Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young Adult Prepper

Hey there Ferfal,
My name is Taylor and I am a 24 year old male living on the outskirts of a major metropolitan US city (population ~ +1 million) in the south (no snow). First of all let me just say that I purchased your book “Surviving the Economic Collapse” a little over a year ago and I learned a great deal. I took your adivce and went and participated in a high quality defensive firearms course back in January and have continued my training ever since.
I am stuck on something but first let me fill you in on my background. I just turned 24 years old back in August and recently graduated Florida State University with a degree in finance (after studying finance for 5 years, I know for a fact S is about to HTF). I just started my first job working for my father and though I do not make much ($500/week after taxes), I am happy in my occupation. I have zero debt, no student loans, very little (>$500) credit card debt, and a nice little savings that I store in physical silver. I have accumulated 4-5 months worth of food for my entire family as well as a great water filter (Katadyn Combi) good for 10,000 gallons of drinkable water. I have my rifle (AK47), handgun (Glock 26), and my shotgun (Remmington 870) and am adequately proficient with all three weapons. I have a minimum of 1000 rounds stocked for each gun plus other types of ammo that might be valuable. I have also taken measures to be prepared for turmoil by having a lot of extra necessities stored in my home.
Now here is my dilema. My current living situation is less than ideal. I am currently living with my parent’s in their suburban house. It is about 30 miles away from downtown in a pretty densely populated upper-middle class suburb. Once SHTF, these spoiled, unprepared people are going to lose it and turn into animals for sure. The house isn’t fortified in any way, has very poor outdoor lighting, and is overall pretty undefensible. I am not able to make any of the necessary changes due to the fact that my parents still can’t fathom a world without complete safety everywhere you go and will not let me alter the house.
Now here is the idea that I am toying with.
PROS: I am thinking it might be a good idea to buy a house that is in a rural area and that I can make the adjustments to it that I see are necessary. If you go out about 10-15 miles further away from the city you get into a nicer area that is more rural and is a little more secluded. You have neighbors, but you have your privacy and have much more room for fences, gardens, and animals. Housing prices in my state have fallen like a rock and even though I know the price of homes are still going to fall, things are becoming somewhat affordable. If I did purchase a home like the one I described, I would put up a nice fence, have a good lighting system, start a decent sized garden, and also get a good breed puppy that can grow up and defend the household. This would definitely not be cheap but this is something that I long for. I want a simpler, more in touch with nature, way of life. Also during a period of devaluation and calamity, not only will the currency your debt is denominated in decrease (therefore lowering the debt you owe), but there will be mass defaults to a point where the banks simply cannot take everybody’s house from them. I am sure that when the devaluation took place in Argentina, the debtors got a huge break.
CONS: This idea would require me to not only require me to use all of my savings(selling my silver) as a down payment, but it would also put me in a large amount of debt. Now this debt would not be gigantic and my parents do have a good amount of physical gold and silver stored up, I just don’t like the idea of being in debt. Its very risky. I would also have to pay for repairs, homeowners insurance, and many other bills I don’t pay now. My job is also not 100% safe. My dad’s company has fallen on hard times and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that it could close and that I could lose my job.
What do you think Ferfal? I am torn between the two decisions and time is running out.
Thank you for your help,
Hi Taylor. These days your situation is pretty typical. It used to be that at your age a guy could just go rent a place, gain independence from their parents, have some fun, meet someone, get married, then together buy a white picket fence place in the suburbs and get a kid or two to send to school and take to soccer on weekends. Now its more like losing your job, moving back to your parents, sometimes even with a family of your own. Even for people that can afford a place of their own the costs are sometimes too high, even worse when there’s kids, so grandma or grandpa have to put aside their retirement for a while and watch over the kids during the day because the money for daycare or nursery just isn’t there.
I think you have several important decisions to make.
First of all, you have to decide if the family business you’re working on currency is capable of getting through the crisis or if you’re just trying to postpone the inevitable. Usually there is a way of making it work making some hard choices, reducing costs, improving marketing, getting more clients, etc. But if you feel that’s not the case, or if you feel your father is not willing to listen to you and include you more in the family business, then I’d say its time for you to get a better paying job and one in which you have a future.
About your house where you currently live. I’d talk it over again with your old folks as adults. Instead of talking about fortifying the place which may sound a bit extreme, talk about improving the security a bit given current events. It’s the choice of words that sometimes scares families  away from taking some common sense security measures. Installing an alarm, better locks and maybe even getting a family dog will improve your security greatly. Its not that expensive and it doesn’t ruin the house’s esthetics.
Regarding getting your own place, I think it’s a good idea, especially if prices are down as I’ve seen in some places in USA, there’s some very nice opportunities out there. Again, USD 2000  wont leave you much room between mortgage and living, but while your living at your parents house you could do it, on the meantime decide between staying in the family business and seeing if you can make it work or looking somewhere else. I’d try hard to make the family business work, try getting your father to listen to you more and accept your advice and letting you take charge little by little.
Careful about going too rural. You got my book so you know what I think about being too far away from help, friends, family, resources, etc.
Take care,
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Anonymous said...


You live in a community whether its your immediate family in that home or its your neighbors immediately around you. No one person can stay up 24/7 guarding and protecting their property and assets, not to mention the required daily grind of standard chores, gardening, food prep, or jobs. You need community.

Do not spend the savings you have to branch out just for fear that you aren't fortified. Realize that your family is a better fortification and backup than any bars on the window.

hsu said...

Just a few pieces of advice for the young man.

1. Find a new job. Chances are, you'll make more money. Additionally, if your father's business is unstable, saving your salary will help out his business.

2. I wouldn't move 10-15 miles away from your family. I would move just 2-3 miles away; close enough that you could bike there on a nice day in 10 minutes. As ill prepared as they are, you'll end up worry about them too much, if you move too far.

Anonymous said...

1. Do not go into debt at moment if you can help it.
2. Closer to family is better than farther away.
3. Do not use your silver.
4. Ferfal site is great but you need to read other sites, such as: SHTF School, Jsmineset. Always good to get different perspectives.
5. Why not fortify the room you currently live in, if you cannot fortify the house.
6. Think of what you would need to fortify certain sections of the house if and when SHTF. Have materials ready and get help to fortify when the time comes, if possible.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat in your position (late 20's with wife and small child). I currently live in an apartment in a college town in an area that is faced with rising crime. I am a grad student, and my wife does not work (this is a personal choice as much as it is a reflection of the jobs available to her and the cost of child care). While my stipend is adequate (indeed generous compared to some others), money is still tight. We too have an adequate supply of whatever we might need (firearms, food storage, PM's, etc.) and are working on getting the training to use the firearms.

I think you are well prepared given your circumstances. Our long term plans are much the same as yours (find/build a nice house in a semi-rural area but with neighbors relatively close by). However, we are not actively pursuing it at the moment because we don't have the resources. As has been pointed out earlier, your budget is very limited. There is not much room for error. If you buy the house and then lose your job, get hit by a bus and can't work, etc., everything you have worked for will be gone. Your PM's are your backstop and long term savings. They should be something like an insurance policy -- there if you need them in the last extremity but not to be used otherwise.

I think it would be very foolish of you to sell everything to buy a house which you will have trouble making the mortgage and taxes on, let alone the necessary maintenance and repairs which will surely come. Part of being a homeowner is having enough of a reserve to be able to weather such things without going bankrupt. Another very important part of buying a house is having a stable job and intentions of remaining in that house for at least 5 years (and in this market/economy, probably more like 10). You don't fit those criteria (unstable job with low income plus the very real possibility you will need to move in the near future).

I think a better course of action has been outlined above (my thoughts/commentaries are below).

(1) Find a better job, preferably with your father's blessing and assistance (e.g., by asking his acquaintances, business contacts, etc.). Until you find a better job, I would suggest continuing to live with your parents to save some extra cash to better prepare yourself to move out on your own later.

(2) Work with your parents to make some common sense/inexpensive modifications to their house which will improve their overall security without breaking the bank (security film on the windows, better locks/doors, motion sensing floodlights, etc.).

(3) Work on your relationship with your parents. They are your current support system and you need to maintain and improve that. Your parents have a great deal of life experience and probably want the best for you. They have a valuable perspective on life, and you should take their advice seriously (this does not mean follow it slavishly, however!). You didn't mention whether you grew up in this neighborhood, know the neighbors, etc., but if this is the case, it's better to be in a community where you know each other and look out for each other than to be all alone.

(4) Above all, strive to be prudent and balanced in your affairs. Do *not* go to extremes as this is usually counterproductive. Don't blow all your money on guns to the exclusion of food storage (men seem to be particularly vulnerable to this). Or in your case, don't blow all your money on a house when you have no way of maintaining it or supporting a future family (assuming you are single). Likewise, debt is a very powerful, yet very dangerous tool if used improperly. When used properly, it can enable you to do things you couldn't otherwise do, but if you get into it without a solid assurance that you will be able to pay it, then you will become its slave and it will undermine your other efforts.

I hope this helps.

dc.sunsets said...

the key take-away from this blog is that life goes on. taking on big debt just before you think a financial dislocation is likely is extremely risky; lose your income stream and you get foreclosed on, losing all your money.

too many readers of this blog comment that the future is TEOTWAWKI, when in fact there is little evidence that a complete breakdown in order follows such economic collapses. Life goes on, debts are due, taxes collected, and poverty awaits those who are unable to pay.

Ferfal has written on this extensively. If you have yor guns, your water, your food, your castle with a moat and barbed wire, and A BIG MORTGAGE, and you lose your job and can't pay the bills, you will lose it all.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what kind of business your dad is in, but I'd try as he'll to make it work and branch out into more profitable areas making use of your existing customer base.

Don't take this the wrong way, but stop thinking like a $500/week employee and more like an owner which is what you are. If you already have a degree what better place to put it to work than to expand your dad's business.

With regards to moving out-- bad idea. The family is the best protection. There is strength in numbers. Even in suburbia, if the SHTF, your neighbors will come together to guard the block. Best yet, to organize a crime stoppers neighborhood watch, if you don't already have have one. That's a good place to start building a network and sorting out like minded individuals.

I think you are doing great given that younger so young.

Gallo @ the GTA

Anonymous said...

Pat yourself on the back, Taylor. You are thinking about the right stuff and that puts you ahead of 99% of our countrymen, unfortunately. You have some decisions to make but you're thinking about your options in a reasoned manner. I agree with anonymous poster number one; a house is usually indefensible by one person but family are those you can count one. Do what you can there. I'm much older but in the same spot, though married. Good luck to you.


Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with refusing debt right now, you'd be crazy to do this.

I cannot believe all of the reverse mortgage advertising (do you own your house? Well, why not get a mortgage and gain some extra $$$, everyone's doing it!)

Its really hard starting out from scratch right now, I think sticking by home would be a good idea as others said above.

John G. said...

Your silver is going to go up big time when the dollar crashes. And, living at home, you have the ability to buy a lot more as long as you have a job.

I recommend that you not buy a property. I agree with the folks above, that taking a different tack with your parents, you may be able to make invisible improvements to your parent's house.

Congratulations on being a young person with wide open eyes and ears. Too bad old folks do not have the same perceptiveness, yet.

Maldek said...

3 Facts to consider "Young adult prepper"

1) Leaving your parents will not improve their safety.

2) Leaving the family business might be a good idea in good times - if you expect SHTF it is not wise.

3) Dont try to be the "perfect prepper" - somewhat ok will do.

Anonymous said...

If you have already more than once tried to talk sense into your father and mother and they continue to believe in delusions of living in a peaceful world then you, and they, would be better off if you moved out. Doing so will allow you to prepare more for the likely dismal future instead of wasting your breathe and they will not be irritated with you lecturing them.

Living by yourself in a house or the woods for long will suck more than your current situation does. At least where you live now is at least more comfortable. Comrade Simba is a farmer in a rural county, west of the Mississippi, I think. He has written a couple of blogs and he advertised for a farm helper to go, live, and work on his farm. Maybe he is still looking. I don't know him, so caveat emptor.

Another possibility is to go and do volunteer work on a farm in an area you like. There is an organization called WWOOF, which you can join and do just that. You work six days a week and the farm provides you a place to stay and food to eat. I have not done that in America and so, again, caveat emptor.

Another possibility is to join a religious group, such as the Mormons or Amish. You'll have to judge the pros and cons of doing so yourself.