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Author of What to Eat When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
If you knew that you or your family’s breadwinner was terminally ill and there was absolutely nothing you could do to stop the decline, would you try to prepare? I’m not talking about just getting your mind wrapped around it, although that’s important too. I mean, physical preparations.
- Getting your finances in order.
- Getting urgent tasks completed.
- Figuring out how those left behind would survive when the person was gone.
- Completing important paperwork like wills, adding a loved one to your financial accounts, making sure your spouse was able to speak to the people at utility companies, and appointing someone to have power of attorney.
If your failing health allowed it at all, of course, you would. You’d organize everything to lift some of the burden from the people you were leaving behind.
So if we know that the US Dollar is gasping its last breath, why wouldn’t we do the same and prepare to live without it?
Is the dollar dying?
Read different websites and get different stories. Many prominent financial experts are absolutely convinced that the dollar is gasping its last breaths, including Forbes.
During a three-day state visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping held friendly talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a show of unity, as both countries increasingly seek to position themselves as leaders of what they call a “multipolar world order,” one that challenges U.S.-centric alliances and agreements.
Among those agreements is the petrodollar, which has been in place for over 50 years…
…Putin couldn’t have been more explicit. During Xi’s state visit, he named the Chinese yuan as his favored currency to conduct trade in…
…other major OPEC nations and BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are either accepting yuan already or strongly considering it. Russia, Iran and Venezuela account for about 40% of the world’s proven oilfields, and the three sell their oil in exchange for yuan. Turkey, Argentina, Indonesia and heavyweight oil producer Saudi Arabia have all applied for admittance into BRICS, while Egypt became a new member this week.
What this suggests is that the yuan’s role as a reserve currency will continue to strengthen, signifying a broader shift in the global power balance and potentially giving China a bigger hand with which to shape economic policies that affect us all.
Forbes says that the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. For now. But to lose that status would be utterly devastating to our already shaky economy. If the world no longer trades in petrodollars, then the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency.
At the same time, other experts have pooh-poohed the idea that the petrodollar might be no more and the petroyuan was ready to jump into its place. Writers from both Barron’s and Bloomberg are confident that the petroyuan is a myth.
You should certainly do your own research about this topic, but the fact that other countries are ready to ditch the dollar is very concerning. This makes tangible assets like gold and silver among the only safe options to hold wealth.
How would it affect us if the USD is no longer the world’s reserve currency?
First, let’s talk about what it means to be the world’s reserve currency. The Council on Foreign Relations explains the importance of being in this position.
A reserve currency is a foreign currency that a central bank or treasury holds as part of its country’s formal foreign exchange reserves. Countries hold reserves for a number of reasons, including to weather economic shocks, pay for imports, service debts, and moderate the value of its own currency. Many countries cannot borrow money or pay for foreign goods in their own currencies—since much of international trade is done in dollars—and therefore need to hold reserves to ensure a steady supply of imports during a crisis and assure creditors that debt payments denominated in foreign currency can be made.
Most countries want to hold their reserves in a currency with large and open financial markets, since they want to be sure that they can access their reserves in a moment of need. Central banks often hold currency in the form of government bonds, such as U.S. Treasuries. The U.S. Treasury market remains by far the world’s largest and most liquid—the easiest to buy into and sell out of—bond market.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the body responsible for monitoring the international monetary system, recognizes eight major reserve currencies: the Australian dollar, the British pound sterling, the Canadian dollar, the Chinese renminbi, the euro, the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, and the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar is by far the most commonly held reserve currency, making up more than 60 percent of global foreign exchange reserves.
Simply put, our status means we can use and exchange our money anywhere in the world, so other countries use it too when engaging in international trade.
What happens if we lose our reserve status?
In short, it would be absolutely catastrophic if other countries began trading in oil using other countries’ currencies, causing us to lose our reserve status.
The following events could rapidly occur:
Loss of our ability to trade with foreign countries in our own currency
This means whatever value is assigned to the US dollar by the new reserve currency would be far lower than it is right now. This could render the US dollar basically worthless, as it is no longer tied to the gold standard and has nothing to back it but promises.
This would make everything we import far, far more expensive. In a simplified example, if what is now a dollar became internationally worth 20 cents, we’d see that reflected in the prices that consumers pay for everything we import. Think about how this would affect the availability and cost of necessities like automotive parts, medications, and medical equipment. It’s staggering.
Other countries could potentially call in our debts as they come do.
We owe craptons of money to other countries. Investopedia reports on the top nations that own our debt:
- Japan: $1.2 trillion—4% of total U.S. debt
- China: $980.8 billion of U.S. Treasurys—3.2% of the total U.S. debt
- The U.K.: $634 billion
- Switzerland: $294.1 billion
- The Cayman Islands: $293.2 billion
It’s some consolation that the debt is configured in a way that it cannot all be called in immediately. The debt is held in US Treasuries that mature at different times. But countries could call in the debts as they come due, demanding payment in full instead of extending their investments in US Treasuries.
We could default on our debt payments.
Another concern would be our inability to make payments on our debts. Anyone who’s ever gotten in over their heads financially knows what that means to everyday humans, but how would it affect a whole nation? According to Thomson Reuters:
In the medium- to long-term there would be a global recession and higher costs of doing business for everyone involved. Without a dominant global trade regime, trading blocs will vie for supremacy, perhaps erecting barriers to trade such as requiring business to be done solely in the bloc’s currency of choice, be it the euro or yuan. Money will be tight, and importers and exporters will face delays or maybe even find their jobs impossible for long stretches of time until the new global market dynamic has a chance to emerge.
Despite rising labor costs in countries such as China, the economic disruption may further hamper movement of manufacturing to lower-cost developing countries, further pushing up costs and hampering global economic growth. Yet, out of everyone impacted, the U.S. will be the one left the most scarred. Thrown into a deep recession, its financial system and credit facing the greatest challenge since not 2008, but rather 1929, the prosperous United States at the center of a global economy will become a memory.
Not only would it have physical financial effects, but it would also breach the trust that has allowed us to freely trade with other nations. This would put us in an unaccustomed position of being the one to need aid, rather than the one to give aid. Talk about upturning the global power dynamic.
How do we prepare for this?
As scary as all of this sounds, getting ready for the possibility isn’t that different from other types of prepping. It’s still an economic collapse, and by breaking it down into those parts, it’s far less overwhelming to think about how we’d get through it.
In the interest of not making this incredibly long, I’ll include some links below with my explanations so that you can find more resources.
Stock up in general.
First things first, make sure you are stocking up as much as you can. Food, day-to-day essentials, and items for making your things last as long as possible are important.
Build a pantry.
Not only will prices go up even further, but food you’re accustomed to eating may be difficult to find.
Your pantry should be made up of the things your family already eats and enjoys. While emergency food buckets do play a part in getting prepped, it’s less expensive, more nutritious, and much more affordable to get supplies from the grocery store and outlet stores.
Stock up on medications.
If you or a loved one uses a vital medication, you may have already seen that some of these are getting difficult to come by. You should do your best to stock up on your prescription meds. By putting back a supply for a few months, you might be able to ride out the worst part of the storm.
However, you have to be aware that most of our medications are made in China. This could lead to meds becoming very expensive (well, more expensive – they’re already outrageous) or even impossible to acquire.
Begin researching now to learn about substitute medications. Sometimes multiple medications can take the place of one and by doing this research yourself and presenting it to your doctor, you could be offering some valuable suggestions.
Next, learn about alternative medications. I find the book Prepper’s Natural Medicine to be a fantastic place to start.
Look into what essential items are made in China.
This is not to say that China is absolutely the bad guy in all this. (Although they could be, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.) However, we import. So. Much. Stuff. From. China. If ever that relationship were to fall apart we’d have difficulty repairing our vehicles, repairing our heating and cooling systems, repairing or replacing electronics, and finding components for all manner of things that have become necessary in modern life.
These articles were written during the supply chain crisis due to the pandemic. They can help you to figure out some things that you may want to purchase now while they’re easily accessible.
Determine the best financial strategy for you.
First, let’s look at the micro-effects on individuals. Here are some of the things we could expect if the USD lost reserve status.
- Value: It could lead to a shift in exchange rates between different currencies. Individuals who hold USD-denominated assets, such as savings accounts, stocks, or bonds, could see the value of their investments decline if the USD were to depreciate relative to other currencies.
- Decreased purchasing power: If the USD loses its reserve currency status, it could lead to a decline in the value of the dollar relative to other currencies. This would reduce the purchasing power of individuals who earn their income in USD and could increase the cost of imported goods.
- Higher interest rates: As the demand for US Treasury bonds decreases, the US government may have to offer higher interest rates to attract investors to buy its debt. This could result in higher borrowing costs for businesses and individuals in the United States, as well as slower economic growth. It would make it more difficult to buy and sell homes and cars, just to name a couple of issues.
- Increased inflation: If the value of the USD declines significantly, it could lead to higher inflation as the cost of imported goods and raw materials increases. This could make it more expensive for individuals to purchase essential goods and services.
- Economic Instability: The loss of reserve status could also lead to economic instability and uncertainty, which could affect personal bank accounts through stock market volatility and increased risk of recession or job loss.
As for money specifically, your strategy will differ based on how much money you have. If this occurs, whatever you have in the bank will plummet in value almost immediately. It sounds simplistic, but it’s accurate: the more money you have, the more you’ll lose. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, this will still affect you – don’t get me wrong. But if you have a savings account or investments on which you are relying, you might end up seeing at least some of it vaporize.
If you don’t have savings
If you don’t have savings put aside, then your focus should be on the steps above. Put the material things into place to help yourself survive for the long haul while our national economy shifts and recreates itself. It’ll look a lot different than it does now, but it’s impossible for there to be NO economy as long as there are consumers and producers.
By delaying the need to go out and engage in trade, you’ve bought yourself some time to understand this new economy, and you are also able to provide for the basic needs of your family.
If you do have savings
This changes some if you have savings and investments. First, let me clarify – for the purposes of this discussion, “savings” doesn’t mean some massive fund that you could live off for the next ten years without working. I am using it to refer to the money you have put back, whether it’s cash in a safe in your home or the balance in your bank account.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of money for you to want to take steps to protect it. Always, always get your material things in order before you start diving into protecting your wealth.
I don’t have tons of money put back, but I want to protect it. That’s why I put any excess into physical gold and silver. These will always hold their value. When we’re on the other side of the financial collapse – and there’s always the other side, even if it feels like it’s a disaster that will last forever – then we have a unit of currency that will be valuable no matter whether the dollar is back on top or some other kind of money is king.
If this is a strategy that sounds interesting to you, don’t take it from me. Contact the company I trust for precious metals. You can reach out to ITM Trading and set up a phone call with someone who can walk you through creating your own strategy based on your personal situation. Go here to make the appointment. It’s absolutely free, and even if you decide it’s not for you, you’ll learn a lot. There are no high-pressure sales, and it’s extremely educational.
Again – this is a step you take once you feel you have covered the bases with your physical preparations. You can’t eat precious metals, and you may not even want to use them as a unit of barter. Ideally, you will hold onto it throughout the hard times because if you use it when times are difficult, you will probably only get a small fraction of its value. Once things begin to level out, the money you’ve held in metals can be exchanged as needed, and you will be in a far better position than those who are diving into the new economy without any nest egg.
There are two reasons I suggest gold for holding at least a portion of your savings.
First, the value of gold tends to increase when the value of a currency decreases, as investors seek out alternative stores of value. This means that if the USD were to lose its reserve currency status and its value were to decline, the value of gold could potentially increase.
Secondly, if the global financial system were to undergo significant changes as a result of the USD losing its reserve currency status, this could lead to increased economic uncertainty and volatility. During times of economic uncertainty, gold is often seen as a safe haven asset that can help protect an investor’s portfolio from market downturns.
You need to take steps now.
We’ve already watched banks fail, massive inflation, and supply chain issues. One of these days, we’re going to reach the point of no return with our economy, and I believe that day is fairly close.
You don’t want to face that point with regrets about what you should have done. Get your material preps in order and decide how you will protect your assets.
You know that feeling when a bad storm hits and you’re able to ride it out with only minor inconveniences because you had been prepping for the possibility? The satisfaction and comfort? The feeling that while things may have been somewhat tense, you did what you needed to do and it paid off? That’s what we’re shooting for here. There are no preps that will make this painless but there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate your risks.
What are your thoughts?
Do you believe the USD is going to lose its petrodollar status? Are you concerned that the dollar as we know it is dying? Or do you think the threat is overblown? How are you preparing for the economy to worsen?
Let’s talk about it in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.