The Y2K Challenge: Is extra cash a wise idea?

News reports on Y2K have focused recently on the growing number of people who plan to make significant withdrawals from their bank accounts, in anticipation of millennium bug problems at their bank. As we’ve noted in past columns, banks everywhere, and Canada’s in particular, are very well prepared for the millennium. If you are really doubtful, you can get hard copies of your account statements and status reports just before December 31, 1999, and keep them in a fireproof box.

Of course, there are many people who still want to have a good chunk of their money in hand as cash on the fateful day. The Bank of Canada and other currency providers have already anticipated this, and are planning to produce extra banknotes to meet what will undoubtedly be an increased demand.

Allan Greenspan, the American who in many ways controls the world economy, offered some good old fashioned advice last week to consumers. His words of wisdom apply equally to Canadians worried about cash and Y2K.

"The most sensible thing is to leave it (cash) where it is," Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee. "Walking around with a lot of $100 bills is not the safest thi," he said. "There’s going to be an awful lot of people who are going to be pretty interested in that."

Words to remember as the Y2K worries heat up: there is such a thing as being TOO careful.