Not the intended blog

This is not the blog I intended to write. That is because I forgot what I wanted to write about. It was good too. This time I need to ask for advice. Katie just emailed me and her email reminded me that I’ve been meaning to ask about this for a while now.

How do I approach the topic of telling people we don’t want to receive something for Brandons birthday? Here is the delima. When Rob and I got married, his dad gave him a bunch of savings bonds that his grandpa had bought for him when he was born. 25 years later and the damn things hadn’t matured yet. We needed money for our honeymoon, and that is what the bonds were intended for, so we cashed them out and lost almost half in fees and then got screwed later that year when tax time came.

So then, when Brandon was born, naturally everyone and their mom bought him savings bonds. Rob and I didn’t really know what to do with them. We stuck them in the safe and then discussed how we would go about telling people that Brandon actually has a savings account. Here is the thing. When I was little my granamda opened a savings account at our credit union for all of her grand children. Every holiday or birthday she deposited money in the account. When we were about 12 we got control of the account. The accounts are called Rocky Raccoon accounts. They are set up as savings accounts and the kids get a little check book type register to learn to keep track of their deposits and so on. Each time you put a dollar in you get a Rocky buck. Then anytime you want you can go to the bank and spend your Bucks on silly things like flashlights, or radios or backpacks. You know all that junk that was soooo cool when you were 12. Anyway. When you turn 16 you are allowed to turn the account into a checking account with no fees or anything. They keep an eye on you though, you can only make 2 withdrawals from savings a month and so on. Then when you turn 18 you get a grown up account.

When I turned 12 I got control of my account (it didn’t have much in it for other reasons that I won’t discuss), by the time I turned 18 I had amassed a savings worth $5,000.00. I Had become extremely responsible with my checking account and never let it dip under $400.00. I received a credit card and I paid the balance every month. I felt very responsible and I was so happy that I had that account to learn to save and respect money and balance my account.

Now I have Brandon. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I started to receive money for him. I saved every dollar and every check and as soon as he had a social security number I opened his account. Even at birthdays or random holidays when he would receive a dollar in a card, I would take it to his account. Every single week I automatically have it set up to transfer $40.00 to his account. He has a stack of Rocky bucks to spend when he is old enough. When his account reached $3,000.00 I was able to place that in a special short term high interest CD offered through our credit union, that was still attached to his name and in his account. Now, he is not even two years old and he already has an account with close to $5,500.00. Personally for someone so young Rob and I think we have done well saving up a nice chunk of change for him.

We fully plan on paying for anything he needs with our own money, such as braces or athletics. However we have discussed allowing him to use a portion of his money (which will be considerable by the time he is 16, 18 and so on) as a down payment on a car, or use a portion of money to help him get started in college. Then of course, letting him have money as a down payment on a house or hmmmm if he ever needs to be bailed out of jail for streaking or something wild like that (he he).

So my question is, how do we tell people that we prefer not to receive savings bonds. To me it almost seems as though they don’t find us responsible enough to handle cash or checks. Like maybe we would spend it on us and not the kids. However even when we have received checks with memo lines saying, use for diapers, I still put it in Brandons account. The best part about having his account is the money is accessible right away if there were an emergency or if the kids wanted it and they don’t have to pay a single fee on it. For instance if Brandon came to me and said I want a car now, or I would like to take a summer vacation before college or something, I can easily get the money, with no penalty, and no tax hassles.

So, is it rude of me to ask people not to give bonds, or do we just suck it up and store them away for 500 years, do we cash em out now and put the money received into their savings? Do I hand out my sons account number to family at holiday time and tell them our request? What do we do. Obviously, I own two houses, I pay my bills, I have savings, my son has savings and I have nothing in collections, so to me it seems obvious that Rob and I are very responsible with money. What do you all think? Also no part of me is asking people to give him money. I prefer they donate to a more needy kid. But since some people are hell bent on giving him something I would much more prefer if it went into his personal account. Here is the bigger problem. My husbands family tends to subscribe to the screw you we are going to do the complete opposite of whatever you ask us to, just to let you know we are still in charge method. Oh and they are the ones who are the most hell bent on buying the bonds.

3 thoughts on “Not the intended blog

  1. Well, some savings bonds mature relatively quickly….so, people are buying them thinking that they are doing a good thing for you guys.If it\’s…say, your parents…just tell them. Or…be sneaky, and say something about having to rent a safety deposit box at the bank, b/c HEAVEN FORBID your house burn down & those things turn to ash…oh, what a waste that would be. Or…ask family to do this: if each grandparent would commit to putting $10.00 per month into his savings account….figure up how much that would be for him by the time he turns 18 years. And present that plan to them…

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  2. I would just take the bonds, put them in an envelope, and put them aside wherever you keep important stuff like his birth certificate. I have some that my grandparents gave me when I was a child that are only just now maturing, and it\’s kind of fun to have that money all of a sudden. And it\’s a good safe investment, since the standard bond doubles in value: the giver spends $25 and the receiver gets $50.I\’d just take what he gets and not worry about it. It sounds like you\’re doing really awesome with his account; the bonds would just be a different kind of money for the future.

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  3. I think I have told you this before but I think what you have done for Brandon and no doubt what you will do for Lou is an amazing thing that you can do for your kids. You are right that it teaches them how to handle their money and also, by doing things like putting it in short term CD\’s, ensure it is available if needed but still making more money, unlike savings bonds that you end up losing money on in fees, etc. I think a lot of people still believe that government savings bonds are a wise way of saving money. Saving bonds used to be much more vauleble but in today\’s day and age they like you have stated, just a pain in the ass. I personally would try to do something semi-non chalant (so not spelled right) like sending out little cards to family and friends with like a picture of brandon and some little cute \”look how much he has grown\” and then include a little note saying something like \”With Brandon\’s upcoming birthday we wanted to say that presents are necessary but if you do want to give him a present, and you are not sure what to give him, our big boy has opened up a savings account for himself set up at THE BANK and the account number is ######. Feel free to contribute to his future.\” Ok, so you could probably word the note better but you get the point.

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