Friday, 9 May 2014



For years I've considered removing my money from the bank and keeping it in a shoebox under the floorboards.  I've sat in my room looking around for a brilliantly original hiding place but always come to the conclusion that no such place exists.  But apart from the convenience of a card what do banks do for me?  Charges for everything, negligible interest, you lose anything over £85,000 if the bank suddenly collapses (I'm thinking of others here), and there are the constant mistakes. 

When I bought a car from a friend and transferred the money to her account, the bank decided to transfer the payment again and wiped out my account.  My panic was justified. It wasn't the bank's responsibility to get back the second payment it was mine and I was supposed to contact the recipient to ask them to return the money but it was up to them whether or not they gave it back! The bank could take no action. Fortunately it was a friend and she returned the money immediately, but this may not have been the case.  However, the bank very kindly said they would waive the charge for my going over my overdraft limit - due to their mistake!!  How much better to get the cash from under the floorboards, put it in an envelope and deliver it personally and safely to my friend.  Stress free. Easy.

And now we are told the taxman can take money out of your account, your ISA, whatever he chooses without notice, without asking your permission, if you owe him more than £1,000.  And if the taxman makes a mistake he is never responsible so anything could happen and my money would not be safe.

So what am I waiting for? Floorboards seem to be the best option.  And if the burglars are clever enough, then I'd rather they had the money than the bankers (rhyming slang).

Having your money safely locked away in bank vaults is a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fantasy.  Today cyber crime rules.  Your money can be stolen on line and although in many circumstances the bank may make good the loss, the thieves are not even pursued.  I've always mistrusted virtual money.  I want to sit and count those notes occasionally whenever I feel like it like the king in his counting house before I have my bread and honey.  After all you can't pay notes into a bank or withdraw them via the internet.

Perhaps one concession: a small bank account for buying things on line.   Not being able to send a late birthday card or order a next-day delivery of food supplies in the middle of a sleepless night would be difficult to give up.

So I conclude that the well-hidden shoebox or secret drawer is today's best method of storing my money. The lure of interest is virtually non-existent. If your money isn't cleaned out by cyber crime or wiped out by the sudden collapse of the bank if you have too much, then the taxman will be looting your account without your knowledge or the bank will be making mistakes in your name but never having to say it's sorry.

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