Monday, October 25, 2010

Middle Class Preparedness

This is a pretty tipical email. I get at least a couple of these per week. Its good because the average citizen is clearly seeing the writing in the wall, but I wish people wouldn't worry that much. You dont have to worry when you can DO stuff to improve your situation and be better prepared for harder times.

Hi Fernando,
I am in my 30's, have 4 children under 7 years old and am pregnant
with #5. Due in January. I'm short, skinny and have to wear glasses or
i can't see a thing. After reading your article part 1-4, I'm scared
crapless because America is headed for collapse. I have been hacking
away at the food storage stuff and i just planted 7 fruit trees on my
residential property. City won't allow me to put any animals on it.
I'm thinking of putting in a water well? I don't know. But anyway,my
question is, my husband is a manager of an Insurance company and he
does well. We are middle class Americans for now. But what happened to
insurance companies during the collapse in your country? Noone is
going to buy life insurance or anything anymore if the government
takes over and our country collapses and food is expensive. Maybe they
will still buy auto insurance? But I am thinking, If food becomes
scarce, people won't pay their bills and policies will lapse.
Therefore, my husband doesn't get paid. it's that simple. Am I right?
What should i do. I'm thinking of just buying gold and when the
collapse is announced, getting the hell out of here and over to....
china? I don't think i want to wait around and see what happens. My
little blonde blue eyed children are too precious to me. I've also
decided to get my tubes tied. just in case we don't leave and also
thinking of taking martial arts along with my 2 oldest boys.
THanks so much for your blog. I've been hearing things like, "get food
storage, get guns, etc" but haven't understand WHY until reading your
blog. Thanks SO MUCH. I GET IT NOW. And hindsight is always 20/20.
Think i should buy gold and learn Chinese?? Or will China be hurting
to? If America falls won't so many other countries? I doubt it but i
hear that a lot. So if you were me, happily married middle class
family with 5 wonderful children and a husband that' works for
insurance company, what should we plan for? just everything on your
Thanks so much!

Hi Michelle. About Insurance companies, by all accounts they where and I quote several news media websites form that time “destroyed”.  Add to the collapse of he currency used, that people don’t have any more money for insurance, combine that with a serious jump in both suicides and crime related deaths. If he’s a manager then he has a voice in his company I suppose, the best thing would be adjusting to the new, post crisis market. Based on what insurance companies are offering here, the keys are affordable charges and peace of mind. Maybe you can only charge little to a country that has a more poor population each passing year but then again what the insurance will cover will be likewise adjusted. Also imagine that there more poor there are, the less people have to begin with, so maybe he pays a minimum monthly fee and that only covers 5000 or 10000 bucks worth of stolen property in case of home robbery insurance, but at least its something, and that buys some piece of mind in a country where home invasions are more and more common. This is just a small, basic example of how the market readjusted after the collapse. You mention auto insurance, and that is indeed a market to consider, but know that with out of control carjacks many companies have gone broke. Now you see more of them specializing in recovery (Lowjack and such tracking systems) and this helps reduce their expenses. Its about being smart. Remember a post I made a few days ago about the most common cars being the ones that get stolen the most? That’s a key piece of information right there. It means there will be a profitable market for high end vehicle insurance. Why? Because a) you can charge the owners more b) there will be a market because the word of car theft going up will be on the streets c) they aren’t exactly the cars that get stolen the most.

About your other questions, mostly I would work on a mindset adjustment. Accept the crisis and the possibility of it getting worse simply as a fact of life. These things just happen, and if its not this its something else, but eventually natural or man made disasters affect us every once in a while during our lives.
Learn to live with the things you can’t control but work towards those that you can. You can learn hoe to fire a gun and carry it, its nothing special just making up your mind about doing it and not give up in the process. You mentioned some trees you’ve planted. That’s both therapeutic during stressful times and it helps put healthy food on the table. Some orchard is much better than no orchard at all, so keep working on it.
I’d forget about moving to China… ;-) 

If you want to learn a second language, Spanish makes a lot of sense, and it will provide your kids with a valuable tool when they have to compete tomorrow in a much tougher job market.
If I where you I’d take a deep breath and relax. Keep working on your garden and start working out within your possibilities. After having the baby you could start to learn how to shoot, an hour or so per week of time on your own could be spent on shooting classes, most of us find it pretty relaxing. Keep stoking up on food and other gear you may need without going crazy. Do lots of research before spending a single buck and only get what you really need and what your budget allows. Yes, do keep reading the blog since I’m sure you’ll find more useful stuff.
Take care!



Adventures in Self Reliance said...

Keep being pro-active. Learn new skills. Heck anyone can buy a few seeds for a garden, bake a loaf of bread or learn a new recipe. DON'T PANIC, If you panic you think short-term fight or flight. Trust me I've been there several times watching the stupidity our "betters" inflict on us.
To answer some of your questions on water. Start with some rain barrels first they cost about $30.00-60.00 USD each. 1 inch of rain will usually fill mine up.
If you are in a suburb or a good nieghborhood touch base with your neighbors a simple gift of a loaf of bread or giving some extra produce or jerky goes a long way to cement a friendship.
You are in panic mode and you are all over the place with fear. Prioritize. You need shelter, you need food, you need water. You need sanitation. You need security. Cover those items first then you can work on sustaining. Heck if you can handle 4 kids under 7 you know how to prioritize. You have all kinds of great ideas you aren't dumb you just need a place to begin.
Go to the grab the apple forum. We have all kinds of folks from handicap to gov't workers to folks that buy corn by the ton. I'm sure you can find some info that will work for you. Take the knowledge in and make it work for you.

Don Williams said...

1) I would suggest Michelle figure out how to prioritize her time --especially with several kids. heh heh

2) First thing is to make her and the kids safe: She can check with the police for an idea of the level of crime/type of crimes in her area and allocate time accordingly.

Getting a gun and learning how to use it is a reasonable thing but she also needs to make sure it is safe --but readily at hand -- with kids in the house.

3) The other thing to look at is "fortifying" the house with decent locks/doors, developing security procedures (i.e, not opening the door to someone just because they have a utility company uniform) and learning how to scan her environment, remain alert for threats and immediately act to evade/neutralize threats. Police will often provide free advice on this if asked.

Not having a street map and wondering into a bad neighborhood because you don't know where you are going is a bad idea. There are a lot of effective things you can do to constantly control your environment that cost nothing and don't require a weapon.

4) Having a gun is not much use if you are daydreaming and get ambushed by a mugger. Local library should have or be able to obtain books on personal security like the ones written for business travelers going overseas. E.g, "Executive's Guide to Personal Security" by David Katz.

5) Michelle needs to realize that any hostile person can gain instant control over her by seizing one of her kids and threatening it.

6) In today's environment, it is also important to acquire and safely invest as much money as possible. The Marine Corps joke -- that there are few problems that can't be solved by the proper application of high explosives -- also applies to money.

7) If there is any question re the reliability of her water supply, I would suggest getting a 50 gallon plastic barrel (sometimes available free or cheaply from bakeries or ice cream companies --they are used to hold syrup.) You need to disinfect it with bleach. Also, a siphoning hose to get water out plus additional water purification materials (bleach will usually work in most areas but some places have resistant microbes like Giardia-- local camping store will have more effective water purification tables like Potable Aqua.)

Don Williams said...

PS to Michelle:

Ferfal didn't mention it but he has written a good book for surviving when the environment get much worse than it is today (well, except for some high crime neighborhoods in the USA). see the front page of his blog.

DaShui said...

She has the best "preps" one could ask for-4 children.There is a reason not so long ago everyone had large families, it was the only method of security. Use the FerFal method; Throw away your TV, make sure they get some good skills, like bilingualism, encourage martial arts classes, vocational education in something that can't be outsourced, instill a sense of family duty and your future will be fine.

Anonymous said...

When I first realized that the USA was in deep doo doo, my first thought was, OMG I can't cope with this, how am I going to survive? Panic is a natural first response. I had been "prepping" in one way or another since 2004, but still I thought there's no way to survive this, I'm not prepared enough.

After I calmed down (and with me that time is measured in months), I started evaluating what I could do. Michelle needs to calm down, and some women have a hard time with that, but after she does she can decide what to do.

I think that prepping her kids is the most important thing here-THEY are the ones who will spend their lives in an Argentina-like environment. Don't spoil them, teach them how to handle weapons, get them to learn a trade that can't be outsourced.

Kids will have to start working very young again, I know my (late) grandfather who grew up during the Depression had to leave home at 15 and figure out how to survive on his own, that will be the norm from now on.

Julia said...


First of all - take a few deep breaths! You are already more prepared than most people by storing food and planting fruit trees. At times I get very stressed out too, but then remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.

Keep in mind that a personal or regional tragedy can alter your life even if we have no widespread economic destruction. So decide what to prep for and make a plan. For food storage, I would suggest ttp:// . She focuses in on creating a general store over time and buying one or two items a week.

I STRONGLY recommend ferFAL's book too. I felt it broke things down into separate areas of concern and gives a lot of food for thought - as well as advice.

This week I will be buying a MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio (unless someone offers a better suggestion). I will get getting a couple more for family Christmas presents. It's a little more expensive than the others, but after doing a fair amount of reviews, I decided it's best for my family, e.g. my sister has a small place with 3 in diapers, so something that could be set to alert without a siren was important! We all live in Tornado alley - my parents are close to a river. This has S.A.M.E. technology AND you can determine what type of warnings you want (no flood warnings for me).

I also follow . While this is of the more of the serious survival blogs, and I don't see myself bugging out to a far-flung camp, I find a lot of useful information on there. For instance this post . Will I follow it to the T? No, but I may actually so some of it anyway.

Let us pray that we need never use our preps!

Also - when you train with a firearm, you need to imagine yourself actually killing someone in self-defense, and KNOWING ahead of time that you can and will do it. (Technically / legally, I believe it is shoot to stop, but I think in real life that it's one and the same.) This is incredibly important for women - I think it comes more easily for men. If you need any reinforcement, imagine the bad guy with a knife coming after one of your kids.

All the best!

mama4x said...

Michelle, I so, so hear myself in your question to Ferfal. I was doing the panic dance in February when I learned about prepping. I have four kids under 9.... all of these comments are excellent. My .02 is
1. check craigslist for "rain barrels" or "rainwater collection" you can get them CHEAP.
2. The NRA has a gun safety program you can get for very little, or for free through the school, police station or library. It's called the Eddie Eagle program and is somewhat similar to the fire program "stop, drop, and roll." call the NRA and they will tell you what you need to know, or send you an example for free- that you can just use with your kids.
3. I started writing a blog about my take on this whole prepping thing, from a mom's point of view (click on my name it should link you). I have 3 permanent links to Ferfal's stuff because I think the USA is going down just like Argentina. But Survival Mom and Preparedness Pro are two women preppers who are *extremely* comforting, realistic, unafraid, and intelligent. Check them out too.
4. Check if there is an LDS storehouse near you. Their staple foods (wheat, rice, sugar, pasta, oats) are CHEAP and they sell Mylar and O2 absorbers CHEAP also. We instituted "tablespoon of beans" every other day until the kids learn to like them, and are having "Pantry Night" where we drink and eat from our storable foods so the kids get used to it.


Anonymous said...


As it relates to meat production, if your backyard is fenced (which it probably should be for security reasons) you can raise rabbits or chickens for practically nothing, and without anybody knowing you're doing so. Check out the book "Backyard Meat Production" (you can find it at Amazon or at your local library). Most cities allow residents to have a limited number of chickens (usually 4), so check out your city's regulations (and get them changed if they don't - talk to your elected officials about that).

Also, start a garden (or get ready to do so in the spring). You can either purchase the seeds in individual packages or get a whole can of them (a good source is

Shane and Michelle said...

Hey, had to laugh when I saw that you posted my email on your blog. I definately wasn't expecting that. I would have made my question short & sweet. At any rate, that's ok. Lot of great advice from very prepared people and I appreciate it and respect you all for it. It's late so I didn't get to read through everyone's responses. I will come back tomorrow evening. Just wanted to say thanks to all the people who replied.
Fer, thanks so much for your response. (Again I will read through it thoroughly tomorrow). When I wrote that email it was 3am and I hadn't had much sleep the previous 3 days. I'm rested and focused.