Monday, September 22, 2008

Economy crisis in USA

So guys, things don’t look good.

It pains me to see America going through this and the consequences it will bring.
These are critical days, now is when we’ll get a better picture of how bad things will actually get, how long until we see the economy back on it’s feet.
Instead of trying to guess what will happen, lets go through some things you should to right now, if you haven’t taken care of them already.

First, how about what NOT to do?

*Don’t open you big mouth!

It’s ok that you feel all nice and warm about the 1/5/whatever year food supply you already have, but there’s no need to talk about it with the guys at work, the neighbors, friends or even family that is not directly related.
Other than my wife and kids, these are things that we simply do not talk about with people that know us, know our faces, names and know where we life.

Next thing you know someone’s knocking on your door, asking for favors you simply can’t afford.

Not long ago a friend asked if I could lend him a gun for self defense… yes, right.

Here, the owner of the gun is responsible for it and is not allowed to lend it to other non licensed persons. Other than my brother, I’m not giving a gun away to just anyone.

*Don’t waste you money!

How many times have we read about paper money only being good for TP after a crisis?
Though it may have happened in some extremely primitive nations, or countries destroyed by war, do not expect that to happen in USA. It wont.
Rather the other way around, you’ll consider it a precious commodity even more. As prices go up, you’ll save every penny.

If you already have savings you want to protect, buy precious metals, or if you have enough money, buy real estate. It’s a buyer’s market right now.

A small apartment would be a good investment.

Give it a few months, you’ll see rent prices go up in no time.
People can’t get loans to buy or they don’t have the money, so people start renting more. More demand, prices go up.

*Don’t run for the hills

This isn’t a hurricane or flood, you can’t run from this.
Running to your bug out location and “living off the land” is a terrible idea, almost as stupid as thinking about quitting your day job to start growing corn.

If you are a farmer and that’s what you do for a living, that’s just perfect.
But if you are doing it as part of preparedness for the end of the world, you need to think things a bit better.
For a farm to be a profitable, you need a margin of production large enough to make it economically sustainable.

Farming as a way of producing your own food is a terrible mistake.
Spending an entire day to produce the food equivalent of what you can buy with 15 minutes of your current salary isn’t smart.

Yes, inflation, I know about it, as a matter of fact I know about it very well, but the solution isn’t growing your own food, building your own car, building your own house, digging your own petrol site or fixing your teeth yourself. :)
The solution is making more money and reducing expenses as much as possible.
Money ( in one form or another) makes the world go around and it’s been this way for more than 10.000 years, wont change any time soon.
No more toys guys, at least for a while.

Ok, now for things to do

*Reduce your expenses.

And since I managed to drift form the previous subject in just 6 lines, lets talk about reducing expenses a bit.

This requires 0 money, 0 skills other than a cool head and some rational planning , and you can start right now.

There are few things you absolutely NEED. You don’t need the latest cell phone or Ipod, you don’t need to buy every gadget that hits the market.

Most people could easily reduce their monthly expenses by ¼. That may vary a bit depending on how frugal you are already, but the truth is all of us can reduce the amount of money we spend if we make a few sacrifices.

Eating out instead of taking you own food to work? walking (or using a bike) instead of driving?
Do you need cable? Do you need that tactical SOG knife that would just look down right bad ass in your mole vest?
The clothes you buy, are you just throwing away money in brand names?
Your car, how about selling one of the big gas eating machines and buying a smaller one for getting you from point A to B? You wont mow down mutant zombies with it but the money you’ll be saving can be put to better use, AND you are contributing by using less gas.

Don’t even get me started on that gym or health club you pay for every month and never visit…:)

In our family, credit cards are for emergency use only, otherwise we use debit card or cash. And trust me, with the current economic situation, you’d be well advised to keep most of your money home instead of leaving it in the bank.

There’s a million things you can do to save money. Start now.

* Solidify you income source.

I wrote about this a few times, but it can’t hurt to do it again, considering the circumstances.
Wont take long until unemployment starts growing and people around you start getting fired.

Make sure you are not one of the casualties!

Do your job well, so that if 3 out of 4 guys get fired, your boss wont let you go. Make sure you are a valuable asset to the company, one of the last guys they’d think about when firing people.

If you work on your own, keep your clients happy. During times like these it’s better to think about setting solid storm-proof foundations than thinking about taking risks.

*Worry about personal protection.

It’s only a matter of time until you guys see crime getting worse than it already is.

Get an alarm, get a dog, secure your home.
Buy a handgun and if you don’t have one, and START CARRYING IT EVER SINGLE DAY. And for the love of God, when I say carry it, of course I’m not even bothering to mention the obvious: Know how to use it. That means self defense shooting lessons ( not just target practice) and somewhat regular practice sessions.

Even more important than all the guns in the world, you need to develop safety habits.

I don’t understand how some people can worry enough to carry a gun, but don’t see the basic common sense behind locking your car’s door.

Recognize the people around you, look for suspicious behavior, be extra alert when going in and out of your home, keep your house locked and do not open your door to strangers.
This is obvious for most, but again, you’d be surprised how naïve people can be.
These are simple things to do, and they are essential in keeping your family safe during high crime.

*Keep yourself (and your family) emotionally stable.

One of the things we noticed here in Argentina some time after the crisis was the emotional toll it had on people.

Shrink visits had gone up significantly, along with the sale of tranquilizers, anti depressives and sleeping pills.
The suicide rate went up, so did alcohol and drug abuse.
The financial insecurity makes people nervous, it stresses you and affects your health. Add the fear of becoming a crime victim and you’ll soon find yourself walking up the walls.

So, it’s important to have a solid family environment, one that provides security for kids and adults alike.

Talk about what’s going on. Explain it to your kids, they’ll hear about it anyway and it’s better if they hear your version too.
Also, talking about it with your significant other will help you cope with it better as well.

Have some kind of recreational activity , a hobby you enjoy. Work out. You’ll feel better physically and emotionally speaking.

Make sure you sleep well, a nap on weekends wont hurt.

The idea is to deal with what’s going on but in a way it doesn’t affect you.

*Have an emergency kit and food supplies.

This has been discussed for ages. Bug in kits, survival kits or whatever you want to call them.
You’ll need a minimum amount of gear to get by during riots, blackouts or after natural disasters, specially since the government will already be somewhat crippled because of the economic crisis so these situations may become more common and will probably take longer to get solved.

Things like blackouts became very common here because the power grid was collapsed, there’s no money for maintenance, you get the picture.
Of course you can’t blame natural disasters on an economic crisis, but do not expect the same kind of help, both in quality and in response time, to the one you were used to before the economy crashed.

In terms of food and water.
6 to 12 months would be what you should set as an objective.
More than that wont hurt, but in all honesty if you need more than that, you should leave the area because things wont be getting any better.

For water my minimum at hand is a month worth, 1 gallon per person per day. Ensuring a safe supply should be one of your priorities (well, near by river).

*Act like a damn adult

Yes. I know most of you guys get it but you’d be surprised by the kind of losers that are within our beloved survivalist & preparedness community. Some people don’t get it even if you write it on their foreheads.

For an economical crisis like the one the US seems to be getting into, isolating yourself and living like a hermit is the last thing you should look forward too.
The idea of being completely self sufficient, and thinking that achieving that is some kind of nirvana survival state, that’s ok for a 16 year old living in mom’s basement, but that’s not what an adult with a family to take care of should look forward to.

People like that remind me of a native American woman that made it to the local news some time ago.
Over 80 years old, she’s the last one of her tribe, and lives completely by herself in the Andes, in La Rioja.
She made herself a small stone shelter (small dome, the size of a 2 person tent) , just big enough for her to sleep in.
She has a pot, a few blankets, matches and a knife. She has a dozen llamas or so, and she sell one every now and then, in exchange for flour, oil, matches, etc.
She eats Llama meat once in a while, to complement her diet.
She never married, never slept with a man ( that’s what she said :))
Her entire existence consists in just staying alive, talking with the Llamas ( again, her words) and building a fire at night to keep the mountain lions away.

If your ambitions in life can be reduced to the ones of a dog, just eating and staying warm, that’s not much of a life.

It’s simply impossible to produce on your own everything you need if you want a life standard that sets you apart from an animal.

If you want more than that, don’t try to avoid the system, don’t turn your back on society like a weirdo, but try to take advantage of it and make it work in your favor.

This post turned out a bit messy but these are a few random ideas that I wanted to share given the context, and also given the similarities between what we went through and what seems to be going on in USA these days.

Take care everyone.



Anonymous said...

Another great post! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Another idea. If you have the means, consider an alternate citizenship if you are an american.

There is a goood chance the government will fall into some type of dictatorship. Section 8 of the current plan for the FED gives the Treasury Secretary ultimately power -- he cannot be challenged by the government or any court.


If you cannot afford a citizenship by investment program, you can still gain residency in many countries immediately or within a few weeks/months. Do some research.

Give yourself the ultimate fall back: a passport in something other than the USSA.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ferfal. My boyfriend and I really look forward to your posts. We live in Baltimore, Maryland. The city has one of the highest crime rates in the USA. There is a prison about 5 minutes from our house. We were wondering what is happening with your prisons in Argentina? What happens when the power goes out or when the government can't afford to pay the officers to go to work? Do the prisoners get 3 meals a day? In Finland you get free education while in prison. There are stories out there about a guy who beat up an old lady so he could have a warm place to stay over their long and cold winter. Also, there were 2 other guys that killed someone so that they could go to law school for free. They are currently practicing in Europe somewhere. How are things over there? Please stay safe. We're praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog with great interest and have always wanted to ask this question. If you had seen events unfolding in your country as they are here (U.S.A.) and realized what the outcome would be, what items would you have tried to purchase that you now realize would be good to have or necessary that are now unavailable?

Keep up the good work.

Jay21 said...

Thanks again for your "sage advice." I look foward to your posts and learning, you have become a valuable asset to my life and changed my perspective for the better.

Anonymous said...

Hi FerFal - I'm the guy who asked about inflation (& fridges!) the last time around. Great post...thanks again. Interestingly, I do have a $4k USD "out" & passport opportunity to an unamed country in S.America so we might brushing elbows one day. Thank God for friends in other countries.

Anonymous said...

Wow I finally found you. I read all your posts on FS before you were forced out. Keep up the good work I think we are going to need this kind of information soon here in the US. thanks

Anonymous said...

I don't think FerFAL was forced out of FS or anywhere else. I left over some bigotry instituted by the forum owner, and I believe that is why FerFAL left as well. In fact, I saw FerFAL leaving and figured it was as bad as it looked to me and I left too.

There are few people writing about survival of any form that has the universal respect of FerFAL, and when it comes to urban survival he is one of the best.

It is still burned on my brain how FerFAL said in a real life meltdown, you won't be walking the streets with your M1A battle rifle. You still have to get to work, and what you really need for day-to-day survival is a reliable pistol that you can shoot and reload while driving! That really blew the minds of a lot of survival folks that the rifle would not be the main weapon, and that we wouldn't be shooting from behind armored shutters at home but from our front seats on Main St. And don't stop for red lights!

One aspect of survival I rarely see mentioned is that of staying fit. We started a serious garden this past Spring and it is a lot of hard work. My wife is riding bicycle and doing dumbbell exercises more, and I am running, hiking, doing body weight and kettlebell exercises. excess body weight makes even small chores difficult and heaven forbid we would have to walk a few miles. Now I am back to doing regular 20 mile day hikes as well as working hard for several hours at a time in the garden. We have some obese friends and they will have a huge challenge to survive if all the vehicles, machinery and power tools are not running all the time.


Anonymous said...

What can a college student do to improve his situation should the same collapse come to America?

Also I am familiar with NYC's harsh gun control laws, what can be done in this situation.


Anonymous said...

Hi- I"m really enjoying reading your comments.. maybe it's on your site somewhere, but I'm curious who you are, what when and how you came to write like this. Take care

Anonymous said...

Good post! on want is going on in your country.

Anonymous said...

FerFal! May i ask you if you dont mind? :-)

Was it better when Perón ruled? I think that it was better, but you live there, you know how was it.

FerFAL said...

He was a socialist dictator, but having said that, you have to admit that Peron did lots of good things for this country in terms of local industry growth, and social care.

Streets were safer too.

I dont like socialsm or dicatroship but he did lots of good things here and peopel remember him for the good he did.

Take care.


Anonymous said...

Hi FerFAL,

I translated your message in French and I would like to post it on a French survivalist forum. I thought I should ask you the permission to do it.

Thank you for your blog !

Anonymous said...


My nephew sent your blog to me. What a great kid! :)

Fabulous information, thank you so much.

Chris Beanie said...

Get real, folks. Things are gonna get better. And so will stock markets.

Believe it!

Anonymous said...

For those who posted about getting passports to other countries, please remember that many other countries will crash also. In that case their Militaries will be stopping people coming in as refugees. Think before you run. You will be starting from scratch if you get to another country and the locals may not be happy to see Americans, especially when you consider this whole mess was started in the US. You'll be blamed as an individual for the resulting chaos. Just a thought.