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The $363,142 questions

I was at Cub Foods tonight, bagging up my groceries, when I spotted the ATM at the Wells Fargo branch and decide to withdraw some cash. As I waited for the transaction to go through, I glanced at a stray ATM receipt sitting atop the machine. And boy, was it more interesting than I expected:

A withdrawal from a checking account with a balance of $363,142.39. !!!!

So many questions. I don’t know any millionaires whom I could ask, but is it normal for wealthy people to keep several hundred thousand dollars in a plain old checking account? Maybe they need to be prepared if they decide to buy a house that day?

And, who could it have been? What very wealthy individual would have been in Duluth, shopping at Cub Foods and using that ATM at 4:22 p.m. today? I almost don’t want to know; the truth is almost certainly not as much fun as the stories that can be conjured up.

I’m looking at the receipt sitting on my desk as I type this. It’s just numbers on a slip of paper, but it feels so out of place in my humble little house.

36 Comments

Cory Fechner

about 8 years ago

Damn Paul! I can't believe you left the PDD banking account ATM receipt on top of the ATM. Geesh!

reddomain

about 8 years ago

Shoots, I meant to toss that in the garbage can ... sorry to be a litterbug.

Haley

about 8 years ago

Assuming the person is not a billionaire, it is unwise to keep that amount of cash in a simple checking account.  It could get interest elsewhere, and it is not fully FDIC insured to that amount.

Mildred

about 8 years ago

My friend's grandfather has an account like that. He is about 82, and bit neurotic. Having lived through the depression, and then been moderately affluent, he hoards money... but not in a wise way. Last I heard, he had $600k in a savings account, and his family was trying to convince him to put it somewhere safer.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

The two points above sprung immediately to my mind too. For some reason I don't think this is a "wealthy" person with loads of cash to blow. I bet this is a retiree who managed to save all that money over the course of a lifetime and doesn't know how to properly look after it. Just a hunch.

akjuneau

about 8 years ago

The thought that it was someone hoarding money or who doesn't trust investments also crossed my mind. It's probably true, though it falls under the "truth is not as much fun as made-up scenarios" category.

But I also wondered if someone with that financial philosophy or lack thereof would be apt to use an ATM at all, let alone the very public one at Cub Foods. 

Stereotyping, yes, but it seems to me that someone who is very frugal or cautious with their money would be more likely to go to a teller during banking hours and withdraw cash there. And they certainly wouldn't leave their ATM receipt sitting out there for all to see - would they?

Terry G.

about 8 years ago

I don't have any idea who would have that kind of account but it amazes me to realize that simply looking at that piece of paper conjures all sorts of daydreams....

Ethan

about 8 years ago

Could this be from a business account?

drifter

about 8 years ago

I read about a tactic to impress potential romantic interests:  Print out phony ATM receipts showing a huge balance and take them to a bar.  If you get to the point of giving someone a phone number, search your pockets for a handy piece of paper to write it on, pull out one of the receipts, write your number on it and hand it over.  Your dupe then goes home, sees the exaggerated balance, and deems you date-worthy.

http://salesreceiptstore.com/novelty_ATM_receipts.html

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

It's also interesting that they withdrew $300. Isn't $300 the maximum allowed per withdrawal? I smell a criminal conspiracy! This wasn't the elderly money hoarder. This was the money hoarder's miscreant grandson!

EvilResident

about 8 years ago

Wow. That'd pay off my mortgage and let me go on vacation...

I'm gonna start taking donations... now. If you'd like to donate to my Nate Wants a Real Vacation fund, plz contact me. Kthx.

jake

about 8 years ago

Office space...

Need

about 8 years ago

Might be one of those email "Request for urgent business relationship" scams that wasn't a scam at all and this person scored big time.

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

Maybe it's the account for some local organization?

Elden

about 8 years ago

Possibly a Fortune 500 CEO who had just gotten around to depositing that tax return check that was just lying on the desk for a couple months...

BC

about 8 years ago

@Haley: regarding "not fully insured..." that's not entirely true.  From the FDIC website (http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/insured/basics.html), "The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category."  So if it's a joint checking account with two people on it, it's insured to $500k.

It also may be an interest-bearing checking account, i.e. a money market account.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

If that's the kind of bank balance Cub customers have, I wonder what the ATM receipts at Whole Foods or Mount Royal would show...

Haley

about 8 years ago

BC... I stand corrected.  I was not thinking it was a joint account, but it certainly could be.

Mildred

about 8 years ago

@Iron Oregon Maybe less, since shopping at Cub helped this person save all that money :)

Donny Krosch

about 8 years ago

Actually on the FDIC thing for the time being it is insured up to 250,000 or 350,000 I can't remember which it was one of the bailout reform things that are still in effect for a number of years. Though the odds of a bank going down so hard that the new takeover bank or government wouldn't pay back 300,000 k is pretty low. It is still a risk. Still better than burying in the back yard and who knows if that is this person's life savings or if they have other investments.... hard to say.  (also on the whole foods or Mount Royal thing, maybe they are more spendy but those that shop there might be one reason they don't have a bank account like that) not sure if those places are more expensive or not. But that was one great thing I read in Millionaire next Door was millionaires tend not to look like Millionaires.

Ethan

about 8 years ago

Iron Oregon:  No offense, but your comment is nonsensical silliness.  Since my wife moved into Duluth 10 years ago, when she was a grad student to become a social worker and me a self-employed web developer, we've shopped at at Whole Foods.  We've always considered the relatively high cost of food to be worth it, even on a joint income of very little.  Food seems important.  Most people eat food every day, and I'd rather get it from the coop (preferably organic) than a place that deals in commerce.

Iron Oregon

about 8 years ago

Ethan - I agree...nevertheless, groceries are a bit pricier at Whole Foods and Mount Royal. It's worth it, though.

Fitz

about 8 years ago

Clearly this person is laundering money for the local mafia.

Need

about 8 years ago

I frequent Whole Foods and see a lot of ATM receipts. 
Most are for under $300.

Mildred

about 8 years ago

Some stuff is cheaper at Cub, other stuff is cheaper at the Co-op. I've gone through this with my mom a good bit!

The bulk stuff at the coop is cheap. Sometimes their inorganic produce is cheaper than cub, too (certain peppers and brussel sprouts) but yeah, the organic produce costs more. It generally looks better, though so I don't think you can compare. Comparing organic to organic, it's competitive.

Stuff like tea and spices are cheaper because you can buy in bulk and just get what you want.

Ethan

about 8 years ago

Absolutely - it's worth shopping around to find the best deal.  Still - the coop is relatively reliable and a safe bet.  We've gotten stuff from the coop that was out-of-date (though they readily let us return it) - but I just think the general philosophy of the coop as a business trumps a place like Cub, which is more about making a buck than providing a service to the community.  It's not always about getting the absolute cheapest price, though that can obviously make a big difference in the long run.  The coop makes a point a supporting the community and doing it's best to provide "real" food at a reasonable cost, even if it's not always bottom buck.  They aren't Wall Mart, thank god (even though I'm agnostic).

Rae

about 8 years ago

I think you should also take into account that Wells Fargo used to let you do deposits at an ATM.  You could enter any $ value into the system, and it would update your balance, regardless of what funds were actually included in the envelope you slipped into the deposit slot.  The resulting balance would be inflated until the deposits were actually collected and reconciled by the bank.

c-freak

about 8 years ago

wells fargo penalizes you if you move $ around from various accounts too many times in a 1 year time frame. they shut my savings down for it. it has to do with the rico act if i recall. something about $ laundering.

Chris

about 8 years ago

Rae, that's true.  But when you do that the Wells Fargo receipt gives two balances.  Your balance after they add the $100 that is immediately available to you and the second one is your total balance with the full deposit.  The total on this receipt is the same on both.

Waveview

about 8 years ago

Can only hope they took the three hundred bucks to Cashwise and loaded up the trunk.

French

about 8 years ago

I tend to agree with Barrett.

andy

about 8 years ago

Just a point on FDIC insurance. The next time you are at the bank, look at the sign. It says "...up to $250,000..." which is very important. The words UP TO lends itself to an individual to think, "If I have $100K in my checking, it's insured." Incorrect, UP TO $100k is insured. A run on a bank happens rarely (S&L in the 80's, Great Depression, etc..). Banks pay based on solvency - their ability to pay it "all at once".  Check with your local institution and ask the President, "If everyone that has an account here today came in and asked for all their money, how much would you be able to pay?". On average, in the great 'ole USA, the solvency rates for banks is less than 2%. So giddee up folks, dump up to $250,000 in. What do banks do with your money? Invest. Some people just choose to skip the middle man.

The Big E

about 8 years ago

Just a point on FDIC insurance. The next time you are at the bank, look at the sign. It says "...up to $250,000..." which is very important.

I'm not sure I follow your argument, but to start with I don't think that's what the sign typically says.

Mildred

about 8 years ago

Andy is correct, but it's not about the FDIC specifically.

Banks only have to keep 1/10th of their deposits available for withdrawal. That means yes, if there is a bank run - people are concerned about free cash, and everyone goes to try to withdraw it at once - you're not getting your money.

And it's true, the FDIC is no guarantee that you'll get it if the bank folds, either. But then they'll always print more, don't worry...

BeastOfBurden

about 8 years ago

Most likely a business account; it could also be the proceeds from a home sale that are in the process of being moved, spent or invested.

Having worked at Wells Fargo in the past, most of the elderly horders and pennypinchers don't use ATMs--only lobby tellers.  Most won't even go through a drive-thru for fear of their account information being spoken over the intercom system.

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