I MISS THE JOYS OF COMPOUND INTEREST. During my grade school days, the concept seemed magical — seed a bank account with a few dollars, nourish it with birthday and holiday loot, and watch a modest stash grow into a virtual money tree. Every deposit marked a financial milestone. When the teller fed my passbook into a chattering machine to update the balance and interest earned — at least 5 percent — I felt richer.
Today, my bank money is hardly working. I’m stuck with a “high yield” account that, over the course of a year, generates less than a penny on the dollar. Certificates of deposit don’t pay much better, and “interest-bearing” checking yields a microscopic profit (about 0.05 percent), minus the monthly fees. Factor in inflation erosion, and saving the old-fashioned way is a losing proposition.