There's been lots of talk lately about doing away with bigger banknotes and moving towards a so-called "cashless society". To name just a few recent articles:
- The War on Cash
- Stores to customers: "Cash not welcome here"
- A Cashless Society
- Singapore Wants to Be Asia’s Sweden in Push for Cashless Payment
However, when banks start charging you for the privilege of keeping your money in their vaults, that changes the picture. The Wall Street Journal reports:
For years, Germans kept socking money away in savings accounts despite plunging interest rates. Savers deemed the accounts secure, and they still offered easy cash access. But recently, many have lost faith.
“It doesn’t pay to keep money in the bank, and on top of that you’re being taxed on it,” said Uwe Wiese, an 82-year-old pensioner who recently bought a home safe to stash roughly €53,000 ($59,344), including part of his company pension that he took as a payout.
Interest rates’ plunge into negative territory is now accelerating demand for impregnable metal boxes.
Burg-Waechter KG, Germany’s biggest safe manufacturer, posted a 25% jump in sales of home safes in the first half of this year compared with the year earlier, said sales chief Dietmar Schake, citing “significantly higher demand for safes by private individuals, mainly in Germany.”
. . .
Germany’s love of cash is driven largely by its anonymity. One legacy of the Nazis and East Germany’s Stasi secret police is a fear of government snooping, and many Germans are spooked by proposals of banning cash transactions that exceed €5,000. Many Germans think the ECB’s plan to phase out the €500 bill is only the beginning of getting rid of cash altogether.
There's more at the link.
We've already seen calls to eliminate the $100 bill in the USA, and high-denomination bills elsewhere. They're never made out of concern for our interests - always to benefit Big Brother or the banks. Every time I hear such calls, I check, double-check and re-check my cash reserves (and expand them, if possible).
The anonymity factor is certainly important to many people, including yours truly. In an era when certain purchases (e.g. firearms, ammunition, etc.) are 'politically incorrect', I much prefer making private purchases whenever possible, paying cash instead of using credit cards or checks. (For that matter, some vendors such as PayPal and Square specifically forbid using their systems to buy such items, limiting one's options.) Also, if electronic payment and/or processing systems should go down for any reason (such as the infamous EBT 'outage' a couple of years ago), cash will instantly be king once more - so it pays (literally) to have some on hand.
I repeat my earlier recommendation. Try to keep at least one months' expenditure on hand, in cash - preferably in smaller bills such as twenties. If you can stretch that to two or three months' worth, it's not a bad idea to do so. You never know when that cash might come in very handy indeed.