Read an interesting passage in a coin magazine recently, and it was talking about all the pitfalls of a cashless society, and how we need to be aware (and prepared) if things continue to go down that path.
It’s not very shocking, considering our whole coin collecting hobby RELIES on the physical form, haha… (“Oooh look how nice and shiny that digital coin is from 1787!” – said no collector ever), however, the points the article brought up were certainly things to marinate on.
No matter how much money may be in your account, it can be impossible to reach it.
Freaky. The internet is a Godsend for all of us, however being completely dependent can cause a world of hurt too. Because in the event of an emergency, whether natural or man-made, we’re all F’d if the electricity goes out! No power = no cash, food, water, candy, communication, Pokémon, and on and on…
According to the article (and, well, technology), the following three things must *always* be connected at the same time in order for digital currency to work:
- Electricity must be available at all times
- Communication needs to be open between all network components at all times
- The network has to be secure at all times
And we all know just how frail that last one can be… My pet rock is more secure than some big institutions out there! And I even let him outside at all hours of the night by himself! (Okay, couldn’t come up with a good analogy here, so just roll with it and smile and nod, haha…)
So what do you do to combat this? Well, according to economist and research scientist, Jay L. Zagorsky, you bring back $500 bills again of course! Those beautiful little specimens that roamed free in this great nation of ours over a half century ago!
Why? “Higher denominations are preferable for the sake of compactness and efficiency”, particularly during disasters. Or you know, zombie attacks. (I literally have $500 cash in my safe just for this (disasters, not zombie attacks), and coincidentally also a $500 bill because they are bad ass! And also worth much more than face value…)
But he’s got a point. Everyone accepts cash, and unless someone robs you, it’s just as easy to store and hold onto than a credit card or crypto wallet, whatever that means.
And as much as I adore me some technology – particularly the internet so I can type these fine words out to you guys – I’m very much still a fan of keeping cold hard cash around. Not only do I enjoy holding and seeing and feeling it (sometimes even smelling it! ‘Cuz it smells so good!), but it also helps me to be more conscious of my spending as well. It’s much harder for me to take out stacks of cash to pay for something than it is to swipe a credit or even a debit card. I become hyperaware and more mindful of everything I do.
And this very much goes for automating other areas of my life and finances too. Great for efficiency, not so much for control. And if you don’t make a habit of checking in on these things every now and then, you’re liable to find yourself in a tricky position.
So really the key with all of this is to just *balance* the two areas of these merging worlds as best you can, and always do your best to be as *aware* as possible. Neither option has completely overruled the other yet, but it’s safe to say which road we’re headed down…
That is, unless, our economist friend pulls off the upset of the year here, making every collector’s wet dreams a reality, haha… But odds are my credit card will be hacked* 13 times before that happens.
So cash still rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M!, get the money – dolla dolla bills y’all…
(5 points if you can tell me real quick who sang that? And triple the points if you can convince me to join these cashless societies ;))
UPDATE: while no one convinced me to go completely cash-less, I did award gobs of points to reader Mitchell Walker who passed over his ingenious hybrid budgeting/zombie system that does hit a bunch of pros all around – check it out!
*Best tip I can ever give on hackery stuff: spend 5 minutes and list out where all your credit cards are connected to right now! The Amazons, Paypals, Netlflixes – everything you can think of. Then when your card does get compromised (and we all know it will), you’ll already have a list prepared of all the places you need to go in and update later. Making the whole process slightly less annoying, but also forcing you to re-evaluate all those services in case you can shed any, giving yourself the gift of savings as well. It doesn’t protect you entirely from the whole ordeal sucking, but you will be thankful that your past self hooked you up like that… And I should know, I had to do it TWICE last year! And this helped!