Why Would You Pick Up a Nickel?

Rick KahlerAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Recently I spotted a nickel on the ground. In a nanosecond, the following discussion played out in my mind:

“Pick it up, it’s free money!”

“It’s only a nickel, it’s not worth the effort.”

“But it’s still a nickel, to walk on by would be wasteful!”

“Spending time pondering whether to pick it up is even more wasteful. Leave it.”

“That thought is a bit painful.”

“Besides, if you pick it up you’ll have to put it somewhere in the car, and you don’t even have a place to put change. Keep moving.”

I left the nickel. Decades ago, I would have picked it up. Today, I won’t bother with any coin smaller than a quarter.

What about you? What denomination of coin will you spend two seconds to pick up?

What money scripts might be running in the background when you see money on the ground? “A penny saved is a penny earned.” “Don’t waste money.” “Leave it for someone who really needs it.” “Don’t take it, it’s not yours, it would be stealing.”