Turns out, you can win a lot more from Video Poker than $2 an hour (see last week’s discussion). But before returning to that tomorrow — and the issue of investing vs. gambling generally — let me slip this one in:
“When I was ordained,” writes a friend, “I was given $3,000 which I put into a savings account. Having it there keeps me from having to pay service charges on my Chase checking account. I don’t write many checks. Possibly three per month. Do you suggest a better place for my pittance?”
Well, if the monthly service charge you save is $10, which is probably about what it is, then you are “earning” $120 a year on $3,000 — 4%, tax free, which isn’t bad. If you could do twice as well (which you could not without taking at least some risk), that’s still only $2.30 a week more, and I guess there’s a limit to how much time and effort you should put in trying to find a way to get an extra $2.30 a week.
You might check with Chase to see if you can move your $3,000 into a money-market checking account that pays interest and would still serve to waive the checking service charge. Those accounts limit you to writing three checks a month. But for you, that might not be a problem. You’d be earning around 2% in taxable interest — wheeeee! (a second pittance!) — at the same time as you continued to “earn” 4% tax-free in saved fees.
If I were you, I’d just sit tight. You won’t get rich, but you’re not allowed to anyway.
Tomorrow: Back to the Vices.
[Note for those of you getting daily delivery via Q-Page . . . I posted this column late, which is why you may have been e-mailed Friday’s again. But soon Q-Page will get smarter about that, or I will have to become more punctual.]
Quote of the Day
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.~Franklin D. Roosevelt
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