The day the Dow fell 777 points, David Latham, a 45-year-old Alabama cattle farmer and electrician, was busy doing errands. Driving his Chevy pickup into Montgomery, he dropped by the hardware store, then stopped into the bank, where he withdrew $8,000 from his CD account, all in 20s. Back home, he slipped the four inch-thick bundles into a Ziploc bag, popped them into a waterproof PVC tube and set out for a remote location on his 300-acre property, where he dug a deep hole with a post digger. And then he buried his money.
Is there an American alive who hasn’t considered burying his savings—or at least stashing it in the mattress — as this financial crisis has deepened? Latham assumes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will step in if his bank collapses, but he figures it might take a few weeks to get his money. Now, he says, “I can get my hands on cold, hard cash anytime I want.” But beyond that, there’s the nagging fear that the world isn’t as secure as we’d like to believe. Latham says the $8,000 is an insurance policy against, well, who knows? “I’m hedging my bets,” he says.