Editorial: Pennies from Heaven

The Mt. Hope Scrolls


Just the other day I had to walk by a penny and not pick it up. That really hurt me. I had several things in my hands. After getting rid of everything, I didn’t get back to pick up the penny. Don’t ever do that much. I have walked past pennies before. You probably have also. Now all the pennies take on a special significance in several different ways.

My dad was a numbers man. He liked to figure interest rates, what percentage of savings and spending, how much money could be spent, or saved by little changes in rates. When I was young he would go to the bank on a Sunday afternoon and play with the calculator. He liked that much better than watching baseball. Now, I have that problem too. I find myself figuring out things that involve small changes. 

Before we get to the math of a penny saved is a penny earned, let’s talk about the luck involved with the simple penny.

One of my friends worked at a car dealership. He was a big fan of pennies. He would walk over the lot and put pennies on the ground. One day I was walking with him and he dropped a penny. I started to pick it up and he said leave it. The penny was a good luck charm. He dropped pennies all the time. He wanted potential customers to pick up the penny. He would then tell them that it was their lucky day. This good luck should show them that this was the perfect day to buy a car. He had some other story about including the penny in the down payment and they could get an additional $100 off of the price of the car. Wow! He was a salesman! That’s pretty good for just finding a penny.

Now I mostly figure what a penny would do for payments and savings. It can make a big difference. Interest rates can make a big difference. There was a guy that wouldn’t drink Coca Cola. When people asked him if he would like one he would decline. The Coke costs 6 cents. That cost way too much. “Great God no. 6 cents is the interest on a dollar for a year!” I don’t know if the money he saved made any difference in his life or not but he had it figured.

Interest on a dollar is much lower now. However, a dollar has to work a whole year to earn a penny. All you have to do is pick it up. That’s interesting. If you put a dollar in the bank and add a penny, you have in effect paid the interest on the dollar for a year. You could look at it like doubling your interest on that dollar with the addition of a single penny. I know you’re thinking that’s still only 2 cents.

That’s the good thing about figuring with a calculator. You can put all kinds of numbers in there. As a mathematical exercise, you can be as rich or poor as you want to be. 

To me, these pennies that I find are like little gifts from heaven. The hard work of a dollar can be helped with a single little penny. Just picking up the penny is good exercise. Each time I see one it lets me figure some in my head what this penny will do for a savings account or paying off a debt early. I even think about getting a new car because I found a penny.

Just think of it. A penny compounded by infinity. Wow!


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