Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preparing yourself into Bankruptcy

Preparedness has become main stream these last few years.
The Y2K fiasco placed a weirdo label on everyone that predicted the end of the world back then, but then the 9/11 attacks changed things. Reality had surpassed fiction and all of a sudden the person that prepared his family and himself for trouble was no longer a lunatic.
Preparedness went through a revival and became a common talked about topic on TV shows, internet and written press.

Along with that came another aspect or preparedness, one we should be wise to recognize and keep in mind: Marketing.
It would be hypocrite of me not to admit it. I sell a survival book, I’ve got Amazon affiliate and Adsense ads on the sidebars. When reviewing items I don’t hesitate to include an affiliate link if I can.
I created Grab The Apple, a website that sells products and services as well. All this generates money for me an allows me to do what I like the most.
Now, the question you have to ask yourself before you buy anything at all is “ what’s the benefit/cost rate? do I really need this? How likely am I to actually need it?”

Since preparedness became main stream there’s been and increasing survival and prep market. Even before, there was apparently always a reason to run and buy this or that, because it was absolutely needed to survive the latest scare.
Again, I’m not kidding myself. I review and recommend stuff all the time. But we have to be honest with ourselves. Mostly I stick to stuff you actually need and use, but its easy to fall into the shopping spree cart.
If you already have a dozen guns, your next gun will likely not fall into basic, must have category. Its mostly a matter of pleasure, enjoying collecting a particular item.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If for preparing you absolutely need to buy a retreat, stock it with cattle, heavy machinery, a tractor, various, cars, underground gasoline tanks and build a power generating turbine in the nearest stream, my friend you sure have deep pockets and I can think of many ways in which you can put most of that money to better use!
When I hear about some of the expenses some people consider mandatory, the crocodile in my wallet yelps in pain.
When it gets to having your own gas station installed, hundreds of acres and supplies for a dozen “able bodied” adults my head just explodes like a watermelon hit by a 308W hollow point.
Its important to learn what’s really needed and likely to get used, and what’s simply shoved into your head as a must have for survival, while in reality its just making that person very rich.

Buying an extra pack of 10 keycain leds for a total of less than 4 bucks is something I do without much meditation, but when it comes to hundreds… I’m much more conservative.
I wont even get into what I think regarding spending hundreds of thousands as a plan for the end of the world.
What you actually use, and what’s likely to get used. Spending thousands, let alone hundreds of thousands in something you’ll supposedly appreciate only when the world ends makes no sense at all.
A lot of people have gone bankrupt that way, many others lost their marriage or family. Keep things real folks.



Anonymous said...

While I very much agree with the sentiment of having some common sense and staying within a budget when it comes to preparing, I disagree with the notion that preparedness is mainstream. Maybe it is in the rural and natural disaster-prone parts of the US, but not in most of the country. Most of the media articles I've seen about preparedness have portrayed survivalists as crazy, fringe, and (usually) religious nutjobs.

Just the other day, a forum about frugal living that I frequent had a news report about woman who got $200 worth of groceries and supplies for only a handful of dollars using coupons. The consensus of the thread was that this woman was "hoarding" and people were disgusted at the size of her very large pantry and stockpile. The report mentioned that the woman got a dozen candles for free, and there were several comments along the lines of, "Why would anyone need that many candles? That's sick!". It was very depressing, indeed. I tried to use the opportunity to tell them why it doesn't hurt to be prepared, especially if you can do it on the cheap, but I was pretty much ignored.

I know that's anecdotal evidence, but I've run into this mentality many times over the years, even among members of my own family. Apparently, merely stocking up on food and supplies during sales (which barely scratches the surface of preparedness, I know) = hoarding. This is the kind of mentality we have to face, even when the economy is crashing and it's very clear that things aren't okay.

Sorry for the frustrated rant.

Anonymous said...

That was kind of funny. Better to go banktrupt prepping than because of vain things like plastic surgery & a house in an upscale trendy neighborhood with 4 BMW's and 2.5 kids, maybe?

So far, I haven't bought anything for prepping that I regret. I practice the old, "if you aint got it, don't spend it" routine and it's served me well.

FerFAL said...

"That was kind of funny. Better to go banktrupt prepping than because of vain things like plastic surgery & a house in an upscale trendy neighborhood with 4 BMW's and 2.5 kids, maybe?"

No mna, bankruptcy is bad, period.
Getting there stocking up on T&P and guns is just as stupid as waisting it on pastic surgery. Even worse, because you're supposed to be preparedness minded and understand some things better.
Its ALWAYS better to be financially stable than having this or that survival setup.
Soon, bankruptcy will mean actually losign everything you have and ending up living under a bridge.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Ferfal. I could not agree with you more. While preppers remain a minority in the US, more and more are getting sucked into buying more and more stuff they don't need. I find it interesting that both the commenters are attempting to justify their purchases. The thing is, the dollar is weak right now but if the economy collapses, the dollar will be very strong for awhile. It will be what people want to hold as the price of everything collapses. THEN would be a good time to buy this stuff as people attempt to unload it to get DOLLARS to buy food. Perhaps the greatest value of your blog, besides all the great info, is in your mindset. You help people prepare with their feet planted firmly on the ground. Kudos.

The last cause said...

Does this mean I have to return the Apache Chopper and postpone the move to Antartica?

Spot on FerFal, during Y2K a famo us author (in preparedness circles) said "Batman in the Boondocks" and that is the gist of it, not every gadget is needed and not every idea is a good one in practice no matter how it sounds in theory.

Move to the hinterboonies and huddle around the pyre of burning dollars to stay warm?

Sure! Who needs to earn a living? Forage for berries and canadian milk thistle and never bother with a haircut!

Now as for the bnakruptcy angle, more or less correct, however as large Global Corporations have shown "Joe Average" not all bankrputcies are created equal.

Loquisimo said...

"When I hear about some of the expenses some people consider mandatory, the crocodile in my wallet yelps in pain.
When it gets to having your own gas station installed, hundreds of acres and supplies for a dozen “able bodied” adults my head just explodes like a watermelon hit by a 308W hollow point."

Bow down to Ferfal, King of the One-Liner! :p

Anonymous said...

It's obvious there are two main arguments on what the future holds: deflation or inflation.

There has to be a scarcity of Dollars for their purchasing power to go up and the governments seem committed to make sure this does not happen.

Maybe people will try to sell stuff later to get Dollars to buy food, but who says they have anything I will want or need? Most Americans have stocked up on TV's and DVD's and electronic junk and the warm useful sleeping bag is not as common on store shelves as it used to be. Most big stores have reduced inventories making what you have more scarce and more valuable.

Any time period of a "strong" U.S. Dollar is going to very short lived. The government repayment of debt requires this! The price of government bonds ensures this.

And, maybe things are different in Argentina than the U.S. with bankruptcy, up here people often get to keep most of what they have afterwards in spite of the new laws. Better to have prepper stuff which doesn't get repossesed than the BMW which does.

The moral hazzard has been created, it's no longer shameful to go bankrupt, why should it be with the examples the big banks give?

Jason Cato said...

I have spent about 10k on preparedness since about a year ago when I read that the world financial system was 3 hours from being shut down. That got my attention.
I put away the basics; a battery of firearms, 3 months of food, $500 in silver, and some shortwave gear.
I can see that from this point on I would see declining returns on spending. It would be better for me to save another 10k over the next year for the more likely financial emergencies that are on the horizion.
If you go out and buy stuff, "just in case" you are sure to put yourself in the poorhouse.

Anonymous said...

There's currently talk from some that they'll intentionally devalue the dollar. If the dollar in the near future only buys half or a third of what it does today, food and feul may not be regularly delivered. Gold and silver may not be accepted for such purchases. We compare the U.S. to examples in history and we make an educated guess, yet we do not truly know what we face. War during times in history such as this, is likely, and talk of revolution is frequent.
Will they be able engineer a 'soft landing'?

It is a balancing and a difficult one if one has a deep understanding of the times. What would appear to be good investments may not turn out to fit a situation we cannot anticipate. The U.S. is unique, a financial Roman Empire, and it is said that the bigger they are, the harded they fall.


Anonymous said...

I stored food for Y2K and ate it every bit before Y2K came about, over and above my regular eatings...but thats just me living in the best of worlds......and now tho I see that in a short time the prices of the stuff I had tried to stockpile have gone up times 3...still I would have eaten it if it was available.....

Anonymous said...

humor does well in hard times....cheese puffs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!