The other day a friend emailed me an article with the following preliminary remarks:
I pretty much agree with this – not that it makes any difference. The day is coming when everyone will know that paper “money” is just that – paper. We have not had any backing for the US dollar except “the full faith and credit” of the United States of America since Nixon. It would appear that such faith is wearing thin – rightly so, particularly in light of the political situation and the rate at which the Fed is printing “money.”
Of course, the US dollar is up today (over 81 as this is written), and I expect it will get stronger for a bit – maybe up to 83.5 to 84. There is a big struggle going on in the “money” markets, but the struggle is trying to pick which of the depreciating currencies is going down the least. The Euro is tanking, as well as some others, but the Canadian and Aussie dollars are doing well. If you have gold in hand, however, let the other guys fight it out.
I still think that we are headed for a similar situation that occurred in Germany in the early 20’s. The German Weimar Republic began inflating the Mark in 1919, at which time an ounce of silver could be bought for four Marks. During that year the Reichsbank began monetizing the government’s debt. As a result, from 01/1921 until about 01/ 1921 inflation was about 60 percent. From 01/1922 until 10/1922 inflation rose to 5,300 percent. By 10/1923 inflation was at 16,579,999 percent. That’s right, sixteen million, five hundred seventy nine thousand, nine hundred ninety nine percent. From there it went to infinity. This situation is given credit for the rise to power of Adolph Hitler.
In my teen years, Dad gave me a German banknote from those times (I wish I still had it). It was printed only on one side, and as best I can remember, the note was for one hundred billion Marks. That note would NOT have bought the same ounce of silver that only four Marks would have purchased in 1919.
Previously he'd related to me a story his father had told him about a German postman or policeman (he forgets which) who'd developed a habit of throwing his pocket change into a bathtub at the end of each day. In those days German Pfennigs were made of silver. By the time of the inflation and later hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic he'd saved up a bathtub full of silver Pfennigs. (Let's hope he and his family had a second bathtub.) When the hyperinflation hit he and his family survived by selling the silver Pfennigs a few at a time.
But as my friend said "enough pontificating" here without further ado is my sermon on inflation in America today and hyperinflation which may well be in our future.
I'm laying out my reasoning for putting some of your American dollars into a Canadian, Swiss or Australian bank account denominated in the LOCAL currency. The American greenback is due to inflate at a rapid rate perhaps even into hyperinflation.
My reasoning is that the United States of America is Canada's largest trading partner so a slowdown in American commerce will also put the breaks on the Canadian economy. Thus, I hope, the Canuck buck will not inflate as quickly nor as much as the greenback. In any case they're much less likely to be dealing with hyperinflation.
Of course all first world currencies (including the Swiss Frank, CHF and the Australian dollar, AUD) will be hurt when the world's reserve currency proves to be as substantial as the emperor's new clothes. Then, I suspect, individuals, corporations and nations will flee to the currency of last resort: Au.
Canadian banks were much more responsible in their lending and missed the recent worldwide banking emergency. Australia and Switzerland pretty much dodged that bullet too. I believe that still is the case. That is to say the Canadian banks are stronger than US or European banks. And I believe the Swiss and Australian banks have a better chance of surviving hyperinflation (along with their currencies) too.
For now I'm just going to talk about Canadian banking because I've just jumped through the hoops involved in opening an account up there.
Of the big five Canadian banks two: Scotiabank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, (NYSE:BNS) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD) are generally agreed to be the strongest and best run of the bunch. I chose Scotiabank for our Canadian dollar account because I've looked into (and invested in) it and believe it to be the stronger of the two.
If you choose to open an account at a Canadian bank you'll need everyone you want on the account physically present (they require a "wet signature") with two picture ID's (I used my driver's license and my American Passport) to get the account opened. You'll also need to have a few utility bills to show that you live at the address you're giving them. Also very important (due to 9/11 and drug cartel money laundering); you'll need the withdrawal slip showing you withdrew the money you're about to deposit from your USA bank account.
Once your account is set up you can make further deposits via wire transfer. If you opt for a checking account you'll be able to write checks etc.
For now, at least, Americans having funds in banks outside the USA is legal as long as you pay income tax on any interest earned. There is a guy on one of the boards I frequent who has put some of his money in both Swiss and Australian banks both as regular checking and saving accounts and in their versions of CDs. He pays taxes on the interest and, I believe, considers the accounts to be insurance policies against a US dollar crash.
This from one of his recent posts:
While not as high as they have been (I'm in at 8% for 5 years), a form of diversification which might be considered is a term account (like a US CD) at an Australian bank. There are three or four very strong ones.
An example of today's rates:
While no one can predict the future (…), the AUD over the past year has outperformed most alternatives (including gold), while paying a reasonable interest return.
The accounts may be opened without a trip to Oz (but with one piece of snail mail involved with a medallion guaranteed signature - available for free at your local US bank).
There is 10% Aussie withholding tax which can generally be recouped when you file locally. The term accounts can be easily broken (with a reasonable penalty in the interest accrued), similar to a CD. I did this twice over the past year as rates increased, leaving my account at the high water mark, but the point is you can get the funds back quickly by bank wire if you need them here in an emergency.
Not an investment recommendation, simply a way to mitigate some of the risk …
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As long as I'm sighting others I ought to throw this in. It was written recently by a guy named By Tom Dyson
The Royal Bank of Canada will open a non-resident account for you with two pieces of ID.
The Royal Bank of Canada operates a bank in America called RBC Bank. TD Canada Trust also operates banks in America.
Contact customer service at a Canada-based institution and ask them to send you an application for a new account. Then contact your closest branch in America and ask them to help you process the application without you having to fly to Canada.
It won't be easy. The American branch will tell you they are a totally different operating entity from the Canadian bank. You'll probably have to spend a few hours on the phone...
So now you have two ways to turn your US buck into a Canuck buck. Neither as quick and easy as going down to the local branch of your bank, but hey, if it was easy everybody would be doing it. And once everybody sees the hyperinflation handwriting on the Federal Reserve's wall I've a feeling everybody and his brother will be trying to do it. You don't want to be at the end of that line. Also, I've a feeling whoever is in charge when that happens will pass a few laws to stem the flow. Already having your money out of the country and in another currency should afford you some protection.
"But, Dave, what about gold (Au) and silver (Ag)?" Can any self respecting paranoid be satisfied with a mere foreign bank account denominated in a paper foreign currency?"
No, of course not! In my view gold and silver coins should be a part of your savings.
There's a guy named Fernando FerFAL down in Argentina who has documented the 2001 economic collapse of his country.
I reviewed his book on this blog on 10MAR10.
I recommend FerFAL's book to anyone contemplating the complexities of the next few years. FerFAL has been there and done that and he's got the T-shirt. Unlike some survivalist gurus here in the states, FerFAL just documents what has happened (in his book) and is happening now in his country on his blog.
Here's part of his answer to a reader's question on his blog on 11MAR10:
And the lucky ones that have a job, end up finding out that the money they make slowly loses its purchasing power.
“That’s right! Money is just poor tinder after SHTF! Lets quit our jobs and head to the retreat!”
Hold your horses my friend. You’ll get to your retreat and do exactly what? Watch DVDs and eat popcorn? Wait for the raiders to arrive?
Its not going to happen. No raiders, no zombies, no brave new world, just the same old crappy one that just keeps getting worse.
Guys, it’s a thing that goes on for YEARS.
As of right now, here in Argentina private companies estimate a 40% inflation rate per year. Official numbers don’t matter any more. Do you have any idea what this means?
These days, people in USA are noticing a bit of inflation. I sometimes get email from people telling me “You are right FerFAL, bottles, containers and packages in general are getting smaller but costing almost the same”.
I’m not right. I never said it would happen in USA. I just said it happened here, and told people to keep an eye opened if they saw the same pattern.
[Note he doesn't claim to be able to foretell the future in his country or ours.]
The pattern is unfortunately repeating itself, and even worse, its repeating itself politically as well: Redistribution of wealth, social plans, more taxes, more socialist brain washing, a media that just has to be forced to cooperate with the government, something we once called censorship.
What FerFAL's saying he's experienced down in Argentina and what I'm expecting here in the USA is a continued worsening of economic conditions. In Argentina their debt ridden paper currency fell off an economic cliff in 2001, in England they went into an economic death spiral after WWII when they lost their empire. We could go either way. (In case you're wondering, America's "empire" is its increasingly ramshackle status as issuer of the world's reserve currency.) In either case a US pre-1965 silver dime will grow in value as the USD decreases in value.
Whether or not you believe you'll need to be packin' heat to go to the grocery store in a decade it makes sense to put some savings in precious metals in spend-able denominations (dimes, quarters, halves of pre-1965 US silver coins; one tenth, one quarter, one half ounce gold Krugerrands and/or gold Maple Leafs) just in case.
OK, so maybe a few full ounce Rands and Maples too. And some gold Pandas wouldn't hurt either after all China is in the ascendancy right now and (sad to say) we've only to look at England to see where we'll be (if we're lucky) in fifty years.
You'll want to store the coins either in a bank safe deposit box or somewhere other than your home so home invaders won't be able to torture you or your family into revealing the location and pilfer them.
If I could pry my wife out of our home here in the desert we'd buy a house half in southern Canada and half on the US side of the border so we wouldn't have to put up with those cold Canadian winters. But, like most of the American sheeple we'll remain in place and hope for the best. (But this sheeple has some food stored up.)
Desert (What's "paranoia" and why did Webster hide it so far back in his book?) Dave
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