Aliens, James Packer’s vault, trouser pockets, the NBN?

An interesting mystery: Why Is the World’s Cash Disappearing? Banks Are Asking, But No One Seems to Know.

“… there are approximately 51,104,400,000 Australian dollars floating around out there, somewhere.”

Distrust of banks, fear of economic collapse and wariness of government explains the hoarding. But once spent even in the black economy, some of it should reappear. But apparently this isn’t happening.

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38 Responses to Aliens, James Packer’s vault, trouser pockets, the NBN?

  1. stackja

    Hiding under mattresses, or buried in backyards?

  2. shatterzzz

    As an OAP I buried mine in the backyard .. only told one of the kids where .. Not a mind-boggling amount but enough to make it none of the gummint’s (read CentreLink) business!

  3. poorly chosen

    Did you mean Aliens and not Aiens??

  4. If cash is removed from being legal tender (as the banks would love to do), then burying it is pointless. Much better to convert the cash to something that can be bartered or converted to the equivalent of legal tender.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    I suspect the ever tighter crackdown on money laundering is forcing the black economy to effectively do their own physical banking.

    ASIC with the $10k limit for reporting, plus the closing of the ATM cash deposit loophole, plus increased pressure on casinos all would contribute to the crims keeping it in cash and just trading it around.

  6. 59096

    Most people who post here probably won’t see it but cash will definitely disappear (cheques will disappear first) sometime in the future. The current crop of young consumers are too stupid to understand the ramifications of a cashless society and are more than happy to ‘tap and go’ and pay for everything with a card. They are setting themselves up oblivious to the consequences.

  7. Neil

    Looks like 5G will provide some competition for the NBN

    https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/nbn/optus-announces-5g-home-broadband-plan-as-it-seeks-to-quadruple-network-within-six-months/news-story/3fdafc3fd652e94f9b8208c8e446bde4

    The new plan, currently only available to a small number of households but which Optus said would expand rapidly as it planned to have four times the amount of 5G sites online by March of next year, is available with unlimited data for $70 a month, the same price Optus’ unlimited NBN plan charges.

  8. Mique

    It looks like just a rounding error.

  9. cheques will disappear first

    And soon, according to RBA boss Philip Lowe.

  10. Roger

    cheques will disappear first

    And soon, according to RBA boss Philip Lowe.

    You have to wonder…is it merely incompetence or actually malevolence with that fellow?

  11. You have to wonder…is it merely incompetence or actually malevolence with that fellow?

    Not always. There are an increasing number of businesses that refuse to accept cheques anymore. Many businesses will no longer reimburse via cheque and require a bank account in which to deposit; insurance companies as an example.

  12. Is gold still traded in Australian dollars?
    Some of it I suspect is in the Reserve Vaults of New Zealand, China and a few others.
    Also, who knows how much of it has been lost and or damaged?

  13. Rossini

    What was it Malcolm Frazer said!!!!

  14. Chris M

    Most people who post here probably won’t see it but cash will definitely disappear (cheques will disappear first) sometime in the future.

    As foretold in the Bible 2000 years ago. Revelation 13 “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark”

    It’s coming.

  15. Roger

    I suggest you’re missing the big picture, bemused.

    Big government and big business want all transactions to be electronic.

    Banks – not the most trustworthy of institutions – already have a lot of information about the lives of those who pay wave/insert their card to pay.

  16. JC

    After the GFC and the threat caused by cash shortages, always have at least one month supply of cash hanging around.

  17. NuThink

    Cheques have been replaced by Aldi bags.

  18. NuThink

    Big government and big business want all transactions to be electronic.

    That went well for Myer on Saturday.

  19. Ubique

    Where are all the Australian big denomination banknotes hiding? According to the RBA, as of 30 June 2019, there were 167 million $20 notes in circulation. No surprise, $20 notes are commonplace. What might surprise though is there are nearly five times as many $50 notes (764 million) and more than twice as many $100 notes in circulation. What! I imagine most people are like us, we would barely set eyes on a $100 note from one year to the next.

    So where are these big denomination banknotes hiding out, and why? I think the answer partially lies in the means test for the pension. To qualify for the pension total assets excluding the family home, for a retired couple need to be less than $394,500. Piles of super sitting in a term deposit won’t help. Having the money in undeclared cash at home in $50 and $100 notes is likely the go.

  20. Jock

    I recall my misspent youth. I had a mate in Wollongong. His great grand father and grandfather were old gold miners in Hill End and thereabouts. They had been successful but Im sure not all was declared to the ATO. When the old boys went to that mine in the sky, they left a map to the granchildren. Love it.

    So long ago that its nice to know that the pratts at the ATO wont get a cut.

  21. I suggest you’re missing the big picture, bemused.

    I’m not missing the big picture at all. I well understand that the banks and governments want to get rid of cash so that they can better control, monitor and influence all financial transactions (both business and private). Getting rid of cash is the ultimate aim, getting rid of cheques, $50 notes etc is the start of the process.

    But the reality is that really only the older generation (and a few other types) still holds onto cash, the others are all moving or have moved to cashless transactions. I rarely use cash nowadays, even though I’m a Boomer, as I find it inconvenient most of the time.

    Rail as much as you want, it’s going to happen, so get used to it.

  22. Scott Osmond

    Lets all go electronic. Had to laugh when the payment system went tits up a couple of months back. Those of us with cash didn’t have a problem. Everyone else with cards and tap and go were screwed. As it should be. Stupidity and a failure to plan for outages should come with consequences. Heard that the Swedish reserve bank or whatever they call themselves were concerned that with a cashless society power outages or hackers could bring an economy to it’s knees. A big outage hit Europe and cost big money about the same time.

  23. Phill

    Just to reassure everyone, I don’t have it.

  24. Mother Lode

    Funny people.

    Considering how much of the Government component of GDP calculations is just money heedlessly cast to the four winds each and every year, a cumulative $51 billion seems a very minor problem.

    Doubtless Canberra is slavering its wet lips and filing its fingernails into points, straining to snap it up as soon as it finds out where it all is.

  25. Arky

    Zeros and ones have no intrinsic value.
    Neither do paper notes not backed by anything.
    An entry in a ledger is literally almost nothing.
    You are just a chicken in a barnyard and you own nothing.
    These are just the tokens in an ephemeral system co-ordinating the distribution of corn and water to you chickens.

  26. Had to laugh when the payment system went tits up a couple of months back.

    It often depends on what you want to buy. In many cases with the banking system failing, so do all the cash registers etc that enable a transaction.

    However, if you have a credit card, many businesses (at least small ones) can default to the old card zip machine. I’ve experienced this first hand this year.

    But given that there are far greater issues should the power systems fail, having cash on hand isn’t going to do much good when nothing works, especially if you want something that requires power to deliver.

  27. John A

    bemused #3265379, posted on December 18, 2019 at 11:51 am

    You have to wonder…is it merely incompetence or actually malevolence with that fellow?

    Not always. There are an increasing number of businesses that refuse to accept cheques anymore. Many businesses will no longer reimburse via cheque and require a bank account in which to deposit; insurance companies as an example.

    Neither being legal tender according to the Currency Act, of course.

  28. Professor Fred Lenin

    Stackja ,the introduction of the plasic paint bucket was a godsend to certain members of the building trade,you could bury them and they didnt rust out like metal tins did ,less risk of damage to the contents , ,paper doesnt like damp. Certain nationalities looked for them all the time ,the saying was “wossa thisa tax” , mansions were built for cash payments ,and expensive mausoleums made of marble from the old country.
    I remember one tradie got paid in notes which smelled as though it had been dug from a grave ,(which it sorta had been ) he opened his wallet and people said whats that smell ?
    To think the politicians want to end this innovative introduced multicultural custom ,jealous bastards .

  29. max

    “… there are approximately 51,104,400,000 Australian dollars floating around out there, somewhere.”

    according to RBA:

    At the end of June 2019, there were 1.6 billion banknotes worth $80.0 billion on issue in Australia. The $50 and $100 banknotes continue to account for the majority of banknotes on issue, with a combined share of 93 per cent of the value and 69 per cent of the number of banknotes in circulation.

    https://banknotes.rba.gov.au/production-and-distribution/distribution/

  30. Nighthawk the Elder

    Reading some of the comments here about electronic transactions vs cash reminded me of an observation yesterday.
    At a cafe buying an early lunch and a coffee, the young millennial couple just ahead of me were trying to buy their lunch and having an absolute freak out when the guy at the counter apologetically told them it was cash only today as they were having major problems with their electronic PoS. Next to him, another assistant was on the phone with “Tech Support” trying to sort the problem. Anyway Ms. Millennial did have cash and the cost for them was just under $30. But she couldn’t figure out the denominations of the cash so handed the attendant a fist full of tens and twenties. Fortunately he was an honest bloke and handed back $80, before sorting the rest of their change. (Oh and they were clearly born and bred locals based on their Aussie accents.). They were clueless and ripe for being ripped off.
    Me, well I did have cash (always keep a reserve) and had a nice lunch and a pleasant coffee, although I did feel a bit sorry for young ones.

  31. Squirrel

    $51bn. is quite a lot of money, but with a cash rate of 0.75% and further cuts to come (to stave off the bursting of the national debt bubble), there’s really not all that much interest being foregone – compared to the distant days of a cash rate ten times that.

    As for the relative risks of holding some savings in cash, versus having it all in the bank, people can make their own judgements about the reliability and trustworthiness of the banks and their regulators…..

  32. Chris M
    #3265388, posted on December 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Most people who post here probably won’t see it but cash will definitely disappear (cheques will disappear first) sometime in the future.

    As foretold in the Bible 2000 years ago. Revelation 13 “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark”

    It’s coming.

    It’s already here. You own a smartphone, or at least a mobile phone and have an IP address.

  33. “We have spent 51 bn, we need money, people hate the banks…hey NAB! Give us 10 bn, okay?”

  34. Welp

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2018/07/21/is-our-government-intentionally-hiding-21-trillion-in-spending/#7b1ea1534a73

    This column is co-authored with Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at Michigan State University.

    In our prior column, Mark and I wrote about $21 trillion in unaccounted government transactions, primarily on defense. The DOD’s (Department of Defense) as well as HUD’s (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Offices of Inspector General (OIG) reference these transactions as “unsupported journal voucher adjustments.” This is polite accounting language for lost, hidden or stolen money. If such “adjustments” were small, it would be one thing. But they totaled some $21 trillion between 1998 and 2015!

    The origin of our column was a report, released some nine months ago, by Mark and Catherine Austin Fitts. Catherine is a former (under Bush 1) Assistant Secretary of that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).Billions in unaccounted government transactions ($278.5 billion in 2015 alone!) emanating from HUD originally caught Catherine’s attention in 2000 in connection with subsequent responsibilities as lead financial advisor to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Catherine was unable to secure an explanation for HUD’s lost money and became concerned that something terribly inappropriate might be going on at HUD and DOD and in the related financial marketswithout the public’s knowledge. She has remained concerned for years and shared her concern with Professor Skidmore more than a year ago. From then till now, Fitts and Skidmore have repeatedly asked the DOD’s OIG to explain why it can’t account for trillions in apparent irregular if not illegal outlays. They’ve received no response whatsoever apart from acknowledging the requests.

  35. Neil
    #3265350, posted on December 18, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Looks like 5G will provide some competition for the NBN

    Pundits at the Cat have been saying this for ages.

  36. The asian bakery up the road only takes cash. Does these beaut old style ‘tradies size’ sauage rolls, a meal in themselves. Has strange prices, $2.65 each so you hand over a $20 or $50, all you get from an ATM these days, and end up with a fist full of change.

    I had to use some of this small change in a ‘smart’ parking meter the other day, the ‘tap and go’ was off line, lots of others standing around on hold calling up the assistance line to report it and get a ‘transaction number’ (Revelations 13 again) so you were not fined $75. I did this once and was on hold for 20 minutes, it was worth it to have a lovely chat with Courtney who answered, lovely voice….

    But all this helps spin the money around in a circle bit quicker which is what Mr Gottliebsen in the paper says will ‘save the economy’ and justify higher wages growth. Steve Kates, call your office…

  37. Colonel Crispin Berka

    Do not worry, citizen, printed currency will still be available… to registered users for authorised purposes, and for the rest of you a printed currency compulsory buyback scheme will relieve you of the burden of carrying that unlicensed cash – and at a very fair exchange rate for Australian Social Credits in the New Economic Policy.

  38. Tel

    Looks like 5G will provide some competition for the NBN

    Pundits at the Cat have been saying this for ages.

    This gives a bit of context to the history:

    Wireless-Only Homes (Residential Market)

    The Plan assumes there are no wireless-only businesses.

    The Plan assumes 13% of total residential occupied premises being wireless-only today, increasing to 16.3% by FY2025 and 16.4% by FY2040.

    In terms of total occupied premises (residential plus business), this implies 13% of total premises are wireless-only by FY2025.

    Sourced from NBN Co Ltd, “Corporate Plan 2011-2012, released 15 Dec 2010”

    This is some recent market data from the USA (not perfectly comparable):

    Meanwhile, the percentage of children living in wireless-only households is also growing, up from 47.1% in H2 2013 to 60.7% in H2 2016, while the percentage of children living in households with a landline has fallen from 50.2% to 36.1% in that period.

    https://www.marketingcharts.com/demographics-and-audiences/youth-and-gen-x-77051

    Those numbers don’t consider Internet data, and many Americans get data via their Cable-TV network which is a significantly different structure to Australia. Also, there’s more poor people in the USA, and less government wealth transfer in operation. However, if Australia follows even somewhere in the ballpark of where the USA is going, then that old NBN corporate plan is going to be way off.

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