The dawn of civilisation meant the apparition of urban survival scenarios: today's world requires learning also how to survive in the middle of financial disasters both at a national as well as a global level. Here you have some advice.
A state will tend to save itself even if that means charging against its own citizens. There is a very long dissertation on political philosophy that justifies this, but suffice to say that states are considered to be perennial in international law. So, if we are mortal but states are not, it is easy to see the link between both concepts.
People will tend to save themselves even if that means acting against their own society. The state is even less important for the people.
Don't believe that the government is on your same side; in extreme situations, government officials even seize the assets of private citizens to save a crumbling state. The fact that it hasn't happened in your country doesn't mean that it can't. It all boils down to how extreme the situation becomes.
Confronted with a haemorrage of money going abroad or even qualified people, governments tend to impose controls or prohibitions, so it may become very difficult or impossible to legally take your money out of your country or even to get out. If that's the tendency, take your assets out or get out yourself before it actually happens. The imposition of such prohibitions is always a very bad symptom of the true state of things inside any territory.
Reduce the number of credit cards that you have.
Don't believe the government and don't believe what financial institutions tell you. Historic evidence indicated that in dire straits they both tend to lie and hide the reality from those that will be affected by it.
Reduce the number of your bank accounts and credit accounts.
Don't use your credit card to pay for consumer goods like food or clothes.
Make a plan and a habit of saving even the tiniest amount of money. Ten dollars or euros per month, while financially negligible constitute a powerful mind exercise, nevertheless.
Invest it goods that have a value that increases constantly over time and are not tied to speculative markets. Cars begin to lose value as soon as you buy them and properties or real estate values suffer very significant oscillations. Noble metals and jewels are safer and what's more, unlike a car or a house, you can get away with all your fortune in your pockets.
If you are suffering under a major debt, go see an accountant; a professional is the most indicated person to give advice on your particular situation.
Learn how to repair your things and properties instead of throwing away everything that is broken, do the same instead of calling a technician for every little problem at home. You won't be able to repair just about everything, but nevertheless you will be able to do more than you think.
Use the black market - if necessary - to maintain the value of your goods or to increase it. Survival means to take advantage of every opportunity along your way.
When governments find themselves in recessive economic periods and become anxious to get some money they will try to lure people by adopting very relaxed stances regarding undeclared assets or fiscal debts. Stay tuned and don't miss any such chances.
When a whole financial system collapses people may accumulate in very long queues outside banks, waiting to get their money out. Waiting periods can indeed become very long and so "waiting professionals" may become a reality; that is, people that for a fee will keep anybody's place in any queue even for days.
Very deep economic crises imply chaos, and people may feel tempted to elect rather authoritarian or autocratic leaders even in the most enlightened of democracies because it often becomes a sort of "vox populi" sensation that strong leaders are just what the country needs. In such circumstances, even people that do not share the candidate leader's ideology may follow him because of this perception of strength, and once such people get into power they tend to act in authoritarian ways, especially with dissidents. If that is the risk in your country, take your savings and assets away from their grasp before they actually get into power; offshore jurisdictions and fiscal paradises exist just for this reason, but even neighbouring countries will do in some cases.
When a country is experiencing high inflation it might pass to a next level of economic surrealism called or know as hyperinflation. There are no mathematical formulas to determine exactly when a society goes from just plain high inflation to a hyperinflation, but this new level for depreciation of the currency is characterised by fast changes in prices - even several times a day - a total discredit of the local currency - bills usually carry so many zeroes that it is impossible to actually interpret them - and huge amounts of money circulating very fast among market actors. Historic evidence shows cases of people going to buy food using backpacks and cartwheels to carry the required amount of cash.
Whenever a government is about to take a significant decision that may affect the assets and properties of people in a large scale, they will try to keep their plans as secret at all cost. Experience with cases such as seizure of bank deposits and killer price increases mandated by decree shows that rumours will begin to add up in the days prior to such decisions, and that people with access to privileged information will take their money and assets out of banks and harm's way.
Financial crises are not situations in which you should act like a gambler in a very large casino. Indeed, crises generate a lot of tempting business opportunities but survival dictates that you should secure you assets first and think about making humongous deals afterwards. If you want to follow that route you should create a fund and save specifically to take advantage of such situations without compromising your basic assets.
If there is an authoritarian government immersed in such a crisis, it might pretend to explain facts to the populace by saying that a certain ethnical, religious or social group is the culprit. For centuries, Jews were preferred targets for such campaigns around the world, but in recent times, foreigners and middle and upper classes have gained the odd favour of ignorant masses in this regard that are, on the other hand very easy to manipulate by part of the leaders or the governing castes. In this way, these leaders eliminate whole groups of people using the irrational power of mass anger and silently seize for themselves all the properties and assets that are left vacant.
If you don't believe that such things could happen where you live because it is an "advanced" or "developed" country, remember that it wasn't in Togo or the Philippines that Adolf Hitler won an election, but in Germany.