Monthly Archives: May 2013

How Safe Is Your Safe Deposit Box?

A safe deposit box – incorrectly called a safety deposit box – held in a bank’s vault seems to be a pretty safe bet. But consider these questions:

  • Is the service free?
  • If not, what does the bank charge you?
  • Do they have your correct name and address on file?
  • Are the contents of your box adequately insured? Safe-deposit box contents have been destroyed by fire and flood, andPadlock have also been stolen.
  • Do you have an inventory of what your box contains?
  • Has anyone else had access to your box?
  • What happens to the contents of your box if you have not been to the bank in years?
  • What would happen if you were to die suddenly, or to die intestate (without a will)?
  • Do you know the Abandonment Laws in your state?
  • When financial chaos looms, who are the first to lock their doors?  (the banks!)

ABANDONED ASSETS

Unclaimed Property laws in the U.S. provide for half-yearly reporting periods at which unclaimed safe deposit box contents, in addition to other forms of personal property, are reported to the state’s Unclaimed Property Office. The items are then ‘noticed’ in a local newspaper, and finally the property is turned over to the state for safe-keeping until the rightful owner or heir makes a claim. At least, this is how it is meant to work, and the 50 U.S. states are currently holding more than $35 billion-worth of unclaimed property that they are mandated to safeguard until the rightful owner or heir is identified.

Piggy BankBut in 2008, a Good Morning America investigation revealed that some states aggressively seize property that remains unclaimed, and then they use the money to balance their budgets, even though state Unclaimed Property Offices are required to hold auction proceeds indefinitely in case the original owners or their heirs ever step forward. Statistically, states return less than a quarter of unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

Many states only require a bank to notify the owner of a safe deposit box by mail, when the box is considered abandoned (Anthem Vault uses mail and e-mail if an account holder cannot be located).

A state’s Unclaimed Property Vault – used to store non-monetary items of value such as jewelry, coins, and bullion – inevitably reaches capacity every few years. When the vault is full, the State Treasurer may decide to host an auction, and the proceeds generated from the sale of items are then recorded in the name of the safe deposit box owner. If the owner or heir is identified and verified, he/she may then be able to receive the entire proceeds from the sale of the items.

PROCEDURES VARY BY STATE

Abandonment laws in many states have a much shorter required holding period for safe deposit boxes than Anthem Vault’s seven-year period. For example, the State of Georgia considers property in a safe deposit box to be abandoned only two years after the lock has been drilled out by the bank and the contents seized and turned over to the state’s Unclaimed Property Office. California has been severely criticized for the way it handles unclaimed property, and unclaimed property in Delaware is the third largest source of state revenue. All 50 states pay private contractors commissions to locate and seize accounts for them. Think about that. Do they pay contractors just so they can give the assets back to the rightful owners and heirs?

Furthermore, there is the principle of escheat, a common law which transfers to the state or federal government the property of a person who dies without an heir, even though modern U.S. law places a heavy emphasis on finding a viable successor to assume ownership, before escheating the property to the state or the fed as the last resort. For the laws in your own state, do an internet search for ‘State of …….. unclaimed property”.Vault Door

If you suspect you may have abandoned a safe deposit box in the past, or are the heir of someone who may have done so, search Cash Unclaimed or Missing Money or Unclaimed.

BE AS SAFE AS YOU CAN BE

Whether you have a lumpy mattress, a wall safe behind a painting or a safe deposit box in a bank, it pays to think carefully about how well your wealth is truly secured and safeguarded. Does anything compare to a non-governmental vault, completely outside the banking system?

Tell me about a vaulted and insured bullion account with Anthem Vault

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A Dollar: What Is It Really Worth?

A dollar’s true worth will shock you. Superficially, the value of the U.S. Dollar can be gauged by Treasury Notes, current exchange rates, the level of foreign currency reserves (dollars held by foreign countries) and the value of today’s dollar as compared to previous years. Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises was not really being glib when he said, “Government is the only agency that can take a valuable commodity like paper, slap some ink on it, and make it totally worthless”.

The last honest money issued by the Federal Government was the $50 Gold Certificate of 1913, which clearly stated on the front “United States Of America Fifty Dollars In Gold Coin, Payable To The Bearer On Demand.

DollarTREASURY NOTES

Today, the value of the dollar fluctuates according to demand for U.S. Treasury Notes, which are sold at a fixed interest rate and face value. When demand is high, buyers pay above face value, and get a lower yield. When demand is low, buyers pay below face value and get a higher yield.

CURRENT EXCHANGE RATES

The most common measure of the U.S. Dollar is its exchange rate, which compares its value to other major currencies. Currencies are traded in the foreign exchange market (forex), and the value of a currency can change because of the strength of the nation’s economy and the nation’s debt level.

LEVEL OF FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVES

Foreign governments with an excess of dollars – usually the result of a country exporting to the U.S. more than it imports – hold them in foreign currency reserves. When the dollar declines in value, the value of the foreign country’s reserves also decline. That country then diversifies into other currencies which further reduces demand for the dollar, applying additional downward pressure on the dollar’s value. Foreign investors are currently diversifying their portfolios with more non-dollar denominated assets.

U.S. made goods become cheaper when the dollar declines, making them more competitive when compared to goods produced in other countries. Although this aids U.S. exports and economic growth, it also leads to higher oil prices because oil is priced internationally in U.S. Dollars. A declining dollar causes oil-producing countries to increase the price of oil, often by threatening to restrict supply.

THE DOLLAR: TODAY VERSUS YESTERDAY

An obvious reference point is to compare what a dollar buys today with what it bought in past years. For example, if you bought goods/services in 1913 that cost a dollar, those same goods/services today would cost $23.52. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a ‘market basket’ of consumer goods and services. The percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is therefore a measure of the rate of inflation.

DOLLAR DOLDRUMS

Federal printing presses are creating an oversupply of dollars at the rate of 85 billion a month and 13% each year. Too many dollars chasing too few goods and services leads to inflation. Backed by gold for 179 years, the U.S. Dollar was taken off the Gold Standard in 1971 when the Federal Government ceased redeeming dollars for gold. The dollar has lost 98% of its value since Federal Reserve Notes were issued in 1914, meaning that today’s dollar would only be worth 4 cents back then. When the price of an item increases, people think of the item being worth more, and not that the dollar is worth less. But the latter is often the true explanation, as in the increase in the price of a barrel of oil, because oil prices are quoted in U.S. Dollars.

IN THE FINAL ANALYSISGold

In short, our dollar-denominated monetary system is irretrievably compromised and loss of faith in the credit of the U.S. government, followed by sudden and unexpected currency failure, is certainly not impossible. Concerned over rising debt ratios, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch may soon be downgrading U.S. debt once again.

Postscript…….. You can download the free app What Is A Dollar Worth?  from the iTunes store, and the app will work on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. An Android version of the inflation calculator is also being developed. The app lets you enter an amount in dollars, then it compares values between 1913 and 2012 or any intervening year.

Gold: Wealth Champion in a Scary World (Part II)

global currencyWhen currency was backed with gold and silver, no one was concerned about a doomsday scenario in the financial markets. But today that is a constant concern, and gold will always trump paper. 

The financial crises we see taking place in Europe are not currency crises, but government spending fiascos compounded by banking crises arising from the tenuous state of fiat currency credit and debt ratios and a nascent lack of faith in the banking system.

ROTTEN APPLES

Arguments claiming the sighting of an increasingly strong dollar are just plain silly. Major currencies are like apples – the term comparing apples to apples comes to mind – but these ‘apples’ are all rotten. Some are quite rotten and others are rotten to the core. So comparing dollars to euros to pounds to yen is, in a sense, meaningless; together, they represent a basket of rotting apples. When you compare these currencies to gold, you begin to understand value.

If you measure the U.S. Dollar against gold, it becomes clear that, on average over a twelve-year period, the dollar lost 16% of its value each year.

GOLD: INFLATION FIGHTER

Gold is traditionally thought of as, among other things, a hedge against inflation. But because official U.S. Government figures peg current inflation since 2010 at between 1% and almost 4%, some might say that inflation is not a major concern. It is well-known that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been ‘adjusted’ since the early 1980’s so that it understates inflation which, when all factors are taken into account, is actually running at just below 10% each year. Now do you still think you don’t need to own gold?

Think about this. If gold is not the ultimate store of value, why do the world’s central banks have any gold in their vaults at all?

DISTRUST OF GOVERNMENT

Liberty ReserveRecent polls confirm that we live in an era of general distrust, and particular lack of faith and confidence in our government; financial mismanagement and misguided bailouts; taxpayer money squandered on Solyndra et al; a rigged CPI that understates inflation to achieve political gain; currency debasement to bail out a broken financial system; a trillion-dollar failed war on drugs; the multi-trillion dollar Ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare; the $3 trillion foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we cannot afford; the wasteful burden of inefficient regulation and pork-barrel projects; the Fast & Furious gun-running scandal; the government’s targeting of political opponents with IRS witch hunts; the government trying to extinguish freedoms such as gun control, the freedom of the Press and the right to a fair trial; NSA surveillance of millions of us; FBI drones overhead; biased preferences, quotas, special privileges and exemptions;  35,000 D.C. lobbyists; and of course, the general tax-and-spend myopia that heaps the unremitting financial burden on our grand-children.

Washington D.C. has difficulty delivering the mail, but the Feds think they are capable of controlling our healthcare system?

CONTROL

Two of the most frustrating issues for Big Government are its inability to control the masses and to control economic activity. The two-part pre-condition for the first issue is gun registration followed by gun confiscation; Stalin and Hitler both followed that path. The pre-condition for the second issue is the monopoly of a nation’s gold, something that was well understood and put into effect by Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler and even F.D.R. Gold therefore, is indisputably power as well as a store of value.

To paraphrase F.D.R. at his First Inaugural Address in 1933, “The only thing we have to fear is Fed itself.”

When the financial meltdown finally arrives – and it will be sudden and unexpected – would you rather have a loaf of bread, or a piece of paper saying the government or a bank owes you a loaf of bread?

The USA Today article included an innocuous-sounding statement that will unfortunately prove to be eerily prescient. “A dollar, ultimately, is worth what you think it is.”

Gold: Wealth Champion in a Scary World (Part 1)

GoldBARBECUE

The May 23, 2013, edition of USA Today included an article by John Waggoner that disparagingly compared gold to North Carolina barbecue. An amusing metaphor no doubt, but neither the title nor the content sated the reader’s appetite. Entitled “Gold: An investment right for the wrong reasons”, it should have read “an investment right for the right reasons.”’

In fact, the writer’s conclusion that gold should be owned “as a diversification play, or even as a short-term investment in a depreciated asset” rather misses the point, proving that the writer only understands the commodity status of gold…. but little more.

YELLOW METAL GOALS

Buyers of gold have different objectives or combinations thereof. Short and long-term traders are interested solely in the current and projected dollar value of the metal, in order to profit from gold price movement; they have little interest in knowing or understanding the fundamentals of gold and money. Buyers who hold the physical metal comprehend the fundamentals only too well; they want a safe haven without counterparty risk (the risk that the counter or ‘other’ party will be unable to fulfill duties and obligations), and are concerned about dollar debasement in particular, and universal banking and monetary distress in general.

BANKING AND PAPER

Banks thrive on liquidity, and when they no longer have sufficient liquid assets, a run on deposit withdrawals leaves them without liquid assets to sell in order to raise cash to pay off the fleeing depositors. This is what happened in Cyprus. Another scenario has the government printing paper currency to bail out insolvent financial institutions, which eventually leads to a massive devaluation of the nation’s currency. This is what occurred in the U.S. in 2008.

But gold is money that is outside of the banking system, because its value does not depend on the promise of a bank or a government and there is therefore no counterparty risk.

SPENDING FIASCO

All of the major currencies – fiat currencies that are backed only by faith and credit – are in a race to debase. When governments keep the printing presses running, whether to bail out financial institutions or spend on unaffordable programs, while at the same time spending more than they take in from taxes, the endgame is the same: financial ruin.

Fear consistently drives up the price of gold. Ask yourself, under what conditions do you foresee calm and confidence returning, based on prevailing geo-politico-financial trends?

Gold and silver are the only true safe havens: not stocks, bonds, ETFs or paper financial instruments of any kind. Period. Market traders and investors often think of the yellow metal purely as a commodity, forgetting that it is money: de facto because it is an enduring store of real value, and de jure because it is authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

please now read  Part II…….

Anthem Vault: Invest in Gold and Silver

ANTHEM VAULT

Anthem Vault provides U.S. residents with an efficient and liquid way to buy, own and sell physical 100% fine gold and silver bullion. GoldAll metals are securely stored with an independent world-class vaulting facility (est. 1859) in Salt Lake City, Utah and are fully insured by Lloyd’s of London (est. 1774) against loss, damage, or destruction caused from theft or natural disaster.

PUTTING YOU FIRST

At Anthem Vault, we understand that you expect the best in security, efficiency and service – all at a reasonable price. These core principles are integrated into every aspect of Anthem Vault, and we pledge to give you the best possible overall experience in the precious metals industry.

ANTHEM VAULT’S UNIQUE GUARANTEE

If you open a free account, buy metal and are dissatisfied with our service for any reason, you will receive a no-questions-asked full refund (refund limited to first metal purchase, up to $10,000 within 60 days of purchase date).

KNOWLEDGEABLE, APPROACHABLE U.S.-BASED ANTHEM VAULT CUSTOMER SUPPORT TEAM

Our U.S.-based support team is here to help answer your questions, and is fully trained to guide you through any issues or problems you might experience while using our service. Alternatively, see our FAQ page for quick answers to common questions. You can contact us by e-mail 24/7 or by phone during normal business hours of 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time). Our full contact information can be found on our Contact Us page.

MINIMUM $25 ORDER TO OPEN YOUR ANTHEM VAULT ACCOUNT

You can buy parts of a bar or full bars, with a minimum purchase amount of $25 up to a maximum purchase amount of $5 million per order. All gold is held in the form of 1-kilogram (32.15 oz) bars .9999 fine. All silver is held in the form of COMEX approved 1,000 ounce bars .9990 fine or higher. All gold and silver bars are produced by globally recognized LBMA-approved refiners.

ANTHEM VAULT IS A U.S. BASED CORPORATION

Anthem Vault’s offices and experienced operations team are based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company is incorporated as a Nevada corporation under the name of Anthem Vault, Inc. and it is regulated as a precious metals dealer by the USA Patriot Act.

Vault DoorTRUST, INTEGRITY & SECURITY

The Blanchard name stands for trust, integrity and security in the precious metals business, and it has done so since 1971, starting with the father of Anthem Vault Founder & CEO Anthem Hayek Blanchard. James U. Blanchard III bravely fought for Americans’ right to legally own gold and spent the next three decades championing the inherent value of precious metals, simultaneously growing a core group of successful bullion, coin and investment conference companies.

A respected precious metals industry expert for many years in his own right, Anthem Hayek Blanchard and Anthem Vault continue this fine tradition today, putting to good use the accumulated knowledge and expertise in precious metals and investment strategies, while our cornerstone Anthem Vault Standard secures, protects and insures your gold and silver assets. A safeguarded and encrypted account with Anthem Vault offers an easy, safe and secure way to buy, sell and store fully insured gold and silver, enabling you to accumulate and preserve real wealth in these troubled times.