Money security

I have $35,000 to invest from the recent sale of a house. I keep reading of an impending collapse -- devaluation of the dollar, banks failing, FDIC and social security going broker, and on and on. While these events might not happen, I'm concerned about where I invest for maximum protection against such eventualities. Should I place the money in a Swiss or West German bank? I am concerned more about protection than income. My wife and I are in our mid-40s with no children at home. J. M.

While a possible collapse of our economic system, with the accompaniment of the events you note, appears unlikely, your proposed investment in Switzerland or West Germany also is not the answer. Opening a savings account or investing in Swiss or West German accounts aims to protect the purchasing power of your funds from inflation. Over the past decade Swiss francs and German marks have lost value at a lesser rate than the dollar.

However, if the momentous calamities you mention collapse the US economy, European economies including Switzerland and West Germany are unlikely to escape. For absolute protection without a concern for income, your best solution is to invest in bullion gold coins and bury them in a midnight depository somewhere on your grounds or other location. While this may sound far out, so are the disasters you note. Gold remains the one universal currency. It is dense in value, as your entire $35,000 could be converted at today's prices to about 50 Krugerrands, and hiding your cache may avoid seizure by the government or unavailability if a bank fails.

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