Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Indispensible Item


Guns are fun. But they're just tools. Sometimes lifesaving ones, but not really different from hammers or hacksaws. (The former are just effective farther away than the latter.)

Ammunition. Water. Food. Medicine. Any other consumable supplies? Those are commodities.

But something that's both a tool, and a consumable, and will get you all of the other things you could ever need, or want, is the indispensible item.


Nota bene we did not say "cash". Cash is nice, but it's not money. In fact, it's explicitly something commonly accepted by people AS IF IT WERE money, thus not money, per se.

Gold is money. Silver is money. Other precious metals (nickel, copper, platinum, etc.) can be money. US dollars (nor Euros, British pounds, Swiss francs, Japanese yen, etc.) are NOT money, and haven't been since they stopped being readily exchangeable for actual specie.

Other things (jewels, bonds, stocks) are worth money, but they aren't money either. Nobody prices gas or milk in gallons per carat, for instance.

So as you're stocking up on canned goods (both in #10 cans, and in olive drab ones), and storing water, fuel, and all sorts of consumables from pins to nails to bolts to lumber products - you are working on that, right? - make sure you're storing money. And cash. In a cache. Or ten.

[BTW? Cache? It's also pronounced cash. Not cashay. Don't sound like the prepper version of Dubbya when he talks about "nukular weapons". Cachet is a perfume. A cache is where you store stuff. They don't sound the same. Ever. Just saying.]

So part of your efforts should include adding "junk" silver (i.e. U.S. coinage prior to 1965, which is 90% silver by content), and gold (ideally in fractional ounce denominations - 1/10th oz., 1/4 oz., etc. - as coins worth $1800 and up for full ounces are a bit too concentrated for everyday items) to your stockpile(s). I made that plural, because you shouldn't keep all your nest eggs in one basket. In any sense.

And, as every devotee of Dave Ramsay knows, have a cash reserve.

Six months' gross income is a worthy goal. It gives you options, not least of which is "F**k You" money, to cope with a bad boss, a bad situation, or a bad location. Anything you can't solve with six months' cash is pretty much catastrophic levels of problem. Probably 90% of life's problems are readily solved by a six month float.

Any or all of this should be stored, safely and securely, and not in places or institutions that do not have your best interests in mind. IOW, safety deposit boxes suck. Try getting into yours after a disaster, or a bank run. Or after a tax lien. [Hint: It ain't happening. And you're therefore screwed. Possibly terminally. Think about that.]

A safety deposit box is for Grandmother's pearls, or items of personal and sentimental value, not necessarily of financial value. Anything in them can be seized, stolen, confiscated, etc., at times and means out of your knowledge or control. Thus it isn't safe in any sense. Except from you, not for you.

So your emergency cash stash should be ready to hand. It's your bugout bankroll, or most of it. Cash will likely solve most of your small problems, and still be accepted (howsoever briefly) in major disturbances to society. IOW, long enough for you to get from current home to safety, if they suddenly cease being one and the same place.

The melt value on a roll of silver dimes is currently about $100, btw. A shade under $2/@, at the moment. In 50 years, it will still be 50 pieces of 90% silver. The $100 in a crisp Benjamin will not be nearly as valuable in 50 years' time, or even in 20 years. Bet on that reality. Ignore that truth to your own financial peril. 

FTR, US$100 in gold from 20 years ago is now over US$677 in gold. Put the other way, $100 in cash now, used to be $14.75 in cash the summer before 9/11. (An ounce of gold then was about $271, and it's $1,836 right this minute, for that same ounce.) That's how much inflation has destroyed your cash, even since 2001.  Now see if you can guess why the price of everything goes up faster than your salary, and faster than Fedgov can print fiatbux, 3 shifts/day since ever. Gas at $4/gallon is frightful? It could just as easily be $27/gallon. Let that news settle in for a minute, and bathe your financial consciousness. Your savings and income is being inflated away towards Weimar/Zimbabwean rates of loss while you sit reading this. And it's only going to get worse from here on out.

Find some places you can stash small hoards of money. (Actual physical money, in your sole control. Some B.S. account where they show you a piece of paper, for gold not in your hand, is worth less than the paper and ink to make it.) And begin acquiring them, and stocking them appropriately.


Carteach said...

I'm sure safe deposit boxes serve a purpose, but I can't imagine what it is.

T said...

I'm going to disagree with with you on "junk" silver, ie, pre-65 American coins.

I have experience there. I have bought and sold them quite a bit in the past, and many coin/precious metal dealers will try to rip you off. And a LOT of people have no concept of their actual silver content or value.
Plain 100% silver rounds/coins of 1 oz are easier. Non-coin people know that an oz of silver, is an oz of silver. It's worth the current spot value, which is easy to look up.

Other than that, I agree with just about everything you wrote.

Oh yeah, something else: hand tools.

Aesop said...

Plain silverplated rounds are worth $0.
Ditto for gold-plated ones.

Anyone can be a ripoff artist, including coin dealers. Caveat emptor always applies.

But a US mint coin pre-65 (other than certain wartime issues) is always going to be 90% silver.
It's the Chiquita Banana seal of approval.

Unless you're going to the trouble to weigh and test every round, every time, you don't know your rounds are actual silver, nor 100% silver, which kind of shoots their value in the ass. Mint stamping solves a lot of that guesswork.

Anyone too lazy or uninformed to do a little basic research before buying precious metals deserves what happens to them, much like walking away from an unlocked car and leaving your keys in the ignition.

T-Rav said...

"The $200 in crisp Benjamins will not be nearly as valuable in 50 years' time, or even in 20 years."

You spelled "weeks" wrong.

(BTW, going to coin dealers, which is where I acquire most of my actual money, is fun too because 9 times out of 10, no matter how hard-core you think you are politically, they've got you beat.)

T said...

I think you misunderstood what I meant by silver coins/rounds.

I mean silver bullion coins. Maple Leafs, US Eagles, etc.

Or silver bars, like Suisses, Royal Canadian Mint, etc..

Charlie said...

Banks and safety deposit boxes lost my trust in 1980.
I was a young man making a lot of money. Would send money to my mother, she would deposit it in the local, small town bank.
When I would come home in the winter to slowly spend all that money, it was easy peasy to run in and withdraw what I needed, until it wasn't.
Run out of cash and went to the bank to find it closed due to a fire!
This is before atm machines and such. Also a small town bank with just the one location.
Needless to say I never trusted banks again.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Aesop, point of clarification: In using the term "money", are you not really referring to it as a medium of exchange? It does not interrupt anything else you say, but that is what it truly is, is it not: an accepted medium of exchange with an agreed upon value. Perhaps the different lies in the fact that it also has an intrinsic value (versus, say, "cash" which does not)?

Safety deposit boxes are a relic, I think as much by tradition as by the now-ubiquitous availability of the personal fireproof safe (100 years ago, these were much more expensive). I have never owned a safety deposit box and doubt I will, for all the reasons enumerated but primarily because it is not accessible to me 24 hours a day. That matters a bit.

Cash on hand is indeed good. We have the ready on hand and the slightly away but still available versions. Even in a true collapse, it will indeed hold for a little bit as there will still be some residual faith in the system.

A sincere question: thoughts about junk silver versus silver issued coinage? I have both but am building on this and would be interested in your thoughts.

(Man, two posts. This is my lucky day!)

CPL Antero Rokka said...

Great post, Bro.

Here's another TIP: any company ANY COMPANY can go bankrupt when TSHTF. We were one of 450 "investors" who lost $420M in escrow and trust deposits to an "insured and guaranteed" corporation in the 2009 melt-down. Corporate criminals literally walked free!

Banks, S&Ls, safety deposit outfits, escrow agents...ALL go BANKRUPT. Then, like me, you can stand before a black-robbed Bankruptcy Judge and be told: "Ain't your money no more son, it's now MY MONEY to do as I please."

Try paying bankruptcy litigation lawyers $1,000/hr + expenses ($500 hotel suites) and see how far you'll get.

tweell said...

I have silver rounds and junk silver, but mostly use the rounds as gifts. Rounds are easy to counterfeit, as Aesop noted. Junk silver doesn't have that problem. No gold coins, am too poor for those.

Selco suggested laying in some simple gold rings. He said the act of taking off a wedding ring and paying with it shows that you don't have much, unlike using a gold coin. This makes you less of a target.

Stealth Spaniel said...

This is probably one of your best posts ever. As I have said before, never-ever-never trust a GD bank or savings & loan with a safety deposit box! My mother was almost 10 when one of my grandmother's friends called. Roosevelt, that paragon of virtue and honesty, sent his minions to Home Savings and Loan in Dayton, Ohio, to rifle any and all things of "value". My grandmother's friend got wind of it as she was the head secretary to the president of said savings and loan. The box was empty when they got to grandma's, as her friend had squirreled it to her own home. So I have like, zero faith in the system.
That being known, I advise a fireproof safe at home, surrounded by noisy pets of your own choice, and backed up by Faith and Guns. I can't afford a lot of gold, but silver coins are fun.

Marty said...

I have a 1920s $20.00 gold certificate, which when it was printed could buy an ounce of gold, now its face value can't even buy me a case of decent beer.

In a collapse scenario, from a credit crunch which prevents electronic payments, or a cyber attack that locks up our banking system, cash will be king until people realize that the Dollar isn't coming back, then it will be trash,

I buy US Eagles and Canuck Maple Leafs, the US silver coins for long term investment and the Canadian ones for emergency use. The reason is that the maples have a hologram that isn't going to be counterfeited easily.

Difficulty in counterfeiting is also why I buy pre 64 US silver coinage I prefer coins with a little wear on them, you can't fake that.
I avoid buying 40% halve dollars and 35% Silver Nickels because most people don't think of them as having silver content. Not that I don't keep them if I come across them while coin roll hunting
And don't discount finding silver in thrift stores and flea markets. Last week sister number three picked up a filthy tarnished silver gravy boat for $2.00, and the seller thought it was plate because it had no maker's mark because it was hand made by a silver smith and very old, turned out to be silver, probably mid 19th century. I can't tell you how many times she has bought old bent utensils that turned out to be silver, or cheap earrings that had gold backs, after a while it adds up to real money.

John said...

Let's say, for the sake of example, that I have a few silver dimes. If I don't need those dimes, whatever. My kids get them when they have a knife fight over my corpse.

If I do need them?

Fill in the blank.

JustinR said...

I started stacking real money early this year after finding Wall Street Silver on Reddit while investigating the GME debacle. I always thought buying gold and silver was stupid as you "couldn't eat it." Now that I'm older and smarter I wish I had started years ago. Such is life.