Prepare like there’s no time to waste
I wish you knew me in person. I wish you could see for yourself that I’m a calm, rational, and mature person, not inclined to hysteria or panic. I’m saying this because what I’m going to write about next may sound, well, hysterical.
Last week I happened upon an article by Greg Hunter, When Will Financial Armageddon Begin? in which the author cites financial expert John Williams of
shadowstats.com. His predictions are scarcely encouraging.
The day before last Friday’s dismal jobs report, Williams said, “. . . the timing of the looming U.S. financial Armageddon is coming into better focus, with increasingly high risk of it breaking within the next six months to a year.”
“Financial Armageddon . . . within the next six months to a year.” I called Williams to see why the odds of calamity have accelerated. He told me on the phone last night, “What is happening now to bring the timing into focus is the economy IS turning down. It is no longer the perspective the economy is going to turn down. That, in turn, will eventually trigger all the problems with the dollar, the debt and the deficit.”
How quickly could a collapse happen? Last year I posted A scary scenario: The One-Hour Meltdown with a link to an article that details just how rapidly a financial crisis could spell the end of the world as we know it. Hunter quotes Mallory Factor of Forbes who, apparently, concurs that a sudden collapse is very possible.
“In an age when billions of dollars in securities are traded in nanoseconds, when a 24-hour news cycle seems long, why should national decline be exempt from what the Germans call Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age? The Book of Revelation, speaking allegorically of ancient Rome, states, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” Ancient Rome surely did not expect its sudden fall any more than the Soviet Union did in 1991, or than America does now.”
As if this news wasn’t dreary enough, I spotted yet another must-read at American Thinker, An Argentina-like Economic Crisis by Scott Strzelczyk. Argentina’s collapse, which began in 1998, resulted in nearly60% of the population living at poverty level or below just four years later. Could that happen to my family?
A year from now, we may read this post and laugh at my tone, but I don’t think so. I think there’s an urgent need to prepare. Here are some of the steps I’d like my family to take.
- Buy a little 4-seater car. We own a Tahoe and a good-sized pick-up, and the vehicles suit our lifestyles and work requirements very well. However, should the economy bottom out, I want a reliable vehicle that uses very little gas and will serve as our main transportation. I’m thinking of something in the $4000-5000 range, cheap to operate, cheap to insure.
- Prayerfully consider what to do with what remains of our retirement savings. Retirement may become a wistful memory for my generation and those of younger generations. Between a weakened dollar, sky-high long-term unemployment, falling home values, and an overall decline of the economy, we may all be trying to eke out a living well into our 60′s, 70′s, and beyond. (Thank God I had the foresight to marry a man seven years younger than me! When I’m an old lady, he’ll still be in fine working condition!)
- Curb our appetite for the newest, latest and greatest toys. Will cool high tech toys seem like such a smart purchase if we can’t afford basic necessities?
- Go back through our budget. Again. I don’t want indulgences now to endanger our financial security later. Depending on future events, we can always add luxuries back into our budget, but let’s take care of first things first!
- We have four couches, a love seat, and a sectional. Why? It’s a long story. But if you ever come over to my house, you will have a place to sit, maybe even take a nap! We can easily sell two of the couches and the love seat. This week they’re going on Craigslist, along with our massive collection of Star Trek VHS videos. (Attention ST fans!) I want extra cash in my grubby hands to buy a little more food for our pantry, maybe a couple of water barrels, definitely some silver coins. How much could you sell or use for barter in order to acquire more essential goods?
- Think really hard about our kids’ piano, guitar, and horse-riding lessons. It really kills me that a tanking economy could demolish dreams of thousands of kids who have amazing, God-given talents but whose families won’t have the funds for extra training and lessons. Who knows how much talent will go unrealized and
undeveloped because of empty bank accounts? This category will be one of the last to go.
- One expense I’m going to fight to keep is a couple of monthly donations to charities whose causes mean a lot to me. These will be one of the last expenses we cut. We’ll continue giving to our church. Giving to others softens a part of our hearts, even in the toughest times, and it’s a practice I want to continue for my own sake but also for that of my kids.
- Take better care of what we own. We’re not careless people, but things do have a way of getting lost around our house. If money becomes scarce, I would feel so foolish if I had to replace an important item because we had lost it or stepped on it or it became a victim of any number of crazy things that go on around here!
- Declutter. I’ve written about this before, and I think it’s more important than ever to unload hundreds, maybe even thousands, of pounds of stuff that isn’t necessary or relevant and just serves to take up space. I’ve had some good runs with clearing out the junk in our home, but I get sidetracked. Starting now I have a new focus and purpose.
- Emphasize healthy eating and healthy living. Family hikes and bike rides aren’t just for fun and bonding but for strengthening our bodies and cardiovascular systems. No amount of stored food, spare tools, or stash of firearms and ammo can take the place of good health.
Fernando Aguirre, Ferfal, over at Surviving Argentina wrote about watching a family rummage through a dumpster looking for dinner, and then sitting together on the ground to eat. He said that broke his heart more than anything else he had witnessed. I don’t want to be that family! The time to prevent such a scenario is right now.
Will our country’s economy improve over the next several months and years? Few experts believe so. I am so thankful that we have this window of time to become more aware of current events, learn from history, and plan for a future that is uncertain at best.
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