Ode to Pennies

The other day I did something I’m deeply ashamed of.

I saw a penny on the ground and I DIDN’T PICK IT UP!!!

I don’t know what came over me (my brain told me it was dirty, but I think I was just being lazy?!), so today I’d like to confess my sins and ask for forgiveness… From both you, and those poor pennies still out there in the lurch…

A little ditty, if you will:

Ode to Pennies

Pennies pennies, I love you
Please forgive me for all I do

A moment of weakness, a night of unease
I wake up this morning, begging on knees!

The foundation of wealth, everyone knows
So why do I leave you there, glimmering so?

You fall from the sky, all alone in the ditch?!
What a horrible person am I – a son of a b*tch!

Never again, I can promise you that
Forever on my heart, like a permanent tat

Compounding and stacking – the things you do best
It’s all pretty amazing, what you do without rest

Fulfilling our dreams, both mighty and small
And yet no trophy, no award – not even a phone call?

I promise to change that – to go back to my ways
Of picking you up, no matter my haze

Sticky or dirty or full of mud crap
I give you my word – I’m done being a sap!

Forever I’ll cherish, those blessings in hand
Please – oh just please – will you forgive this old man?


Whew – that felt good to get off my chest ;)

And speaking of compounding, here’s a chart someone sent me that was floating around Facebook… (Thanks Alex!)

It takes a little more than pennies, but not much if you have *TIME* on your side!

compounding investing chart

Your friend in finance,

j. money signature

UPDATE: A keen observer recognized the chart above from David Bach’s “Automatic Millionaire Homeowner” book. Who also adds, “I’ve been using the Billy numbers as a yardstick for years. I didn’t start savings until I was 25, but now I’m 15 years ahead of Billy in savings by age. So suck it, Billy!” ;)

[Penny photo by Mark Turnauckas]

(Visited 334 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Max OOP April 23, 2019 at 5:23 AM

    Hi Jay,

    Yes, pretty questionable inaction on your part. Hopefully it is not the first step leading to the complete abolishment of the penny here in the US. Can you believe Canada did away with the penny back in 2013! So it must be REALLY good luck in Canada if you happen to find one! Cheers!

    Max OOP

  2. Shannon April 23, 2019 at 7:32 AM

    The universe is literally trying to give you gifts of riches (no matter how small). Accept them gratefully and more will flow to you.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 9:42 AM


  3. Britt Pearson April 23, 2019 at 9:23 AM

    I love pennies!!! I purchased my first car with pennies! Literally. I had to spend a day taking bottles of pennies to the credit union and then get a check to go pick it up $400 later.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 9:42 AM


      That completely makes my day :)

  4. JB April 23, 2019 at 9:56 AM

    This is a very sad story. Especially with your love for coins. Glad you are able to come clean.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 11:38 AM

      I had to do a lot of Hail Marys…

  5. Minimal Millionaire Mom April 23, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    Thanks for this! I’m going to share it with my teenage son who we’ve been talking about compound interest with and the difference starting saving for retirement in his teenage years can make. At least he won’t be able to say we never told him/taught him about the possibilities.

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 4:13 PM

      Haha there you go…

      But you might have to print out a few copies of it and place it in places like his smart phone and TV and especially his video game console ;)

      That way you know FOR SURE he sees it!!

      1. Minimal Millionaire Mom April 23, 2019 at 8:40 PM

        All great ideas!

  6. Joe April 23, 2019 at 12:58 PM

    I had the same experience last week. I saw a penny when I was walking under the freeway bridge on the way home from the gym. Usually, I’d pick it up, but there were homeless people sleeping there. I figured I’d leave it for them. My son would have picked it up no matter what.

  7. Mr. SoS April 23, 2019 at 3:03 PM

    Hey bro. Nice article. I always pick up any change I find on the ground. It does not matter if it is a penny, nickel, dime, or bill. Heck I even pick up foreign coins I find. My three-year-old does not know the difference when I pay her for her chores with those.

    The graphic that your reader shared with you is from David Bach’s book “The Automatic Millionaire.” Not only do I have a first edition copy of that book, but it was that chart that really opened my eyes to saving money. It’s a great lesson for our younger generations on the time value of money and compound interest.

    Keep picking up those pennies!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 4:19 PM

      Rock on!!

      Love that you pay your kid in foreign coins too, haha…

      Sure way to get them interested in the hobby of coin collecting, if you ask me :)

  8. steveark April 23, 2019 at 3:37 PM

    Our running group never passes a coin on our early morning runs. And we all give anything we find to the same runner in our group. She is an eagle eye and usually spots them first anyway but our tradition is Norma gets the money no matter who picks it up!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2019 at 4:20 PM

      Hah!!! Why all to Norma? Does she do something cool with them or just needs it the most out of the group?! ;)

  9. Jim April 24, 2019 at 2:25 AM

    Australia got rid of its pennies 20 years ago. Best we can hope for now is a 5c coin and even that’s about to be phased out!

    1. J. Money April 24, 2019 at 6:08 AM

      Wowww is it really?

      As a coin collector I do not wish to see those days!

  10. Sarala Sarah April 24, 2019 at 4:45 PM

    I love David Bach his books are so useful for taking actionable financial steps. Also it would have been pretty funny if you picked up that penny and increased your net worth report by a penny!

    1. J. Money April 25, 2019 at 5:51 AM

      Haha…. that would be pretty good :)

  11. Deanna April 26, 2019 at 10:15 AM

    Hahaha, we are never above picking up pennies.

    You are forgiven.