Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Not If, But When, The Economy Willl Collapse Part 2

So like every problem, large, small, annoying, or hugely traumatic, there is not much value in worrying about it incessantly. The only two things you can do with the problem of the economy or anything else, since you can not change the situation, is to prepare as best you can before something terrible happens and respond after the event as best you can. Here's some thoughts:
  • Don't stress over the problem, or worse, panic. This impacts your ability to think rationally and takes up valuable time that you could be spending on more important things.

  • I've posted some informative links on the CNI site ( in the Daily INsight section on economic collapse--check them out.

  • There's always hope that things will turn around...I'm just not holding my breath...

  • Think preparedness, creativity, and as the comment on the last post said, look for new opportunities.

Some pros and cons in regards to preps:

  • Home/land ownership: Pros--once your home is paid in full, all you need to worry about is getting together the money to pay the taxes; definitely a huge financial burden lifted. Depending on your lot/acreage your land can be useful for gardening, raising animals, and other cash crops from which you can earn a bit of income. Cons--governments have a way of just taking any land they want, especially right after they declare martial law. This is a huge amount of money to sink into one asset. You may be less than eager to leave your land even when it becomes necessary. You will need to protect this asset from the marauding hoards.
  • Investing money in dollars/stocks/bonds/government securities: Pros--if the monetary system decides to stabilize, you will be ahead of the game and your investments will grow. Having a lot of cash on hand is a very secure feeling. Cons: If the economy continues to tank, so does your investment. Currencies can implode and lose all value and all you end up with is worthless paper. Overall, it's a crapshoot.
  • Investing in materials (food, tools, fuel, firearms, items for barter): Pros--these items are there for your use no matter what is happening in the larger society. These items, during a total collapse, are the items of currency which will be mighty useful to barter with to get the things you need (you can't eat, plant a garden with, or defend your home with dollars or gold). Cons--like a house and land, you need to store, care for, and protect these assets. If you do need to flee, you can't carry all of this stuff with you.
  • Investing in gold/foreign currency/foreign assets (like land in a foreign country): Pros--gold has been a standard currency for centuries. Foreign currency may be more stable than the dollar (this is iffy since all currency is intricately interwoven with the US currency system). Foreign land will give you a bug out location outside of the US and depending on the country may either have a lower cost of living or a higher stability in price. Cons--you can't eat gold; it's fairly heavy and you need to protect it too. Foreign currency, like I said above, is a crap shoot and isn't a good investment choice for the novice. Foreign land purchases are fraught with pitfalls including a line of red tape for foreigners that will make your head spin. Again, you will need to protect it (some countries squatters rights are amazingly bad--for the legal owner). And, you may need to flee from it.
  • Investing in your own skills and social connections: Pros--these are things that will serve you well no matter what is happening in the society at large. The process of learning, both technical skills and social skills, will not only expand your abilities, it will increase your creativity and put you far ahead of the crowd when TSHTF. Cons--there aren't any.

The bottom line: No one knows what is going to happen to the economy or the overall state of the US. If someone tells you "you must buy gold now! you must buy land now!" or anything else where they want to part you with your hard earned money, they are feeding you a line of crap. It takes careful consideration of all of the facts, careful consideration of your own situation because everyone's situation is different, and your own best educated guess before you take action to avert any repercussions of an economic collapse or other disaster. Here's what I am doing:

  • I am continually investing in my skills and social connections. Any class that comes up, I'm there. Even if it has no bearing on anything I am doing now, all knowledge is good knowledge. Usually classes are very inexpensive, they give you an opportunity to meet other people who are interested in the same thing, and you never know when a particular skill will come in handy. Ditto with social connections. Start by leaving all judgmental inclinations at the door. Then start acquiring connection with people from all walks of life--rich people, poor people, drug dealers, immigrants, doctors, scientists, homeless people...all people have something to teach you; close mouth and open ears.
  • I pay for a house and land that I can easily afford. Some people are up to their eyeballs in house debt to the point that the majority of their income goes to support a house and leaves them very little to invest in anything else. I find my house comfortable and useful but I'm not tied to it. If I had to leave it tomorrow, it wouldn't bother me overmuch.
  • I put some money towards cash and well diversified mutual funds but not a lot. Like I said, when you put all of your eggs in one financial basket you are bound to lose.
  • I put more money towards hard assets. I feel comfortable having a year's worth of supplies in my home (food, toiletries, etc); this isn't a huge amount of items so I could leave them behind (but I would be real bummed). I also like finding very good deals on assets which have a high probability of being useful to me or for barter (firearms, ammo, tools, gardening equipment, etc) and which also hold their value.
  • I am not so much into gold except for some baht jewelry as it is risky both value-wise as the price tends to fluctuate like currency and there is also the part of having to possibly carry it away and protect it. I keep some foreign currency on hand as this makes it easier when I travel but I wouldn't even think to trade in the stuff--too volatile. I minimally invest in foreign assets through others who I can trust however, again, this is a very small part of my investments because 1) I don't completely trust anyone, 2) foreigners tend to get ripped off if they aren't there to watch their investment 24/7, and 3) I don't want to go through the expensive, mind-numbing red tape to put these assets in my name so I certainly won't throw all of my money at such an asset.
  • I am continually looking at the situation and making adjustments that make sense for me and my family. Right now I am looking at other housing options as the kids are grown and moved out, we travel often, and we don't need a big house. The idea is to be flexible, always keep your options open, and be prepared to take advantage of random opportunities as they come by.

That's all I have to say on the topic. Be prepared as best you can and hope for the best.


  1. I agree, prepare the best you can and diversification is key. And don't forget to invest in yourself, your mind and your body!

    Come SHTF you want to face it right from the beginning with a body fully stocked with health and vitality, well fed and well cared for. Same with your mind.

    This will give you great advantage over those masses of people who regularly smoke, drink, eat poorly, and rarely exercise mental capacity - what a terrible way to start the hard times with a deficit of health and well-being right from the beginning!

  2. a couple of ideas you might like, or discard at your leisure. Land with no development on it, and a mobile home (this can mean an R.V. down to a pup tent) if you need to bugging out from a piece of land, or better yet, to one is a viable option. It also gives you a place to "rat hole" things you might need later.
    I also agree with all of the other preparing for comments you posted.
    I have also turned a few sets of eyes toward your blog as you have a good idea of how to prepare for if things go bad.
    I also believe in one other preparation that makes sense to me, prepare your friends, as they are going to be some of the people you see coming to camp on your doorstep. if they are better prepared for when things go bad, they are an asset rather than a liability.