Go to the mattresses for safe money haven? Not yet.
When my 94-year-old grandmother died in 1997, her life savings — a little over $21,000 — were hidden in a linen closet in her apartment.
I remember thinking at the time that she could have been earning interest on the money had she invested it in short-term CDs or even a savings account. But she was from a different time, had lived through the Depression in the Deep South and had a healthy distrust of banks. She also lived on a modest Social Security check. Her benefits would have been reduced were she found to have assets or income above a certain amount.
That cash in the closet was dutifully divided among her surviving children, who were amazed that their mother had stashed away so much in savings. Grandma hadn’t hidden it under the mattress — after all everybody knows to look there for valuables — but the safest place she knew.
Safe in bed?
I was reminded of this when I saw a reference to an Israeli company coming out with a new line of mattresses that allow users to stash their valuables in a secured safe that lies just beneath the pillow. (Hat tip: Consumer Reports)
It’s called the SAFE-T bed and costs a fortune — at least to me, it does — at $20,400. In addition to cash, the bed-bound vault can hide jewelry or other valuables.
As CR notes, the company may be capitalizing on the fact that robberies and burglaries tend to go up during a recession. Or perhaps it’s that banks are dropping like flies in this topsy-turvy financial market and there’s still a healthy dose of distrust in the banking system — despite the FDIC’s $250,000 standard coverage on deposits. The way the stock market has nose-dived, putting your money in the mattress may be a better investment choice than buying shares that are worth less the minute you buy them.
I’m not quite ready to go to the mattresses yet. (Fans of “The Godfather” trilogy will recognize this reference to warring mafia families). A burglar can still get to the safe. But I might be tempted if my IRA and 401(k) continue to underperform.