Economic Epiphany at St. Luke’s: Saving, Spending, Debt

Posted on January 4, 2010

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You never know when you might experience an Epiphany about the American economy.

St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Ocean City, Maryland, was closed for renovations last winter. Sunday, I went to Mass at St. Luke’s for the first time since it reopened. The reason: St. Luke’s has an 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays, the last Mass of the weekend in Ocean City during the winter.

Do you remember Christmas Clubs??? The priest asked the question in his sermon. CHRISTMAS CLUBS! Banks used to advertise free Christmas Club accounts this time of year. It was a great marketing tool to attract new depositors, and especially to introduce children to the habit of saving.

Here’s how Christmas Clubs worked. You went down to the bank, S&L, or credit union in January and opened a Christmas Club account with a  deposit of $1 or $5 or $10.  You went back every week all year and added to your Christmas Club account.  Around Thanksgiving, you withdrew your savings and had a great time buying Christmas gifts for friends and family! What a concept! It used to be the American way of life!

That was a long, long time ago, in an America far, far away. That was “BCC.” Before credit cards. Before home equity loans.

The American economy now is the exact polar opposite of the Christmas Club . . .

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— Bernie Hayden

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