Oct 27, 2011  •  In Asian, Finance, NYC, Personal

Safe Deposit Boxes: The New Savings Method?

A few weeks ago I looked into procuring a larger safe deposit box to store our valuables and important documents, and I had a heckuva time finding one!

All the bank branches within a 15-mile radius had waiting lists at least a year long. And the CitiBank in Chinatown where we had been guaranteed a free safe deposit box when we first opened our account just prior to getting married? The waiting list was a staggering 3 YEARS8-O

I could only think of two possible reasons for the sudden decrease in safe deposit availabilities:

  1. People are starting to become smarter about their valuables; or
  2. With the unstable economy, people are less inclined to invest their money in intangibles such as stocks and more in material assets such as gold.

It came to me as no surprise then, to read that some banks are now starting to charge for deposits.


(image source)

Additionally, word around the Asian community is that many are renting safe deposit boxes to store cold, hard cash! While many banks have policies against storing cash in safe deposit boxes — not to mention the lack of any savings rate accural — keeping your Benjamins in safe deposit boxes ensures that your money stays under the radar of Uncle Sam’s watchful eyes.

Now, the 3-year-long waiting list for a safe deposit box in Chinatown is starting to make sense!

Has anyone else noticed the lack of available safe deposits as of late? Would you ever keep cash in a safe deposit box?

4 Responses to “Safe Deposit Boxes: The New Savings Method?”

  1. Stephanie Phillips:

    My BIL and his wife manage a restaurant and bar tend for a living. They put all of their cash tips into a safe deposit box and have tens of thousands of dollars squirreled away. In the meantime, they own two vehicles and a home and claim to be below the poverty line on taxes so that the whole family qualifies for government aid. Totally unethical. I’m mad just typing about it.

    No, I wouldn’t store cash in one. Everything else (documents, jewelry, computer backup) is good to me, though.

    • Arghh one of my ex-boyfriends’ family did something similar — reporting less than $40k in income to the IRS but actually earning more than $150k! I was sooo tempted to report them when we broke up.

  2. I used to work in a bank and let me tell you- 80% of the people who hadva box put some form of cash in it. I had one guy who kept- at all times- 30k in there and would go in to his box when he needed a loan.
    People also put silver, travelers cheques, cashiers checks and gold in their boxes. It was pretty abnormal to see someone have “documents” in their box.

    It is extremely annoying, and a huge liability to the box owner, but what can you do?!

  3. I fully agree with your post but there are several other reasons to rent a safe deposit box. First of all it’s open 7 days a week, you can protect your valuables from burglary and you can choose a box size according to your needs.

    These are several companies in the UK also offering private services with discrete access. http://www.safeboxesltd.com

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