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Planet Money

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Business, News & Politics

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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.

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#466: DIY Finance

June 18th, 2013

Episode 605 of 911 episodes

Mike Smith lives by himself in a small house in a small town in Kentucky, near the Ohio River. He makes about $1,000 a month, owns his house outright, and doesn't carry any debt. He suspects that his brother and at least one but maybe all of his three grown children have stolen money from him.Over a period of about a year he made exactly six transactions that cost him over $100 — a property tax bill, an insurance payment, a couple big-ticket repairs. And there was the $109 he spent on a pet lizard, which he planned to use as an investment by breeding it and selling its offspring.On today's show, we look at how people create their own financial systems from scratch.Mike has thousands of dollars stashed around his house in different "accounts." Tamara Bullock and Patricia Hamilton are part of an informal savings club. Miguel Rada has a whole bank in his pocket — he takes deposits from some people and lends to others.Mike's story comes to us via theU.S. Financial Diaries Project. (His name isn't really Mike Smith, by the way; the project gave him a pseudonym so he could remain anonymous.

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