Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The Greek banks are on "holiday" this week.
After the country's talks with its creditors broke down over the weekend, the Greek government gave bankers a holiday – telling them to close up shop for a few days and take some time off.
In short, the government is saying it's afraid of what will happen if banks open for business. So, it's going to keep them closed for a while.
Meanwhile, it's telling depositors not to panic by saying "come back later and everything will be just fine."
Of course, the surest way to incite a panic is to tell people not to worry. That's exactly what's happening in Greece right now. Customers are lining up outside of their banks, just waiting for the chance to take out their money.
My question to the depositors is: What took you so long?
It's not like we haven't known about the troubles plaguing the Greek banking system. The Greek banks have been on life support for years. It is only through the combined generosity and stupidity of European and International Monetary Fund officials that the Greek banks have stayed solvent for this long.
So why would anybody leave all their money in Greek banks? Why aren't people prepared for this sort of a crisis?
I can only guess that the answer is some combination of faith, hope, and habit.
We have faith that our trusted, elected officials are looking out for our best interests. We hope everything will work out for the best. And we've always done it this way, so we're reluctant to change.
In other words... we're stupid.
Sorry to be so blunt. But it breaks my heart to watch the news coverage showing elderly Greek citizens lined up in the hot summer sun waiting for the chance to get some of their money out of a closed bank.
And, frankly, I'm more than a little afraid something similar could happen here.
Granted... our banking system is not on life support. But it's inflicted with the same virus of debt that's taking down Greece right now (and threatening the banks of Spain, Italy, and Portugal). Maybe we can get through it just fine. Or maybe it's just a matter of time before we face the same sort of crisis.
Either way, it helps to be prepared for the worst. Just as you prepare for a hurricane, an earthquake, or any other form of natural disaster, you should also prepare for a financial disaster.
None of these ideas are "extreme" suggestions that are difficult to do. I'm not talking about building a bunker in your backyard and buying weaponry to protect yourself from zombies. This is basic stuff that will get you through a short-term financial emergency.
Best regards and good trading,
Find more of Jeff's recent research here:
The Stock Market's 'Crystal Ball' Has Turned Bearish Again
"VIX option traders clearly expect volatility to move higher over the next few months. And rising volatility usually translates to falling stock prices..."
Why Last Week's Rally Is a Bad Sign for Stocks
"It was a HUGE, broad-based rally that punished the short sellers and breathed life back into the deflated bulls."
More bad news for the railroad industry... Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific sink to 52-week lows.
Coffee prices rise 7% over the past month.
Blue-chip oil stock Chevron drops to new 52-week low.
Offshore driller Transocean falls 15% over the past month.