OPINION – If you were unable to access your money, would you have a backup plan to keep yourself solvent?
This may seem like a strange question, but there are a number of timely reasons that a person might want to consider having a backup plan for this situation.
For instance, recent proposals by the government of Cyprus to confiscate a portion of personal funds from the savings accounts of Cypriots caused a predictable reaction. People made a run on the banks and ATMs to get control of their money before it could be taken.
Having actual physical control of their money was a better option than leaving it to be plundered by pirates in 3 piece suits.
The president of Cyprus is accused of alerting his cronies so they could get their money out of harm’s way before it was taken. Italian media is reporting that 4.5 billion Euros left the island nation in the week prior to the crisis.
If the government can simply reach into your bank account and help itself to a portion of your money in a time of need, that money isn’t safe. Likewise, when your money consists of electrons in a computer or a notation on a ledger sheet, it can be frozen, confiscated, or taxed by those who control the monetary system.
Electronic banking is highly convenient, but in a world where government is becoming entrenched in our finances, politicians consider private bank accounts community property.
Even if you were able to empty your bank account and keep your cash where you can get to it, there are some drawbacks.
Large amounts of cash tempt the common private sector thieves looking to make an easy score as well as public sector thieves in state uniforms using asset forfeiture laws to seize currency with no evidence of wrongdoing. There is also the problem of the hidden tax of inflation that is steadily shrinking the purchasing power of every dollar we have saved.
It wasn’t always like this. But few Americans understand just how far we have strayed from the concept of sound money and real freedom.
Jeffery Tucker recently wrote, “Imagine a time when the government knew nothing about the money in your bank. It cared nothing about how much you made, where you made it, and what you did with it. You could take your earnings in gold, silver, paper, or anything else, and never filed a sheet with the government. This was the world of a mere 100 years ago in the United States.”
We’re deeper in debt and less free than we’ve ever been as a nation.
When we shake our heads and go, “tsk tsk” at those poor suckers in Cyprus, few Americans realize that we’re just one strong financial setback from being in their shoes. We could easily be in the shoes of the Greeks, or the Spaniards, or anyone else in Europe who has experienced the latest financial meltdown.
Like most other nations that have had their rude awakening, a majority of Americans will refuse to believe it could happen here right up until the moment that it is happening.
So what can we do in the meantime, to ensure that we’re not fleeced or inflated out of our life savings?
A top priority as individuals should be to eliminate as much debt as possible from our lives. In a credit-based economy, this runs counter to conventional wisdom, but it gives us greater freedom to act than those who are chained to their debts.
Another good idea is to have a minimum of six months worth of living expenses saved up. This can include cash, food storage, fuel, and the means of producing our own food through gardening and livestock.
Tangible commodities are another way to store value without leaving it at risk of being taxed away from us. This list of 100 things that vanish first in emergencies has a number of great items that would work well for barter.
People who think ahead and consider such possibilities are likely to incur some ridicule from those who do not. But one thing is for certain; those who do prepare won’t be making a run on the banks.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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