Many Latter-day Saints do a good job of preparing for emergencies by storing food, water, and other essential supplies for times of trouble. But there is one valuable resource they often overlook, and that resource could quickly become a lot more difficult to scrounge up than most Americans imagine. I’m talking about cash. Real cash, currency, the kind you can touch, not the digits in a bank account that could be wiped out by a hacker, an electronic disruption, a power failure, or a bank failure. I recommend that you have enough to live on for two months or so.
Cash? Really? We can just go to the ATM down the street and get whatever we need, right? But when trouble strikes, how long will that ATM supply last? What if many American suddenly started doubting the security of their money in the bank and wanted cash? The shocking thing is that the vast majority of American dollars exist only as digital credit on a computer system. The total amount of physical currency in the world is a small percentage of US dollars in accounts. Much of our currency may actually be overseas. If Americans want cash, there is not nearly enough to cover but a tiny fragment of the demand. You need cash now, not when an emergency strikes.
In addition to natural disasters that can empty local ATMs in a hurry, man-made disasters can make people doubt the security of their banks and try to pull cash out. But bank reserves are small and can’t handle the demand. Prepare now by having cash on hand to get you through a few weeks of months of trouble. That’s a first step toward being prepared.