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Monday, October 11, 2010

Caching Locations

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about locations for stashing stuff.  I've got two general categories I've been pondering:  Locations for money/PMs and locations for prepping items.

For prepping items, I'm talking about food, equipment, firearms, ammo, reference materials, water purification, temporary shelter and similar items.  Personally, when I think of these items, I think of them as items I may never retrieve.  If I'm caching this stuff, it's for my TSHTF part of my plans.

Early next week, I'll do a post on caching these items.  Today, I'm going to kick around caching/hiding financial assets.

Unlike the prepping supplies described above, the financial assets will absolutely be retrieved in the future! 

We're talking cash and precious metals.  You need to protect against theft, destruction (fire, water, rot), forgetfulness and death.

Bank Safe Deposit Box:

The Good - Probably the best overall location for most folks.  Theft and destruction are very low probabilities.  If you forget about your stuff, it will eventually be escheated (seized and turned over) to your state.  You will at least have the ability to track down your assets if your memory returns!  The same will go for your heirs if you die.  There will at least be an audit trail that can be followed.

The Bad - There are official, government-accessible records that the box exists.  They and the bank know you have a box, though not necessarily what is in there.  If your intent is to hide financial assets from the government, safe deposit boxes are not the way to go.  They can be seized and emptied in the blink of an eye.

The contents are also not insured.  If you have a pile of Gold Eagles and bundles of cash and the bank/your box is robbed, you're SOL.  Same thing if a Bank Holiday is called.  You may not be able to get to your stuff.

Home Safe: - should be lockable, fire proof and have the ability to be affixed to something else to reduce its mobility (bolted to floor, chained down, etc).

The Good - The success of a home safe is dependent upon secrecy as much as the physical characteristics of the safe (fire rating, access controls, size).  The fewer people that know you have a home safe, the better.  It's the whole, "Loose lips sink ships" deal - you won't be targeted for robbery if no one knows you have a safe.

If it is placed somewhere other than the closet of your master bedroom, you increase the chances of the safe NOT being discovered during a burglary.

What is nice is you have immediate access to your financial assets, as long as you can get to your home.

The Bad - Unless you have an insurance rider, if your cash or coins are destroyed or stolen, you've lost them.  Because of this, following the adage of, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket" really comes into play.  Never, under any circumstances, place all of your non-bank assets in one place.  A single event can leave you destitute.

At-Home Hiding Place:  Hidden panels, "diversion safes", etc.

The Good - There are a couple of decent books on this subject - "How To Hide Anything" (Connor), "Secret Rooms, Secret Compartments" (Dzindzeleta), and "The Big Book of Secret Hiding Places" (Luger) are ones I've read..  I wouldn't call any of the a definitive text, but all have good ideas.

Stairwells, the space under cabinets, between rafters, etc.  Just understand that if the government wants to find your hiding place in your home, they'll find it.  The same goes for a motivated burglar with enough time.

The diversion safes (i.e., a can of soup that is actually a safe) can be purchased online. also has a number of posts on how to make them yourself.  I have used these extensively in the past very successfully.

The Bad - VERY easy to forget where you put something!  And unlike a home safe, if you die, it is very unlikely that family members will find your hiding place.  See "Who To Tell?" down below.

And of course, like a home safe, if it is destroyed or stolen, your money is gone for good.

Outside of The Home (other than at a bank):

This is the most difficult solution, for a number of reasons.  To use this, you should have a very strong belief that your spouse or the government - either directly or as a legal "enforcer" will be coming for your money.

This includes the proverbial coffee can buried in the ground in a remote location, to bus station lockers or any other location where your name is not required to obtain the space.  It could include the home of a friend or family member, but if things are so bad that you have the government coming after your money, you might want to think twice before dragging someone else into your situation.

You must be careful to ensure that your location won't be compromised or eliminated.  If you chose an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town, it might be leveled and your assets will be gone.  Think of places like state or national parks - places that will never be bulldozed.  The more remote, the better.

If you're caching gold or silver, be sure you're not placing it in an area where guys with metal detectors are likely to snoop around.  You could make someone's day if they stumbled upon a stack of Silver Eagles!

And because you will likely be storing your assets out in nature, your packaging must be double- or triple-redundant.

The Good - Virtually "invisible" until you retrieve the assets.  Unless you tell some about the location, or you are followed, it is virtually impossible for anyone to determine your cache location.  If done correctly, this type of location offers the highest level of security for your assets.

The Bad - Since your assets are in a location which you don't control, you are at risk for all 4 bad items - theft, destruction, forgetfulness and loss after death.  Tied closely to forgetfulness is inaccuracy - if you don't make an accurate description of your cache's location, you may not be able to retrieve it even if you want to!

And obviously, insurance isn't an option.  Even if you found an insurance company that would consider your request, they would require notification of the location, and that would defeat the purpose of your cache.

Who To Tell?

That's the $64,000 question, huh? 

Here's an option.  It's a bit "James Bond-ish" but should work.  Have two trusted friends or family members, each with a part of the directions to your cache.  Do not tell them the name of the other person.  Tell them the circumstances under which your two-part instructions should be brought together.  Death, incapacitation or incarceration, for instance.

When one of the trigger events happens, they are to go to a specific public location - a coffee shop or shopping mall - at a specific time.  On the first day of the month following the trigger event, at 12 noon, for instance.  They each wear a green jacket or some other sort of easily identifiable article of clothing.

They put the two halves together, and retrieve the cache.  Hopefully, they will dispense the assets according to your wishes, so be sure they are VERY good friends!

Accept The Challenge

I've used or am using all of the suggestions above (though not the instructions piece).  I think it's prudent for everyone to at least consider all of these options.  Think them through, and scout out locations in your home and outside as well.

It's difficult to know what's going to happen in the future.  It may never come to the place where you need to hide financial assets from the government or a spouse.  I think, though, that's it's better to think through the process before it's needed than when you're being forced to make such a decision.

We had a lady come into our PM shop this week that had purchased a dozen Krugerrands 10 years ago.  She had them squirreled away in a safe deposit box at her bank, and she sold them to us.  She mentioned she just didn't feel comfortable with them in her bank box any more.

She was an older lady and mentioned her children (in their 40's) and husband and how she just wanted the cash in her hands.  I don't know if she thought these family members were going to take the coins, but she clearly felt the time was right to raid her cache and cash out!

Make a plan before you need it.  It's what we preppers do!

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Copyright 2010 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


GunRights4US said...

Excellent post. I particularly like the two part instructions with a triggering event.

Anonymous said...

Please don't misunderstand, I know you would never advocate that someone break the law. But we all need to know that there are things you can do when you are "hiding your assets" that will get you in big trouble. It isn't just about tax evasion either. There are other laws that will get your assets siezed and put you in jail. My advice is keep records of assets you buy, receipts, etc. and proof of where the money came from, bank statements. And when you sell your assets and realize a gain report it and pay taxes on it. I know it hurts and considering that most of the gain will be due to inflation and thus not really a gain, it doesn't seem fair. But the simple fact is if you get into trouble with the IRS you will lose and it will cost you far more in the long run.

Jack said...

I have a safe in my master bedroom closet. That's where I keep my porn stash so my daughter doesn't find it. I have a much smaller safe somewhere else in the house where I keep my valuables. Since I religiously set my alarm anytime I leave the house, I don't think a burglar will have much time to look around with the alarm blaring, so he'll probably grab the big safe and go home with some old porn and no valuables. Since I also set the alarm every night (and have two dogs), a nighttime burglar would probably just go home with some extra 9mm and 00 sized ventilation holes.

suek said...

You don't mention self-storage - paid in advance for a lengthy period.

Any comments on that as an option?

Chief Instructor said...

Guns, yeah, you just need to make sure the folks you choose are true friends!

Anon, you're right - follow the law. As of right now, it's still legal to hide, store or cache any financial asset you wish. Travel outside of the country has some restrictions, though.

Thank you for bringing up the records issue. It is VERY important to have proof you own financial assets.

Jack, my intruder would would also be well ventilated, though I keep #4 buck in my shotgun.

Great idea with the safe in the closet.

Sue, Years ago, I used to attend auctions for storage facilities. Maybe it's contaminated my view, but it seems like a lot of storage stuff gets sold.

Also, you must use your name. That is leaving an audit trail for someone else to follow.

GunRights4US said...

On obeying the law: All laws are either mala en se or mala prohibita; either they're wrong inherently, or they're wrong because some fat-assed bureaucrat says so.

I obey the former, and take great pride in thumbing my nose at the latter!

Since about 1913 virtually everything passed into law has been mala prohibita in my opinion. And I fervently believe that until Americans stop being such sheep, willing to bow and scrape before every gooberment costumed jackass, we haven't a hope's chance in hell of recovering liberty!

suek said...

>>Since about 1913 virtually everything passed into law has been mala prohibita in my opinion.>>

I don't agree entirely, but certainly agree that Congress (and other legislatures) spends way too much time "working", during which time they have to think up stuff to do - which means more laws, many of which are indeed unnecessary - and which would horrify the founders.

We need to cut Congress back to part time work.

suek said...

Re the storage...

I know they have a very short "pay up or else" period - my daughter had stuff that she didn't pay on, and she had 30 days to get it out or it would be sold. If you don't keep close track, it could be easy to lose stuff. I've never heard of people losing stuff that they were up to date on. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but I haven't heard of it.

Chief Instructor said...

Guns, I generally start my "slide date" as being tied to the 1914 Harrison Narcotic Tax act. It was fought in front of SCOTUS, but freedom lost. It was the start of the "government knows best how to protect stupid people" trend that is ruining this country. It set the precedence and the statists have been happy to jump on board ever since.

Sue, part time Congress? The stuff dreams are made of!

I've never heard of anyone who was current on their bill having their stuff taken, but I've had friends who forgot, and somehow didn't get the Notice Of Sale, and their stuff was all sold. Not a risk I want to take.