Passbook Savings Account: Do You Remember This?

passbook savings account

As a 5th grader, I had a passbook savings account at my local bank. The bank worked with my school to get kids interested in saving money and earning interest. I remember filling out the paperwork and getting my parents’ signatures.

Next, I raided part of my life savings from my piggy bank. It was a ceramic pig with a hole in the bottom and a rubber stopper. I placed it all in the envelope provided by the bank and turned it in to my teacher the next day.

About a month later, my teacher handed my brand-new passbook to me. It was a small physical notebook with the name and logo of the bank on the cover. Inside the front cover were my name, home address, school name, and account number. The passbook had little ledger pages with an interesting texture, thickness, and earth-toned colors, much like the passports issued today but a little smaller.

Earning Interest

I looked inside and noticed that the bank had recorded three entries. They were my initial deposit of $10, my first month’s interest of four cents (5.0% interest on savings back then, not the paltry 0.01% interest rates of today), and my new total of $10.04. Each entry was dated and printed in a different font or color of ink. The deposit was black, the interest was green, and the TOTAL (that entry was dramatically in all caps) was a bold purple.

I continued to participate each month by depositing some of the money that I’d received for birthdays and holidays. Later I added money I earned doing odd jobs for my parents and from collecting aluminum cans for recycling. I eagerly looked forward to receiving my passbook and watching my account grow with each deposit and interest payment. Over the next three years, I accumulated a grand sum of over $100. 

At the end of my 8th grade school year, my father retired from the military and we moved. I had to cash out my passbook savings account and sadly, the bank kept my precious little passbook. Unfortunately, I would not have a fun savings and investment vehicle like this again until I was a young adult and parent. The joy and engagement in personal finance of that passbook were what I strived for when finding a way to teach my children about managing money. It was the foundation of the program that my daughters and I called Daddy401k.


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Author: Daddy401k

The Dad of Daddy401k is John Q. Miller. John is a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach and earned a Certificate in Financial Planning from Florida State University. Daddy401k is what his daughters called the financial literacy for kids program he and his wife created to teach them how to manage money, avoid debt, and start investing early for their financial freedom. John’s and his wife’s personal finance coaching of their daughters resulted in two young women who are college graduates, employed, debt free, living on a budget with an emergency fund, and already investing in their retirements.

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