Cash is king, and diversify your cash.

On the weekend one of my mates was selling calendars. Good ones. I have friends in the USA who would enjoy them, so I got a few. He does not have EFTPOS, so I went around the corner, got some cash, paid him, and left some in my wallet.

Just in case. I don’t intend to use it. The government wants everyone going cashless, but (a) that means small businesses have extra expenses (the bank charges you for the machines and takes a cut) and (b) we need to keep legal ways of paying going as long as possible, otherwise we will be forced to use bitcoin, gold, or greenbacks. Our government is printing money without having a reserve currency, which only works in a deep deflationary depression. Even then, essentials are getting more and more expensive.

I saw this at Soviet Man. This Aussie is a digital nomad, living in SE Asia and the banks can go down.

I recommend that a person with no consumer debt ought to have 6-12 months’ worth of living expenses saved as an emergency fund. Luckily I had that plus plenty extra, but this lockdown nonsense had taught me valuable lessons that will be included in the next edition.

This is my financial advice for pirates – people who are often travelling, digital nomads, overseas workers and the like who need unconventional measures like the pirate’s gold earring to ensure they are never left hawking their arse along some lonely pier:

  • Have more than one card. It could be an additional debit card or, if you can use them responsibly, credit cards.
  • Carry sufficient cash to bide you over in an emergency. In addition to the local currency, have some USD, EUR or JPY on hand just in case.
  • Consider having a high-value item with you such as gold, a watch or a piece of jewelry to sell or pawn if you ever get caught short. Keep it out of sight – you can’t wear it like a pirate does because you don’t have a cutlass and brace of pistols like they do.
  • Have a safe place to keep your stuff. How much safety you can arrange depends on your circumstances. Hotel safe > hardshell suitcase with lock > soft suitcase with lock > just locking it in your room > leaving it on the kitchen table of your youth hostel.
  • If you need to travel with valuables on you, spend extra for a reliable shuttle bus etc. As for where to put it, neck wallet > money belt > wallet in front pocket with your hand over it > back wallet.
  • Do not tell everyone how awesome it is that you are now following the SovietMen principle of pirate finance and have $5,000 stashed in your room, isn’t that cool?
  • In sketchy countries, dress down and never flash cash. The modern pirate seeks to look like a penniless Kiwi backpacker who’s trying to bum a ciggie.
  • You need friends and/or family somewhere who can help you out in an emergency. This is the second principle of antifragility.

These are financial backstops for pirates – travellers who may need liquidity and access to funds in all sorts of bizarre and unpredictable situations.

If you’re a settled, normal person, there’s much more you can do to reduce the fragility of your finances should odd things begin to happen.

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11 months ago

“Do not tell everyone how awesome it is that you are now following the SovietMen principle of pirate finance and have $5,000 stashed in your room, isn’t that cool?”

Cause this was actually my first instinct, to chime in with “and this is what I do”. Fortunately I’m on the internet, not in a sketchy dive bar in some third world country although I like to pretend that I’d be much more savvy in those circumstances.