The recent political crisis over the delayed raising of the U.S. debt ceiling was just a precursor of a much larger crisis that will occur when interest rates inevitably rise. Once they do rise, it will become impossible for the Federal government to service its debt without massive monetization and concomitant mass inflation. There may also be some draconian stopgap measures such as levies on bank accounts (a.k.a. "bail ins"), nationalization of private pension funds, nationalization or forced common stock purchases for IRA and 401(k) plans, currency controls, bank holidays, bank withdrawal limits, currency recalls, limited access to safe deposit boxes, IRA and 401(k) withdrawals limits, and perhaps even another ban on privately held gold bullion.
For the past seven years I have urged my readers to diversify their investments out of U.S. Dollars and into tangibles. I am now repeating that with an even greater sense of urgency. It is high time to deliberately draw down you bank accounts and stop rolling over your CDs. I now urge my readers to gradually withdraw as much cash as you can, leaving only as much in your checking accounts as you need to pay your monthly expenses and to make your tax payments.
Beware of CTRs
If you have more than $10,000 in your account and you attempt withdraw it all at once, then by law your bank teller will fill out a Currency Transaction Report (CTR). These reports are available to the IRS and other government agencies. To avoid this, you need to gradually withdraw your cash, in unequal amounts, over a period of weeks or months. If you have a lot of cash to move, then one viable approach is to write checks to open bank accounts in other banking institutions, and then deliberately draw down those new accounts with numerous small cash withdrawals.(Less than $7,000 each.) According to Wikipedia, CTRs include "an optional checkbox at the top if the bank employee believes the transaction to be suspicious or fraudulent, commonly called a SAR, or Suspicious Activity Report." If your bankers suspects that you are "structuring" withdrawals, then they will feel obliged to file a SAR.
What to do with the cash you withdraw:
1.) Get your beans, bullets and Band-Aids squared away. This should be your highest priority. Don't consider "investing" in anything else until you get your key preparations established.
2.) Keep some greenback cash "mattress money" in small bills. If possible, keep enough cash for a couple of months worth of expenses. Again, keep it very well hidden at home, or bury it in waterproof containers.
3.) Only after accomplishing Steps 1 and 2, buy some physical silver. In the U.S., pre-1965 dimes, and quarters are the best choice. Keep your silver very well hidden at home, or bury it in waterproof containers. Make sure that you let a couple of trusted relatives know exactly where it is hidden, in case you might come to harm.
4.) Invest in some common caliber ammunition. Here is your shopping list, in a nutshell: Rifle: .30-06, .308 Win., 5.56 NATO, 5.45x39, 7.62x39, .30-30, and .22 LR. Pistol: .45 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W., .357. 38 Special. Shotgun: 12 Gauge, 2-3/4" length. (Buy a good mix of buckshot, slug and birdshot shotshells, with an emphasis on buckshot.)
5.) Invest in some good quality battle rifles, handguns, and full capacity magazines.
6.) Buy productive farm or ranch land (with good pasture and hay ground) that is in a viable retreat region.
7.) Invest in your education. That is the ultimate form of portable wealth. A second stream of income may become important in the coming years, so getting an education in a practical trade would be wise.
8.) If you have substantial liquid wealth (more than $500,000), then start shuttling some of it offshore. But because of the coming currency fluctuations, I recommend that the majority of that be stored offshore in physical precious metals. If you don't already have a deeply trusted relationship with a family in your offshore host country (you should!), then you will have to trust a bank deposit box in your offshore host country.
9.) Buy a few books of "Forever" postage stamps. These may become useful for barter, as they will hold their value against inflation better than cash.
10.) Invest in a depression-proof business that is portable. (See the blog article links in my reply to these letters.)
11.) Build your personal reference library.
12.) If you are elderly, then invest in preparedness for your children and grandchildren. In the depths of the Second Great Depression, you won't be able to count on the government to help you. But you can count on your close relatives.
What NOT to do with the cash you withdraw:
1.) Unless you are a multimillionaire, don't buy large quantities of gold or gemstones. Not only is gold too compact a form of wealth for practical barter, but it is also far more likely to be confiscated than silver.
2.) Don't build up your Bitcoin wallet balance above 15 BTC. Because Bitcoins are a synthetic currency and Internet-based, they are subject the whims of larcenous politicians. Bitcoin transactions can be tracked, because nearly every Bitcoin transaction has a corresponding e-mail trail. (And anyone who thinks that their e-mails are all "safely encrypted" is fooling themselves.)3.) Don't buy urban or suburban real estate.
4.) Don't buy a second home in a "resort" area. As I've mentioned before in SurvivalBlog, resort areas will be targeted by looters in times of social chaos.
5.) Don't invest in fine art, vintage wines, rare postage stamps, classic cars, or collectibles. Those will sell for just pennies on the dollar in the Depression. (If you want any of those, then wait for the opportunity to "buy low.")
6.) Other than some home security webcams, commo gear, a starlight scope, and a Dakota Alert passive IR intrusion detection system, don't waste your money on electronic gadgets.
7.) Don't invest in foreign currencies. There are no more "safe" currencies!
8.) Don't invest in foreign stocks. Tangibles will trump, worldwide.
9.) Don't over-prepare or over-invest in one area, at the expense of others. (For example, buying all guns and no storage food, or vice versa.) Balanced preparedness is the key!
Bottom line: The time for hesitation has passed. If you leave your liquid assets in a bank or in a savings and loan, then you are now a sitting duck.- JWR