I’m reading The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (4th edition) and there is one sentence that I just don’t get:
… Ben’s father died in 1903, the porcelain business faltered, and the family slid haltingly into poverty. Ben’s mother turned their home into a boardinghouse; then, borrowing money to trade stocks “on margin,” she was wiped out in the crash of 1907. For the rest of his life, Ben would recall the humiliation of cashing a check for his mother and hearing the bank teller ask, “Is Dorothy Grossbaum good for five dollars?”
The only thing I know is that Dorothy Grossbaum is Benjamin’s mother. Could you be so kind and translate the whole sentence to simple English?
In this context, good refers to being able to pay (and then actually paying) an amount that one promised to pay.
Cheques can be considered a promise to pay the stated amount (in this case, $5).
The bank teller was asking whether Dorothy Grossbaum had enough money in her bank account so that when the cheque was presented, the $5 would be paid out.
Ben remembered that he was embarrassed at the situation.