People think that the safest place to store their valuables would be in a safety deposit box at their bank. They would be wrong. Here’s a true story about what happened to me many years ago.
About 16 or 17 years ago, as I described in my book The Unchained Man, I was having some financial trouble due to some very stupid things I did as a younger man. I had a sudden increase in income and I was not yet skilled at actually managing money, so I fell behind in some of my debts and taxes. I cleaned all that up many years ago, but even to this day, reflecting on that time in my life gives me some unpleasant chills.
I had a safety deposit box at a bank at that time, where I kept some valuables, cash, and some sensitive business data. To be safe, I made sure to have the safety deposit box at a bank where I did not have any other accounts. If you’ve seen the movie Mr. Brooks (excellent movie by the way), you know that the first place the government and criminals look for a safety deposit box is the bank where you do your usual banking.
I thought I was being smart by having a safety deposit box. I was wrong.
One of the creditors to whom I owed money at the time pressed a few buttons on a computer, instantly found where I had my safety deposit box, walked down to the bank, and flashed a legal document to the bank staff. The bank staff said, “Yes, master,” ushered them into the vault, and took a power drill to my safety deposit box, drilling out the lock. They then handed the creditor everything I had in the box and sent him on his way.
This is the kind of thing that happens if you ever have any financial trouble. When I went to the bank to discover all of this, I was, of course, horrified. I screamed at the bank employees, “You mean anyone can just walk in here off the street and flash some paperwork and you’ll drill my fucking deposit box and give them everything in it?”
“Yes, sir,” they answered, “We have to. It’s the law.”
Gotta love corporatism. Thankfully, the day the creditors took everything in my box, I had no valuables or cash in there, just a few removable hard drives with some encrypted data on them, so I didn’t actually lose anything of real monetary value. That was pure dumb luck on my part though; just a few days before that, I had a serious amount of cash in that box; I could have been seriously screwed.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day. At any time, creditors or your government can, and easily will crack open your bank safety deposit box and take everything out of there whether you like it or not or deserve it or not. Banks call this a “bail-in.” This is exactly what happened in Cyprus back in 2013. Banks there had been so mismanaged that the government gave them permission to just take the deposits of their clients with no warning and little explanation.
Cuckoo Canada and the Suicidal EU both have laws on the books saying banks can do this too, whenever they want, as long as it’s an “emergency.” In the Collapsing USA, banks such as Chase have warned their customers to not keep nonnumismatic gold or silver coins in their safety deposit boxes. (“Nonnumismatic” means gold or silver coins that have value strictly in the gold or silver, with no collectable value.)
And don’t forget what happened to me. It doesn’t have to be your government that will take your stuff; corporate creditors can also.
Lastly, if your country ends up having an extreme financial crisis, your bank will have mobs of people in front of it, and the bank will probably be locked down. Good luck getting to your safety deposit box then.
Do not ever use a safety deposit box at a bank, unless you’re doing something temporary. If you really need to store something of value outside of your home for the long-term, use these options instead, listed in order of how good I think they are:
1. A professional vault or vault service that is not registered as a “bank” and does not have to comply with the usual anti-privacy laws banks do.
2. A small safe you purchase and store at a friend’s or family member’s house. Obviously, this person needs to live a very stable, safe life, and you’ll have to really trust this person. Do not give this person the combination to the safe. Make sure the safe is a good one too; theft resistant, fireproof, and waterproof.
3. A safety deposit box in a small bank in a country far away from the Western world that respects the privacy and personal property of their clients. This is still a bank, but at least it’s removed from both your collapsing, corporatist Western government and creditors in your country won’t ever have access to it. Also, realize that if you’re an American, most of these banks won’t want to do business with you because our government makes it so difficult to do so. (This is yet another reason to get a second passport.)