Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Pickle Jar

Recently, a co-worker of mine forwarded me an e-mail called "The Pickle Jar". It was written anonymously. It details the story of a young child who grows up in a small unnamed mill town. It seems that every night the father of this young child would drop his pocket change into an empty pickle jar on the nightstand beside his bed. When that jar became full, the coins would be sorted, rolled up, and taken to the bank to be deposited into a college fund for the child.

When asked about the jar, the father always told the child that he (or she) would have that money in a bank account someday and would never have to work in the town mill as a result. The jar would never be raided, even in times of desperate financial crisis. The jar was a way to ensure that the child would always have a better life than the parents had.

Afterward, once the child had reaped the benefits of that carefully saved college fund, the Pickle Jar disappeared. Years later, when the child had a child of his or her own, the Pickle Jar magically re-appeared on the nightstand, and a new tradition of saving pocket change for a college fund began.

Naturally, this bit of e-mail glurge is often dismissed by cynics like myself. It is often accompanied by expressions of blessing that causes people like me to dismiss it.

Obviously, this story is at best imagined from vague childhood memories, but it is a lesson that should be learned: Saving your money is the best way to invest it.

I recall an episode of The Simpsons wherein Homer was asked to create a "Swear Jar" which he would contribute a dollar to each time he swore while trying to build a homemade doghouse. By the time he was done with it, he had saved enough to buy a custom built doghouse.

If a fictional cartoon character can learn such a basic lesson, why can't we?

It is rumored that the late Roy Rogers once said that the easiest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

My own father is now living a very prosperous retirement because he saved his money.

I will pass on the story of The Pickle Jar to anyone I know. Minus the sickening sweetness of course.

Maybe it will inspire some folks to do what is sensible with their money: Save it!

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