Last week, I went into my local branch of a major national bank to withdraw $15,000 in cash.
The teller looked confused, like she didn’t know what to do.
I started to worry. “Is there a problem with my account?” I asked. I knew I had the money in there, but I’d never asked for that kind of cash before.
“No…” she said, uncertain how to answer. “Hang on a second.”
Minutes go by. The tellers discuss stuff in hushed tones. A bank manager is consulted. Finally, they get back to me, “Sir, we can’t do this.”
“Well, can you get me close?” I asked.
“Sir, we can get you $2,000 in cash today,” she said.
I couldn’t believe it. I can’t get to my own cash if I wanted to. Yikes!
The crazy thing is, this wasn’t a day of financial crisis. This was an ordinary day last week. It scared me, so I asked, “How would someone take out more than $2,000 in cash?”
The teller said, “You have to order it on a Monday, and it will be here on Friday.”
Wow. Domino’s Pizza can deliver a pizza in 30 minutes, but it takes a bank a week to get me a few thousand dollars? Really?
How much cash can you take out of your bank?
I’m not asking you how much the bank says it can give you on the phone. I’m asking how much cash they would give you when faced with a real request. I found out last week. And the answer was not what I wanted to hear.
What if there were a real crisis? What if we had a situation like a quickly developing hurricane — or something far worse — where there was a line of people out the door trying to get money?
After this experience at my local branch, I doubt I’d be able to get much money at all. And that scares me.
If I were you, I would go to the bank and try to take out a large amount of your savings in cash now. I think the result might surprise you.
We are not in any kind of crisis right now. But for your own peace of mind, find out how much cash your bank is capable of getting you. Withdraw some of it now and hide it in a safe place. It’ll give you a cushion at home for emergencies.
And you’ll know if your bank is capable of meeting your cash demands in the event of a real emergency.
Hopefully, your bank turns out to be better than mine.
— Steve Sjuggerud
The article was originally published on Monday, Aug. 26 at DailyWealth.com.