Monday, March 9, 2009

Financial Preparedness

Thanks for all of your efforts in helping us prepare for the impending crisis.

Many of us here are certain that inflation will hit hard very soon because our government is accelerating the rate at which it prints "funny money". My question has to do with preparation as it regards to your finances.

Since it is almost certain that our savings will be stolen from us by the government in the form of hidden taxes (aka inflation), is it best to buy durable goods with our savings now? Should we be buying our kids shoes and clothes to last for the next five years? It doesn't seem like a good idea to have a huge lump sum of cash sitting around to be stolen, confiscated, or metered out by our banks (government).

It makes sense to have gold around, but shouldn't we just buy goods and supplies that we know will last us, and then have enough in gold to keep around for emergencies?


I was calculating REAL inflation today with my wife ( not the BS reported by INDEC, even INDEC workers openly state that the gov. modifies the numbers they don’t like), compared to 2000 prices.
We estimated it in 500%, roughly speaking since 2000.

In both our families ( back when we were single) they would buy a month worth of groceries for 300 pesos. Now you need 1500 pesos and the quality of the products isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.

Guys, get this into your head: The number of poor will likely double in USA these following years. And no that’s not the end of the world, life still goes on, but it’s a pretty bitter situation.
The new poor wont come form Mars, they’ll drop from middle class.

It’s survival of the fittest. For us humans, it’s survival of the smartest.

Unless you are smart and find ways to crawl up the sinking pyramid, you’ll end up in the “poor” section.

If you want my honest opinion, save it in gold and silver instead.
DO NOT buy stuff you try to “guess” you’ll end up needing. If a year from now you need shoes, more food or whatever, the same amount of gold will buy you the same amount of product, or even more since gold goes up during hard times.
Of course have extra pairs of shoes and clothes. Don’t know about you but three pairs of shoes last me a long time. What I mean is don’t eat up your savings buying stuff. You’ll sure need that money later on for things you disn’t guess correctly.

You’ll soon see how every little spend becomes and important decision in your struggle to save as much money as possible.

Salaries and earning wont go up along with inflation, at least not at the same rate. That’s what makes poor people.

I’d try very hard to come up with new sources of income.
Here’ it’s unthinkable for a wife NOT to work. There’s really little doubt in that regard. If both parents don’t work, unless you are truly rich you can’ live here with the salaries and wages we have.

If you want your better half to stay home then get serious about home business. The internet is full of ideas. But do something that makes money.
If your wife can make money by staying home watching over the kids and you have some land and she can keep a garden and some far animals that sounds great, but be serious and calculate how money you are actually making and saving by doing this.

Staying home just to make 500 bucks worth of groceries doesn’t sound very effective when she can make 2000 working a normal job.
OK, you’ll need a nanny for the kids, but with a normal wage its still profitable to pay a girl you trust and go to work.

Wrapping this up, SAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN.
For every buck you spend, think:
Will I use this?
Is it worth it?
Do I need a 200 dollar knife/watch or a 1000 custom 1911?
Do I need the fanciest 4x4 ATV?
What benefit am I getting for my money? What the real benefit/cost rate?
If you already have 6 to 12 months worth of food and as much water stored as you can put aside,. plus a few weapons ( you do need at least a couple handguns in my opinion) ammo, cleaning supplies, medicines you may need, other than some gear I’m leaving out, don’t keep buying any more junk.

There’s a market out there for this stuff, and the crisis is being good business for many. That’s fine, I love capitalism, I myself have ads from Amazon that sell stuff, get a small % for each item sold, but that doesn’t mean you should go desperate and buy everything you’ll ever need the rest of your life.

This is a crisis guys, a depression, economical collapse, whatever you want to call it. Things are tough and will get tougher, but people, this is not the end of the world and people will not die by the thousands, ok?

*Save your money, odds are you’ll need it in the future.

For larger amounts of money, I'd invest in real estate right now.
For smaller amounts I'd go for gold.

*Find new ways of making money.

Even something as simple as starting a blog is easy, has no initial cost, and can generate some spare cash.
Start a blog in blgospot ( just like this one, its as easy as opening a hotmail acount)
Write about something you like. Try learning a bit aobut blogs.
Then add some ads like the ones by adsense or some other afiliate programs, and writing regularly will make a bit of extra cash for you.
Starting a home business is something relatively simple. You dont make a ton of money but you dont invest a lot either. A number of housewives here started theri own business making scneted candles, breakfasts, etc.

*Reduce your expenses as much as possible.

*Yes, buy the basic necessary gear and supplies, get the necessary training and know how. Knowledge and mindset will make the real difference.

*There are a few items you might want to buy now.
For example: I’d try to use just one car at a time but have a second car ( cheap, low gas mileage, common model with cheap and commonly available parts) in case your other one brakes.
Going out buying a car after a crisis can burn a bit hole in your pocket. Its just not an option for most.
Same for certain appliances such as a fridge , chest freezer, and washing machine. If a generator is essential for you, have another one. No guys, don’t buy new, I’m talking about keeping eyes opened for these kind of things at garage sales and such. If you can get an extra fridge for cheap, Yes, I would do it. If you work with computers a lot, an extra used PC or notebook might be a good idea too.

I’m mentioning this because in my case buying theses things are very expensive right now, and before the crisis they were dirt cheap when bought used.

People will survive, we saw that here in Argentina. Even with 50% poor and 25% below the line of poverty people in general still get by and survive somehow.
The difference is that some live better than others.



Blackeagle said...

I recently ran across a link to your blog on Warriortalk and have eagerly been tearing through your archives. I just wanted to thank you for the great info you’ve presented here. I’ve always had an inclination towards preparedness, but most of my efforts up to this point have been focused on the self defense side of things. I have spent quite a bit of time perusing other survivalist websites over the years, but the predominant millennialist attitude never really clicked. Putting such an enormous amount of effort into preparing for such unlikely scenarios just doesn’t make sense to me when natural disasters, terrorism, or an economic collapse like the one you’re living through in Argentina is so much more likely. You really present preparedness in a context that makes a lot more sense to me. Reading this site helps me envision ways to increase my preparedness beyond a bug-out-bag or 72 hour kit that don’t involve buying land in Idaho. Thank you!

FerFAL said...

Thanks man, I appreciate it, glad you find the blog useful ;)
The economical crisis is already well developed. The consequences will affect people to a greater or lesser degree, but it will affect everyone.
Now its mostly economical, then it will be socioeconomcal, ( that’s where security and self defense will be important)

Taking a few steps like the ones we talk about here will reduce the damage.

Take care.


Blackeagle said...

On the actual subject of this post, you’ve talked here and in other posts about financial and physical preparedness, what about skills it would be useful to learn before TSHTF? Despite wanting to buy every shiny new gun I see, I’ve always tried to discipline myself into prioritizing software over hardware. So far, I’ve managed to spend more on practice ammo and professional training than I have on firearms, and I feel like I should apply that to other areas too. Self defense skills are an obvious asset, but I’d like to diversify my skill set a bit. What would you recommend? Driving skills? Medical? Others?

Anonymous said...

Being the owner of a survivalist website and active to varying degrees in several survival forums, I'm interested in a better understanding of what you mean by "the predominant millennialist attitude" you see. My personal POV is summed up in this philosophy: "Don't prep to outlast 'the troubles,' prep to *not notice* 'the troubles'." I figure if you can go about your normal routines on a daily basis and not realize nukes fell/zombies arose/the Rapture occurred/aliens invaded/bird flu killed everyone, then you've done your job.

Anonymous said...

I believe this blog is catching on. We are getting nearer and folks are beginning to wake up and seek answers. A collapse such as as Argentina's seems to be the most likely, however as I've traveled and lived in other countries besides the U.S., and have come to believe that transferring even the best examples to what can happen in the U.S. is only a guild.

The U.S. is a very different and unique country that can be understood by considering it's huge size, geography, cultures and history. There are significant differences and the outcome will be different. Comparing is useful, yet keep in mind the limitations. It could be that the U.S. will suffer less or more and in different ways and different regions. It could be that they'll find a way to avoid hyper inflation and only high inflation sets in, yet violence in the big cities could still be extreme. By that I mean horrific and unmitigated violence. The Rodney King riots in L.A. where during good times, and law enforcement was almost unable to contain it. L.A. Gangs are currently 'locked and loaded' and can't wait to 'spray and pray'. They are waiting.
Civil war or tax revolts in various forms could also be a part of the mix and a problem or solution in different regions. States could band together and assert their state's rights while the Federal Government become weak and ineffectual and in those states, the economy of that region does better than the rest. Metropolitan areas and regions many many times the size of Benios Aires could suffer extreme poverty and chaos.

Argentina's experience is perhaps the best model, yet the saying, 'the bigger they are, the harder the fall' comes to mind. We may grab onto the safety net of a Global Bank and currency, yet our shear weight may be our undoing. America tends to go to extremes and in unexpected directions. Applying a little physics might be stretching it, however economics has it's has roots in the physical world. Newton's Law: "For each and every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." The U.S. has been the wealthiest nation and the greatest empire in history, even greater than that of the Roman Empire. A comparison with the Roman Empire is a good one as well.

There is the possibility we will collapse just as hard and deep. Current events places us on a path toward the edge of utter collapse, Roman style.
To appreciate just how big the problem is, look up Derivatives. Our financial system, and in fact the global financial system that is centered in the U.S, is at greater risk than is generally understood. Derivatives represent a Black Hole of debt between 500 trillion and 1.25 quadrillion. The number is so massive that we cannot see the bottom. Let us hope and pray that hyper inflation is the worst of what will happen.

FerFAL said...

Anonymous said...

THanks for the long comment,Anonymous.

I alwasy tell people there's goign to be differences.

It's no only becuase of teh differences as a country, but also varies depending on loaction an personal situation.

Here we have people that starve to death each day, and then you have Argentines that log in from Recoleta and go "FerFAL, WTF are you talking about?"
Recoleta being one of the safest, most expesnive nieghbohoods in the captial district.

And in between you have a huge degree of grays and in between situations.

USA is big and diversily populated, there's differnces between states, not everyone will suffer the crisis the same way.

Dont underestimate hyperinflation though.

Its all conetect. 100% inflation will ruin the country, double teh amount of poor all over the nation and pretty much be teh begining of a huge mess.


Bukko Boomeranger said...

Hey DocOutlands -- I'm not a hardcore survivalist, but I'd like give my perspective on your question about what's perceived to be the millenialist attitude. Too much survivalist stuff I've read centres on the perceived joys of shooting people after things all fall apart. The reason I like FerFAL, and why I frequently whore his blog on other sites, is because he's realistic, and regretful, about what's going to happen when TSHTF. The guy doesn't seem to relish the prospect of collapse. Too many survivalists I've read act like it's going to be a fun game, like paintball with real ammo.

I wish I was as tough as you, FerFAL, but I'm more of a healer than a fighter. However, I did things you recommend -- like moving to a safe country -- even before I knew you existed. And I keep reading your blog because it sharpens my focus on what I'll need to do, even in a civilised place like Australia.

When my wife gave me grief about laying in a three-month supply of food, I showed her your blog. Now she's a fan too. You're part of the reason we're going to buy two more Victorinox knives Friday. And I'll be keeping your advice in mind when we visit the Perth Mint when we go on holiday to West Australia next week.

FerFAL said...

Glad it helped get the wife on board.

Take care and have fun. ;)


Blackeagle said...

"I figure if you can go about your normal routines on a daily basis and not realize nukes fell/zombies arose/the Rapture occurred/aliens invaded/bird flu killed everyone, then you've done your job."

While I'm sure your tongue was firmly in cheek when you wrote this, I think it illustrates what I'm talking about. A lot of folks seem to focus on apocalyptic scenarios to the exclusion of more likely possibilities. By definition, the apocalypse doesn’t happen very often. Natural disasters and economic crises happen all the time, and are happening around the world right this very moment.

This focus on TEOTWAWKI scenarios tends to focus people on a particular type of solution: a fortified retreat out in the boonies somewhere. If you believe that cities will turn into burned out wrecks ruled over by gangs of murdering cannibal looters, there’s not much point in building up a six month food supply in the basement of your suburban home. In turn, this kind of all or nothing attitude seems to discourage a lot of people from making preparations right now and lead them towards ‘armchair survivalism’. They have detailed plans for the fortified retreat they’re going to build someday, but don’t have well balanced preparations in case a hurricane or an earthquake hits today.

For folks that do have a well stocked rural retreat, on the other hand, there seems to be a tendency to believe, “If I’m prepared for the apocalypse, I’m prepared for anything.” As FerFAL has pointed out in other posts, in a situation like the one in Argentina living out in the countryside can be more dangerous than living in the city. This is a big part of what really clicked with me when I read his older posts because it tallies very well with what I’ve read about the horrible things that have happened to people on isolated farms in South Africa and Zimbabwe (both recently and during the Bush War when it was Rhodesia). An economic collapse is not going to be a great time to be a small farmer.

This focus on TEOTWAWKI also tends to get people who are interested in preparedness painted as tin foil hat types. Gabe Suarez recently threatened to get rid of the Disaster Preparedness subforum of Warriortalk “because of all the doom-gloom, we're all going to die, negativism”. Doug Ritter has a big disclaimer on the Equipped to Survive Natural Disasters & Large-Scale Emergencies subforum prohibiting any discussion of “economics, politics, or sociology”. This sort of thing tends to create a big gulf in places to talk about preparedness online. There are places like the ones I’ve mentioned where talk doesn’t go much beyond a bug-out-bag or 72 hour kit, and there are places to discuss building a fortified retreat to survive the apocalypse, but there’s a dearth of places to discuss something in between. The bug out bag places discourage discussing longer term planning to keep the TEOTWAWKI folks away and the TEOTWAWKI folks tend to be rather dismissive of anyone who isn’t interested in preparing for the apocalypse. That’s a bit part of why I was so excited to read FerFAL’s stuff. It really seems to fit right in that middle ground I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that hyper inflation is the worst of it as I can see the potential for much 'worser', namely total societal collapse. Even though the chance of it occurring is slim, it is not None. To understand why I believe it is possible, study the derivatives' market. As this Nutter sees it, credit default swaps and every other instrument involved has created a HUGE gambling syndicate, a global casino, where our largest institutions are levered 50-100 to 1 in counter party risk, holding massive debt in the 10' to 100's trillions. Should one key institution fail, such as Bears Sterns, the house of cards could fall very hard, with currencies around the world collapsing over night, where all or key business transactions in our sophiscated and delicate economies cease, causing a total stoppage of most or all commerce.

Derivatives are little understood, if recognized at all. It is vastly complex inter-relationship of liabilities and debt, a web of counter party risk that ties together regional and state governments, small and large business and corporations to all financial institutions here and abroad. It is only a concept for some. Only a few truly appreciate complexity and threat. Should the web give away, entire nations can self destruct.

With the threat of a collapsing derivatives' market in mind, one may better understand why our government, namely the Fed, pumped 8 trillion into the balance sheets of important and insolvent banks. They did this in desperation in a matter of a few weeks in September. Yet the desperate move solved nothing, but only postponed the problem. As economies crater, GDP and profits plunge, massive bailouts and spending spree bills in the trillions will grow to 10's of trillions per year. Our national debt has already doubled in less than 6 months. The Current Account Deficit, only at 11 trillion at the moment, will grow at a terrific rate as the sales of U.S. Treasuries eventually fail forcing the Fed to buy the bonds which pay the interest only an existing U.S. debt and then the higher interest on the rapidly increasing future debt.

It may be beyond my ability to express the seriousness and magnitude in words here. I've spent the last year and half getting a handle on it, taking bits from a wide variety of experts on the subject. This is not my own opinion, but it reflects the opinion of many accomplished and highly regarded experts, those with the best track record, those who saw this thing coming years ago and explained why.

In my eyes, a simple hyper inflated currency and stagnant economy would be a blessing. My motto is a cliche', yet ther is wisdom in it. There are "known Unknowns". Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Any other situation we might encounter will be less difficult to handle.

Anon Y mous