As mentioned in an earlier post, I found it frustrating to find a dozen websites warning of economic collapse or the dollar collapse without any useful Action Steps that I could take to try to avert such a calamity. These authors operated under the assumption that the worst was destined to come, and the only thing that I could do was stock up on water and dehydrated food. I reject the notion that I am powerless to change the monetary system. The government derives all of its sovereign power from the people, from you and me. However, being a rational being, I recognize that an economic disruption is highly likely. When this occurs, to a lesser or greater degree, it would be wise to be prepared for supply disruptions that will effect your daily life. And I believe that some disruption is imminent whether we, the US citizens, choose to revalue our currency voluntarily, or it is involuntarily revalued for us by the world market in the great “dollar dump.”
Therefore, on this blog I include both political steps to avert a monetary disaster/collapse and personal steps to protect your family in the case of a monetary disaster/collapse that leads to temporary (long or short-term) shortages and supply disruptions in the US. We have discussed the possibility of a “dollar dump” leading to hyperinflation, and it is the “dollar dump” for which you and your family should prepare.
I will simply touch on a few of the points here in outline format. These steps are reasonable, easy to follow, common sense, and relatively inexpensive. To say they are “common sense” is to say they are things that your great grandmother would find very reasonable. That generation lived through the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. They saw banks collapse, unbelievable unemployment, inflation and shortages of all kinds. They experienced soup lines, bread lines, and ration stamps.
Note: In this section you will find no links to any products. I want to emphasize over and over that the purpose of this blog is not to “sell” things. The purpose is to inform you, prepare you, and call you to take action right now, today. The recommended website below does earn a commission on sales generated from that site. I am not affiliated with the site in any way, and I do not begrudge them the commissions as the website is an excellent education (although I disagree with the site’s author on some points).
My publisher, however, does make a commission on sales from the Reading List. That’s why “Send a Book” and “Educate Yourself” are saved as the very last Action Steps. You should not “buy” anything unless and until you are sending a handful of weekly letters, recruiting others to do the same, amplifying your voice electronically and locally, and have prepared your family as detailed below. My publisher’s commissions are of little to no concern to me, you actually taking action and preparing your family are my primary concern.
These family Action Steps are, in general, in order of priority. For a more detailed list see “What Should I Do?” at http://www.chrismartenson.com/page/what-should-i-do.
Stock up a minimum 3 month supply of food for your family. A disaster, financial or otherwise, can cause empty store shelves within only 1 day. Concurrent supply disruptions can cause these empty store shelves to stay empty for an extended period of time. This step is both easy and inexpensive. One pound of dried black beans or dried rice (cooked, depending on type) contains about 600 Calories. The daily adult diet is about 2,000 calories, so a 50 pound bag of beans or rice will feed an adult for about 5 days. Both can be purchased at less than $1.00 per pound.
Other stored/dehydrated food packed for long storage can be purchased from a variety of websites. Store some salt, store some spices, store some canned goods. Beans, rice, and dehydrated foods may not sound very appealing, but the idea here is survival. If and when the store shelves are empty everyone switches into “survival mode” and, all of the sudden, beans and rice at home sound pretty good. They are a lot more appealing than standing in a bread line or a soup line for hours on end day after day after day, just to survive. Your great-grandmother had a “cellar” full of canned everything. That is a reasonable approach to take.
I put water second, rather than first, because it is more likely that the store shelves will become immediately empty than your water faucet will immediately run dry. However, you should store some drinking water long-term in one gallon or five gallon jugs. Enough to last for week in the event of a disruption. Additionally, the purchase of both a water filter system and water storage containers for use in the event of an emergency is advised. Your great-grandmother probably had a well, a luxury many modern Americans do not have. Therefore stocking up on water is the reasonable alternative.
A garden can provide “fresh” food that is neither dried nor dehydrated. If you like, you may begin a garden now, so that you can enjoy it’s benefits now. However, at a minimum, I recommend you have a stock of non-hybrid seeds to start a garden in the event of a food disruption. They are available from many websites and relatively inexpensive. Your great-grandmother had these as well.
Diabetics NEED insulin. Some people with high blood pressure NEED their blood pressure pill to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Asthmatics NEED their inhalers. Everyone needs first aid from time to time. So stock up and store those medications that you and your family members actually need to survive.
Gold and silver have been recognized a “money” for 6,000 years. Our current “Federal Reserve Note” fiat currency has not changed that. Nor has the advent of the Euro or central banks printing unlimited supplies of paper money across the globe. I suggest you own some gold and some silver in a 50:50 proportion. Gold is more valuable and more universally accepted. An ounce of silver is a more useful “denomination” in that it can be used to make smaller purchases if necessary – such as a week of groceries. I leave the actual form of the gold and silver up to you.
Additionally, you should have some physical cash, those beloved “Federal Reserve Notes” on hand in the event that there are any issues withdrawing your funds from the bank. Cash will indeed be used until such time as it is “useless.” Your great-grandparents saw banks collapse and people lose their savings. They kept some cash and some valuables on hand and so should we.
Finally, neither gold nor silver nor cash is a panacea in a true “collapse” of an economy. Think about New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. That is a true, localized collapse of an economy. People weren’t out there exchanging gold and silver coins – they didn’t want or need them at the time. What they needed was food and a bottle of water, and they would have done anything for both. That’s why food and water are more important than money.
The amount of energy (in terms of electricity or heating oil or gas) that we actually need to survive is quite different from the amount of energy we use for our comfort. I love my home’s air conditioner in the summer and and heater in the winter, but open windows in the summer and bundling of clothing and blankets in the winter were how human beings survived thousands of years. In more extreme cold climates, emergency heat may actually be a necessity rather than an option.
That being said, some sort of fuel/energy is necessary for cooking. Also some energy is necessary for lighting and electronic communication. Propane and a small gas stove can serve energy needed for cooking. Rechargeable batteries can provide the energy for lighting and radios. A small solar panel with a deep cycle battery and AC converter can provide energy for charging other batteries, charging your phone, or running lighting and some electronics for communication. I am not advising you to place a solar panel array atop your house with a wind generator in your back yard. It would be prudent, however, to buy rechargeable batteries when you need batteries. Pick up an extra tank of propane the next time you have to go the store for a cylinder exchange. And, if you have the means, a small solar generating system would come in handy in an emergency. Although your great-grandmother did not have a solar panel or rechargeable batteries, she had other sources of energy such as 10 acres of trees that could be felled for fuel. Most of us do not have that “luxury” today.
By taking actions steps to protect and prepare your family, you will have access to food, clean water, necessary medications, money and fuel. It will give you time wait out a disruption without panic. You will not be storming the grocery store only to find empty shelve that were completely full the day before. It will give you and your family a sense of security in uncertain times. You may multiply the number of months and the quantity of supplies to meet your families needs and resources. Storage of supplies, especially food should be in a climate-controlled environment and probably in more than one location including your home, a family member’s home, and/or a climate controlled storage unit close to your home for easy access.