Twenty years ago, I always had cash on me, went through checkbooks regularly, and no one had any idea what cryptocurrency was. But nowadays, all my transactions are done electronically. I never use checks and have a decent amount of crypto. The world has changed so much in such a short amount of time.
In 1989, when I was eight years old, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the coast of California, where I live. The power was out for days. My family was not prepared because it happened so suddenly. Even though the power was out, the stores could still sell food and water, but you had to have cash to pay for the items. At that time, it was less common to use credit and debit cards exclusively, so almost everyone could buy the things they needed because they had paper money in their wallet. My parents had just sold a car a couple of days before the earthquake, so they had several thousand dollars on them. Had they not sold the car, they wouldn't have been able to get any money out of the bank until the power came back on. Going through an event like that makes you see the importance of having some cash at home just in case of a natural disaster.
Our world has practically gone completely digital with our money. It is all too easy and convenient to do every transaction electronically. Even at the farmer's markets and craft fairs in my area, all the vendors have a way to pay digitally. Our world is phasing out paper money. But is this such a good idea? Some events that have unfolded over the past month have made me see that we shouldn't be so quick to ditch all our cash or keep our money all in one place.
The first thing that made me think about where I keep my money is the trucker convoy protest that happened in Canada. I was shocked when I heard that the Canadian government froze not only some of the trucker's bank accounts but the bank accounts of those who donated to the truckers through GoFundMe. Some may disagree with the trucker convoy and think you would never have your accounts frozen and that something like that would never happen to you. But what if the next protest is near and dear to your heart and, to help the cause, you give a small amount of money to the movement? The next thing you know, the government deems that group extremist or violent, as they did with the truckers, and all your accounts are frozen.
Then the war in Ukraine started. I read reports that citizens were in line for hours trying to get money out of their banks. Some needed money just to buy food and supplies. Others needed money to flee the country. Then Russia was barred from SWIFT tanking their economy. This move was to hurt their government, but unfortunately, the citizens are also suffering—citizens who disagree with what their government is doing.
It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with these events. It's the fact that it can happen. I’m not some doomsday prepper or trying to cause fear. However, I think we can all admit that the world has changed a lot over the past two years and who knows what the next global crisis will be when the war ends.
We all just need to be prepared for whatever may happen. We should all have enough money at home to fill our cars with gas and buy needed food and supplies. Depending on our circumstances, we may even want to keep enough cash at home to pay our bills for a couple of months just in case our bank account were to get frozen. In addition, there have been threats of cyberattacks. How much cash would you need to keep going until our government fixed the grid?
I think we need more than just some money at home. What would you do if you lost the money in your bank account or the economy tanked? What if you had enough cryptocurrency to cover your bills for several months? Would that crypto give you some peace of mind? President Biden just announced an executive order on cryptocurrencies. I think crypto is here to stay, but the government will continue to try and regulate it and gain control over it. So, where you store your crypto is essential.
Most people buy crypto on exchanges like Coinbase. That is an excellent way for the average person to buy and hold their crypto. But the government can coerce these exchanges, just like they can your bank, to freeze your account or ban them from converting the crypto to fiat money. So you have to take it one step further and keep your crypto in a decentralized wallet. Then no matter where you are in the world, you should have access to your crypto. You are the only one that holds the seed phrase or keys to access the coins.
This isn't financial advice, and I'm not telling you what to do with your money. I just want everyone to look at the big picture and think about where you keep your money. Do you still think it’s a good idea to have all your money in one place?