In many a post I have flippantly referred to these bad economic times as The Great Recession. It has certainly lasted longer than most, and is probably a barely averted depression. However, I read a blog article today that shows how more and more people are losing trust in banks and doing the equivalent of stuffing their money under the mattress. Yes, there has been an uptick in the purchases of home safes!
An article yesterday in the Smart Money section of the Wall Street Journal, entitled "More Americans Stashing Cash in Home Safes," talks about just that. More and more people are buying and installing home safes. It isn't because of crime, as burglary rates have been dropping nationally for years. The article states that " experts say that many savers and investors feel a lingering sense of insecurity in their finances -- a hard-to-shake fear borne out of the jolting recession and, at times, wobbly recovery -- which is helping to spur the new safeguarding mentality." In addition to this is the growing trend of identity theft, where all of your money could be gone in one digital swipe. Keep some cash in a safe at home, and at least you have something!
The concern I have, as well as many of the financial experts quoted in the article, is how fear is preventing so many people from planning properly for the future. That dollar in your safe might survive a bank collapse, but it also will still be just a dollar when you are ready to retire. Difference is, it won't buy nearly enough then, and if it is stolen (as it might be, as homes still get burglarized, and safes still get cracked), then it isn't protected by the FDIC. Keeping your assets in bullion or jewelry can also be a bad bet, as it is subject to the fluctuations of those markets and may not recoup its original value.
Folks, safes are good for storing important papers, family heirlooms, and jewelry with sentimental value (like your mom's wedding ring). It is not a way to protect yourself in a bad economy. If you are worried about how things are going and what your financial future might look like, then consult with a financial planner and come up with a solution that makes sense!