Imagine fighting this virus without the internet or electricity.
The Covid-19 pandemic is one of two catastrophes we’ve read about from time to time over the past few years. The risk of a deadly virus has been discussed by the likes of Bill Gates and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Most of us read, and then hope the authorities know what they’re doing and go back to sleep.
The other catastrophe is a successful attack on our electrical grid.
Russian hacking, as detailed in the Wall Street Journal last year, involved an attempt to infiltrate the power grid by targeting companies in 24 states, Canada and the United Kingdom.The previous year, Nextgov.com had reported on the Pentagon’s test of a worst-case scenario attack on the U.S. power grid.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exercise … was fictional, but it was designed to mimic all the hurdles and uncertainty of a real-world cyberattack that took out power across the nation for weeks on end–a scenario known as a “black start.”
A lot of what we call “money” wouldn’t work without power. Credit card machines would be dead, as would the websites that take credit. Generators run on gasoline, but the pumps for that don’t work without electricity.
If our banks had no power, how would we withdraw money?
Probably, we wouldn’t. Which is why it’s a good idea to do two things when you can:
- Put enough cash in a safe deposit box or home safe to buy food for a few weeks or more.
- Print out your statements for funds on deposit. You will need evidence of deposits that are federally guaranteed (check for the FDIC membership for funds up to $250,000 and remember that investment and insurance products aren’t backed by the FDIC).
What is all of this doing on a divorce asset blog? The New York Post reported this week that “cooped-up New Yorkers are flooding lawyer phone lines with divorce inquiries — with an avalanche of filings expected once the courts re-open.” Bloomberg News said the same thing is happening in Corona virus-wracked China.
Whether you are planning for divorce proceedings or weeks/months of no electricity, it makes sense to have hard evidence of what you and your spouse have in the bank. In the rush to go paperless, many of us have decided not to keep piles of printed bank statements at home, confident that if we need them, we can get them.
Backing up a pdf of your bank statement in the cloud may not cut it. Without electricity, how would you get to Dropbox? Instead, back up the statement on a laptop or external drive.
And even if you don’t buy the electric grid apocalypse, if contemplating divorce you will need those records sooner or later. If you need to show evidence of money disappearing, get the statements now and keep downloading them. It will be much cheaper than getting them in discovery later on.
For more on the kinds of information you will need in a divorce asset search, see our article here on the Divorce Asset Questionnaire.