Sunday, September 6, 2015

What if There Was an Extended "Bank Holiday"?

On February 14 of 1933, the state of Michigan declared an eight day bank holiday. Other states followed, trying to keep everyone from withdrawing funds at once. On March 9, newly sworn in President FD Roosevelt declared a nation wide bank shut down for four days.

Without access to their own money, the Great Depression eventually left many homeless and hungry.

Could it happen again? It could. Whether it will or not is another question, but if if did, what position would you find yourself in?

When the banks close for an extended period of time, debit cards are useless and checks are just pieces of paper. Bills that can't get paid will add late fees.

Would you be out of cash in a day's time? Would you have enough gas to do what you need until the banks opened again? Most stores would be closed, so very little would be available to buy. All commerce, except that which could be conducted by cash, would stop.

Not only would many people be doing without critical things, there would very probably be some panic to deal with.

Of course, this is a theoretical scene, but it's taken from history and history is what we're supposed to learn from, so let's see if we can learn something.

There are a few things that some people did before the crash that helped them survive.

They had cash on hand. It would have taken a lot to survive the entire Great Depression, but even a little, used very carefully, helped.

Food and other needs were already stocked up and/or available. Pantries were naturally better stocked then than now, when a lot of people canned and dehydrated food for the winter. Most families even in cities had a backyard garden and many had a small flock of chickens.

Families didn't need disposable paper products and very little medicine they couldn't create themselves. Wardrobes were smaller and more practical than most now and expenses for makeup and "personal hygiene" items were minimal to nothing.

Bartering skills were already established and a lot more common than they are now, so people traded a lot. Services for goods and goods for services and any combination of those two kept people going.

How do you compare, theoretically speaking? How long would you survive? It might be time to think about it.

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