More Americans Stashing Cash in Home Safes

Pessimists like precious metals collector Don Magnus, though, aren’t looking for toys; they want their safes to be simple, bulky and Armageddon-ready. “I’m worried about the banks crashing,” says Magnus, who’s keeping his stash of gold and silver bullion in a $200 home safe, bolted to the concrete floor of his basement. By his estimate, gold will climb to $5,000 an ounce, and in a financial panic, consumers won’t get access to their bank accounts for a “long period of time, if ever.” After a nasty one-two punch in recent years — a bad hurricane near his home, then the financial crisis — North Carolina contractor Pat Brabble spent $9,500 on two plain but very large safes, including one “you could fit five people in,” he says. The safes hold gold, silver and cash totaling about $7,000 in value, Brabble says. He’s also holding on to about 50 bottles of Jack Daniels. “I don’t drink,” he says, but “if things do fall apart, I’ve got something I can trade with.”

That said, the pros in the field generally agree that you’re better off safe than sorry — and that many folks are more likely to use a safe if it’s attractive. Which is precisely the way Zani, the safe collector and dealer, feels about the vault in which he stores his “mad money” (about equal to a house payment or two). It’s a safe he considers a true work of art: an 1867 model with a hand-painted exterior covered in 22-karat gold leaf. Zani estimates the safe is worth $10,000. But it’s also a mini-fortress, protecting his stuff behind nine layers of steel plate. (The door alone weighs 500 pounds.) “It’s the difference,” he says, “between buying a Lexus and buying a Dodge Dart.”

Full article: More Americans Stashing Cash in Home Safes (Smart Money)