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Make sure you have up-to-date Schwab debit card, Capital One Visa, NEXUS, and passport

Posted by John T. Reed on

My book How to Protect Your Life Savings from Hyperinflation & Depression, 2nd edition says to acquire sound foreign currencies as a hedge against possible US hyperinflation. It also says you need to leave the U.S. in the event of U.S. hyperinflation so you should scout other nations as possible refuges during U.S. hyperinflation—which I expect would last 6 to 24 months.
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My recent trip to the Baltic nations was a bit of that. As always. I took my Schwab ATM card. I use that because it does not charge 3% or some such when you withdraw from a non-U.S. ATM.
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As soon as I arrived in each country, I went to a bank ATM and withdrew hundreds of U.S. dollars worth of the local currency: DKK in Denmark, RUB in Russia, EUR in Finland, SEK in Sweden.
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I also started to take my Capital One credit card because they do not charge 3% or some such on foreign currency conversions. But it had expired. Part of being ready to take refuge abroad is to NOT let the cards and documents you need expire.
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But when I asked my wife if we had renewed the Capital One card, she said no, but our new American Express Platinum card (which seems to be made out of weapons-grade titanium) had the same deal as Capital One.
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Okay, but in the event, we found that Amex was accepted by hotels and airports in Europe, but less so by ordinary restaurants and stores. They wanted Master Card or Visa. Capital One is Visa.
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There was about a 1,000-person line for customs when we returned to SFO. But my wife and I are Global Entry members. You should be, too. There were signs hanging from the ceiling in the hallway with the 1,000 waiting travelers saying Global Entry go to the left. 
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My wife and I did. Our sons and daughter-in-law could not. 
So we walked by all those people and walked up to two of the 20 or so unused Global Entry kiosks, inserted our passports, put our right four fingers on the fingerprint glass, and looked into the facial recognition camera.
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Turned out our Global Entry cards expired on our birthdays in 2018: 7/5 for me and 8/30 for my wife—five years after we got them. Again, do NOT let these things expire. But it did not matter because we are also Nexus members and those cards—which are equivalent to Global Entry—do not expire until 2020. https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus
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https://www.johntreed.com/…/john-t-reed-s-book-on-hyperinfl…
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We are also TSA Precheck, because of NEXUS. I was surprised to see TSA Precheck on our boarding passes in Copenhagen when we boarded our return flight.
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• So get a debit and a mastercard or Visa credit card that do not charge 3% or some such for every use in a foreign country. Then keep them unexpired.
• Join NEXUS and keep it unexpired. Nexus is run by Canada so because of Trump’s trade war so it is possible they may pull the rug out from under it to punish Trump. In that case get Global Entry. https://www.cbp.gov/…/trusted-travel…/global-entry/how-apply
• Make sure your passport is not expired. If and when you get a new one, make sure the new passport number is reported to Nexus. They have to jibe.


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