I was just listening to the interview that Steve from “2 Beers with Steve” did and two things became very clear to me. The first one is that I need to slow down when talking. My brain works at a speed my rusty English cant match, specially since I haven’t been speaking in English since May.
The second one is that whenever I do these interviews the subject of discussion, the 2001 economic collapse, similarities with USA and what to do to prepare, its so enormous, its spreads into so man possible topics and fields of discussion that it’s just impossible to cover even a small portion so I end up trying to summarize many different concepts and this is much harder to do than it sounds.
I’ll try once again, this time in writing to make a dissection of how these things usually go. Not only how it happened in Argentina, but how it often goes down in other countries as well.
1) Its about trust. Even though finances look cold and sterile the entire foundation of our economy is people trusting that a piece of paper can be traded for goods and services. We took it a step further and people now must trust that digital information in a computer means that as well. You really don’t have anything, just trust in a financial corporation. Once that’s lost it collapses like a building rigged with explosives. A banker’s worst nightmare is lines of stone-faced people saying “I’m closing my account, I want my money”. This means that even though an economy slides into a recession or crisis, eventually there’s an S-day when the banks just close their doors and historically that’s the day when SHTF. They cannot remain open any more. People that are losing their life savings just wont understand. They wont be reasonable. People will take the streets and in particular target the banks. Don’t be one of them. You wont get anything back at that time, just risk getting involved in a riot.
2) Timely preparation. A minute too late makes all the difference in the world. Still the world doesn’t end, but it does get more complicated. If you turn the faucet one morning and the water you took for granted no longer flows because there’s supply problems of some sort, you’re now one of the sheep rushing to the supermarket to buy bottled water. When this happens the shelves become empty within hours. When you see people looting the walmart its too late to make that last minute purchase. There’s an economic crisis world wide right now. The possibility of an economic collapse is considerable, so there’s been more than enough warning and time to take the necessary steps.
3) There’s two stages to an economic collapse, even in other natural or man made disasters there’s the event itself and the aftermath. One lasts a few days, maybe a few weeks depending on what we’re dealing with, the other ones is measured in years. The fist one you survive, the second one you learn to live with. During and economic crisis and possibly an economic collapse these two might not come in neat order. There’s recession that demands lifestyle changes before S-day. Slowly sliding to a new lever of poverty means life changes for people, but the S-day itself leaves a milestone and causes even greater change. Its one thing to see unemployment go up, house prices go down, notice more people living on the streets. But its different from one day waking up and hearing on the news you’ll now be using a new dollar and you only have ¼ of your savings left, and even that it losing purchasing power by the minute.
4) The Hollywood influence. People are bombarded by series, movies and literature that capitalize on the end of the word and survival fantasy. What are the chances of getting stranded in a paradise-like tropical island? What are the odds of the world ending as you know it, yet you ending up in a fully equipped warehouse, with a shop with everything you could possibly need, along with an oddly charismatic group of people, all of them relatively young, thin (when +60% of Americans over 20 are overweight, ¼ of the adults downright obese ) and with no serious medical complication, the females good looking like the media dictates. In case its not obvious enough, the Colony has as much to do with what really happens during a disaster OF ANY KIND as Dancing with the Stars. IF you want reality watch a documentary or read actual accounts of how these things have happened in the past. Things wont happen like you wish, they will take place with some resemblance of how it has happened before with a few variation depending on particular location, time, culture, etc. One day the stock market crashes (again). That same day or the next the president says something very stupid at the worst possible moment, no one believes him, everyone rushes to the banks and ATMs and they close the doors. The ATMs run dry in a matter of hours, credit cards may or may not be accepted any more for a few more days. There’s limits imposed regarding how much money you can spend, there’s protests and rioting and the best possible thing you can do is stay put and watch it on TV.
5) The Big One, TEOTWAWKI, the balloon going up, the whatever the heck you want to call it. That’s the easy part in my opinion, and having the basic supplies such as water, food and means to defend yourself while staying put in a fix location is The hardest part is learning to live with the new rules. These rules will now dictate if you make enough money to live until the end of the month or not, if you get shot in the streets or not. Starting your own business and doing so successfully, being able to compete in today’s work market, knowing how to sell yourself in a job interview when there’s 50 or 100 other candidates, all those things have a lot to do with post economic collapse survival. Granted, learning how to avoid being targeted by criminals or how to defend yourself in such a situation will be the number one concern, but losing your house and living at a friend’s garage (or under a bridge) is no joke either. The financial aspect and security aspect has more to do with this type of survival than all the fires started with bow drills or firesteels, all the basket weaving and wilderness shelter building you could think of.
What you can do now to prepare for this:
6) Get some of your money out of the bank and keep an emergency cash stash. At the very least have a couple months worth of expenses.
This is specially important for US citizens who simply are not used to dealing with cash. Blackouts, the credit card network going down, business no longer operating with them, there’s a number of reasons why a good stack of cash will be a godsend to you if the economy collapses.
Precious metals is the only way to ensure that you’ll retain some of your wealth after the collapse, so its still recommended to put a fair percentage of your savings into it(yes, in spite of today’s prices). At the very least have 20% in precious metals. Real estate is also good in spite of the prices dropping. Once people see the purchasing power of the dollar going down they try to put it into brick and mortar to save their wealth.
7)Food and water. We’ve been through this more than enough time and everyone into survival and preparedness repeats it as well. Have 6-12 months worth of food, preferably ready to eat or that requires little processing. Go heavy on canned foods. Don’t forget water either. Both a gallon per person per day for at least two weeks and means of purifying more. If you live in cold temperature locations, enough heating oil or wood will be almost as important as food. Don’t think about your food supply as what you eat when the world ends and raiders roam the wasteland. Think of it as what you will put on the table when you lose your job or when you no longer can afford enough in spite of your paycheck. If you don’t have it, you are a meal away from going hungry. With it, you have time to plan, to find a job or decide what to do. Again, this will be a Godsend if the economy collapses. Even today, 10 years later, we sometimes see signs in the supermarket saying that only 3 or 4 packets of sugar, flour or milk bottles can be purchased per family. If you already have a stock of food, this wont send as much of a chill down you spine.
8)Buy the necessary preparedness implements. Warm clothes and sleeping bags for everyone. Flashlights and batteries, first aid kit, antibiotics (very important), at least a couple gas tanks worth of gasoline. Ensure you have enough medicine for any medical condition you may have. This blog has more than enough information on gear and tools, just check the “gear” topic.
9)Don’t underestimate your self defense needs and take the steps to protect your family. This means getting a concealed carry license now and carrying a well reputed high capacity big bore pistol (9mm minimum) It doesn’t seem necessary at first, even later on if you hear of incidents, the most common human behavior is thinking “that will not happen to me, what are the odds?” This is a safe, comfortable place to be in. You’re not like the rest, you’re immune to that violence out there. Wrong. What are the odds? More than what the media may led you to believe. Since 2001, 9 out of 10 persons in this country have been involved in violent crimes one way or another at least once. You think everyone in USA will hold hands and sing kumbaya?
10)Don’t panic. Its easy to get scared when you see social unrest developing in places you’re familiar with. It looks surreal and you might make some very bad decisions out of fear. Bugging out where? For what? Stay put and wait until the storm is over. Everything ends sooner or later and this shall pass as well, rather fast I might add. Other common mistakes are moving the family to places where you have no friends and little job opportunities. People have done this and lost most of their savings before realizing that living off the land doesn’t mean that the cabbages have a nice paycheck ready for you at the end of the month. Another common mistake is simply buying junk you don’t need. I can’t think of many worse decisions than throwing money away during an economic crisis. Its true that the industry sometimes promotes fearmongering to sell more, you absolutely need this or that if you want to survive the famous end of the world. I know of people that spend tens of thousands of dollars, money that could have been invested or at least spend much better. Rationalize each purchase, no matter how small. I review stuff all the time. Read those reviews and other as well so as to make informed decisions. Do I really need this? Am I getting a fair bang per buck? The true “must haves” aren’t that many and don’t cost that much. It’s time for cool, down to earth decisions not fantasy.