Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bitter? Never

Oh dear, childhood trauma flashback alert.

My godfather came to visit and left me a banknote of some denomination. It was probably a pound (we had one pound notes in those days, children) as a fiver would have been way too much to give to a little boy. The note was delivered into the custody of a parent and when I tried to claim the cash value ... it had been used to purchase a premium bond.

Today is the anniversary of the premium bond system being set up. "Set up" - hmm, an unintentionally appropriate phrase. What a shame I can't also find a way to drop the words "state sponsored scam" unobtrusively into a sentence.

It's a savings scheme, honest. They say. You give the government your money and you can get it back at any time. With interest? Um - no, face value. The interest goes into the prizes, which you probably won't win. So how exactly is it different from just putting money under your mattress? Well, you might win a cash prize! Or you might not. Odds are 24,000 to one, apparently, which is better than the national lottery's 14 million to one but still not something to plan your retirement around.

Anyway, suffice to say that in thirty-odd years of being a premium bond owner, the only money I got from them was when I cashed them in, about ten years ago. At their 1960s and 1970s prices, obviously. Putting your money under the mattress is probably better because you don't have to splash out on a stamp.

I forget if I did anything special with Uncle Dennis's pound, to celebrate.

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