Back in the 1968, the minimum wage was $1.60, which today couldn\u2019t buy a bucket of Cajun buffalo wings from Popeyes, even after being adjusted for inflation. However, I was fortunate to make $5 an hour as a teenager, so I was the envy of my high school buddies, who made me buy the pizza and Cokes for everyone. Why, I was such a big shot that I had my own savings account at Connecticut National Bank, which was later acquired by a bigger bank, which was acquired by an even bigger bank, and as the banks got bigger the service got worse. This, of course, is like the law of gravity in financial services. These days you can\u2019t even get a free lollipop \u2014 although I did receive a dog biscuit recently. Years later, I still have my original passbook, which paid 4% interest. It made feel like J.P. Morgan or Daddy Warbucks. With my accumulated wealth of $98.64, I was saving for a Ford Mustang, a Yale law degree, a trip to Italy, and new bell-bottoms. Eventually I got the bell-bottoms, but nothing else. Unfortunately, banks don\u2019t offer savings passbooks anymore and they don\u2019t pay 4% interest. They pay virtually nothing, if anything, and this is called \u201cprogress.\u201d Committed to spending Besides, most kids nowadays don\u2019t believe in saving because they\u2019re committed to spending. Back in the good old days, there were no ATM machines, so my hard-earned cash sat in the vault, until the bank lent it to someone to start a business that sold velvet Elvis paintings. If I needed cash, I filled out a withdrawal slip, stood in line and begged the teller to give me spending money to go drinking on Friday night. (I always felt obligated to tell her why I needed the money.) Actually, I didn\u2019t have to beg, but I was guilty of taking money out of my account. You see, I didn\u2019t want the teller to think I was a spendthrift. Now there are ATMs everywhere, from bars to strip clubs and convenience stores. There are so many ATMs you could squander the money you saved for your daughter\u2019s wedding in four easy withdrawals. Security breaches At one time, we believed our savings were safe, but those days are gone. In the worst cyber-attack in history, the accounts of 83 million JPMorgan Chase customers were compromised, which amounts to two out of every three households. And the list of security breaches keeps growing. There\u2019s been Home Depot, Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus. What will be next? The Luv Boutique? It\u2019s like the wild, wild West out there. Is it any wonder an Associated Press poll showed that Americans don\u2019t have confidence government will protect \u201ctheir personal safety and economic security\u201d? More than half those surveyed thought Washington was ineffective in dealing with the threats we face. Another poll said 71% of Americans are troubled by financial worries. Coffee can buried in the yard It reminded me of an old Italian bricklayer I knew who lived through the Great Depression and kept his hard-earned cash in a coffee can buried in the back yard. He had ready access to his savings, and at night he\u2019d go out with a flashlight and shovel. Best of all, he didn\u2019t have to worry about Russians hacking his account, and as an extra precaution, he dug a new hole every few months. The crazy thing is the rate of interest on his deposit was virtually the same as what banks pay now \u2014 nothing. In my younger days, I always paid in cash because I didn\u2019t have a credit card. Today, everyone has a credit card, and we\u2019re either in debt or victims of identity theft. 'Charging up a storm' I often tell my kids, \u201cDon\u2019t go charging up a storm. If you can\u2019t pay with cash, you don\u2019t need it.\u201d But they don\u2019t understand the concept of \u201cdelayed gratification.\u201d If you want something, save for it, don\u2019t charge it, otherwise you\u2019ll pay 25% interest on your Banana Republic credit card for a pair of overpriced jeans. Joe Pisani, who grew up in Shelton\u2019s Pine Rock neighborhood, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.