(This is an old post, posted at minion's some time ago )
Another question from leftofcentralfl in Mnionreport:
QUESTION: What mistakes do you think most people make preparing for what you and your countrymen have gone through?
I wouldn’t call them “mistakes”, I don’t hold the SHTF Bible so all I can give is my humble advice which may be correct or not, so all I can tell you is “ I wouldn’t do that if I were you”, and depending on how sure I am , add a smartass grin smiley.
There’s simply some preparations that make little sense if you think about it, others that I’ve seen that just wouldn’t work, in spite of all the speculations.
a) Maybe the one that rubs me the wrong way the most concerns retreats. It’s also something many survivalists consider the summit of their preparations. A self sufficient fortification-ranch, with the nearest neighbor several miles away.
Isolated farms or retreats are targeted and are often victims of robbery and in some cases extremely violent home invasions. You may have 6-10 able men you are counting on to defend it when TSHTF… “when TSHTF” …so they aren’t there right now? Then you don’t have them, nor will you have them when you need them, most likely.
The isolation works to the attackers favor, who often take their time having their way with everything and everyone inside the house.
The “away from everything” theory just doesn’t work when taken to the field. Happens here and same happens in Africa where ranchers and farmers have to fight rebels, rogues or whatever they are calling them these days.
They’ll find you, they’ll know about you one way or the other. You cant hide simply by living a gas tank away from the city. If there’s a road that reaches your place, you are fair game, doesn’t matter if it’s a dirt road in poor condition. You get there with a car/truck? So can bad guys.
You are obviously safer from small time robberies or pickpocketers and snathcers, but you are more vulnerable to the worst kind of criminals. Not that living in a city or suburbs makes it MUCH safer, but I’d rather live here where I live now than in a farm house any day of the week. People can somehow organize to hire security, talk to the police. Yes, most people border idiotic and are pretty clueless, but it’s better than being alone with no chance of even trying to convince people.
I’m not talking about living in a large city being the best option, I’m talking about living in a small town or community, looking for safety in numbers but avoiding the problems of a metropolis.
I definitely would choose a house in a small town or subdivision near a city, rather than a far away retreat.
Rather than looking for the ultimate self reliance retreat in the middle of nowhere, look for a subdivision where you have enough land, where you can keep a small orchard and some small critters if you want, a place with a basement where you can build a NBC shelter as time and money allows. That’s what I’d look forward to if living in US.
b) The barter items thing is also pretty strange. I don’t see how it could possibly be a smart idea to buy goods to sell or trade after a crisis, surely not in the quantities suggested by some people. Beats me, are they going to set up a shop in their garages and sell everything? Would you buy food an other supplies from a guy that sells it with no possible way of verifying the conditions under which the food was kept? How much of a profit could you possibly make , comparing to having saved that same amount of money in gold, for example?
I don’t understand it and I don’t know of anyone that made a profit by doing this. Yet, people stock up on TP and many other cheap, easily obtainable items thinking that it will be “worth it’s weight in gold” after the crisis. Newsflash: if it’s cheap and easy to produce, it will keep being that way AFTER tshtf.
Some guys advice to “invest” in such goods, tools, food and supplies for after TSHTF. No, no , no. 200 or 500 bucks worth of tools rusting away in the shed is not an investment. Its’ 200 bucks worth of tools for which you don’t have any use. That’s not an investment.
An investment generates money, while products rotting away in some basement does nothing for you.
c) Forgetting about their financial security. I’d worry about REAL investments. Buying real estate that will provide me with a steady income on the longer run, an investment portfolio divided in a couple of reliable ( or as reliable as any organization can be) that will slowly grow, most of it set on minimum and medium risk investments, and not falling for the promises of high risk ones.
Money is so important, I cant begin to explain it. When prices skyrocket beyond the limits of superinflation, money does not turn into toilet paper as many survival experts predict, it become cherished, more valuable to you than ever. You have to turn yourself into a discriminating shopper, always looking for the best possible price, sometimes shopping in different branches of supermarkets so as to find the better deals and avoid those “hot” items grocery chains slip without you even noticing.
My father is visiting right now, handling business, and one thing he told me when I asked how did he see things going on here, he used the words “cheapskate” and “miserly”.
He said something like“ People count coins over and over, by the cent, and spend maybe 10 minutes thinking about spending every cent. They also look kind of shabby, untidy, I can’t explain it. Even the guys running around downtown with suits look bad”
I explained that his overall perception was indeed correct, mostly because the average person here uses clothes until they wear out, there’s not that much money left for looks, not getting haircuts as often as they should, shaving.
Yes, the fall on the purchasing power of people did affect the average person ( at least most of them if not all) and you can see it on the streets.
d) Not all places are equal in terms of crime, but if something like this happens in US, I’d worry about being armed at all times, and learning how to use it to defend myself.
Again, not talking about waiting for the end of the world to bug in and pull the shotgun out of the firing ports, just go on with your life but do so armed.
Most people here don’t see things this way.
The anti gun campaign is very strong here, and the majority of “sheep” see guns as evil objects, even though rape, crime and violence is smeared on their face every day. What can I say, most people are pretty stupid.
Those of us who go armed in this country are a reduced minority. After a few words, we recognize each other at the range or at gunshops with a knowing nod, knowing that most people, even among shooters , don’t share our opinions.
Even among “gun people” we have our important share of “Zumbos”, elitist hunters who think that firearms are hunting tools and shouldn’t be used by the lesser “civilians” for self defense.
e)Not trying to bore anyone to death here or anything, but going back to the issue of money. It’s so important to be financially set. Rather than spending tons of money on junk you wont ever use invest it smartly. Rich, unprepared people will suffer after TSHF… only in your wildest dreams. Money buys everything, including expensive food, medical care, security and relocation if needed.
When the economy collapses a big chunk of what used to be middle class ( 50% as minimum, more for sure) ends up being poor. It doesn’t matter how much guns you have, doesn’t matter if you can start a fire with a couple popsicles sticks or build an atomic bomb with a Snickers bar and a paper clip. Skills are of course important but you finances affect everything.
If you are middle class do everything you can to improve, climb way up the ladder. No I’m not talking about making more money than Bill Gates, I’m just talking about something every determined middle class person can achieve , no need to be a freaking financial genius. Make sure you climb your way up to the upper middle class, because once the pyramid starts sinking you don’t want to be below the 50%.
If you are really serious about financial security, diversify your real estate and other investments in different countries. My father did this and it made all the difference in the world. The man is my hero.
When you see serious trouble in the horizon and survivalists are thinking about bunkering in their cabins, you simply go on vacations to check out that little apartment or house you bought in Costa Rica for a bunch of pocket change a month. If Zombies take over or China invades, you can look for a job there, or live like a king thanks to the income you receive from that other apartment you have in France, a place in a small town near a mayor University, which you rent to students each year.600 Euros a month will allow you to live comfortably in Costa Rica, and most countries in South America. And the best part of all this? If nothing EVER happens you just have a few properties here and there that are constantly generating money for you, in case you want to retire early or if you ever have a health problem or any other issue that puts you out of the job market. Again, a couple of properties here and there inst’ such a big deal, most people can achieve that with a bit of effort, its’ just a matter of priorities.
f)The lack of reality based preparations. Some people focus on preparing for something that will never happen, preparing for getting up one day and walking into Mad Max’s world. This is of course, not a smart idea. Not only are you forgetting about the other, more likely possibilities, but you also ignore that you’ll have to go trough them before it reaches to a road warrior point, if it ever gets to that.
People that have thousands and thousands of dollars in tools, equipment, and maybe spent hundreds of thousands more building the ultimate retreat, but don’t have a penny invested anywhere. When asked they‘ll say that it will all be worth nothing when TSHTF.
Hopefully, this person will have several years worth of food along with all the other stuff he’ll rarely get to use, so at least he wont starve to death. But is eating all you aspire for in live? Not to mention what would happen if he got sick/robbed/place burns to the ground/hurricane/flood destroys it and suddenly needs the money he said he would never need.
Prepare for a broad spectrum of possibilities. So you’ll have your food and supplies for short and medium periods of time where supermarkets may be closed due to looting, riots, lack of supply , etc and you have others plans in case things get worse or you are forced to get out of there.
Something like what happened here happening in US? Don’t go nuts, shooting the neighbor’s kid for crossing over to your yard to pick up his frizzbe. Just adjust to the situation.
Once the first few weeks are over and people start calming down, just be more careful out there, don’t throw away money on stuff you don’t need and try to keep a generally low profile. It’s also important to do well at work, because people get fired like crazy during those times, companies trying to reduce expenses or not needing you any more for lack of production.
During these times is when your investments kick in. Not only do you have a place to exile to if things don’t go back to normal or they don’t fit what you expect in life anymore, you also have a form of income that is out of the circle of your local economy. Let’s say the dollar looses ½ it’s value, you still have your apartment in France or wherever the heck you want to invest, pumping in Euros that are now much more valuable, probably compensating for the local inflation, so weather you decide to leave or stay, you have the means to go either way.