Five Alternatives to the “Mattress Bank”

Five Alternatives to the “Mattress Bank”

Since Monday post-STEP, encouraged by the nervousness of the market and the announcements of debt re balancing and exchange rate, savers have attended a large number of bank branches in order to withdraw their dollars deposited in savings banks.

This current caused until last Friday a drain of more than 6,000 million dollars in the reserves of the Central Bank (equivalent to 25% of the total dollars of Argentines deposited in local banks) further complicating the financial situation of the State.

Where do those dollars that in many cases represent the savings of a lifetime go? In most cases, it is known, they end up in the “bank mattress”: hidden in some corner of the house, with all the risks that this entails (theft, fire, deterioration, loss, forgetfulness).

In today’s column, we will analyze 5 alternatives to the “bank mattress” with a fundamental premise: if we talk about lowering risk, we talk about diversifying.

The options that we will see next should not be thought of as the only destination for money hidden at home but as a set of alternatives that we can use to divide our capital into dollars.

1) Use fintech to send money abroad

Different fintech stock exchanges that facilitate account openings in US stock exchanges have doubled or even tripled the demand for services from Argentina after PASO.

Investors friendly with the new technologies see in this modality an excellent alternative to put their money safe from potential restrictive measures of the government of the day that suffocate even more the beaten local financial system.

With minimums ranging from 2500 to 10,000 dollars and no account opening cost, fintech such as Invertironline, BullMarket, and Quiena, to name a few, manage everything related to the change of jurisdiction of savings, which become deposited in the US .UU. With a high level of legal certainty.

At the same time, a full and attractive investment menu is accessed, where the investor can find financial assets according to his risk profile. For example, you can invest in gold through an ETF (open investment common fund), short-term and very low-risk US bonds or in preferred stocks of leading US companies. They offer very good performance.

2) Bank security boxes

Passing money from a savings bank to a safe deposit box in the same bank protects us from any risk of corralito on the dollar since our treasured bills there are freed from banking regulations.

Banks provide this much-demanded service today. They charge a monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual commission related to the physical size of the box, the area in which it is located and the level of demand existing at the time of hiring.

Except in cases of natural disasters, such as an earthquake or hurricane, and social tragedies such as war, financial institutions are responsible for monitoring branches and preserving the integrity of each compartment.

It is important to know that the safe-deposit boxes have a guarantee against theft that varies in each case, but in general, it is not less, although it usually depends on the economic level that the client demonstrates and the operations that he has recently performed (collection of inheritance, sale of property, compensation received or others).

Therefore, it is recommended to keep the receipts corresponding to these operations to present them in case of theft. Those who store valuable jewels should take photographs beforehand and consult specialists in jewelers or insurance companies to know their approximate price.

3) Private security boxes

The high demand for safe deposit boxes at bank branches forces us to evaluate the alternative of a private safe deposit box. Companies like Hausler offer this service for all kinds of valuables, including physical money. They have several branches in different parts of the country.

The only requirements to open a private safe deposit box are usually the DNI and a proof of service in the name of the holder. The precautions to be taken are the same as those recommended in the case of bank accounts.

4) Advance current consumption

The main objective of treasuring currencies is to protect the purchasing power of our savings from inflation. Consequently, I do not see with bad eyes to use a part of that capital to advance current consumption in wholesale stores and supermarkets. In this way, the attack on inflation against our economy is fought and an additional discount is obtained for buying in bulk.

Non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, household items, and other goods can be stored somewhere in the house in order to be consumed in the medium term. They constitute a good alternative against the alleged dictatorship of the “mattress bank”.

5) Bitcoin and other crypto assets

We leave for the end the option that can be seen as riskier. Let it be clear: we are not saying that it is convenient to pass all the savings to Bitcoin and other crypto-assets, but that we propose them as a valid option for a fraction of our capital given the advantages that cryptocurrencies have for cases such as Argentina.

Let’s review: tenure cannot be seized or confiscated by any government in any country in the world, the only one who has access to the account is the same investor through a private key and no more storage space is needed than that offered by a hardware wallet of similar size to a pen drive (if it is stolen or lost, anyway the funds are not at risk).

It is known that the price volatility that Bitcoin registers in the short term usually scares off more conservative investors, but if you look in the medium term, the current price (just above $ 10,000 at the time of writing this note) It is the same as it showed in January 2018, which speaks of its stability beyond the daily movements.

Another fact in favor of Bitcoin is that in some way we are still dollarized since it is fundamentally listed in relation to the dollar.

More than 6 years ago I proposed Bitcoin as an alternative to inflation, and it was not bad: at that time it was negotiated at $ 108. Today multiplied its price by 100.

Now we propose it as another alternative to the “mattress bank”. We will see later if there is the same fate.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of options to diversify our savings. Focusing all of them on the “mattress bank” makes us vulnerable in a country where insecurity tends to increase in difficult economic contexts like the current one.

Putting a little here and a little there, we will feel more secure. Everyone chooses their game: the alternatives are at hand. It is a matter of moving on time.

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