When your country’s financial and economic systems collapse, and social upheaval threatens political stability, life as you know it will change drastically. In addition to the likely disruptions to the regular flow of commerce because of store closings and supply shortages, prolonged economic instability leads to massive job losses, wage cuts and the real possibility of a currency devaluation.
We need look only to Greece for a modern day harbinger of what we can expect if some or all of these events were to play out in a similar fashion here in the U.S.
With the future of their country uncertain, Greeks are finding it increasingly difficult just to get by. Many have been liquidating their assets to cover core personal expenses. The going has gotten very tough for the people of Greece many of whom, up until a year or two ago, would have be considered middle class by all accounts. Today those same middle class Greeks, who never imagined that one day something as basic and necessary as putting food on the table would become an exacting task, are being forced to sell everything of value just to survive.
Things are bad when you have to sell the teeth in your mouth to put food in your belly:
A smartly dressed woman waits as a young man behind a glass screen weighs her gold earrings, bracelets and rings and counts out 1,600 euros.
“I’ll see you again soon,” she says, slipping the bills into her purse. Behind her, a grey-haired man shuffles toward the counter.
“Do you buy gold teeth?” he asks.
In the Greek capital, gold is marking a divide between the “haves” and a growing number of “have nots.”
Many ordinary Greeks who prospered after the Mediterranean country entered the euro a decade ago are now being forced to sell their family treasures just to make ends meet.
With the worst recession since the 1970s grinding into its third year, fresh belt-tightening measures to appease international lenders are driving many middle-class Greeks to desperation.
Unemployment has climbed to more than 16 percent and real wages are down by around a fifth since the global financial crisis struck three years ago.
“These are not poor folks. They are ordinary, middle-class Greeks: a woman with three kids who needs to sell her wedding jewelry just to send her kids to school.”
For those (really) paying attention to the US economy, the sudden explosion of “We Buy Gold and Silver” stores in neighborhoods of varying socioeconomic status is an important sign of the serious problems we face. It’s a key indicator that people are not bringing in the same income streams as they were a few years ago, and that they are having to supplement their incomes by selling others assets (be it gold, stock holdings, land, etc.).
To demonstrate gold’s importance in times of uncertainty and panic we can look at both, the sellers of the gold as well as those who are buying.
Those who have savings and investment accounts have been slowly losing confidence in the governments of the world, and they’re moving their assets into a time tested store of wealth:
That is one side of the coin. On the other, many wealthy Greeks, worried by the political paralysis gripping their country, are pulling money out of the bank and buying gold, regarded as the ultimate safe haven in times of uncertainty.
Burnishing its appeal, the price of the precious metal has climbed to record highs over the last year, driven in part by anxiety in financial markets over Greece’s prolonged agony which has prompted a flight to stable assets.
We are nowhere near being clear of the wealth destruction to come.
Your income may be fine today, your assets intact. But a lot of things can change in a year or two. Chances are you know several people whose way of life has been adversely affected by this crisis. Now is the time to create and execute a contingency plan for the possibility of a personal economic collapse. This should include a variety of supplies and skills, as well as an understanding of what is money when the system collapses.
With respect to gold, if you have the ability to do so, it’s better to be a long-term buyer at this time than it is to be a seller. Acquire as much of this asset (and silver) as you are able to as part of your overall SHTF planning strategy.
Hat tip Steve Quayle