Imagine a kid in a candy store. Now imagine a kid in a candy store with $4,000 to spend.
A nine-year-old Ukrainian boy spent nearly $4,000 at a candy store in Konotop, Ukraine on Nov. 7, according to Russian and international news agency RIA Novosti. The child stole the money from his parents who kept their life savings under their sofa.
“The disappearance was first spotted by the father, a shift worker who had just returned home,” said a local police officer. “He opened the stash and saw that it was empty.”
The boy’s purchase wasn’t easy to come by. His parents kept their savings in dollars and euros rather than the local Ukrainian currency, so the child recruited an adult accomplice, who reportedly had a mental disorder, according to RIA Novosti, to help him convert the money.
The story is more evidence of why keeping money under your sofa may not be the best idea. Not only is the cash susceptible to theft, it is easy to misplace or forget about. One Australian couple learned this the hard way after accidently cooking $15,000 in savings that they kept in their oven. Another family in New Jersey is still searching for the life savings of a relative who died in 1974 and hid his money around his house, Newsroom New Jersey reports.
There is also no way to accrue interest on money that you are literally sitting on every day. But with personal savings rates in the U.S. at all-time lows, some Americans are reluctant to leave money in the bank. A retiree near Orlando, Fla. recently told The New York Times that he decided to put his savings under his mattress after his credit union would only pay him 0.4 percent interest despite an average of 2.8 percent inflation during the last year.
Sadly enough, most Americans have very little savings to begin with. Around 49 percent don’t have enough money to cover three months of expenses and 28 percent don’t have any savings at all, CNN Money reports. Another study recently found that a majority of Americans have less than $500 in savings.
The Ukrainian boy’s family might have more to worry about than simply where they are going to store their savings. A 2009 study of more than 17,000 children found that 69 percent of kids who ate too much sugar at a young age were arrested for a violent offense by age 34, NBC News reports.