If there’s anything that defines modern life in America, it’s the development of “cancel culture.” It’s an outgrowth of the fact that politics has invaded every aspect of our lives. Many new laws and regulations that are passed are attempts to nudge us or force us to change our way of life. Corporations get involved in political movements, publicly taking stances for or against controversial issues. And inevitably, a good number of people end up getting upset.
The response very often is to try to “cancel” people or businesses with whom they disagree. If a corporation takes a controversial stance, or even doesn’t take a stance on something controversial, someone might call for their business or their products to be boycotted. If a person says something on social media that someone else doesn’t like, mobs of angry people try to figure out where they live or who they work for. More than one person has lost a job due to the actions of these online mobs.
And an increasingly dangerous threat is the danger of being canceled out of using the products and services that dominate modern life. We’re seeing the first inkling of this in the acceptance of vaccine passports in various areas of the country, with those unable or unwilling to prove their vaccinated status being banned from restaurants, gyms, or other public venues. But these attempts at cancellation have their origins in previous attempts at cancellation, many of which revolved around the financial sphere.
Previous Cancellation Attempts
During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice initiated Operation Choke Point, which sought to examine the actions of banks and financial institutions and urge them to stop doing business with certain businesses the administration deemed undesirable. This included many businesses that were perfectly legal, such as gun dealers, dating services, and payday lenders.
This was seen by many people as an attempt to coerce private businesses (banks) into cutting ties with industries the government wanted to crack down on. Only instead of the government cracking down on those industries, which would invite court challenges and reviews of constitutionality, the crackdown would come from private industry. This was an attempt at cancel culture using government suasion to get private businesses to achieve the government’s aims.
Many small firearms manufacturers and gun dealers were among those affected, and it was their efforts to publicize what was going on that really brought the matter to the public’s attention. That resulted in Operation Choke Point being shut down in 2017. But the threat of cancellation hasn’t completely disappeared.
If anything, the threat of being cut off from the financial system has grown since then. But this time, it could be you and retirement savings that are on the chopping block.
Getting Fired by Your Bank
The saga of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn brought that threat to the fore. Flynn, who served as National Security Advisor to President Trump before resigning under a cloud, has arguably been the victim of a witch hunt by President Trump’s enemies within the federal government. It was only a Presidential pardon that finally ended the Kafkaesque case against him. But if he thought he was in the clear after that, he was mistaken.
A few months ago, Flynn received notice from his bank that his credit cards were being canceled. The supposed reason had nothing to do with his financial habits or his purchases, but rather the fact that having Flynn as a customer was supposedly a reputational risk to the company. In other words, other people don’t like you and might try to boycott us because you’re a client, so we’re cutting ties with you so that other people won’t try to harm us.
While the bank later claimed that the letter was sent in error, and that Flynn’s credit accounts remained in good standing, was that really the case? The fact is that the supposed reason for closing those accounts is a perfectly valid reason for banks to fire their customers, even for reasons having nothing to do with financial impropriety, profligacy, or increased credit risk.
The case of Gen. Flynn could have been a trial balloon to see what would happen. Flynn still has a high public profile, so perhaps the negative attention after he publicized what happened to him forced Chase to walk back its actions. But who’s to say that something similar or worse couldn’t happen to you?
Could This Happen to You?
We live in an era in which everything we do or say is scrutinized by other people. Write or say the wrong thing on social media and you could unleash hordes of angry people calling for your figurative (or sometimes literal) head. And if you can lose your job because those angry hordes contact your employer, who’s to say that you couldn’t lose other things too?
Just as employers search social media to see what job applicants say and do on social media, so too could financial institutions start searching social media for more clues about what their customers are doing and saying. And if they don’t like what you’re saying, they could try to cancel you.
Imagine that the firm that manages your 401(k) account, or the custodian of your IRA, or the mutual fund firm whose funds you own, suddenly decides that it wants to get with the times and endorse government actions to abolish internal combustion engines or ban private car ownership. Or perhaps those companies want to endorse only Democratic candidates for public office. And then they decide that they want to purge their businesses of those customers who disagree with them.
It’s not inconceivable that something like that might happen. Nor is it inconceivable that such a purge might target those who are outspoken on social media.
Imagine that you are vocally in support of Republican candidates for office, or that you vocally express your belief that climate change isn’t man-made. Imagine that you speak out forcefully against vaccine passports, government censorship, or attempts to ban guns. If your retirement savings are in the hands of people who not only disagree with you but who want to silence you, who’s to say that you couldn’t find that your funds are no longer welcome with them?
Heck, you could even be a die-hard Bernie Sanders supporter, but if the people you’re dealing with are backers of the Democratic establishment who hate Bernie, you could still find yourself in a situation like this. What would you do if suddenly you were forced to unwind tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments just because someone didn’t like the political positions you hold?
Defend Your Savings With Gold
It’s not a far-fetched scenario, unfortunately. Our society is growing increasingly divided, with those on opposite sides of the political spectrum increasingly not wanting to have anything to do with those across the aisle. And eventually that could catch up to you and put the security of your savings and your ability to grow your wealth at risk. Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself.
One of those is through investments in precious metals such as gold and silver. With an investment in a gold IRA or silver IRA, you can invest in gold and silver coins or bars while still enjoying the same tax advantages as a normal IRA. And when you want to or have to take a distribution, you can take that distribution either in cash or in precious metals, allowing you to continue benefiting from future price growth in precious metals.
You can also make direct purchases of precious metals outside of an IRA, buying gold and silver coins or bars directly and storing them at home, in a safe deposit box, or in a bullion depository. That gives you the choice of how to store your investments, which can ensure that your assets remain safely in your hands, or in the hands of someone you can trust won’t try to cancel you.
We are so dependent on our modern financial system that being cut off in any way can make daily life much more difficult, or even impossible. And being cut off from retirement savings can make the prospect of a comfortable retirement much more difficult to achieve. If you want to protect yourself against the possibility of having your retirement savings canceled, talk to the precious metals experts at Goldco today to learn more about how gold and silver can benefit you.