Is Bitcoin the new gold?

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I’ve always avoided giving financial advice. Not my job and just too much responsibility.

When it comes to such a thing, I just stick to what I know well which is economic collapse. It’s what I went through and it’s what I’ve researched over the years.

When it comes to an economic collapse there are a few basic points to keep in mind.

When everything is going to hell, you can count on banks screwing you to save themselves. Closed doors and a “Me speako no English” sign on it… in New York City. Frozen accounts, conversion to new currencies worth a fraction of what the original one was worth.

Precious metals provide a hedge against hyperinflation or full economic collapse. They are an established commodity over thousands of years, accepted as something that holds intrinsic value. IT doesn’t matter if it’s just a chunk of metal. In our minds, and now for thousands of years, “its worth its weight in gold”. And oil is worth its weight in oil, so are cereals, beans and so on.

And then there’s bitcoin. A complex cryptocurrency which most people don’t even fully understand what it is. The only way to understand more is to spend several hours, maybe several days reading up. What’s important to understand is that Bitcoin is a commodity. The best way to describe it would be the digital gold of the internet era.

No, its not gold, nor is it silver. The piece silver in my pocket, a 1964 Kennedy half dollar, is material, tangible, but that doesn’t mean Bitcoin isn’t valuable as well. What it lacks in tangible peace of mind it has in liquidity. Its easy to move around, access and sell all over the world. Its not controlled by anyone, no government. For Bitcoin you’ll need a Bitcoin wallet. Which one?  I’m not affiliated in any way to any of them and cant recommend a specific one. Just look online and go for the one with the best reputation.

When asked for financial advice I’ve always kept a pretty conservative position. Diversify, some cash is important, very important actually. Some money in the bank, some money in a bank in a different country, some precious metals, investing in reliable stocks, investing in good real estate. And yes, putting some money in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has been going up non stop this year. Will it stop and drop? Probably. Will it go up even more in the long run, maybe a LOT more? I think that’s very likely. While its digital nature means there’s always the risk of hacking or other tech related problems, its ability to be moved around, the market for it, easily converted to different currencies and increased acceptance are advantages worth noticing.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

Summer Jobs for Teenagers: Responsibility & Dedication Building Blocks

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Whether you consider yourself a prepper, a survivalist or are simply striving to be self-sufficient, the basic building blocks for all these are responsibility and dedication.

We teach young children these things through chores, extra-curricular activities, positive reinforcement and most importantly, by example. As children grow older, it is important to encourage them to be responsible and develop a life-long commitment to hard work.

In short, push those teenagers to get summer jobs!

Strict child-labor laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of minors in the workforce so be sure to read up on those before nudging your teen to get a job. Generally, 16 is the age required to obtain employment without special work permits.

Some Chick-fil-A restaurants hire teens as young as 14 or 15.

However, other restrictions may still apply for those under 18 or even 21 years of age such as: working in a retail establishment that sells tobacco or alcoholic products, industrial businesses that operate heavy machinery or locations that may handle hazardous materials. Visit the Department of Labor website for more information on youth labor laws and be familiar with laws specific to your state as well.


Great beginner Summer Jobs


Mowing Yards/Lawn Care

Lawn care is a great way for teens to turn summer chores into summer cash. By the teenage years, your teen may already be mowing the family lawn and have years of experience helping mom pull weeds.

Parental Considerations:

  • What type of lawns you will permit your child to mow? Are you okay with your teen mowing steep hills, large acreage, etc.?
  • Who provides equipment? Are you willing to allow your teen to tote your Lawn-Boy all over town or do you prefer they find clients who provide their own mowers?
  • What type of lawn care is not acceptable? Are you okay for your child to use weed killers, pruning equipment, etc.?

Washing Cars

Washing cars is generally a fun way to make money for the teen circuit. A small initial investment may be required to purchase items needed such as cleansers, brushes, and towels or start off with an all-inclusive beginner kit such as Armorall’s Car Cleaning Kit  and build on product as you go.

 Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Attire – Discuss the importance of being professional and how working in a bikini may not be appropriate.
  • Discuss with your teen what they should offer based on their capabilities and availability. Detailing the inside of a vehicle requires a lot more work than hosing down the exterior and should be charged accordingly.
  • Give your teen a business boost by purchasing their start up product for them or consider having them pay back half once they have a few jobs under their belt. Discuss with them the importance of setting back a little ‘working capital’ that will be needed to replace expendable supplies.

Local Farms & Greenhouses

Farms and greenhouses are always looking for extra help and cheap labor during the peak summer season and this could be a great summer job for teenagers. Some will advertise for summer help and others may pass the word along through the grapevine. Do not be afraid to mention on social media sites or make phone calls to your friends and family that your teen is interested in finding some outdoor work.

Some farms/greenhouses may have always had their own children and/or children of other family members and friends help them out, but as life gets faster, help gets harder to find. Don’t be afraid to ask the clerk at your favorite farmer’s market or plant stand if they need any summer help or know of anyone who does.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Hydration – Farming/Gardening is hard and dirty work. Be sure your teen packs plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the long, sweaty day. Consider making Frozen Neck Wraps to help stay cool in the blazing summer sun.
  • Realize the outstanding prepping potential and self-sufficiency skills this type of work brings.

Local Pool Summer Jobs for Teenagers

If your town has a pool, aquatic center or water park, then they will always need lifeguards and concession workers. Local watering holes may advertise for their summer help, but if you missed the boat, check with your local city council or village hall to be directed to the right contact to apply.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Lifeguard training and certification can be pricey and classes are few and far between. However, the inconvenience can be well worth the effort as lifeguards are often in short supply. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross to be directed to lifeguard training and certification classes near you.
  • With this training and certification, young people can help coach swim teams or give private swim lessons. These are both for-pay positions.

Babysitting

Babysitting has always been a popular job for teens and is no longer reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. During the summer months, teens can land a babysitting job taking care of younger children while mom and dad are at work.

Babysitting today is way beyond the cliché image of a teen girl chatting on the phone while the little ones destroy the house in the background. Today, it is common to find that parents want a sitter who can not only care for their child, but also provide an enriched environment that includes age-appropriate games and learning activities that keep the child engaged throughout the day.

The American Red Cross provides different levels of babysitter training and pediatric first aid to help prepare older teens and adults to provide the best child care.

Parental Considerations:

  • Clientele – Who will you allow your teen to sit for? Friends, family, neighbors or others?
  • How many children and what age(s) do you feel your teen can handle?

Dog Walking and Pet Sitting

Another oldie but goodie! Plaster a few flyers in areas common for dog walking, land a few clients, build a schedule that works for everyone and get to walking. Be sure to schedule a preliminary meeting between pooches if walking more than one dog at a time to be sure they get along to avoid potential dangers.

Vacationing families very often need a pet-sitter. This could be a viable and profitable option for older teens who can drive to their clients’ homes and are responsible enough to spend the night, if necessary, while the family is away.

Some Red Cross locations offer Pet First Aid classes, but if that’s not available, there’s a great pet first aid app for smartphones.

Parental Considerations:

  • Safety – What locations are okay for your teen to walk safely alone?
  • What breeds are forbidden and is your teen strong enough to control each dog?
  • Is your teen okay with properly handling and disposing of the doggie bags?
  • Is your teen mature and responsible enough to manage one or more pets in a household without supervision?

Local Aid Agencies

Check with government agencies such as your county Department of Job & Family Services or Community Action. Places such as these may offer junior training programs. Teens are placed with partners throughout the county for job training and experience and are paid the state minimum wage. Typical jobs through these kinds of programs may include:

  • Placement with local town or city maintenance crews mowing, weed eating, watering flower gardens, etc.
  • Working with nearby schools and their summer janitorial staff.
  • Placement with other government agency offices learning office fundamentals such as filing, answering phones, data entry, customer service, etc.

Food Service & Retail

Working in the food service or retail industry is a great way to add job experience to a teenage resume and openings are often plentiful. Fast food restaurants and pizza joints are often brimming with teenage employees and usually willing to hire those with no prior employment history.

However, the work can be downright dirty. Those entering the food service industry must be willing to clean public restrooms and greasy equipment as well as deal with numerous amounts of local patrons. Flexibility is typically a little tougher with these first-time jobs as your teen will be at the bottom of the totem pole and the establishment will have specific operating hours needing coverage.

Parental Considerations:

  • The Public – All walks of life may come in contact with your child and often times, have access to their name.
  • Is your teen mature enough to work in team-oriented environments in a professional and adult manner?

Overall Parental Considerations

  • Transportation for non-driving teens or driving teens without a vehicle:
    • Are you willing to help get them to and from work on time?
    • Will they have access to mom or dad’s car to transport themselves?
    • Are you able to help with transportation if it conflicts with your own work schedule?
  • Are you willing to accept your teen’s responsibility to work as scheduled when it comes to summer family events such as reunions, vacations and picnics?
  • Understand that many jobs are cash money such as babysitting and washing cars and therefore may not meet the minimum wage. Do not expect your teen to enter the work force with a high-paying salary but be sure they are paid a fair and honest wage for fair and honest work.
  • If your child is still too young for summer employment, pay attention now to where you see teens currently working so you have a better understanding later where to begin, and begin teaching them basic job skills at home, such as cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, making change, and telephone communication skills.

Be sure to talk about the importance of employment with your child. Make sure your teen understands that they are to behave in a mature manner and be responsible. Express the importance of being punctual, staying off devices and working hard.

Teenagers will be introduced to a new level of accountability beyond the classroom and consequences could result in loss of employment and an early black mark in ways of references for future job considerations. Discuss with them how to handle any potential conflict in the work place and to respect co-workers; including those who may have different life-styles, beliefs and personalities.

Most importantly, teach your teen how to handle their new financial gain responsibly and provide an ample amount of positive reinforcement as they embark on this new journey.

Would you like fries with that?

Save

Finance Prepping – Money Still Makes The World Go Round

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If some sort of SHTF event happens, and the world as we know it changes, money may quickly become a non-issue. But until that happens, our world still revolves around it. Money. So having your finances in order–and working for you–is important. Finance prepping is just as important as water and food prepping.

Finance Prepping Step 1 – Kill Your Debt

Debt is evil twice. First because you have to pay interest on money that you have borrowed. Second is that you owe this money to someone else. Someone (or some company) has something that they can hold over you. It doesn’t matter if the debt is credit cards, mortgage company, the bank, or your brother-in-law. Any way you look at it, you will spend time worrying over the regular payments that you have to pay to “get your life back.” Stress will kill you slowly. Debt causes stress.

The best resource that I have ever found to explain and teach you how to kill your debt is a book called The Total Money Makeover by David Ramsey. He has a seven step list that he calls the Baby Steps to eliminating your debt.

When you finish paying off your debt, every dollar you earn and save is yours!

Finance Prepping Step 2 – Create a Budget

No one likes this step. People see it as a pain in the ass, and more often than not they don’t do it. But if you don’t plan how you spend your money, you tend to spend more money than needed on items that you don’t need.

Your budget doesn’t have to be super detailed. When people over complicate this process they get discouraged and quit. Dave Ramsey has a simple article and some nice worksheets for this.

Be the boss. Tell your money what to do!!

Finance Prepping Step 3 – Prepper Minimalism

What is minimalism? According to TheMinimalists.com:

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important.

I know what you’re thinking. Prepping and minimalism just don’t fit together. How in the world can you stockpile items for an emergency while at the same time getting rid of things so that you have less to store.

But it does fit. If you eliminate items in your life that are not needed, you have room for items that are needed. Make a list of all of your possessions that you need to get rid of. Then, make a list of all of the things that you would like to have in place of them. Make big decisions.

For example:

  • How much food and water do you need to store? What water containers and food preservation methods are best for your plans?
  • Do you really need to own ten pistols in six different calibers? Why not reduce the number to two pistols in a single caliber? You have to store ammo for each pistol too.
  • Minimize duplicate items. Buy higher quality items instead of higher number items. For example, instead of a few $20 hardware store axes. But a really nice high end axe.

Finance Prepping Step 4 – Multiple Streams of Income

When someone refers to multiple streams of income, that doesn’t usually mean that both the husband and a wife in a family are working jobs for income. It is about having an additional source of income besides a full-time job. This is a good way to bring in a little extra money and pay down debt faster.

How to create multiple streams of income? Maybe you could:

  • Mow lawns for your neighbors
  • Handyman services
  • Make a product using woodworking or soap making
  • Photography or blogging
  • Train someone in a skill that you are good at. Maybe an instrument, shooting skills, or computers skills.

The idea is to have a money making purpose for your spare time.

If you are homesteading I highly recommend the book How to Make Money Homesteading. Well written and great information.

Finance Prepping Step 5 – Prepper Passive Income

What is Passive Income? According to Wikipedia:

Passive income is income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it.

The idea is to work really hard upfront on something that will slowly pay you over time forever.

Some passive income involves an investment of your time like:

  • Writing an ebook that you can sell on Amazon.
  • Selling your personal photography images on iStockPhoto or ShutterStock.
  • If you are a programmer, you can build a smartphone app. Even if you are not a programmer, you can have a really good idea for one and pay someone to build it for you.
  • Develop an online course for Udemy.

Some passive income involves investing your money:

  • Rental properties
  • AirBnB properties
  • Amazon affiliate web sites

But I think the best long term passive income solution is Dividend Stocks. Stocks are kind of a scary subject for most people. But this isn’t the same.

At one time I had a little extra money that came from a 401k that I rolled over from a past employer. So I decided for a year I would play with buying and selling stocks. I did a lot of trading. There are several free stock picker web sites on the Internet that I used to try to and buy stocks that would make a lot of money quickly. I had some really big success and some really bad failures. A year later I basically had the same amount of money that I started out with.

Then I heard an NPR story about a guy who calls himself Mr. Money Mustache (MMM). His slogan on his web site is Financial Freedom Through Badassity. Made me laugh out loud when they introduced him. But basically his retirement plan was to live small and invest as much as he possibly could into stocks/mutual funds that pay quarterly dividends. He buys index funds (mostly one called Vanguard), that sends him a check every quarter for owning their stock. He retired in his mid thirties with his wife and family.

This process wasn’t invented by MMM, it has been around as long as the stock market has been open. There are a lot of good books and sites out there that go into more detail about the process. I link to many of them below. But really it is just about getting a investment account and buying stocks that pay regular dividends. At first you have them reinvest in themselves until you accumulate enough for a nice income. Then you use it as an income for the rest of your life. What is nice is that with the right stocks they will never go away and it will just increase.

I know the next question that popped in your head is “how do I know what the right stock are?” But this is pretty easy too. The above mentioned Vanguard mutual fund is great. It does require a $3000 minimum buy in. But worth it. After that you can buy what is called Dividend Aristocrats.

According to Wikipedia:

S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats. The Dividend Aristocrats are S&P 500 constituents that have increased their dividend payouts for 25 consecutive years. The companies that make up the Dividend Aristocrats span ten different business sectors with both growth and value holdings.

Your dividend investing strategy is simple, all you have to do is buy these stocks and sit on them. Don’t worry about them going up and down in price. Just keep buying them and you will get a check every quarter. This is financial security for you and for your kids.

Recommended Reading About Finance Prepping

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Podcast #148: You Need A Budget

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June 16th, 2017: In today’s show I discuss the importance of a working budget for your home or homestead.   Without a real good working budget, you really have no solid footing and will always be guessing and getting further in the hole. If you like Mountain Woman Radio you can also Subscribe to me on […]

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Must watch show in Fox News: Swamp Watch

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There’s a new program on Fox News called Swamp Watch. I’m surprised they are even running a show like this. Lets see how long it stays on the air.

It will be interesting to see them keep up with who’s who and what kind of people end up in positions of power, and if the swamp is indeed being drained.

Do yourself a favour and watch this clip, its just 4 minutes. I know its politics/economy and folks don’t find it very sexy, but it explains well how politics work, in America and the rest of the world.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Purchasing Your First Homestead

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Buying your first homestead is an exciting time in your life. The excitement can sometimes mean not being thorough and acting upon impulse just to have a place of your own.

It is important to take your time and make sure that you get the place you desire, that you will live at for years to come. When deciding to purchase your first homestead, here is a checklist of things to consider.

Things to Consider when Moving Into Your First Homestead:

1. What Your Needs REALLY Are

My husband and I are currently on the quest to purchase our first homestead. We have been on this quest for over a year. The thing is, we know what we really need.

We need acreage. Enough so that he can have a large shop, plus the girls and I want a “she shed” that will double as a cabin when our relatives come to stay. Not to mention next to our “she shed” will be a place for our animals and our garden.

We also desire an outdoor kitchen and a little bit more land to just have.

That being said, we have some things that are negotiable. Husband wants a lot of trees so out homestead will not be as visible; however, much of rural Texas still has dirt roads. This means we could be very remote on an acreage with no large trees yet still be remote enough no one will know we are there.

Knowing that we desire all of this means that the beautiful, large, not-yet-finished house on one acre is not going to work. It doesn’t matter how pretty the house is, it is not feasible for our needs.

Another consideration that my husband and I have discussed, is the inability to go to the grocery store all the time. Where we live right now puts us nearby four Walmarts- all within ten miles of the house. How are we going to handle not being able to run to the store when we move away?

I will say, that is something I am actually looking forward to.

Likewise, it is important that you sit down and take inventory of absolute musts and things that are a bit more negotiable. If the house is not the one, don’t worry- the one will come.

2. Finances

When talking about finances, you need to look at your home purchase in two different manners: incoming and outgoing.

Incoming is questioning what it will do to the finances you have coming in. Do you currently work in the city? If you are a farmer and attend the local farmer’s markets, how far away is the nearest one?

Essentially, how far away is the home from your work or how do you bring money into the home? Think about the expense on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Outgoing is how much you plan to spend on the homestead we just talked about in step one.

Part of why we have not found the home we desire is because our money is not in alignment. We have saved enough to purchase a house outright; however, that house is probably not going to be the house we desire for our homestead. Another year and we will be better off.

If you plan to take out a loan, I recommend finding out from your mortgage broker how much you can get approved for and make sure that it is in your budget as well.

For many loans, there is a possibility that they will approve you for more than you need. If that is the case, I recommend sitting down and looking at your finances as well as looking at your list of needs and negotiables.

You might also consider a home that needs some fixing. For example, the yellow house I mentioned above went into foreclosure while the original owners were building it. The house costs $64,000 and needs about $40,000 to finish it out (there is no kitchen, no appliances in the bathrooms, etc). Once done, the house that cost $100,000 would easily be worth $300,000.

But that means having another chunk of cash available to throw towards the house.

And if you’re interested in how much a tiny house costs, you have come to the right place!

I guess what I am trying to say here is don’t get yourself into so much debt that you end up over your head. Be thoughtful about your finances on such an important decision!

3. Your Neighbors

Your neighbors don’t have to be your best friends but you need to get to know them for a start. Living rurally, this becomes important and I can give you a great example.

A friend of mine lives on a 1,500-acre ranch. Obviously, this means his neighbors are several miles down the road. Yet they work together sometimes, on one rancher’s “day off” they will help their neighbor and vice versa.

Today the friend was at the back of the acreage working on bailing hay. His neighbor called and said that someone in a red vehicle drove into their driveway and stole their dog. My friend told their neighbor to stay on the car. Neighbor followed, while my friend got in his car and drove over 100 mph, finally catching up to their neighbor.

Thankfully, the dog was rescued and the thief went to jail. But my friend wouldn’t have known had he not been at least cordial to his neighbors!

Going back on the story a bit though- if you are moving from one city to another, please note that sometimes it takes a while to be trusted.

Many small areas have families who have lived in that area several generations and a newcomer is a bit scary to them. Just take a deep breath and put your best foot forward. They are sure to love you!

4. Zoning Restrictions or HOAs

The very first placed that we looked at was five wooded acres in a lake front community. We would have the five acres plus a piece of land right off the lake that was below flood range so we could not put a home on the site. It was amazing.

Although the real estate agent told us that having a beehive would not be a problem because we’d be so far into the acerage no one would notice, there were other concerns. For example, my husband would not be able to shoot his guns.

Why were there restrictions such as this? Because the new development was a part of a homeowners association, or HOA.

It’s important to find these things out before purchasing a home because there are things that you will want to do on your property or to your property.

Even without an HOA, it’s possible for there to be zoning restrictions that would prohibit you from being able to add more outbuildings or something of this sort.

Do your research and ask around before committing to your first homestead.

5. Roads and Phone Service

While for many, not having internet or cable is okay with them.

But what about phone service? Despite the fact that we live in the state with the most growth (four of the top ten fastest growing cities in the US belong to Texas), many rural roads between Dallas and Waco have no phone service.

We both make sure to look at our phones while we are house hunting.

Roads might seem like they should be a non-issue but consider if you only have one way in and out and a bad storm blows trees over. You are now stuck at home for what could be several days.

Many of us are prepared for this but it is still a very nerve racking issue, especially if there is no service at your home.

 ! Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE.

 

Source : morningchores.com

 

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Don’t Move to These States; They’re in Serious Financial Trouble

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Maybe you’re looking for a fresh start. Or perhaps you’re looking to find a different job, or you’re trying to get out of the city. Whatever the case may be, when you’re looking for a new place to live there’s a lot to consider. And if you’re thinking of crossing state lines to find a new home, there’s one vitally important detail that you need to think about and research.

Most people don’t consider this, but you should really look into the financial stability of any state that you’re thinking about moving to. If worse comes to worse, and the economy collapses, you want to make sure that the state you live in is fiscally responsible. States that have high debts and low credit ratings are living on the edge. Any major economic event could push them into bankruptcy.

That means pensions could go unfunded. Public services like law enforcement and firefighting would be understaffed. The infrastructure of the state would crumble, and public education would be decimated. Taxes would likely be increased, which would only exacerbate the financial problems of the state because businesses would leave, leading to more unemployment and a smaller tax base. Obviously, all of these factors could contribute to the risk of civil unrest.

In other words, any financial calamity that occurs at the national level, would be magnified at the state level.  The economy of these states would fall into a tailspin, which would make life for the average person exceedingly difficult.

So which states should you avoid? There are three factors you should look out for. There’s the amount of debt as a percentage of the state’s GDP, the amount of debt per person (debt per capita), and the state’s current credit rating.

The 10 states with the worst debt to GDP ratios are:

  • New York-22.71%
  • South Carolina-21.31%
  • Rhode Island-19.40%
  • Washington-18.83%
  • Florida-18.65%
  • Kentucky-18.50%
  • Illinois-18.45%
  • Connecticut-17.52%
  • California-17.18%
  • Pennsylvania-17.17%

The 10 states with the most debt per person are:

  • Massachusetts-$11,337.63
  • Connecticut-$9,297.33
  • Rhode Island-$8,919.27
  • Alaska-$8,516.41
  • New Jersey-$7,517.15
  • New York-$7,040.97
  • Hawaii-$6,194.64
  • New Hampshire-$6,152.00
  • Delaware-$5,962.86
  • Vermont-$5,259.69

And perhaps the most important factor is the credit rating of any given state. This gives you a good idea of how investors think a state will fare financially in the future, as opposed to a state’s current financial woes. According to credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s, as of last year the states with the five worst credit ratings are:

  • Illinois-BBB
  • New Jersey-A
  • Kentucky-A+
  • California-AA-
  • Connecticut-AA-

Though those ratings don’t look too bad, it’s important to keep in mind that those states have had sub-par credit ratings for a long time. There’s no indication that they’re going to get their act together any time soon, because they’ve been teetering on the edge for years. When the next wave of the economic collapse hits, these states (along with states that topped the first two lists, such as New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Connecticut) are going to be the first to feel the pain.

Think of it like this. If a storm arrived and threatened to flood a community, the homes that were built in low-lying areas are going to be underwater first. These states are like the houses near the river. So if you’re planning to move, look into the financial stability every state you’re considering, and seek higher ground.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Careful with Inflation folks…

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Janet Yellen, chair of US Federal Reserve, announced interest raise rise from 0.75% to 1% on Wednesday.

US Federal Reserve raises interest rates to 1% in bid to hold off inflation

Fed chair says US economy in strong health as she announces third rate rise since 2008 and the first of several expected this year

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/15/us-federal-reserve-raises-interest-rates-to-1

Inflation is the worst kind of robbery, the one that hits the hardest to those that have the least. Like an inverted Robin Hood, inflation steals from millions of poor to feed billions into a handful of elite superrich. Stealing from anyone, rich or poor, is wrong from an ethical point of view, but it’s especially wrong when done by the most powerful targeting the poorest and most vulnerable people. Inflation kills, people. Inflation ruins lives. A little inflation hurts you a little, a lot of it will destroy you, but don’t ever let anyone convince you that there’s such a thing as “good” inflation.

Stay vigilant. Check those prices, look out for “shrinkflation”. Its already been going on for some time now.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Stocks During the Economic Collapse of Argentina?

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Dear Ferfal,

I think I’ve read every blog post you’ve ever written. Long time fan. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom with everyone.

The Dow Jones just hit 20,000! I have a question about what the stock market is like when TSHTF. Like most Americans, I “own” stocks through my retirement plan. If inflation goes really high, is a stock like a gold ring that doesn’t have value until you sell it (and therefore increases with inflation), or will stocks kind of stay the same price, and therefore lose tremendous value? What happened in Argentina?

And I want to say that you have actually changed my life. I live in a very safe place, the kind of place where people still can leave their front door unlocked. Which I sometimes do when I go next door (on the other side of the porch), but I’ve made it a habit to always lock the door behind me when I come inside. If I come home and someone is inside, I can run away. But nobody’s coming in when I’m home unless I let them in (not too many ways out except the front door). Anyway, I think it’s a good habit, and I think I’m better prepared for what’s coming thanks to you.

Best Wishes,

-Adam

Hello Adam,

Thanks for being a long time reader. I’m glad to know I helped make your life a bit safer! These are all little things we do, habits and strategies that start building up as our mindset changes.

I see survivalism, at least the practical version of it that I call modern survivalism, as a lifestyle in which practical decisions are made keeping in mind the best possible outcome in a worst case scenario. Sounds paranoid but it’s not. If doing one thing instead of another improves my odds and quality of life (better, safer, more peace of mind) then it is the one that provides the most strategic advantages from a tactical point of view. From the items in your EDC, the clothes you wear, the car you drive and the place where you live.

Regarding the stock market in Argentina during the crisis, here yet again we see that common assumptions and what actually ends up happening during an economic collapse have little in common.

Of course, the stock market has collapsed in the past and such a possibility is something to keep in mind, but we must remember than these situations are pretty complex, both in causes and effect. It is crucial to fully understand the former to correctly predict the latter.

Here is where we must ask ourselves, what caused the collapse in the first place? In the case of Argentina it was a bank run followed by a devaluation. The knowledge of an impending devaluation and rumours of accounts being frozen obviously triggered such bank run. If the same had happened for example with stocks, rumours of a bubble, followed by sharp sales and loss of value the story would have been different. The chart below reflects the Merval, the most important index of the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.

We clearly see a big drop as expected at the time of the economic collapse in December 2001, but then as time goes by it starts going up, even as the Peso goes down, why? Well, the price is now in Pesos no longer pegged to the dollar, but even more important is that stocks represented something physical to own, a part of a company (even a struggling one!). Even if people suffered it often occurred that companies did well eventually. The common saying in Argentina years after the crisis about “its great that the economy is doing much better. Too bad we don’t get to see any of it” reflects just that. With a 25% inflation per year anything that held its value was better than the Peso. Real estate, US Dollars and yes also stocks.

I would say that looking at it from a historical perspective, good time-proven stocks tend to do well on the long run. High risk ones are more of a question mark. It sure isn’t a chunk of gold or silver in your hand, but the chances of it being worth only the paper they are printed on and the company going belly up isnt as high if you invest wisely. As always, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket and so on.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Bank Payments and Having Children when SHTF

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Image result for greece financial crisis

Hi ferfal my name is Aris from Greece I am 31 years married no children yet. I had send you before an e mail many years before but didnt get an answer its ok I had your book for guidance hope you are ok.

I know you are very busy so I’ll make it quick.

I have a question need your advice .

What did you do in Argentina with banks? my father has a  house loan and till now we pay it  many people here dont paid the banks because they waiting bankrupsy and to come drachma alredy the banks here make some cut to the loans if someone  has 10000 euro loan and can afford to pay the say pay us 5000 euro cash and we are ok.

Many clever guys took advance of this so me and my father feel like suckers that we struggle  to be ok with our payments.

questions

1 shall i stop paying the bank and keep the money in offshore or as we say in the matress waiting?2 keep paying ?

Thanks.

Also a personal  question my wife and I want to make a child start a family but situation here is very bad economical shall I wait for better days or to start having children, how was in Argetina the birth  rate after the economic collapse?

I try to buy the new book of you but don’t have money right now waiting the summer for work. I love my country and I don’t want to leave.

Thanks for all the advices from the first book sorry for my english!!!

-Aris

Hello Aris,

I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your previous email. Some days it piles up and if the following day I also get a bunch its sometimes hard to keep up. Sometimes they end up filtered as spam for whatever reason.

Regarding your first question. What you certainly DON’T want to do is to lose your house to the bank. You need an advisor to go over your contract and make sure that whatever it is that you do, you do not endanger that.  Having said that, yes, many times you pay every month and then comes this guy that hasn’t paid a cent all year and gets a bigger discount than you. Banks are all about making money, not being fair, let alone being your friend. If they can charge you 2x they will, and if they believe they can only get 1x out of another person then they will go for that. In Argentina its common practice to pile up property municipal fees and wait for some payment scheme that offers a bigger discount to debtors. In that case yes, the person that paid in time feels like a sucker. After making sure you are not endangering possession (don’t know how this works in Greece) maybe you can save up that money in an offshore account. If you have to make the payment you still have the money, if eventually a better deal can be made and save money then you can try that too.

As for your question regarding children my advice is to go for it. I had my first boy right after the  big collapse of 2001. It wasn’t easy, as you say money was tight, but it was worth every second and I’m glad we had him back then rather than wait. As I explained in my previous post, you have to live today, not plan to live 5 years from now and this is especially true with having kids. Have them young, enjoy them. In Argentina birth rates went up soon after the crisis. This is pretty common, for people to invest more in family when times are tough.

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Toblerone: Before and After Brexit

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This is priceless.

Its amazing that UK went Venezuela in their attempt to control inflation.

The government clearly pressured for Toblerone to be sold at the same price in spite of 30% inflation. They demanded that they didn’t make the packaging any smaller and kept the same price.

So how’s the Toblerone now sold in UK?

This is the result.

Toblerone 2020?

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

UK no longer a great place to live

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Message:

Hi Fernando, I have been reading your blog and books for quite some time now. They have been a great source of information and have helped me to take a different view on many important issues. Thanks for your insight into your experiences. This is what has prompted me to contact you today. From reading both your books I have started to see some worrying trends here in Scotland (UK) where I currently live.

Despite what the media say we are seeing a sharp rise in the price of essentials like food, fuel, clothing and petrol. There are a lot of people out of work and there are hardly any jobs, those who do have jobs are having things like sick leave changed to being unpaid from paid, and there are much less staff to do more work and for longer hours with no extra pay. The media (mainstream) are being censored more now than ever. We are one of the most watched countries in the world yet we are told we are still at imminent danger of a terrorist attack. Our children are being taught terror drills in school. We are now at a point where if you speak your mind too much your sanity is questioned and you are placed in a mental health facility for treatment. This is especially true if you happen to be questioning government, police, courts etc. Our wages continue to stay at the rate they have been for years and yet everything we rely on continues to rise. Banks have made it near impossible to get a mortgage for the average person, and there seems to be more and more security to take out your cash. The other thing I’ve noticed is shortages of items like baby milk. The media claim this is because people are buying bulk to send to China, we are now limited to buying only 2 cans at a time.

Having read your books there seems to be some similarities here. The news this morning claims it’s set to get worse as fuel is to go up another 5p per litre by the end of this month and food and clothing are to increase in price again. Also things we used to get on the NHS at our GPS etc are now no longer available for example I called for an appointment for a general health check after having a baby 6 weeks ago, they told me that service no longer exists due to cutbacks. My friend was recently declined by GP to check blood pressure (he has heart issues) they told him they no longer offer that service its too costly to keep checking everyone. Do you think the people in Scotland and the rest of the UK could be facing financial collapse?. What advice would you give me at this time?. What are the best things I cando at this moment to help myself and my family? (I have 5 young children). Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Ashley

.

Hello Ashley,

Thanks for your email. I’m sorry to hear about the ongoing situation in UK. I do know it’s pretty complicated and in all honesty its about to get worse. There’s just no other way. If there’s one thing I know it’s the calamities high inflation brings with it. If your currency drops 10%, 20% or more… there’s just no way around it, the standard of living for most of the population will drop accordingly. More middle class will become poor and those that were already struggling will fare significantly worse.

I was just working on an article regarding advice for post Brexit UK. My books (“The Modern Survival Manual” and “Bugging Out and Relocating”) have information which will come in handy no doubt, keeping in mind the different context there are still similarities as you have noticed. You are already seeing some similarities like the cuts of spending and therefore worse healthcare, inflation, “new and improved” items and products getting smaller while going up in price and the media covering it all up.

For now let me just say this. Yes, I think UK will go through some very complicated times to say the least, as you are already noticing. I’ll try finishing the article and posting it tomorrow, with some advice for you and other readers living there.

Kind regards,

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

List of Prices during the Aztec Empire

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I was discussing in a forum recently about the value of precious metals during precolonial times.

As you probably know, Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency. By today’s definition of currency, it wasn’t so much an actual currency as it was a valued consumable good. Still, it is true that it was used to trade for goods and services. The list of prices in cocoa beans makes it clear that even then, gold was still pretty valuable and expensive within its economy, with half a kilo of gold only being beaten by selling ones own children.

A 1545 list of commodity prices in Tlaxcala gives an idea of the purchasing value of cacao:

1 good turkey hen=100 cacao beans

1 turkey egg=3 cacao beans

1 fully ripe avocado=1 cacao bean

large strip of pine bark for kindling = 5 cacao beans

1 large tomato=1 cacao bean

pumpkin = 4 beans

5 long narrow green chiles = 1 cacao bean

small rabbit = 30 cacao beans

0.62kg gold statue = 250 beans

ones own child sells for about 600 cacao beans.

“ordinary” person’s yearly standard of living=4800 cacao beans

Quachtli (large white cotton cloaks)=60-240 cacao beans depending on quality/size.

Quachtli (cotton cloaks) where used as currency as well, used to pay for more expensive items along with copper axe-blades, or quills full of gold dust while cocoa beans were ‘the every day small change’.

1 x dugout canoe = 1 x quachtli

100 sheets of paper = 1 x quachtli

1 x gold lip plug = 25 x quachtli

1 x warrior’s costume and shield = about 64 x quachtli

1 x feather cloak = 100 x quachtli

1 x string of jade beads = 600 x quachtli

Cocoa beans where even counterfeited, like todays currency, making fake cocoa beans with wax, dirt and other beans.

Sources:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread574535/pg1

http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/maya/chocolate/beanz-meanz-money

There’s just no way around it. If anyone wants to own gold and silver, you either pay dearly for it or go find it, mine it and smelt it. All of this requires considerable labour, thus the status of scarce and precious.

2016 American Silver Eagle (1 oz) Five Coins Brilliant Uncirculated

2016 American Silver Eagle (1 oz) Five Coins Brilliant Uncirculated
If you’re just getting started gold and silver should be the least of your concerns. The basic gear and supplies mentioned here often. A Glock, a good rifle, emergency supplies and a respectable stockpile of food and water should be your main concern. In terms of wealth a stash of cash comes before precious metals too. But once that’s covered, if you want insurance against inflation or you just want a proven form a wealth storage, PM is worth considering.

Take care folks,

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Economic Tweaks: Changing Our Behavior on the Spiral Downward!

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spiral

I’ve been waiting for an economic collapse since I started prepping.  In fact, the economy was my main concern when I started my preparedness journey.  You can even see this focus when I started Prepper Website.  The first article I linked to was one from SHTF Plan called, “How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse.”  I’m still waiting!

Every year, every financial quarter brings new warnings.  Many preppers are waiting for the hammer to drop, but some are starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.  SHTF should have happened so many times by now, it isn’t even funny.

The problem that we might have is that we are looking for ONE BIG EVENT to cause the house of cards to come tumbling down.  I’m starting to believe more and more in what Jack Spirko said years ago, that we are going to experience a slow economic spiral downward.

If you look back at your finances over the last few years, haven’t you felt a little bit more of a pinch?  Things are more expensive.  Your money doesn’t buy as much.  You’re not putting away as much!  Things aren’t SHTF, but every year we lose a little.  One day we’ll wake up and realize we are smack dab in the middle of the SHTF scenario we were looking for on the horizon!

Start Adjusting Now!

One of the best things we can do is to start prepping now to stem off the erosion to our finances.  It’s simple, we need to adjust what goes out and start making better decisions.

There have been many articles written on this topic already.  So, I don’t want to rehash all that here.  But I do want to point out a few helpful things and then focus on the main purpose of this article.

Smart Financial Moves

  1. Budget – If you don’t tell your money what to do, it will do what it wants.  Just like you need a preparedness plan or a bug out plan, you need a money plan.  A budget is a money plan!
  2. Cut back on Services – You don’t need all the cable channels available to man!  You might not need the big cell phone plan you have!  I recently called my insurance company and saved a nice chunk on my auto insurance.  Take a little bit of time and see what you can get rid of.
  3. When you buy something, purchase a quality item so you don’t keep re-purchasing junk!
  4. Pay everything with cash!  Not using credit cards should be a no brainer!
  5. DIY – Learn how to fix things yourself!

 

DIY – Skills that Are Needed in Our Future Economy

I want to devote the rest of the article to the need for learning and knowing how to fix things. We have become so accustomed to just throwing away things that can be fixed for running to the store and buying that new item out of convenience.  But in our spiraling down economy, we might not have the luxury to just buy something out of convenience.  And usually, most things can be fixed for a fraction of what the item might cost new.

There is also the need to learn how to repair or replace things ourselves. For example, recently I replaced the toilet in the boys restroom.  It was a nasty, dirty job.  I had to run to Home Depot a few times to get the right part, but it saved me the cost of scheduling a plumber to replace it for me.  What would that have cost me?  I don’t know.  But I saved that money, plus felt good doing it myself.

I also saved a little $$$ when I changed out the battery in my wife’s tablet.  This one was a little bit more technical and well…I had to be real careful because I have fat fingers and I was dealing with some small wires.  But I did it!  All it cost me was the battery from Amazon!

And recently, I changed out the garbage disposal.  This is the one that had me really thinking about the money I was saving by doing these small repairs myself.  I didn’t detail every step, but I did take some pics.

IMG_20160820_132449

We’ve lived in this house going on 11 years.  I’m pretty sure this is the original garbage disposal.  You can see the rust in the screws and around the reset button.  This sucker was leaking from places it wasn’t supposed to!

IMG_20160820_144251

It was a messy job.  Old putty and gunk were coming off and getting everywhere!

IMG_20160820_144255

These pictures don’t let you “appreciate” the nasty gunk on the collar.

IMG_20160820_145207

The job would have taken 1/2 the time if I didn’t have to replace the collar.  The old garbage disposal didn’t have a quick connect!

IMG_20160820_152639

Give it up for the amateur repair man! 😉

How Am I Learning How to Do This Stuff?

How does one know how to fix things?  You learn!  Everyone has to learn at some point!  And today, we have great resources available to us on the internet.  Before I attempted the repairs I listed above, or others for that matter, I checked Youtube.  That’s right!  I sit down in front of my computer and pull up a few videos on the subject.  In the case of my wife’s tablet, I sat in front of my laptop and watched the video as I mimicked the repair in real time.

To change out the garbage disposal, I watched these two videos below first.

 

 

In the first video, the guy doesn’t punch out the dishwasher drain.  I realized that important piece of advice by reading the comments.  You can learn just as much from the comments when you watch a video!

The Other Missing Piece

One of the other reasons people don’t DIY repair is because they don’t have tools.  Tools are tangibles that you can hold on to.  If you purchase a quality tool, it will last forever!  If you don’t have a good set of tools, it would be a good idea to start adding and building a good set.  You can even find good deals at garage sales and some pawn shops.  If the SHTF, tools will be valuable!

Other Resources

There are a few other resources that you might want to consider if you are choosing to start DIY repairs to save money.   These resources are DIY books that have a proven record of good reviews and they are still in print!

Final Thoughts – Start Now, Get Some Experience!

Taking the time now, when you might have a little financial wiggle room, is the time to start learning how to fix and repair things on your own.  By getting a few projects under your belt, you will build confidence and feel comfortable tackling bigger projects.  You never know what you might be called on to repair in the future!

Peace,
Todd

The Men who Crashed the World

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Folks, you probably saw this video before but if not its highly recommended.

Pay particular attention to minute 12 of the video, explaining the competition between NY and London. This actually explains well, years before it actually went down, why Brexit took place: So that the “city” can escape the EU regulators.

Also, on minute 27:20. I find it interesting how events played out in relation to Europe-USA: It wasn’t that Europe went down because USA did, Europe was actually the canary in the mine. I believe that to be true today as well.

Make time to watch this other clip too. Its very informative, explains the scam that is the current economic system. Its fun too. Maybe something teenagers would watch while learning very important information regarding how the world works.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

British Pound beats Argentine Peso for Worst currency of 2016

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maxresdefault

Never in a millions years would I have thought I would end up writing that headline one day but there it is.

The British pound has beaten Argentina’s peso to a title nobody wants: the world’s worst performing currency.

Yes, The British Pound is the worst performing currency for 2016, doing worse so far this year than any other major currency. That means it’s even worse than Argentina’s peso, which so far this year is down 11.7% against the dollar. Since voting to leave the European Union the pound has plunged 14% against the U.S. dollar. It’s down about 12% since the start of the year, and is trading at its lowest level since 1985.

If this doesn’t make your spider sense tingle I don’t know what will. People in developed countries just do not understand what it means for a currency to devaluate 5% ,  let alone 10 or 15%. I don’t blame them. It just isnt that common in 1st world countries. I on the other hand know exactly what it means.

There’s no free ride folks. This has devastating consequences. Its not a matter of if, the devaluation already happened and people will pay for it. They will pay it at the grocery store, older people will pay it with their pensions. For each point of devaluation, a proportional number of middle class people fall into poverty.

For those that are about to learn a lot of this the hard way, get my book  “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” so as to minimize the blow as much as possible and get ready for what’s coming.

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

The Off-Grid Benefits Of Offshore Banking

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Off-Grid Life In a $4,500 Converted School Bus

Most financial advice tells you how to make money, but it’s rare to hear expert advice on how to protect and keep your money safe.

For example, what if someone sued you following an automobile accident – and cleaned out all of your assets?

It doesn’t have to be that way, and on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio, we learn how placing your money in an account outside of the United States can protect you from financial ruin.

Our guest is Joel Nagel, the founder of the international law firm Nagel & Associates, who also serves as Belize’s ambassador to Austria and Belize’s permanent representative to its United Nations offices in Vienna.

Nagel tells hosts Bill Heid and Brian Brawdy how things like offshore banking, asset protection and international trusts aren’t simply for the wealthy – but for the middle class, too.

Nagel also tells us:

  • Why he believes that more financial regulation – and not less – is in America’s future.
  • How you can minimize your taxes by moving money outside the U.S.
  • What he believes about investing in gold and other precious metals.
  • Which countries, worldwide, are the best to move to for U.S. citizens.

Further, Nagel – who is hosting a September conference on global asset protection and investment — gives us the pros and cons of dual citizenship and the renouncing of American citizenship.

If you’re concerned about the future of the economy and your family’s finances, then this is one show you don’t want to miss!

My thoughts on Dave Ramsey

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Ferfal,

Good Afternoon what are your thoughts on Dave Ramsey’s plan for

getting out of debt as a preparation for Economic problems? Are you

familiar with it? I’ve never heard you mention him, albeit you

certainly talk about having cash saved up. I think if everyone had

their debt paid off the extra income would certainly help absorb some

inflation. Give options anyway.

-A

.

I very much like Dave Ramsey and recommend his book “The Total Money Makeover”. I like how he recommends staying out of debt, having a tight budget and living below your means. His advice regarding not buying new cars or taking leases is spot on. Buy your car cash. If you can’t, you certainly shouldn’t go into debt for it.

The only point I don’t agree with him is gold.

Dave calls gold a “lousy” investment and mentions the poor returns compared to other investments. That much is true, gold is a lousy investment but that’s because gold isn’t an investment at all. Gold is a commodity. Investments generate money for you, think interests or a property you put up for rent. Buying and selling gold won’t make you much money. You’re more likely to lose some given premiums and shipping. But for an economic collapse? Oh yes, that’s different. When something terrible happens and the dollar, Euro or whatever fiat currency starts devaluating at double digit rate per week, gold will hold its own and then some. In reality it’s just keeping its true value, plus the higher than normal premium due to market interest as an economic shelter.

At one point Dave says that a pair of blue jeans or a tank of gas are “very valuable”, but not gold coins and that canned soup “would have been a better hedged against a failed economy”. As someone that actually went through an economic collapse and has studied failed economies elsewhere around the world for years, I can tell you this just isn’t true. I’ve haggled and bought two pairs of very nice jeans at a black market in Buenos Aires for a fraction of the cost of a similar quality pair in USA or Europe. After the collapse, the business of buying and selling gold went up 500% in Argentina. Gold became so valuable it became a premium target for pickpockets and burglars, so much that its still just impossible to go around town with any visible gold jewellery.

Gold is not an investment. It is a commodity considered valuable throughout history, which goes up and down in price but overall remains a globally recognized form of wealth.

Besides, as someone that dealt with an economic collapse first hand I can assure you is that you can’t grab any other asset or investment, throw it in your pocket and make a run for the airport while the country falls apart around you.

Then again, this is why you take advice regarding economic collapse from me rather than Dave Ramsey! 😉

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Life Happens: How to Prep Again When You’ve Lost Everything

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When you've lost it all, here's how to begin prepping from scratch.

I remember the night so clearly. It was the end of an emotionally exhausting day. My husband and I were lying in bed, holding hands, feeling like it was the only thing we had to hold on to. He sighed and said, “The life that I am living doesn’t seem like mine. Everything we are going through seems like something that happens to someone else, not us.” I could not argue with him, he was right. We were watching much of our life around us crumble and there was not much we could do to prevent it. We had to wait until the crumbling stopped and we could re-build.

Our family was experiencing hardships of almost every kind. We had to move from our home, close a business, and we had nowhere to live. The foster child we were in the process of adopting mentally went off the deep end. For the physical safety of our family, we immediately moved him out, and this caused more legal and emotional trauma than we could have imagined.

One of our cars died; it was not worth fixing. A friend loaned us an extra vehicle he had. We stayed at my sister’s home until we could find a place to rent. Moving to a new area where we didn’t know anyone was just another stress. Our other car was beginning to have problems. Our savings were low. We were living paycheck to paycheck and our food storage was almost depleted.

Some of the chaos was our fault. We did not prepare as much as we thought we had or think some decisions through completely. The other chaos was called life. We had no control over the economy, other people and their actions, nature, or health issues. Even thinking about that time brings back some of the overwhelming feelings we had. Our family was working on getting our footing first, then rebuilding our emergency supplies. We learned many difficult and painful lessons along the way, and we came out of it much smarter and stronger than we could have imagined. Life will always throw us curve balls, but we are more prepared to handle them now. As a family we have become the “better prepper”.

How to start prepping from scratch

1) You can never have too much money saved.

There will always be something unexpected come up, and it will come up at the worst time, always. We kept a mason jar around for loose change. I remember using it to buy $85 of groceries. As things got better, we worked our way up to a dollar jar. We were surprised to see how fast the jars filled up. Those jars were what helped us build up our emergency money. They are still in use and are a reminder to keep change and cash on hand. Not only in our home, but also in our bug out bags and cars.

To raise additional funds, we sold items we did not need. We started cleaning out what we had and decided what we could live without. At the time, it was difficult to see some things go. Knowing that we were doing everything we could eased some of the pain. It was a few years later that I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio. Being prepared means having a healthy savings account and we decided to try his baby steps plan. That was the beginning of the way we now handle our finances. Go over your finances and make certain you have enough to get you through an emergency.

Here are a few Survival Mom resources for you:

  • Check out my monthly series of past articles, “52 Weeks Savings”, with discounts, bargains, and deals for each month of the year. Here’s a sample month for June’s best bargains.
  • Learn more about the 52 Weeks Savings Challenge here and customize it to your own income and circumstances with these tips.
  • Print out my collection of tracking charts at this link.
  • Join Survival Mom’s 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook. We’re over 3600 members and going strong!
  • Dave Ramsey has solid advice for taking control of your finances. I recommend his basic book, The Total Money Makeover for an easy-to-follow plan and a quick, motivational read.

2) Have 3 months of food stored.

Money was tight and we ate our food storage. Our meals were inexpensive and home-cooked. Everything was used, nothing was thrown out. Soups were made with left over vegetables, meat was stretched by putting it in casseroles and salads. Knowing how to prepare nutritious meals from scratch was a skill I possessed, but had taken for granted.

To supplement our food storage, I took advantage of additional opportunities. Many communities have some type of food co-op program where food is exchanged for volunteering hours or food is deeply discounted. The local university offered in-season produce grown by the students at $90 a year. My husband put in a small garden of tomatoes, lettuce, squash and bell peppers. Our neighbor was more than happy to give us oranges and lemons from her trees. Lemons were prepped and kept in the freezer for future meals.

DON’T MISS THIS: Survival Mom’s guide, “Simple Food Storage Meals“.

As things improved and finances allowed, we purchased meat and canned goods that were on sale. Our 3 month food supply of food, water, and everyday living supplies was built up a few items at a time. Nothing causes you to evaluate your food storage than having to use it. Store food you are going to eat and enjoy. This includes cake mix!

3) Education: I attended the local adult education school.

After only a few months I was employed as a certified nursing assistant. A few months later I was a certified EKG technician. This experience slowly morphed into a small business. Being self-employed allowed me to make good money and go back to school for my BA. I knew I did not want to do this type of work as a career, but I do not regret the certifications.

Being a prepper, I understood that it was an education that could someday benefit my family and others. Always look for ways to increase your education and preparation. It could be an Amateur Radio license class, CERT classes, and local adult education or community classes. Adding other streams of income is the key.

4) If full time employment is not possible, look for a short term solution.

Something as simple as a dog-walking, house-sitting, substitute teaching, or other temporary jobs can get you through a rough patch. If you already have a full time job, look for other part time income streams. Is there a skill or hobby that you teach to others? What knowledge or experiences do you possess that can be turned into a small business?

5) Physical and Mental Health

Even though we did not go through a natural disaster or suffer extreme trauma, we still experienced a large amount of stress. Stress takes a great toll on your body. Glucose levels and blood pressure can increase. Our immune systems can take a hit, making you at risk for auto-immune and cardiac disorders. To off-set the negative impact of the stress, our family focused on cutting out processed foods and switched to a whole food diet. We spent time walking, swimming and hiking outdoors.

Mental health is sometimes overlooked in the prepper world. The pressure of trying to put life back together can be overwhelming. The effort used to get through or get by can push aside feelings of anxiety or depression. Sundays have always been used as a day to decompress for our family. When there were times of difficulty, we focused even more on keeping Sunday low-key. We attended church and did not obligate ourselves to anything else. We read books, watched uplifting movies, played games together and rested. This down time allowed us to face the next week with a renewed attitude.

Along with family time, my husband and I continued to have our weekly date night. Since there was not much money, we could often be found having a picnic at a park or attending free activities in town. Maintaining strong and healthy relationships is part of being prepared. Two people, or a family of more, can work together and get through trying times if their family has trust and communication between each other.

6) Faith

We are a religious family, it is part of who we are and it is our family culture’s main ingredient. During the good and bad times, we pray. This simple act has sustained us, and has given us the strength to get through difficult times. It has also given us hope that things will get better and that we are not alone in this journey. Prayer holds us accountable. When I pray for guidance, I am reminded that I need to be doing my part. Am I a wise steward with my money, time and resources? Prayer helps put things in their proper prospective and reminds us of the blessings we have been given.

For those who are not religious, it is important to take time meditate or connect with one’s self. There is much to be thankful for, even in trying times. Center yourself and be open to opportunities and possibilities. Great ideas and solutions can come when the world is quiet and we are alone. Write down any ideas, even if they sound a bit crazy. They can transform into brilliant ideas.

Life Always Happens

Through all of this, we were able rebuild our food storage, savings and emergency supplies. Our financial situation was good, and education and jobs were going well. Life was to be going great! And then another curve ball was thrown. My husband’s employer was replacing all management employees. We had a little bit of notice, but not as much as one would hope. After a brief moment of panic, we realized that we were going to be okay. Together we had been through such challenging times, this did not seem as difficult. Because of the experiences we had many years earlier, we were better prepared. During those four months of unemployment, we adopted a daughter, celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, witnessed our son’s wedding, had a beautiful reception on a shoestring budget, and prepped two kids leaving for college. We were able to enjoy all of the happy family events because we were prepared.

When you've lost it all, here's how to begin prepping from scratch.

 

Post-Election America: My advice for older people

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Hi Fernando,

I just finished reading your book published in 2009 It was very eye opening to say the least, and I can see some of the events happening here that you described in Argentina back in 2001.  I am considerably older than you and not exactly in “fighting trim” as they say, but am contemplating what steps I should consider to prepare for the possible future.

I live in a resort community and own a small resort motel that is now only open half the year.  My boys are now grown, so only my wife and I still run the place and in the past 35 years I have had various jobs to make ends meet, but now rely on SSI to do the job.  I am very concerned about the future of America, especially if Trump loses the election!  So I will be very interested in what thoughts you may have.   Thank you for your kind efforts on my behalf

Regards,

Tom

Hello Tom,

I’m glad you liked my book. In it I explain the steps to take so as to prepare for a socioeconomic collapse and following the advice in it will serve you well in case of a worst case scenario in America or even for the slow slide into a 3rd world version of itself. This last one seems to be the current trend and what is most likely to continue.

In your specific case I have the following advice:

1)Try not to worry too much, but do try to keep a tight budget, save as much money as you can and keep working hard. Trump or anyone else, I personally don’t believe it will make much of a difference. I honestly don’t like ANY of the candidates and believe all of them will keep the current trend, benefitting the ones that already have the most while subsidizing the gained wealth of the elite by squeezing the poor and middle class through various methods including one that is particularly vile which is inflation. Inflation is particularly hard on those relying on SSI. In your case you own your own company which is always good so keep it up. A place like that also means you have room for family and friends in case you want them close.

2) Get the necessary tools in case things don’t work out that great. You already have my book. If I may say so myself it’s a great first step to prepare for this kind of thing, including information regarding what you should get. Stock up on food and don’t forget water, medicines and other emergency supplies. Work towards improving your home security, upgrading it as much as you can so as to make it a “hard target”. Having a gun is important, but it’s just as important to learn to fight with it. I already mentioned saving money. You want to have at least a month worth of expenses in cash at hand. Two would be even better.

You mention not being “fighting trim”. That’s ok, none of us will be 20 years old forever. This only means its even more important to be armed and it would be good to get used to carrying concealed if you don’t do so already. One thing I’m planning on doing when I’m older is getting used to walking around with a good dog. A good guard dog can help you compensate for age, visibly turning you into a harder target in the eyes of criminals. Walking the dog also helps you exercise and stay fit which brings me to point three.

3) Last but most important. Take care of yourself, body and mind. Be in good terms with your loved ones, enjoy your life as much as you can. Sounds silly but these days so many people forget to just live, always worried about work, money or other personal goals.

Take care of your body. It’s your most important tool and the only one you’ve got. Go for walks, exercise and most of all eat healthy. If your mind and heart are in the right place, and you take care of your body by staying slim and fit, the rest falls into place rather easily.

Good luck and thanks for your email!

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

The Plunge: One Year Later

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The Plunge: One Year Later via The Survival Mom, no incomeRemember that one time my husband decided to quit his job and go back to school to finally get that Bachelor’s degree in engineering and we had to live off of savings? Well, guess what? That was a whole year ago! A lot of things can happen in a year. And for us, lots of things did happen.

My husband is still in school and is doing well in his classes, so not much has changed there, but we had another kid (yikes!) which means we had to upgrade to a larger vehicle that could fit everyone in our family. Despite the unexpected things that we didn’t include in our original budget, we’ve always been able to pay our bills and put food on the table. And we’re still going strong.

How are we still sustaining this? Lots of reasons. It would be arrogant and untrue to suggest that we are succeeding because we are doing things differently or better than other people. Our combined skill sets have been great assets, but we’ve had a lot of help, too.

Skill sets help when there’s no income

We’ve had ten years of married life to hone the skills requisite to living on nothing, which means we have something of an advantage over other married college students in the same situation.

My husband qualifies as a “non-traditional student” because of his non-linear career path. I worried a year ago that being ten years older than the average undergraduate would be a hindrance. Instead, it has proven one of his greatest assets. Being in the workforce for so long helped him develop skills that his fellow students don’t yet have. He has ten years of programming experience that his youthful peers do not have, as well as the intangibles like work ethic and problem solving. Having that kind of maturity has helped him earn better grades and gain respect from his professors.

As for me, I’ve got ten years of experience in the field of wise management of our resources. In her novel Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell writes much about the virtues of “elegant economies,” which is a fancy term for making extreme thrift look cool. Like making meals from the cheapest ingredients around, canning, gardening, repurposing old clothing.

I don’t even bother to read those articles about “five ways to reduce your spending,” because I’ve already been doing all of them for years. I have become an expert in decorating my house in what Erma Bombeck calls, “Early Poverty.” If I were the kind of person who puts vinyl decals of pithy sayings on my walls, I most certainly would get one that says, “elegant economy.”

Multiple streams of income

Many people asked me, “why don’t you just get a job?” It’s a pretty fair question. The main answer is: child care. It’s the same story that I’m sure many women are experiencing. Degree in an obscure field that’s not hiring, plus, I’ve been out of the work force for ages. Babysitters are not cheap and all that together equals we actually save money by me not working. Much, much ink has been spilled on this issue. And it is our reality.

That said, it wouldn’t be quite true to say that we were living on “no income.” We have had some income; just not the kind that puts is in the same tax bracket as before. Instead of one full-time job, both my husband and I have taken multiple odd jobs here and there: a bit of chauffeuring here, a bit of freelance editing there. My husband is working as a research assistant this summer, and I got a (very!) part-time job teaching which will start in the fall. Multiple income streams is key.

Accepting help from others

About three weeks after my husband’s last day of work, we discovered that we’d be adding to our family. It was a little bit of a shock, but not as big of a shock as it was to discover that this little one would be born with a severe cleft palate and would require multiple surgical procedures over the course of her life.

We made arrangements to pay for the birth out-of-pocket, but given the scope our daughter’s birth defect, decided to bite the bullet and accept public health insurance. It was kind of a wrench to do it because of how we felt – and still feel – about relying on state programs. We wanted to be independent, and this felt a little like cheating. We didn’t want to drain an already overwhelmed system. But on the other hand, this is a very temporary measure. We paid into Medicaid the whole of our adult lives prior to this point, and fully intend to do so again in the future. And given the huge costs of healthcare, we might as well have forgotten about the whole thing if we had to pay for a string of palate repair surgeries with private insurance.

As of the time of writing, we have successfully been able to avoid accepting other state programs like WIC or SNAP. Neither has it been necessary to take out student loans. My husband qualified for some FAFSA grants, and that expanded our budget quite a bit.

We had support from family, as well. My parents moved from Texas to the Intermountain West so they could be closer to us. Along with some very caring aunts, my parents took care of the older kids when the baby was born, provided meals, and helped with childcare for the baby’s many appointments at the children’s hospital when my husband couldn’t miss class. When it came time to upgrade to a minivan so we could fit all members of our family in one vehicle, my father did most of the work to find something in good condition. My mother made it her mission in life to ensure that shoes in my kids’ sizes magically appeared on our doorstep.

How you, too, can live your dreams

Someone told me about six months ago, “I wish I could do what you are doing.” Guess what? You can! Lots of people do. My husband isn’t even the only one in his department completing his degree as a seasoned dad. One of his fellow-students is in his mid-thirties with five children. If you are considering a similar non-linear career path, here’s what I would advise based on our experiences this past year:

  1. First, consider your chosen field. Going back to school is not always the right decision. Going for a Ph.D. in Underwater Basketweaving with an emphasis in Skullduggery most likely won’t advance your prospects in life. However, something that will help you gain skills so you can be more competitive in the job market is a fair bet.
  2. Learn to distinguish between needs and wants, and prioritize accordingly. Do you really need a new mobile device, or ultra-fast high-speed internet, or would it just be nice to have? To be really candid, our family has adopted a fairly stringent view on what is considered a “need.” I haven’t purchased new shoes for myself since 2011. Our holiday and birthday celebrations are beyond spare, and yet still extremely enjoyable and fulfilling. We eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and almost never eat out. Since 2009, we’ve seen five movies in an actual movie theater. But like I said before, we’ve never had trouble paying bills or putting food on the table.
  3. Don’t feel bad about taking advantage of government programs. If anything, those programs were created for families with temporary needs: getting through law school, that time in-between jobs, etc. Even those who struggle to find work will not be out of a job forever.
  4. There is abundant scholarship money to be had. One professor at our local university remarked that everyone always worried how to pay for grad school. The big secret, he told us, was that nobody could afford grad school. When it comes to technical fields, however, there are all sorts of ways to secure funding. While the statement that staggering amounts of scholarship money go unawarded is actually a myth, there are many scholarships available.
  5. Don’t think that you’re not smart/ disciplined/ good enough/ worthy enough. Don’t pay any attention to those self-fulfilling prophesies. The world is full of people who will try to tear you down and tell you that you are stupid and that your dreams are trash. You will miss every opportunity that you don’t take. Yes, failure is within the realm of possibility. That’s always a risk. But if you succeed, the payoff is pretty amazing.

Read Beth’s “Taking the Plunge” full story

The Plunge: One Year Later via The Survival Mom, no income

 

What Are Your Prepper Limitations?

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prepper limitationsMany years ago I was in an entirely different career in which I managed and trained more than 200 sales reps for a national company. As part of my position, I attended some truly excellent executive training sessions, intended to help me become more efficient and effective.

One principle I learned that I’ve never forgotten is this:

Identify your weaknesses and hire people to do those tasks for you. Concentrate doing what you do best.

Well, I’ve finally figured out how to apply that principle to prepping and dealing with my own prepper limitations: Figure out my strengths as a prepper and look to others to provide the support I need to shore up weaknesses. When I fret over what I don’t have or what I can’t do, prepping begins to look like it’s too hard, takes too much time, or is impossible in my circumstances.

However, anyone can prep, and I do mean anyone. No, not everyone will have the bug out bunker in Idaho, equipped with a year’s worth of food, but that isn’t the best scenario for most people, anyway. I know a very smart, fully prepped single woman in her early 60’s, who lives in a fortified condo! She’s confident she can protect what she has, and when it comes to food and supplies, she has plenty!

So what prepper limitations cause you to feel intimidated or even stall you on your journey to be prepared for everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios? Do any of these sound familiar?

Time limitations

Few of us can truthfully say, “I have way too much time on my hands.” Each of us have exactly 24 hours in a day. Divvy that up between sleep, household chores, a job, caring for kids, running errands, preparing for and cleaning up after meals, take care of pets and other animals, and no, there really isn’t a whole lot of extra time each day!

Another aspect of time limitations when it comes to prepping is feeling as if there is so much prepping to do and you may not be fully prepared when one disaster or another hits.

Skill limitations

Once you venture into the prepper world, you quickly learn that having an extensive skill set is pretty much required. It’s impossible to have too many skills but the problem for many of us is, which are the most important? After all, we don’t want to jeopardize our lives or those of our loved ones because we are missing that One Vital Skill.

“We would all still be alive if only our prepper had known how to ….”

The truth is, no one single person knows all the skills necessary to survive any and all perilous scenarios. The most rugged mountain man living off-grid for decades might find himself at death’s door because he didn’t know how to properly can food.

WHICH SKILLS TO LEARN? Click here to read my exhaustive list of important prepper skills.

Knowledge limitations

Along with skills, knowledge is a key to being prepared. While most knowledge leads to skills, the practical application of know-how, there’s a lot to be said for just having head knowledge. Knowing which foods are best to store, where to pitch a tent, and how to homeschool kids of different ages.

Naturally, no one can ever know everything, and that can be frustrating when it comes to prepping and survival. Do you know enough to survive and, if not,what should you learn first?

Physical limitations

One limitation that affects most every family is that of physical ability. We’ve all experienced a sprained ankle, broken bone, strained back, or some other injury that affected our ability to accomplish everyday tasks. When those limitations are long-term, even permanent, it definitely affects the ability to handle emergencies.

Hearing and vision impairments, chronic illnesses, and even the affects of aging limit what we can do to prep. The fact is, physical strength and energy are needed to be prepared and then to survive.

Financial limitations

Tens of millions of Americans are out of work and families are scrambling to make ends meet. Prepping doesn’t require spending money, but, let’s face it, at some point there are expenses. No, you don’t need an expensive water filter or premium freeze-dried food, but even less expensive options require money.

READ MORE: Faced with financial limitations? Check out my super-frugal tips series:

The “I just don’t want to do it” limitation

Finally, there may be something you know you need to do, but you just don’t want to do it! Maybe you loathe canning (I’m not a big fan, myself), maybe you’ve always hated fishing, or maybe, you just feel lazy! That Grab-n-Go Binder? You’re in no mood to track down dozens of different documents that are scattered all over the house and in the attic.

There are probably important prepping steps you know you should take but you’ve procrastinated.

You just don’t want to do it!

Fair enough, but it’s a limitation all the same.

Pick a solution to your prepper limitations

Regardless of which limitation, or limitations, are your biggest hurdles, the work-around solutions are fairly simple:

Re-prioritize

It’s highly possible that all of the must-haves and must-do’s on your list may not be all that important. For example, buying that expensive Berkey, which is recommended by every prepper expert, after all, may not be the most important next step for you if you just don’t have the money. Learning how to can is a great skill to have, but if you don’t have the time, buy store-bought canned food, for now.

If you’re feeling pressured because you don’t have the time, the money, the space, the skills…take a step back and catch your breath. Maybe whatever it is that you’re feeling pressured to do isn’t necessary after all.

If your To Do list seems a mile long, pick just 1 or 2 tasks to take care of and forget the others, for now.

Hire someone

Although I’ve been blogging for 7 years, there are many, many important technical skills that I don’t have. I couldn’t code if my life depended on it. So, I hire people to do those things for me. My daughter creates all my graphics and earns $8 a piece.

If you identify the limitations that are most bothersome, ask yourself, is this something I could delegate to someone who does have the time, the money, the skills, the space, etc? You don’t necessarily have to pay cash, either. Could you swap childcare or offer the talents and skills you have in exchange?

Train kids/family members

If you have good friends and family members, there’s no need to go down the prepper road alone. Enlist their help, even if you don’t care to share why a certain task is important.

In his book Will to Live, Les Stroud shared the story of a family stranded out in the ocean. For unknown reasons, the father refused to teach his son or wife how to catch or clean a fish or do any number of other tasks that would help the family survive. Like that dad, you may be highly competent, but at some point, you’ll need assistance and teaching others the skills and knowledge you have will help overcome the limitations of time and physical ability, in particular.

Decide if expectations are too high

Is it possible that you’ve set a bar too high in your diligence to become prepared? Are your expectations unrealistic? Ask yourself, “What is the bare minimum we need to survive a natural disaster or some other likely event?” Make sure that “bare minimum” is in place first before fretting about having a rural bug out location or some souped-up vehicle to get you and your loved ones out of Dodge.

One chunk at a time

You may not have the money for a year’s worth of freeze-dried food, but could you afford 2 or 3 #10 cans per month? Maybe you don’t have time to take a master gardening class, but how about signing up for a Udemy class to learn some new gardening skills? You might not be physically fit enough right now to walk a long distance, but could you start an at-home walking program for beginners?

Any task becomes easier when it’s broken into small chunks. This is helpful for procrastinators, like me!

Find an alternative

If you really don’t like canning, then learn how to dehydrate food. Don’t want to take an in-depth first aid class? Then assign that to a family member or two while you take a class in a different area.

Final step: What do you do best?

By now you know what your prepper limitations are, but what are your strengths? Go ahead and delegate, hire, re-prioritize — do whatever needs to be done, but remember to keep doing what you do best! Your strengths might even open the door for a way to earn extra money, either by teaching others that skill or by producing a product or service that others need and will purchase.

There’s no need for prepper limitations to jeopardize your safety and well-being when an everyday emergency or worst case scenario hits the fan.

Learn more about prepping with these resources

prepper limitations

Shrinking U.S. middle class: 47% of Americans don’t have $400 for Emergencies

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The title says it all. A recent pool by The Federal Reserve Board shows that 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to deal with emergencies. The article is well worth reading.

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans

The (misguided) idea is that higher education should come along with massive debt. If we add to that a mortgage and car payments most Americans simply accept the fact of living in debt most of their adult lives. If we throw in unexpected job/career difficulties or serious diseases, this means most Americans struggle with keeping themselves from going bankrupt if not literally dying.

Lesson of the day: Cash is king, even for economic collapses you want a cash cushion. Economic disasters teach us that in nearly all cases cash does not lose value overnight, especially not stable well recognized currencies. You should aim to have at least a month worth of expenses in cash.

If banks close and ATMs run out of money, how much cash do you have at hand?

FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

How much food does the average family have in Venezuela?

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As you probably know already Venezuela is collapsing in a pretty dramatic way. The situation has been critical for years now but people are now running out of food.

This Business Insider article illustrates the situation well, ‘We want out of this agony’: What it’s like to eat in a country that’s on the verge of collapse”.

One of the more telling materials in it is the series of photos showing how much food typical families in Venezuela have left.

"Now eating is a luxury, before we could earn some money and buy clothes or something, now everything goes on food," Yaneidy Guzman said.

"We eat today, but we do not know what we will eat tomorrow," Francisca Landaeta said. "We are bad — I never thought it would come to this."

"We have about 15 days eating bread with cheese or arepa with cheese," Lender Perez said. "We are eating worse than before, because we can't find food and those we can find we can't afford."

"I have to leave the house at 5 a.m., facing the risk of being killed, to stand in line all day and only buy two or three products," Jhonny Mendez said.

Lesson of the day folks: you can never store enough water and food. Also, know when to bug out of the country entirely.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Puerto Rico Goes Belly Up

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A market in San Juan. Puerto Rico’s government defaulted earlier this month on a $399 million payment. Some state and local governments on the United States mainland may be veering toward similar fates.

Message:

Argentina bound: Puerto Rico goes belly up, rest of USA next

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/puerto-rico%E2%80%99s-fiscal-fiasco-is-harbinger-of-mainland-woes/ar-BBsTm56?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

Yep, we’ve seen this movie before. Puerto Rico is bankrupt and those
who can leave are doing so…to the mainland USA which is about to
follow the same path. When the USA defaults, the rich will fly away to
private islands or maybe that Galt’s Gulch-style retreat that the Bush
family is rumored to be building in Paraguay, and watch the fun over
satellite TV until the power goes out and the feed goes blank. BTW,
this is why any prepper worth his salt checks multiple news feeds
every day-arrogant idiots who only watch one feed tend to miss
important news.

-B

Puerto Rico has been falling apart for some time now.

You actually bring up two very important points.

First, be careful of the main stream media. You need to understand that all media companies are owned by people with certain interests and the media they own promotes the agenda behind those interests. Understanding this and understanding the way they manipulate and create public opinion is more important than ever for a modern survivalist. We live in an age in which we have more information available to us than ever before, but that also means that there’s just as many more channels to influence the masses.

Second, the importance of timing. Know when to leave. The ultimate survival strategy to a worst case event is moving away from it. In cases like these you need to identify when it’s time to leave. It’s not always easy, but while you don’t want to overreact, you also don’t want to wait too long past the point of no return. Due to war, economic collapse or tyranny, it may get to a point when it just too late to leave, or it becomes exponentially more dangerous or expensive to do so.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

 

Survival… Rolex?

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Hi Fernando,

Whats your experience with rolex watch?  Will it hold value in SHTF?  Decrease, increase?
If I remember correctly, you mention in your first book, but I am traveling and do not have it with me to look up what you said about it.
I have some savings which I am using to purchase precious metal coins. However, in one of the shops, I came across a (genuine) 18k gold ladies oyster perpetual president made in the early 80’s for US $3,800 and it got me to thinking.
1) It is my understanding is that I could walk into any major city in the world and be able to convert it easily into cash.
 
In your experience, would that be accurate?
I am always on the go—traveling somewhere—both around the US and international.  I like the concept of a rolex because its subtle.  It is seen as a personal item and would never get counted towards the $10K cash limit.
Since it is an older model, if anyone ever asks about it, I will say it belonged to my grandmother and was passed down to me.
We have problems now in the US with police officers confiscating (stealing) your cash and monetary instruments claiming its suspicious for “drugs” even if you have committed no crime and have never touched a single drug in your life.
As opposed to bullion, it is highly unlikely that a rolex worn on your wrist would ever be confiscated by police or customs.
Other questions/concerns:
2) The scrap value of the gold in the watch is only about US $1200 compared to its asking price of $3,800.  In terms of holding its value, is it better to stick to bullion coins? Or would it be reasonable to expect that a genuine gold Rolex would hold/increase its value in bad times?  
3)  I am a single female and usually solo.  How much danger am I putting myself in by having and wearing a gold rolex? 
I am automatically on “yellow” alert whenever in public, and practice situational awareness at a level much higher than most.
For the time being, I’m sticking to “1st world” countries, although who knows? That could change.
I have done a lot of internet research about this model of watch and the price. Retail price for the same or similar watch in the US right now is between $7,000-$12,000.  This caused me to be suspicious of the seller, so I went back and examined the watch closely with gem magnifier, and it is definitely authentic.
I asked the shop owner why this piece is priced so low.  He said that most of the merchandise are things he purchased and re-sells.  But that this particular piece he is doing on consignment for a friend and she needs the $$.
He confirmed everything I had researched online about how, in the USA, this watch would sell for $7,000 +;
He said that here in Canada (quebec), there just aren’t many buyers for rolex because Canadians don’t have money like Americans do.  And that most of his rolex customers are actually Americans who come over the border to make purchases.
Thank you so much for everything you do!  Love your stuff, and Im just bummed that I didnt bring your book with me!
Angela

Hello Angela,

In most countries that I’ve been to form USA to Argentina and here in Europe, the advertising seems to be the same: “We buy your gold, silver, diamonds and Rolex”.

You have to keep it mind though that the selling price is nothing like the buying price. In general you are lucky to get half of what a potential customer is willing to pay once the dealer flips the watch. Now if you can get it yourself for such a low price then you could probably sell it elsewhere without losing money or maybe even making some on top.

In general yes, Rolex do hold their value pretty well, same as quality jewellery. The trick is knowing your trade, knowing how to avoid counterfeit items, and of course avoiding the ridiculously low offers you come across sometimes and sticking to serious people.

I was talking with a jeweller today and he was showing me how to grade diamonds, which imperfections are acceptable and which are not. Its all very interesting stuff. Again, the selling price is often not as good as the buying one so you do lose some, but Rolex watches hold on nicely. The nice thing about bullion is that market price is fixed so there’s less room for excuses. Try talking with the shop owner. Ask him, honestly, how much would be pay for a similar item if he was buying so as to get a reasonable profit margin himself. That will give you somewhat of an idea of how much you can get for it.

So, answering your questions.

1)Yes, in most city centers around the world you will be able to sell your Rolex for good money. Some dealers may haggle worse than others but you will walk out with a wad of cash. The trick is buying a quality item, paying as little for it as possible and then asking around to get a good deal when it’s time to sell.

2)For protecting money, I think precious metals is the way to go because as I said before, it has a given market price and there isn’t much to debate about. Pure gold is just that. Watches, antiques and even numismatic coins have a certain value as well and they may well be good investments and ways of moving around a lot of cash. I doubt the average TSA agent knows what a Mercury Dime 1916 D is, but the thing is worth $135,000 in  MS67 condition. Having said that, its not as reliable in terms of knowing the specific price as checking the daily given value of gold and silver. The same coin can be worth $100, or $100.000 depending on its grade, and the difference between Fine condition or Very Fine condition can be hard to tell. Even experts may have a difference of opinion. This kind of problem doesn’t exist with precious metals.

3)I would say the risk is pretty high. In a place like Argentina its downright suicidal. I’m not exactly a “soft target”, yet for some time I stopped wearing my gold wedding ring, replaced it for a silver one like lots of other people did back in the day. Now in first world countries this may not be that much of a problem. In most European capitals and large cities you see women with very expensive jewellery. Still, I would say a gold Rolex is pretty noticeable and pretty tempting. In moderate to high crime areas I would keep it out of sight. If you just want to keep it with you then it would just be a matter of being careful and when you know you are in more troubled areas just put it in your purse.

Stay safe!

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Surviving in a Refugee Camp: How to earn a living when you have nothing.

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Refugiados caminan entre las vías del tren en Idomeni, Grecia
It is always nice when you come across accounts of people actually getting through disasters and learning what they did to survive and stay afloat. In the case of the refugees in Europe from Middle East, life in a refugee camp sure is challenging and there’s lots of lessons to be learned.
I found this article in La Nacion about refugees in Idomeni, Greece. Los refugiados apelan a una imaginación inagotable. The article is in Spanish but these are the most interesting accounts:
Rachid, a 36 year old mechanic from Iraq, makes a living in the camp by working as a barber. “Each day it rains is a day I don’t get to work” he complains about the Greek weather ruining his “business” which consists of a couple chairs set among the tents, a couple scissors and combs.
Rachid and his brother rented a generator “ I prefer to work even at night”. he states proudly. His brother Faisal is in charge of the “communications” business, charging the cell phones of other refugees for a fee.
Syrian Malik set up a General Store in the camp: Peppers, lemons, tomatoes and canned greens. He buys most of the produce he sells from the nearby farms. His cousin Ali sells fruits, four boxes of oranges and applies which he refills twice a day.
“With just 3 Euros our women can do miracles, prepare meals from back home” says Abdulá Kamir, a Syrian IT that grew tired of the bombings back home.
But the business that really booms in the refugee camp is the sale of prepaid phone cards. These are useful not only for calling family back home and those already in the countries of destination, but also to keep up to date regarding the situation in the different frontiers and the changing regulations in each country. Samir (20), Omar (20) and Mustafá (23) make a living providing these, which they consider their trade secret. “The day we reveal how we get our intel is the day we are left without a business”. Edith Duncan, a British nurse volunteers, says they are the three most popular people in the camp “wherever you see a crowd of people, there you will find one of them” she says.
Hazan, eight years old, sets a few packs of cigarettes on top of a box “¡Marlboro! ¡Marlboro!” he shouts, selling cigarettes to help his older brother, age twelve, who also works. Hazan claims he will own a grocery store chain in Munich when he grows up.
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Lisa’s Stack of Books, 1st Quarter — GIVEAWAYS!

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Survival Mom book reviews

One of my life-long loves is that of books. Amazon Prime and I are best of friends, and I have an enormous stack of books, most of them unread. When I was younger, an unread book was an item of shame! Today, I chalk it up to being a busy mom whose love for books outweighs the time she has for reading.

I’m thrilled to begin this new quarterly feature on my blog, Lisa’s Stack of Books, as a way of sharing some of the newest books that come my way, either through my own purchases or from authors and publishers who want their books featured on my blog. I’m picky about which books I’ll profile, though.*

I hope you enjoy reading about the following books from authors Linda Loosli, Bernie Carr, Melissa K. Norris, and Toni Hammersley. I selected these books because they represent different aspects of preparedness: basic survival, frugal prepping, organization, and homesteading/spiritual encouragement. If you read any of these books, give me your own review in the Comments section!

Note that after each book review, you get a chance to win your own copy of the book! Each book has it’s own entry, so make sure you don’t miss any of them if you hope to win all four.

The Complete Book of Home Organization by Toni Hammersley

Toni HammersleyI would love to live Toni Hammersley’s life, or at least the one portrayed in this stunning, colorful book. Perhaps a better idea would be to have her come to my house and re-create it with all the savvy and style she exhibits in her new book. The Complete Book of Home Organization is a gorgeous book, just the type that catches your eye at a bookstore and finds its way to the cash register and your Visa card!

My daughter, age 16, is the primary promoter of organization in our household, and her eyes lit up when I handed her this book. We both settled down to enjoy the glossy photos of kitchens, closets, bedrooms, and even refrigerators, and the quick suggestions for transforming our own home into one of calm and clutter-free order. Toni’s practical and simple tips for organizing even the smallest spaces in your home are easy to follow, without the necessity of having to make expensive purchases at The Container Store.

One of my favorite features of the book are the Before and After photos from other home decor and organization bloggers. It’s inspiring to know that I can take a cluttered area of my house and transform it, too. I also appreciated the organization challenges and checklists. If your home is in need of some organization, this book will inspire and motivate you to action!
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The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home by Melissa K. Norris

I’ve been friends with Melissa K. Norris of Pioneer Living Today for three years. Melissa was a very successful host on Melissa K NorrisThe Survival Mom Radio Network, and her listeners loved her homesteading tales and words of encouragement. Last month when I opened my mail and held this beautiful new book in my hands, it was an emotional moment. I was so proud of Melissa and her accomplishments. She always talks from the heart and shares the ups and downs of her own life as a modern-day homesteader.

The Made-from-Scratch Life is a book that prescribes living a simple life, moving from store-bought products to healthy and homemade versions and provides practical tips for gardening, canning, raising livestock, and preparing for tough financial times. Along with plenty of homey advice, Melissa includes some of the simplest and most delicious recipes you’ll find. Her ham and bean soup with parsnips is one of my favorites.

Melissa shares stories of how she learned to make the transition to a simpler life herself, with plenty of mistakes along the way. She shares Bible verses, inspiring quotes, recipes, a planting chart, and plenty of recipes. She’s convinced that a simple, back-to-basics life is soothing to the soul and this guide is her way of walking side by side with you as you, too, take the road less traveled to a made-from-scratch life.

When you purchase Melissa’s book, not only do you get all of this helpful information, but she also gives you some special bonuses as a thank you. The Made-From-Scratch Life Companion Guide and Workbook, the 5 Day Made-From-Scratch Life Bonus Fast Track e-course and The Amish Canning Cookbook Sampler by Georgia Varozza will help make your transition to a simpler life, well, simpler.
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The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less, and Get Prepared For Any Disaster by Bernie Carr

If you’ve been a prepper for very long, you know the overwhelming feeling that comes with being faced Bernie Carrwith long lists of expensive survival gear the experts claim you must have: Berkey water filters, a year’s worth of freeze-dried food, a hidden bunker, and on and on and on. Few of us can afford top of the line gear, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a chance to survive!

Author of The Prepper’s Pocket Guide and blogger at The Apartment Prepper, Bernie Carr rejects the notion that only the rich will survive and in The Penny-Pinching Prepper, she shares hundreds of tips for preparing, and surviving, on a small budget. You’ll love the compact size of her new book, its handy lists, and simple, budget-friendly DIY projects, such as an Easy Fireless Cooker.

From her advice for raising money for the purpose of prepping to hygiene, evacuations, safety tips, and even recipes, this book is packed with information for preppers who don’t have a dime to spare and even those with piles of cash in their stash!
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Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready For Any Emergency or Survival Situation by Linda Loosli

Linda LoosliIn the hyped-up world of survival and preparedness, it’s always refreshing to find a sane, calm voice that says, “Ignore the loud, scary voices. Here’s what you need to do…” That voice would be Linda Loosli of Food Storage Moms fame. In her new book, Prepare Your Family for Survival, Linda did not disappoint. Her book is a large, colorful volume, filled with illustrations, checklists, and attractive graphics that made reading it a pleasure.

This is one of the best all-around family preparedness manuals to hit the market in a while. Disaster preparedness is a huge topic and Linda has managed to break it into do-able chunks in an eye-catching design that makes the book hard to put down. I’m so proud of Linda and all the work she put into making this book practical and family-friendly.

One feature that I haven’t seen in similar books are her lists for health remedies using apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, Epsom salts, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. Too often we see these listed as must-haves, but when you have a real emergency on your hands, you’ll need to know exactly how to put the to use. This book belongs on your survival bookshelf!
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Kudos to all!

Congratulations to these four authors for their vision, perseverance, and plain old hard work in producing these books. I’ll have another set of book reviews and giveaways coming up in May.

Survival Mom book reviews

 

 

7 Tips For Finding & Using a Tax Professional

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tax professional #BlockAdvisors

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Block Advisors. All opinions are 100% my own.

Given the choice between death and taxes, as a long-time small business owner, I’m not sure which is worse. Both are inevitable, both invoke dread, and both are a bit easier to handle with prior planning and thought.

As I’ve written on this blog and in my book, Survival Mom, having multiple streams of income is vital to a family’s financial stability these days. That extra money is also important when it comes to being prepared for a job loss, medical emergency, and disasters of any kind. Offering piano lessons, tutoring, writing e-books, selling products on eBay or at a farmer’s market, and yes, writing a blog, can all bring in additional income, but with that income comes the requirement of record-keeping, paying taxes and filing tax reports.

It’s not always easy to find the best tax adviser, someone who stays up to date with the latest regulations, laws, and sometimes, loopholes. It may take asking friends, relatives, or other business owners for references or checking out the services offered by Block Advisors. From my own experience, when you find a tax professional that is knowledgeable, approachable, and available, by all means, hang on to them! They will be worth their weight in, well, lower taxes and possibly even refunds!

How to find the best tax adviser

Over the years, I’ve discovered that my business is most successful when I do what I do best and leave the rest to professionals. When I launched my first home-based business more than 20 years ago, I knew I would need a tax professional to help guide me through the labyrinth of tax laws, reports, due dates, and tax payments. At a personal level, it was bewildering to make sure we took advantage of every possible deduction, paying what we owed, but not a penny more!

If you are just starting out with a business, or you want a good tax adviser for your own personal taxes, then learn from my experiences, and mistakes.

1. Do not hire a relative to do your taxes, even if they are a professional!

Your mileage may vary, but I discovered that I wasn’t at all comfortable with a relative knowing all about our personal finances. In my case, the relative was up to date with all IRS laws and definitely knew how to do her job, but there was always this nagging feeling that she was dropping bits of confidential information into the ear of her mom, and then that would be shared with another relative and then another.

When it comes to running my business, I look for the best professionals who are not relatives!

2. Hire someone with a track record and a permanent business address!

During tax season, anyone with a calculator can post an ad in the local paper or on Craigslist and offer their services as your new tax adviser! Untrained and without knowledge of the latest information from the IRS, they could end up costing you an enormous amount of money due to errors, missed deadlines, and possibly an audit. The IRS has been known to track down these types of tax preparers, simply by identifying returns with multiple errors!

Block Advisors is one company whose tax professionals go through annual, rigorous training to make sure every return is done correctly, the first time. As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to receive a thick envelope from the IRS with a list of errors made on a return or report, and it’s not a lot of fun to track down old receipts or other forms of evidence in order to avoid penalties.

3. Look for a tax professional who works year-round.

If you own even a very small business, you will no doubt have questions throughout the year about such things as medical expenses, the part-time jobs your kids pick up, and what receipts must be kept and for how long. When I helped a group of homeschoolers set up a co-op last fall, I was shocked by how many tax regulations we had to follow, and I had plenty of questions.

When you choose someone, or a company, to handle your tax returns, be sure they will be available to answer your questions throughout the year. With more than 280 offices around the country, by Block Advisors is available year-round, both for actual tax preparation as well as advice and even help with small business tasks, such as payroll and bookkeeping.

4. Choose someone who is a good listener and wants to get to know you.

Your income, expenses, circumstances, and family are unique in the world. A tax adviser should be willing to spend time getting to know you, your financial obligations, and your sources of income. With my blog business, not every tax expert out there is familiar with the various tax rules and laws that govern the specifics of what I do. Your tax adviser should be detail oriented, should ask lots of questions, and show a desire to work with you year-round and customize their services to your needs.

5. Flexibility is important

When our kids were in their baby and toddler stages, it meant a lot to me if our tax professional could come to our home or if they had flexible office hours. My husband had a crazy work schedule with his own business and sometimes, I just wanted to gather together all our receipts and dump them off for our tax person to organize!

Look for a company or a tax pro who is willing to work with your schedule. Do keep in mind that during the final few weeks leading up to April 15, the tax filing deadline, their lives will be completely insane!

6. When it comes to tax prep, cheaper isn’t better.

Go ahead and pinch pennies by buying store-brand toilet paper and stocking up in the dollar store, but with tax preparation, cheaper is not better. I pay a little extra for certain things just so I’ll have peace of mind. Our tax adviser has been a God-send, although probably not the cheapest one in town. I’ll never forget the year that we owed quite a bit in taxes and she called us to go over, once again, all our expenses and deductions. That one phone call alone saved us plenty of money to keep in our pockets, rather than paying to Uncle Sam.

When hiring a tax pro, be sure to clarify exactly what you’re paying for and what services you will be receiving. Just as it’s no fun to get a “Surprise!” from Uncle Sam, you don’t want one from your tax adviser, either!

7. Hire a tax professional who knowsthe IRS.

IRS tax auditors are among the most despised professions in the country. If you’re ever audited or if an IRS agent shows up at your door, you’ll want a tax professional who will be there for you, someone who has worked with the IRS, understands their system, and yet, is on your side. At that moment, you’ll be grateful that you hired the best and most knowledgeable professional around.

A hallmark of Block Advisors is their commitment to be there for you if the IRS ever does reach out and touch you with questions, requests for documentation, etc. Whoever you hire, ask what type of support you’ll receive if your return is flagged for an audit and what happens if your return contains errors.

Life is never stress-free and right around tax time, stress levels peak! If you’ve wondered if you really are getting the biggest refund possible, if you’re not sure whether or not you can deduct certain expenses, and, especially, if you have any type of business, large or small, I recommend finding a tax professional who is well trained. In the last several years, the IRS has hired thousands of new agents and will be enforcing fines related to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. This may be the year that hiring a tax pro becomes a necessity, not a luxury.

Disclaimer: Block Advisors asked me to review their services and write this article, related to tax preparation. I was compensated for the time spent researching and writing this piece. As a small business owner, I believe in hiring a tax professional to avoid errors and over-paying taxes. 

tax professional #BlockAdvisors

 

Learn about UK Junk Silver Coins

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Some interesting info worth remembering. When it comes to British coins, Pre 1920 coins are sterling silver, meaning 92.5% silver content. From 1920 to 1946, these are known as Pre-1947, these are 50% silver.
For more information, examples and a couple other things a junk silver buyer should know, check the video below!

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

 

 

 

Post-SHTF Business: Renting Generators

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En la puerta de un pequeño negocio. Recomiendan evaluar el costo-beneficio. (Emiliana Miguelez)

http://www.clarin.com/ciudades/Equipo-hogar-puede-costar-entre-_3-400-_20-000_0_1288071211.html

Argentina always had problems with power outages. Back when I was a little kid it was something that happened pretty often, especially in summer when power demand increased. Back then we had a drawer in the kitchen that was stacked with candles. Now, its not that I’m THAT old, it’s just that LED technology is still pretty new. It just wasn’t practical to use incandescent lightbulb flashlights for illumination. They went through batteries in a matter of minutes and it wasn’t really that bright anyway. Instead you would get a candle or two, get one of the old candle holders kept around the house, or if you couldn’t find one just lit a candle, drop a couple drops of wax on a small plate, place the candle on top and be careful not to drop it and burn down the house. So you did that, waited a few minutes, sometimes a couple hours until power was restored.

Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator $999

The thing is that as I’ve said many times, Argentina post 2001 is the same story, only worse. You still have power outages, but after 14 years of structural neglect from the government and power companies outages tend to last days, not just hours. This may be expected in more isolated locations, but in a large city like Buenos Aires where millions live it can be challenging.
It used to be that with power outages that lasted a few hours a generator was a “nice to have” item, but with those lasting days not having a generator means some people can’t leave their homes any more. You can’t ask someone with a disability or +80 years to walk back and forth to their 6th floor apartment. Water needs to be pumped up, so no power means no water for many as well. For many stores, no power means their merchandise goes bad and they can’t stay in business without working refrigerators.
Buying a new generator in Argentina right now isn’t cheap, expect to pay between two or five times more than the price for that same unit in USA. Then you have to worry about repairing the generator, maintenance, making sure it doesn’t get stolen, storing it, etc. Because of this, renting generators has become a popular choice, especially for business, stores and buildings who need larger units. The prices are all over the place, from 50 dollars a day (for a genny that costs 400 USD in America) to 600 USD a day for some of the bigger 200kva units such as the ones large stores and buildings need to operate pumps and elevators, fuel not included.

Champion 4750 Watt DUAL FUEL Generator w/Electric Start (CARB Compliant) $516,57

Just something to keep in mind. In certain climates and certain locations, having a generator is pretty much mandatory, one of those facts of life. But also keep in mind that it may be a significant asset in certain scenarios, everywhere from powering your neighbours in exchange of other goods and services or simply renting it out for cash. In this case getting bigger, reliable generator makes sense.
FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Four Family Related Disasters Your Should Prepare For

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firedpreparing for the things that are more likely to happen to you such as a job loss, a long illness or broken bone. Other things to prepare for is a divorce, death of a loved one including a pet. It is the day-to-day things that we need to prepare for first before preparing for the large events such as a EMP, global economic collapse or some other national or global event.

The post Four Family Related Disasters Your Should Prepare For appeared first on Vigil Prudence.

People in Venezuela Bartering for Survival

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Patrons line up on a supermarket parking lot in San Cristobal, Venezuela, in January.
Argentina went through some very tough times but politically it never fell completely into a communist backwards socio-political situation such as the one seen in Venezuela.
Venezuela has been the land of amazing stupidity these last few years thanks to characters such as Hugo Chaves and Nicolas Maduro. How else can you explain a country that runs out of toilet paper and tampons, or where cooking oil, flour and sugar, produced locally are hardly found in supermarkets and only after waiting in line all day?

Chicken for diapers: Bartering abounds in scarcity-stricken Venezuela

Some of the more interesting quotes:

“Like many 16-year-olds, Yannilay Liendo spends the better part of her day glued to Facebook. However, unlike her peers, she’s not using the social media site to connect with friends or catch up on gossip — she’s trying to find diapers and formula for her baby.”

“Venezuela’s grinding economic crisis has generated a plethora of problems including triple-digit inflation, shortages of basic goods and massive lines at markets. But it’s also inspiring boot-strap solutions, including a growing number of bartering websites for desperate shoppers.”

“In a sense, the economy has turned everyone into a hoarder. On a recent weekday, when a shipment of tampons came into a local pharmacy in an upscale part of Caracas, business men on their lunch break were scooping them up by the handful. While some said they were taking them to their spouses, others said they hoped they might be able to trade them with friends for other toiletries.

“Maria, 24, a reseller who asked for anonymity because re-selling is illegal, said stores in her neighborhood of central Caracas are adapting to the new buying habits by offering baskets of random bundled goods at a fixed price designed to be swapped on the secondary market.”

“José Goméz, a 57-year-old public accountant, said it had been five days since he could find sugar or coffee.

“In my house we don’t even know what a bean looks like anymore,” he said. “It’s been eight months since I’ve been able to buy deodorant.”

25 Ways People Earned Money During the Great Depression

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great depression earn moneyIn a previous career, I was a history teacher, and I’ve always loved learning about the past and gleaning whatever wisdom I can from the words and actions of others.

A couple of years ago I found an excellent book with dozens of first-person accounts from the Great Depression, We Had Everything But MoneyI’ve spent hours reading through anecdotes, touching, humorous, and poignant, and one thing that struck me was the ingenuity of the Americans who lived through those tough times. Many continued to find ways to earn money, even when their own circumstances were dire.

I put together this list. Feel free to add any others that you know of.

To earn money, people:

1. Caught and sold fish, clams, and crabs

2. Made homemade fudge and sold it

3. Sold newspapers on the corner. Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself.

4. Started a lunch truck/wagon

5. Grew, picked, and sold berries

6. Road work

7. Shoveled snow on roads

8. Multiple part-time jobs, including housecleaning

9. Chopped wood or harvested driftwood

10. Made and sold handwoven baskets

11. Mowed lawns and other kinds of yard work

12. Door to door sales of things like shoes or sewing notions

13. Made deliveries for stores

14. Made and sold quilts

15. Sold homemade baked goods, like bread or pies

16. Sold eggs for 25 cents a dozen

17. Childcare

18. Rented out rooms

19. Mended or altered clothes

20. Washed windows

21. Would purchase produce and re-sell door-to-door

22. Sold apples

23. Loaded coal

24. Piecework sewing

25. Sold homegrown produce

In every case it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life. Years ago a hairdresser friend of mine said, “Lisa, even if the economy collapsed tomorrow, women still want to look pretty. I would do business out of my home and probably continue to earn pretty good money.”

This is why some people who have lived through economic collapses say that beauty products, such as lipstick, eye shadow, and lotions, are good items for barter.

In addition to these creative entrepreneurial efforts, don’t forget that many people found work in the various Depression-era works programs as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, and keep in mind that these people had practical skills that folks today just don’t have. Perhaps some of these might be good additions to your own skillbank:

  • Rendering lard
  • Caring for livestock of all kinds
  • Smoking meat, poultry, and fish
  • Butchering all types of animals from squirrels to hogs, cattle, and other “varmints”
  • Foraging
  • Sewing by hand or with a non-electric sewing machine
  • Raising flourishing gardens
  • Preserving food by canning
  • Tinkering — Knowing how to fix all kinds of things.

As you can see, many of these skills go hand in hand with the money-making ventures of our Great Depression-era grandparents and great-grandparents. Today, so few of us have any of these skills. We are generations removed from farm life and homesteading.

How will YOU earn money in the next Great Depression?

One of the main reasons for studying how people survive, whether economically or physically, is to find lessons we can apply to our own lives and circumstances. For many years, some economists have been predicting an economic collapse here in America. If you are one of the 93+ million of Americans who are out of work, your own personal economy has already collapsed.

Now it’s time to consider how you will earn money, whether or not you are currently out of work. In the days of the Great Depression, it was common for grocers and landlords to provide credit to their customers. Today? That would be a rare occurrence.

From the Depression days there is an abundance of stories of neighbors and church families showing up at the door, laden with bags and boxes of food for a needy family. When one desperate mom was asked by her daughter, “Mama, what’s for dinner tonight?”, the response was, “Whatever the neighbors decide to bring us!”  I wish I could imagine that happening today, but our communities and families have become so fractured over the past few decades that it would be a rare event.

So, what skills do you have that might offer a service during a severe economic downturn? What knowledge do you have that would be helpful, even vital, to others? What products can you produce? What skills can you teach?

Ingenuity is something that can never be stolen by thieves, confiscated by a government, or lost to flood or fire. It is possible to survive during a Great Depression and there is plenty to learn from those who lived through the last one.

Want to learn more about Great Depression survival?

great depression earn money

 

Keep calm and buy life insurance

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buy life insurance

It is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there, yet no one wants to talk about it. The elephant is death.

I recently lost my brother in law, Joseph, at the age of 36. It was unexpected, and of course devastating. What is tragic is watching my sister in law struggle with the bills and funeral costs. These come to the surface and demand attention. She has taken phone calls from people wanting money when she has had none to give.

The problem is that Joseph was under-insured. In my profession I have been working with those who are dying and their families for many years. What I have found is that many are unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the mounting pile of medical bills, funeral plans, extended family issues and finances. It is unfortunate that during this emotional time important decisions need to be made. Much of this is unavoidable. One thing that can ease some of these burdens is life insurance.

Policy Types

There are a many types of life insurance policies. The most common are Permanent, Whole, Universal, and Term Insurance. The first three are sold as a life insurance policy and a method of investment. Life insurance is not the best way to invest your money. There are other investments that yield a higher return. These policies also allow the insured to borrow or withdraw cash against the policy.

Some individuals cannot qualify for term or find it too expensive. These other policies may be more budget friendly and still get the job done. There are advertisements on the television about policies that require no physical or medical questions. They are by reputable companies and can be considered an option. Be sure to read the fine print. There are limitations placed on this policy that may range from a few months to a few years. They may not be a bad purchase, just read all of the fine print. Be an informed consumer.

Term insurance allows you to buy the amount of insurance that you need, for only as long as your need it. The money saved by purchasing a term insurance policy can be used to pay off debts or to invest. Term insurance is the best option for those who are young and raising children. When the kids move out, ask your agent about adjusting the amount or if another type of insurance would better fit your needs.

Some term insurance companies are offering a return of premiums (ROP) to their customers. If you out live the term of your policy, they will refund you 100% of the premiums you have paid. Read the details and ask your agent any questions about insurance. It is a product you will want to work seamlessly for you when you need it to.

Policy Sources

Many employers and financial institutions offer free life insurance. Employers usually base the coverage on your yearly income. There may be an option to buy additional insurance coverage. Check to see how much coverage you have through work and include that amount when making your life insurance decisions. Remember that if you switch jobs, you need to purchase it through the new employer or with an agent. If you lose your job, you lose that insurance. Banks and credit unions may offer insurance for free, but it is not a large amount.

Another option is to self-insure. This is when you save money in an account that is to be used only when you pass away. The dollar amount must be enough to pay for funeral expenses, medical bills, and any other expenditures. Make sure that your final papers are in order so a family or friend will have access to the account and make sure it is spent on your funeral.

There are many sites on the internet that offer insurance calculators. You will be asked information about possible expenses and any special needs that your family may have. Plug in the requested numbers and amounts and a detailed report will follow. Many sites (and employers) offer other types of insurance to consider. These may include disability, long term care, critical illness and income protection. Again, examine the variety that is available and speak to an insurance specialist about what additional coverage your family may need.

How much coverage?

Many ask how much life insurance is needed. You need to have coverage that is 10 times your family’s annual income. The whole point of insurance is to replace yours or your spouse’s salary. If your homes income is $75,000 a year, your insurance coverage should be $750,000. Your chosen beneficiary can invest this money at 10% per year, which will provide them with an annual income of $75,000.

By replacing your income, your family can maintain the same lifestyle that you provided for them. Chose a beneficiary with care. It should be someone that you trust. The beneficiary should understand what you want done with the insurance money. Not only should you verbally discuss this, it needs to be written out in a will.

What could be more traumatic on the heels of losing a spouse than being forced to sell your home, find a job, and uproot the kids? Imagine how nice it would be to know that when you pass, your spouse will be able to be there for your children during this difficult time. Evaluate how long you will have your children at home and purchase a policy that will at least cover your family until the last child leaves home.

As your life changes, so will the amount of insurance coverage needed. When the children are moved out, the amount of insurance coverage can decrease. It is wise to reduce or eliminate any debt and increase the amount you save. A policy will need to cover medical bills, existing debt, and funeral expenses.

Where do you keep your policy? I recommend that you have a drawer, file cabinet, or box that holds all of your important documents. When you pass away, your family can quickly find your life insurance policy and all of the other needed documents. These documents should include:

• Will and estate plans that tell your family how you want your life insurance money spent
• Tax returns, your monthly budget, and bank account information
• Passwords, PINS, combinations, user names
• Other insurance policies
• Investments and retirement accounts
• Funeral and other after death instructions

Final thoughts. (So to speak.)

Seven months after Joseph’s death, his widow is still adjusting to her “new normal.” A GoFundMe page and a yard sale of donated items has helped ease some of the financial burden, but there is still a shortage of money and some bills still need to be paid.

You know you are going to die. We all are. No one should be left behind worrying about going back to work, keeping the lights on, and paying the mortgage. Do the right thing and purchase life insurance. There is no “thinking about it” or “I will get around to it”. Do it now. It is the most thoughtful gift you can give to your loved ones.

Preparing for Recession

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Financial crash concept on whiteWhat would do if you had a strong impression that another recession was coming soon? What kinds of actions and changes would you take to weather the coming storm? The steps that I list below aren’t a complete list by any means, and I don’t expect that anyone would be able to accomplish them all, but if any of them sparks something in you to do something that you’re not already doing to become better prepared for a sudden and significant economic downturn, I will have fulfilled the purpose of this blog.

The signs of a coming new recession are all around us:

  • There has never been a sufficient recovery from the Great Recession that started in the autumn of 2008 with the collapse of the housing market. A huge number of people have been unemployed or severely under-employed since that time. They haven’t experienced any recovery or reprieve, just a severe downslide to the brink of poverty and a radical adjustment to what for them has become “the new normal.”
  • Having tens of millions of new people become dependent on the government for food stamps, medical care, and other necessities of life has been a boat anchor for the economy. In a real recovery they would find decent jobs, they would produce something, make their own money, spend their own money, and save some of their own money. All of these things would make life better for everyone. Instead, it is a growing problem that will continue to apply downward pressure on the economy.
  • Big companies have begun laying people off again. Sandy and I run a business-to-business company. Our client businesses have stopped spending money, are laying off employees, and are offering early retirement deals to help save money in the future. All of these are signs of economic contraction.
  • The stock market has been climbing to record highs, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. The rise isn’t caused by underlying economic strength, but because of years of “economic easing,” the federal policy of printing billions of dollars of new money out of thin air. It creates the illusion of wealth without having any real foundation for it.

I could go on, but if you’re reading this article, you probably don’t need to be convinced. You just want to know what to do to help you prepare for it.

  • Stop the bleeding! Are you spending money as if all is well and everything will go on as it always has? Stop it. Take an honest look at every aspect of your life and look for places where you are spending money that you may soon wish you still had. Sandy and I love to travel, but because of the recessionary clouds on the horizon, we’re not going anywhere for a while. Our DirecTV bill is $100 per month. I’m looking into pulling the plug on it and going with all Internet-based streaming TV. Eating out can be another huge drain on a household budget. You can eat like royalty at home for a week for the price of one or two meals out at a marginal restaurant. Make sacrifices. Stop the bleeding.
  • Reduce your debt. Debt is the obligation for payment of money that you spent sometime in the past. Debt is just like the government’s economic easing policy — you generate cash out of thin air to buy things you can’t afford today and hope that you can find a way to pay for them tomorrow. When a recession hits and you aren’t making as much money as you used to (or no money at all), you don’t want to have to pay for purchases you made a long time ago. You’ll need everything that’s coming in to go toward current expenses. Reduce or eliminate your debt now so that you won’t be trying to pay for past expenses at a time of increased current need.
  • Spend wisely. Is there anything that you could buy now that would be a good investment against hard times to come? Is there anything that you could buy now that would either help reduce your expenses or increase your income in the future? I’m thinking about things like:
  • Sell some of your stuff. Do it now. We all have stuff that we don’t really use or need, but for some bizarre reason we hang on to. Sell it now, while you can find a buyer who has the money to pay you what’s it’s worth. The other option is waiting until a major recession hits, needing to sell it to generate cash, and not being able to find anyone who can afford to buy it.
  • Save wisely. It’s tempting to spend all of your money now to buy things that you expect to need in the future. Prices continue to inch upward on almost everything, while incomes remain flat or actually decrease. Some staples that we stocked up on a couple of years ago are selling for 25% more now. That’s a pretty good investment return. Some people believe that our money won’t be worth anything in the not-to-distant future, so they say you need to spend it now to get anything at all from it. I don’t know enough about that stuff to have an opinion on it, but I do know that having a cash reserve has always been a good idea in the past and looks like it’s still a wise choice for the foreseeable future. Saving wisely can be a tricky one. Save as much as you can afford to now so that you are able to meet future expenses, emergencies, or can pounce on a great deal if the opportunity presents itself, but don’t save so much that you can’t spend wisely and reduce your debt now.
  • Increase your income. Earning more money will help you accomplish all of the bullet points in this article. There’s a lot of talk these days about creating multiple revenue streams, which is just another way to say adding an additional source of income to your primary job. You’ve heard the old saying that “it takes money to make money.” Yes, but to meet the goals of the challenge of preparing for the sudden onset of a significant recession, you want to find something that you can do to earn extra money that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to set up. What can you do to earn a buck on the side without a lot of start-up costs?
    • Build things
    • Repair things
    • Cook / bake / cater food
    • Sewing and alterations
    • Create and sell crafts or works of art
    • Sell new or used products on Amazon (yes, you can do that), eBay, or Etsy
    • Pet-sitting or house-sitting
    • Do yardwork
  • Trust God. I really wanted to lead with this point, but I also didn’t want anyone to tune out before I got to it. You won’t find “God helps those who help themselves” quoted in the Bible anywhere, but I believe that God expects us to do our part, and He wants us to trust Him to do what we can’t. Some people refuse to prep because of their faith in God. I’m just the opposite — I prep because of my faith in God. I take action because I trust in Him.

Even since I sat down to write this I’ve received word of one of our client companies cutting their budget to the core and requiring all employees to take a week off without pay this summer. The storm clouds of recession (or worse) are everywhere. It’s time to get busy and it’s time to trust God.

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