For years I’ve considered this question: If you have guns, gold, cash, jewelry and that sort of thing… where do you keep it with TEOTWAWKI in mind?
Fortunately, I’m not rich. I don’t have a lot of things worth hiding, but I do have a little coin collection and some vintage collectibles, plus a little emergency cash reserve in case the banks collapse.
However, I have friends with serious assets. Business owners with $100,000+ of expensive stuff. I’ve talked with them about how to care for valuables and have refined my thoughts on the matter over the last decade of economic uncertainty.
You may have better ideas than I; however, the following options for hiding bullion or coins, papers and other valuables are all ones I’ve considered in depth. Perhaps my thinking will help yours.
Safe Deposit Boxes
Banks know how to keep money from being stolen. They have security cameras, alarms, bulletproof glass and all kinds of fun features you’re not likely to have at home.
Many people take advantage of a bank to store their valuables. I mean, banks are SUPER safe, right?
In my mind, there’s one major problem with letting a bank hold on to your assets:
Banks Are Run By Bankers
Bankers aren’t known to be the most trustworthy individuals in the world, as revealed by more than one massive economic crash caused by their shenanigans. We’ve seen lost and forged paperwork, criminal lending practices, and mysterious glitches in ATM machines and other lousy behavior.
If your friend was a liar and a thief… would you let him help with your business?
Banks also have restrictive hours and in the case of a run on the bank or a “bank holiday,” you might end up locked out during a crisis… which is precisely the time you’d want to have your valuables within reach.
A Home Safe
Safes are the classic choice for the prepared individual with assets they won’t trust in the hands of another. I’ve known a couple of firearm collectors who love their giant safes, and I must admit… modern safes are quite impressive pieces of workmanship.
A large safe can be bolted to the floor and rendered basically impossible to steal without heavy equipment or a contract with the Incredible Hulk. They’re also very complicated to “pick.”
I’ve been tempted by the idea myself but haven’t gotten one as of yet. The biggest benefit of owning a good home safe is that it can keep your documents, guns and other valuables safe during a house fire, plus make it much harder for a burglar to snatch your stuff.
On the down side, a safe is also an obvious place to hide valuables. You might think your things are totally safe… but what if you face a home invasion during a societal breakdown? Sure, they won’t be able to break into your safe easily… but they might not have to. Chances are when they threaten or torture you or one of your children or your wife… you’re going to give up the codes.
That’s the thing that gets me. The safe might be impervious… but am I? No.
Throughout history, pirates, conquerors, rich men and thieves have hidden their treasure beneath the ground. Men still search the beaches with metal detectors, hoping to find buried coins or lost troves of Spanish gold… and sometimes they do.
Burying your assets does make a lot of sense. If you bury them deep enough, it makes it hard for even good metal detectors to discover your stash.
Another benefit of burying is that you can pick bizarre locations to hide your stuff. I used to have a raised foundation house in Tennessee with a camel cricket and spider-infested crawlspace beneath it. I picked a spot down there and buried some old coins and a little cash in an ammo box. What were the chances of that cash getting stolen or burned in a fire? About zero.
A few years later, I sold the house. Luckily I remembered to dig up my coins.
If you bury valuables, you need to remember right where they are. You also need to tell someone else (someone trustworthy, i.e. NOT a banker) in case you kick the bucket. It would be a shame for your children to be left behind not knowing where you stashed the goods. You also need to make sure you bury your treasure in a waterproof container
Beyond burying, you can also simply find a really, really good hiding place. Unfortunately, thieves are really good at guessing hiding places, so make sure your selected spot is safe. Caves with voice-activated doors may or may not prove effective.
Again, burying or hiding your assets is only as trustworthy as you are. You may be back at the “safe dilemma” again. If you or a loved one was threatened, chances are… you’d tell the bad guys where you hid the goods.
The moral of the story: don’t have any valuables. Problem solved!
Out of the three options, I’d say my favorite is to make like a pirate, my second option would be a safe, and my third option would be to give my valuables away… ’cause I sure ain’t letting a bank hold them.