Imagine you’ve been falsely imprisoned.  Having exhausted every conceivable avenue to prove your innocence, you are forced to contemplate the very real possibility of spending the next several decades in jail.

Years of fighting the system have taken their toll.  You begin to think that it might be easier to just accept your fate.  It’s what anyone else in your position would do, you tell yourself.  Besides, they provide all the necessities; food, shelter and clothing.  The prison warden even rewards well behaved inmates with short yard breaks on the weekends.

Fortunately, you snap yourself out of it.  Who are you kidding?  You weren’t meant to live life as a captive.  You were born to be free!

So you start plotting your escape.  Every day you start chipping away at the walls that imprison you.  Every chunk you break out brings you one step closer to your eventual liberation.

Now suppose someone you trust comes along and offers to help.  More hands working together means you can reach your goal faster, so of course you gratefully accept.

The next day, while you’re busting your ass trying to make as much progress as you can, you start to wonder where this “helper” is.  At the end of the month, he finally wanders in with a toothpick and chips a few grains of sand out of your escape tunnel before disappearing for another month.

At first you’re speechless.  WTF?  But it doesn’t take long for you to finally tell this dude, “You know what?  Thanks but, nevermind.”

So in this simple parable of your quest for freedom, who does this ineffectual helper represent?

Your bank or credit union.

At my credit union, savings accounts pay a paltry 0.2% annually and a money market account isn’t much better at 0.3%.

So you’ve scrimped and saved your way to an impressive $50,000 and all your “helper” does is chip in a measly $12.50 in interest your first month.  Ugh.  Nevermind.

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