Thursday 26 April 2018

Stephen Kinsella: Where will your nest egg be safe as euro teeters on edge of meltdown?

November 2011 seems a lifetime ago. In November of 2011 the price of Italian debt skyrocketed, with everyone worried that Greece would default on its sovereign debts. It looked like a series of banks might go under, which would have collapsed the European financial system. Also in November, the German and French governments issued what amounted to an ultimatum that Greece should vote on its EMU membership. Uncertainty abounded.

Speculation began to run wild that a break-up of the eurozone was on the cards. In the month of Christmas, the worry was that the authorities would use the holiday period to change the notes held in ATMs, and summarily exit the currency. The talk was of Greece or Ireland leaving the euro. It was a very stressful time for many people.

In this period I received dozens of phone calls, emails, tweets, and letters from worried people asking me where they should put their nest eggs. These weren't rich people, and they weren't financially savvy. Most had a nest egg -- a retirement lump sum or some savings, €50,000, say -- that they were terrified about losing in any currency shake-up. Most were consulting many people for their opinions, and I was just one of them. I told everyone who contacted me that I'm not a qualified financial adviser-- I have two PhDs in economics, but that doesn't mean I can advise anyone in how to invest their money. Anything they heard from me was my opinion -- a considered opinion, in fairness -- but an opinion, and nothing more. Everyone I spoke to accepted that.

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