Gas station owner cashes in 1,308,459 pennies

CNN reports that Edmond Knowles, a gas station owner in Alabama, has set a new record for the number of pennies cashed in by a single customer. He collected over a million of them over a period of 38 years.

"Knowles said he plans to use the new found wealth for retirement, home repairs and emergency medical expenses," the article reports.

But how much did this herculean effort net him? A lousy $13,084.59. That's not exactly chump change, but it's not quite enough for "retirement, home repairs, and emergency medical expenses" either.

If he invests this money in a savings account paying the current interest rate of about 2.4%, he'll make a whopping $26.17 a month. After tax, that leaves about... well, enough for a sandwich at Subway every week. And I don't mean chicken teriyaki; those are more expensive. Maybe ham, or meatball.

Now if he had tucked that money away each year into a long-term investment portfolio yielding a net return of 8% a year, the magic of compound interest would make his fortune worth $75,861.68 today, giving him nearly six times as much money. Still not enough to retire on, but at least it would have made a nice supplement to whatever other retirement savings he might have.

The media is fawning over him like he's some sort of financial wizard, but to me, he's just plain silly.

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