, and it’s poor journalism.

  17. guspaz says:

    You know where a good place to keep your money is? In a BANK. Accounts are FDIC insured in the states, CDIC insured (up to $200k IIRC) in Canada., there’s no risk there.

    I’m currently enjoying my “eSavings high interest” account with Royal Bank. I’m getting something like 2.5 to 3 percent interest on that.

    • forgottenpassword says:

      @guspaz:

      I always wondered how long it would take the governmnet to get your money back. Knowing how fucked up governments are…. I would think it would take months.

  18. forgottenpassword says:

    nice…even if he hid the money well somewhere…. the guy risks getting kidnapped.

  19. bagumpity says:

    Is it time for a run on the banks yet? Because I’d kinda like being there so I could stand on a desk and yell:

    “No, but you . . . you . . . you’re thinking of this place all wrong. As if they had the money back in a safe. The money’s not here. Your money’s in Joe’s house right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin’s house, and a hundred others. Why, you’re lending them the money to build, and then, they’re
    going to pay it back to you as best they can. Now what are you going to do? Foreclose on them?”

    George Bailey FTW!