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How to Hide Your Money Where the Bankers Won’t Find it

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Unless you have been on vacation the past few days or out of touch with the never ending news media we live in you have seen or heard about the event in Cyprus. For those who haven’t heard, the short story is that the IMF has pushed for a “wealth tax” in Cyprus which would involve taking money directly out of the bank accounts of the people. That’s right, stealing in broad daylight with no apologies whatsoever. The IMF is saying that the people of Cyprus need to pay back the bankers who stole and lost their money. This is done with the threat of being kicked out of the Euro zone if they refuse. Make no mistake, this is a trial run and they will be coming for money in your accounts very soon.

So, what can you do about it? Can you put your money in stocks? What about investments like property or fancy cars? My opinion is that nothing is safe. If your money is out of your reach and stored in any type of financial institution it can be stolen. Before I go any further let me state what should be obvious to most of you.

Warning #1: Whatever you do with your money, you do at your own risk.

Now, that being said, where would you put your money if you can’t stick it in the bank? Well, first let me address why we put money into the banks in the first place. It used to be that our money was safe in the bank and for the privilege of letting banks hold on to our money and invest it we were paid back in interest. Over time, neither of these two reasons is valid anymore. You will not see any return on a traditional checking or saving account and as recent events like the MF Global scandal prove, your money can be taken and there is nothing you can do about it.

I recommend you keep only enough money in the bank that you need to operate your daily finances, cover checks and your normal Debit Card purchases. Any savings should be “stored” somewhere else if you don’t want to be like the people of Cyprus who flocked to empty ATM machines and were faced with a bank holiday for 4 days. Just imagine going to your bank and they tell you that you are unable to get any of YOUR money out for 4 days. Where do you put this money? Great question and it will really depend on how much you have, where you live, how liquid you need it to be and your resources. All of this falls under the umbrella of how afraid you are that something like this could happen to you and your tolerance for risk.

Warning #2: Just because you hide money doesn’t mean someone else can’t find it.

There are a ton of options for hiding things and they are only limited to your creativity. If you are going to hide money, I would take extra precautions. Especially, if you plan on seeing this money again someday. For ideas, here are a few:

Secret compartment in everyday items:

There are a myriad of places and containers that can be made to look like normal everyday items. There is a Scribd.com post with plenty of photos and ideas. My personal favorite is the VHS tape hideout. I can see this holding a few hundred dollars if you play it right. There is another article (one of many) that illustrates good hiding places on Urlesque.com. Another idea I have heard of is to hide bills in the contents of old bank statements, junk mail for home refinance, etc. Anything that looks like junk will be overlooked most likely, but remember… You don’t want to throw this away when you are cleaning up one day.

In the walls of your home:

This approach takes a little more carpentry skills and will leave a bigger mark when you go to find your money. Do you hide it all in one spot? No, so there is more work involved in this approach and you want to make sure your handiwork isn’t easy to spot. If you have never dry walled, it may take a little practice.

In the attic:

Hands down the easiest place to store your money. Unfortunately, this is also a logical place to look. If you are going to hide your money up in the attic, spread it out so that if your stash is found, they might not find all of it.

In the basement:

If you have exposed ceiling joists, you can hide money between the insulation and the floor above. For a little extra level of difficulty, you should hide the money above plumbing or HVAC ducting to make it doubly hard to get to.

Buried in the yard:

I like this idea, but the nagging fear is that someone will see me digging a hole and go dig up my money in the middle of the night while I lie in bed. You can combine this with a garden or yard fixture project where you are out digging anyway to avoid suspicion. Or, break out the new pair of night vision goggles you have been dying to try, get up at 4 am and dig your hole in the pitch black night when you have no moon. Imagine you are breaking out of prison for extra motivation.

Hidden in a secret cache in a remote location:

I talked about using the game of Geocaching to teach you how to find hidden caches. You can also use this to find a good hiding spot somewhere near (but not too near) your home. Make the place you are hiding money very well hidden so that nobody will stumble across it accidentally. I would recommend midway up a hill because you never know when a flood will come and buried several feet underground.

Warning #3: Just because you hide your money doesn’t mean you will be able to get to it when you need it.

Again, use your best judgment with these ideas. Having your money safe from bankers does you no good if it gets washed away or found by hikers out exploring. Worse, if your house burns down and all of your cash is in the attic. Take appropriate precautions with everything but consider an alternate place to store your money. You may need it soon and not have the ability to go get it from your bank.


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12 Comments

  1. steveo77

    March 21, 2013 at 2:25 am

    You must consider fire.
    A floor safe is pretty safe, especially with gold coins. May get wet in a fire, doubtful it will melt. triple hide it so even the firemen wont see it.

    • prepperjournal

      March 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Great idea!

      Floor safes require a little more engineering but they make a great hiding location. Its harder to retrofit a floor safe into an existing house, but that would be far better than leaving your money in the bank (in light of recent events) in my opinion.

      Pat

  2. PrepperNet

    March 23, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I respectfully disagree with the article above on where to hide your money. The suggestions listed therein are risky and don’t take into consideration variables like fire, flood, and if the SHTF, search and confiscation by the government or even marauders, who would think nothing of brute force or torture to get what they want. A better alternative would be to put your cash and liquid investments into foreign Coupon Bearer Bonds in several countries whose economies are doing well or are recovering. Never put all your assets in one place. The money you have sitting in the bank doesn’t draw enough interest to even keep up with inflation. So, you might as well put it in a more secure investment that will pay a higher interest rate and functions like a international currency. The coupons on Bearer Bonds are just what the name implies. They are little coupons, in most cases, along the border of the certificate that have a face value. And, unlike our own US currency, they actually have assets to back them up.

    Where to physically hide your Bearer Bonds where they’ll be safe and protected? The Bank! What, you say! That’s right, but in a safety deposit box.

    This post is from the Preppermeister on behalf of http://www.preppernet.weebly.com

    • prepperjournal

      March 23, 2013 at 10:24 am

      PrepperNet,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your comments. I always welcome different viewpoints and opinions. Hearing both sides of a discussion helps everyone make a better decision I feel. I would like to quickly address a couple of your comments though. Lets assume for everything going forward that the global economy hasn’t collapsed.

      Now, assuming your $1 bill still buys you a pack of gum, but we aren’t in a Weimar Republic type of scenario, your bearer bond idea seems to be fraught with the same type of peril that leaving your money in the bank does. If the banks are closed or insolvent, what would they pay your bearer bonds with? You could say, “I have a million dollars in bearer bonds” and they would say, “too bad, we don’t have any money”. Then what would you do? You would have some really pretty paper. Since everything is electronic now, what if the grid went down? How would you access your money in these other countries assuming they were still fine and healthy?

      I do agree with you that taking your money out of a hardened structure that is fireproof and robbery proof to a point is risky, but leaving it in there is risky too. Fires, floods and all sorts of natural disasters can be mitigated but you are right they are still possible. So are bank closures and bank holidays.

      On the other side of the coin, if the economy does collapse, experts are all saying that it will be a domino effect to all countries. I personally couldn’t hop on a plane to Switzerland to get my money out if this happens.

      I still maintain that all things being equal you are better off now with your money out of the system. Further, I recommend you get out of “money” altogether as much as reasonably possible and get into gold or silver.

      Regardless, I hope neither one of us ever gets to say I told you so.

      Thanks,
      Pat

  3. Jack

    March 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    As with most things in life, you need to diversify and tier your savings/money. 99% of the time, life is good/normal. So, you need to keep SOME money in the bank, and in traditional retirement/investment accounts and such. But, only keep as much as you are willing to LOSE in these traditional accounts. (e.g. don’t keep ALL of our savings in these accounts.) The reason I say this is NOT because of the possibility of bank failures or whatever. Instead, it’s because cash in the bank is losing buying power by roughly 10 percent per year due to inflation. So, the bank is NOT the place to “invest” money. It’s just a convenient place to temporarily store money that you are going to spend anyway (monthly bills and such.)

    The number one place to “save/invest” money is real estate that will generate long-term monthly rental income for you. Your first rental property should be someplace close to home. As a new landlord, you will want to perform self-maintenance and keep an eye on your investment. Your second rental property should be outside of your region (diversification from regional/natural disasters.) Ideally, this should be at your favorite vacation destination. Thus, when you are between tenants, you have a tax-deductible vacation to go visit your property, repair/repaint your unit to prepare it for your next tenant. Depending on your work/vacation schedule, you might spend several weeks or a whole season “renovating” your property for your next tenant. Or, just a long weekend. As you accumulate properties, keep them in different locations. People are too often tempted to “huddle” all of their investment properties in one community for ease of self-maintenance. It just takes one hurricane, earthquake, fire, flood, meteor impact, etc. to wipe-out your entire nestegg and income stream.

    The next-best place to “save” money and hedge inflation, is precious metals. These usually maintain at least pace with inflation (sometimes a little better than inflation.) Precious metals won’t earn you as much income/profit as rental real estate, but it’s a decent, secure hedge against inflation. Plus, unlike real estate, you CAN take precious metals with you. But, you need to be CAREFUL if traveling out-of-country with precious metals. Each country has specific “hidden rules” about how much you may travel with, and possible taxes upon it. These also vary based on the type of precious metals. (e.g. some countries are friendlier to gold than silver, or vise versa.) So, KNOW your flight/travel plans, and invest accordingly. The other thing I like about precious metals, is that they are fairly safe against most natural disasters like fire and flood (unlike paper monies.) Sure, it might melt into a strange form? But, it still retains its weighted-value — regardless of shape. This is why I prefer “rounds” over “stamped currency coins.” Currency coins of various nations cost slightly more. Thus, if/when they are melted-down, they lose SOME value. Whereas, generic metal rounds can be melted and reshaped, and still retain their original weighted-value.

    The main issue with precious metals, is that it takes a little time to convert them back into spendable cash during “normal times.” Thus, we all need SOME cash-on-hand.

    I diversify where we keep our cash-on-hand. Some of it is just in a dresser drawer, where it’s generally out-of-site to visitors, but still easily accessible.

    Our next tier is kept in a fireproof safe, which is kept in our closet, on the floor, under/behind about 10 cases (30 gallons) of stored water bottles. Fires typically go UP. So, I don’t like the idea of attic storage for cash. It’s okay for coinage and precious metals, but NOT okay for paper cash! I figure the cases of water bottles will distract most would-be thieves. First, it’s camouflage — they think it’s just a pile of water. Second, there’s the hassle-factor of pulling each/every of those cases out, to MAYBE find something beneath all of them. Thirdly, it weighs-down our safe (against possible storm winds.) Fourth, I feel that the water is somewhat of a protection-layer against fire. As the bottles possibly melt and release their contents onto/across the floor, it will help soak the surrounding area and hopefully prevent the cash from baking/smoldering inside the safe. When a safe says “fireproof,” it’s only to a particular temperature level, and for a fixed duration of time. (e.g. common house fire, with standard response times by the local/city fire department.) If you live in a remote area, however, or the fire department never appears, then your “fireproof” safe (by itself) may not provide enough protection?

    We also keep some cash in a self-made floor compartment inside ammo boxes. We simply used a saw to cut the subfloor between the joists, to create a cavity that we could access. The carpet padding and carpet then covers this space back over nicely.

    Having a similar cache at your remote rental properties is handy, too. Thus, if/when you bug-out, you have some cash ready/waiting for you.

    We also keep a couple-hundred bucks (cash) hidden in each vehicle. You never know while travelling when some gas pump isn’t going to accept your credit/debit card due to “technical difficulties?” Or, when you might have a breakdown, and your AAA card has recently expired, or the nearest towing service isn’t AAA-authorized, etc. Or, you just need a motel/hotel for the night/weekend, or some bribe money to save your life, etc.

    We also keep about a two thousand bucks in EACH of our bug-out bags. When you gotta grab-and-go, you might not have enough time to uncover all your cash assets. We keep this much cash, because we might have to buy airfare; or a $500 beater car + gas; or a rental car, or whatever to bug-out. We may also need bribe money to cross borders, etc.

    Other cash is “invested” (converted) into prepper assets such as long-term food items, ammo, alcohols, and solar panels and marine-grade wind turbines — even bulk toilet paper and clothing. This is a hedge against inflation. These assets represent a real VALUE to us. Most of these items have a 20+ year shelf life (longer than my own life expectancy.) We have (and indeed use/rotate) so much of this stuff, that it has reduced our grocery shopping, and we often go several months between major grocery trips nowadays. This “cushion” allows us to wait for discounts/deals/sales — instead of NEEDING to buy when things aren’t on sale. It’s also one of THE MOST reassuring investments against periods of unemployment. These assets truly give us more peace-of-mind than bundles of cash, or pounds of precious metals.

    We have lived through multiple hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes, snow storms and floods in the Midwest, and earthquakes/riots/fires in California (not to mention 14+ months of unemployment.) We weathered these “storms” NOT thanks to our cash-on-hand, but rather our prepper ASSETS on-hand. When disasters occur, transportation systems shut-down, and grocery store shelves go barren within days/hours. Gas stations dry-up or shut-down. ATMs go empty or proactively offline. So, cash becomes somewhat useless. It’s your prepper assets that will keep you and your family fed and alive during these times!

    Alcohols are probably our favorite prepper item. Sure, we have hundreds of #10 cans of LDS-style cans of dehydrated foods and grains and beans and pastas and powdered dairy products. Sure, we have a HUGE pantry with canned fruits and veggies, pasta sauces, pickles, jams & jellies, etc. But, we also have MORE than our “fair share” of rums, whiskeys, vodkas, tequilas, and wines. We are careful to choose shelf-stable alcohols, that are stable or improve with age. Alcohols have SO MANY uses!!! (Not to mention barter or bribing capabilities, fire-starting, sterilization, or just simply inebriation.)

    Sure we also stockpile hundreds of gallons of stabilized diesel fuel and gasoline. We also stockpile gallons of lamp oils, and rubbing alcohols, too.

    Bottom line: Cash is NOT “king.” Cash is constantly depreciating. Cash is flammable. Cash is (generally) country-specific. Cash is just paper, with a PERCEIVED value. Cash is just a paper-version of a bargaining chip. The MAIN purpose of cash, is to pay your taxes to your respective government. (Because the taxman doesn’t want your pigs, goats or rabbits.) Cash is just a CONVENIENT form of currency/trade. We don’t eat cash. We don’t sleep under a cash roof. We don’t plant cash in the soil, to grow more. People need to truly see/understand that cash is nothing more than Monopoly money. Nowadays, it’s even LESS!!! Nowadays, it’s perceived cash. Nowadays, it’s just 1s and 0s in computer data bases. These can too easily be confiscated by the government (e.g. “frozen” assets, or repossessed for past-due taxes, etc.) Or, as what happened this week with Chase — “accidentally” changed to “zero balance” across the board.

    Over the past couple of years, as the Belarusian ruble collapsed, people were literally buying furniture, appliances — ANYTHING to ditch their cash for hard assets (that they could later barter.) Hyperinflation WILL come back to the US again (as well as other countries.) It’s literally impossible to avoid. It’s cyclical. Politicians aren’t financiers or investors. They are simply American Idol contestants who won an EMOTIONAL vote of the peoples (or so we are told.) They are NOT the BEST person for the job! They are just a cog in the political wheel, and they hit their lucky lotto of the peoples — and serve their time, and enjoy their temporary role at the helm. They don’t REALLY “fix” ANYTHING! They just kick the can down the road, as our systems spiral towards implosion.
    So, treat cash as CASH. Don’t keep too much of it. Convert it into hard assets, that either generate income/revenue (such as real estate, or a service-oriented small businesses.) Or, convert it into hyperinflation-safe prepper assets. Convert it into energy generation (solar, wind, hydro power.) Technically, it’s not a cost-effective investment TODAY, and in TODAY’s cash values, represents a 30-year break-even return. But, that is NOT counting the cost of inflation, and the devaluation or hyperinflation. When your monthly electric bill exceeds your monthly income, THEN you will realize the VALUE of your energy-production investment! When a storm hits your region, and takes the grid down for three months, THEN you will realize the priceless value of your investment, because YOUR home is the ONLY one with full electrical power, working fridge and freezer, working hot water heater, working heat or air conditioning, working TVs, working laundry, etc. During these times CASH will be useless to “fix” the situation. This isn’t some impossibility. It’s a REALITY! I know, because we have lived through MULTIPLE events like this. Friends and family came to OUR house when the hurricanes hit. Neighbors relied upon US to help them weather the storms. Instead of being perceived as horders, we are instead seen as leaders (by example) among our neighbors. We share what we can — especially KNOWLEDGE. We have the ULTIMATE first-aid kit (backpack.) We have an almost ENDLESS assortment of tools (especially hold-school, non-electrical hand tools.) We have tarps, blankets, thousands of feet of rope, endless rolls of plastic and duct tape. Our garage and home is a mini-version of Home Depot.
    One notable thing during these disasters/emergencies, NO ONE tried to pay us CASH for the use of our tools or some of our supplies or whatever. Cash was of ZERO value to ANY of us. Instead, we bartered/traded goods (even promises.) e.g. “after this event is behind us, I’ll restock you with 3X whatever I borrow.”
    It’s so much better to befriend your neighbors, than to have to clean their blood and carcass off your front porch. (wink)
    Peace.

    • prepperjournal

      March 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Thank you for commenting Jack!

      Excellent points and descriptions of your options and personal experience. This is worthy of its own post :)

      Thanks,
      Pat

  4. Najma Sadeque

    March 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    This is childish. What good does hiding do if the currency is drastically devalued or is declared no longer legal tender (when a new one fresh from the printing presses is brought in) ? Better to convert to precious metals, or a silo full of least-perishable foods that’ll keep for a couple of years while you’re unemployed.
    – Najma Sadeque, Pakistan

    • prepperjournal

      March 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Thank you for the comment Najma,

      Yes, I should have more explicitly stated that having all of your “money” (dollars, Euro’s, etc) does you know good if the currency collapses. I should have stated more about storing your “wealth” which as you mention would be better spent in my opinion on precious metals and physical goods that you can keep. Paper money as an investment is too risky as it is and with the current actions in Cyprus and the ongoing actions by our collective banks and governments, the outlook doesn’t look too good.

      Pat

    • C H

      April 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Very wise reply Najma. Food, clothes, medicine, stuff you can barter with.

      The key secret is hidden. A safe room – even a cave.

      We began in caves, perhaps we will end up in caves.

      I keep telling my husband to remove our retirement cash from the banks but he doesn’t see the train coming.

      He has only one fault – he is stubborn.

      So, I am buying and storing.

      I would also say, if you can buy a gun do so, but soon I feel the penalty for owning one and not turning it in will be death. I can actually see this coming.

      I am 60.

      Things I thought impossible just 30 years ago now have become everyday reality.

      Of all things, top on one’s list should be, get right with God. This New World Order is coming about to usher in His opposing enemies.

      There will be no on the fence in this, the final ending of the grand cosmic chess match so choose your side wisely.

  5. C H

    April 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Paper money may have little or no value anyway in the near future. The New World Order will simply declare the US Dollar null and void and come up with “The system” via probably a implanted chip one will be required to take.

    Very good article.

    I would say, right now, put your money in tangible goods, ie: food, medicine, practical, warm, working / hiking clothes. Pay off your house and car. The day of everyone owning their own big SUV, eating at Wildfire and owning a 3,000 sq ft house with three-four baths is soon drawing to a end.

    Best to get yourself a very modest home with a hidden below ground level safe room(s). Hidden is the key word.

    People with real money are having hidden bunkers built now under their million dollar homes.

    But, there are records, invoices, permits so nothing is truly hidden from the government unless you are able to do it yourself.

    And in the end, even a friend or loved one will betray you if threatened with torture or death.

    We are living in strange times. I’m 60 and it’s getting to be stranger decade by decade.

    • prepperjournal

      April 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Thank you for your comments CH.

      I agree completely with you. Paper money is going away the only question is when and you need to have some form of “wealth” that isn’t in the banks.

      Pat

  6. Prince Draxx

    May 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    If you put cash in a hiding place you will need to make sure you have killed all the bacteria on the bills or you may recover a batch of mildewed paper that is totally worthless.

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