Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
This week we’ve been discussing the importance of secrecy when storing a stash of silver or gold for a crisis.
As we saw in yesterday’s letter, simply owning a traditional heavy-duty safe can draw unwanted attention from criminals.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re fresh out of luck when it comes to storing your emergency stash.
You just need to get a little creative to stay ahead of the curve.
By understanding how criminals operate — and using a combination of misdirection and secrecy — you can hide your valuables securely without having to invest in an expensive heavy-duty safe.
According to a study by Co-op Insurance, the vast majority of thieves are “opportunists” who try to get in and out of a property as fast as possible.
This is why burglarized homes look ransacked after an attack.
Your average burglar isn’t thinking, I wonder where the valuables are. They brute-force the problem by checking as many places as possible as quickly as possible.
This is how burglars always seem to find your clever hiding place. It’s not that they actually know the money is there. But they are familiar with the kinds of places people hide money — and they’ll check as many of those places as they can.
This is why common decoy tactics like the hollowed-out book, the fake rock and hiding money in your mattress don’t work anymore.
Modern burglars know these strategies and will always include it in their sweep of the house.
Knowing that, we can use this information to turn the tables on the average burglar. Here’s how…
Tactic #1: Diversify Your Stash
Let’s start by diversifying your hiding spots. Split your stash into five smaller stashes and hide them around your property.
For one, a smaller stash is easier to hide. But it also means that if a burglar finds one of your stashes, he’s only getting 20% of your emergency stockpile.
There’s a good chance that after finding one stash, they’ll cut their losses and make a break for it with their haul. Sure, losing 20% of your emergency fund is a kick in the teeth. But it’s better than losing all of it.
Next, to make sure we don’t lose a single one of those stashes, we’re going to employ some clever decoy strategies.
Tactic #2: Layer Your Defenses
Thieves might have a knack for finding hiding spots.
But knowing how they find these seemingly clever hiding spots makes it much easier to fool them.
Again, burglars find hiding spots by simply searching as fast and violently as possible, breaking everything that might be used to hide something valuable.
When they find something valuable they move on quickly, trying to get in and out of the house as fast as they can.
One of the ways we can take advantage of this is by layering your hiding spots.
Simply put, we are going to go one step further than a burglar would expect you to go.
The decoy safe is one of my favorite examples of this.
Start by buying a cheap safe off Amazon — a small, electronic one like the ones you find in hotel rooms.
Stick it in your closest and fill it with a decoy stash — maybe $50 in $5 bills, some rolls of quarters and some cheap costume jewelry.
It needs to be just enough that the thief thinks he found your valuable stash but not enough that you’re going to lose any sleep if it’s stolen.
Next, you’re going to write the code of the safe on a sticky note… and stick it right to the safe.
This way, the thief is going to be able to easily open the safe; there’s no danger of them sticking around to try and force the combination out of you.
He’s going to think you’re just an absentminded safe owner, grab his loot and get moving.
Of course the real stash was never in the safe. In your closet, behind the safe, you’re going to create a false panel. And back there is where you’re going to stash your silver and gold.
A false panel is something a perceptive burglar might find on a sweep of your home. But the decoy safe will distract them so much that they’ll completely forget about the idea.
Tactic #3: Adapt and Innovate
Everyone’s home is different, and the best decoy tactics are going to take advantage of the features of your home that only you are familiar with.
Floorboards? Create a removable floorboard with a secret compartment and fill it with fake loot. Hide your real stash in a second secret compartment under the first one.
Private yard? Dig a six-foot hole and bury your stash in an airtight, waterproof container. Cover it up and bury a decoy stash two feet above it.
Go one step further than you think you’ll need to and you’ll fool even the best in the business.
As always, keep sending me those emails. They let me know what you want to read and help me zero in on the most urgent problems we are facing together. Click here to send me one right now.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
Editor’s note: The strategies you read in Money & Crisis were developed with the help of Jim Rickards, the best-selling author of Currency Wars and The Death of Money.
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