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Is It Too Late to Start Preparing for Economic Collapse?

Economic Collapse is coming our way.
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If you have not by now been convinced of the precarious state of our economy, there may be no reaching you, at least not with any powers of persuasion I have. There are too many sources who have warned of approaching calamity for years to mention without turning this article into a compendium of links. Industry experts have said we are headed for an economic collapse unlike any seen before in history, but for those who want to argue, I will throw out just three recent examples.

You can argue that these people aren’t trustworthy or they are intentionally trying to make a buck off scaring people and that may well be true. I can’t say I have any financial clout myself and the markets are just as mysterious to me as the next guy. I can tell you I have long had a feeling though and I tend to trust my gut.

But even without my personal economic induced indigestion, do you really believe all is sunshine and roses out there? There are simply too many in-your-face signs that rather than recovering, things are getting worse. Are we as a nation and the world at large better off than we were 10 years ago? I don’t think so.

Now I want to add a little conspiratorial flavor to the mix just to spice things up. The Bilderberg conference that just wrapped up had as part of its agenda, the topic of capital controls. For those who don’t know what that means, capital controls were implemented in Cyprus in 2013 where banks closed for weeks, people were unable to withdraw any of their own money and eventually, some of their savings were taken. Where I come from that’s called stealing and they are now discussing the same thing with Greece.

But those are other countries you say. Nothing like that could ever happen to the rest of the world because we have our stuff together. Really? The debt of the US is well over $18 Trillion dollars and other countries hold our debt. Is a scenario where that debt is called in out of the realm of possibility? OK, maybe it is, but let’s look at some other conspiratorial ingredients to the overall story.

Pastor Lindsey Williams who claims to be friends with “elites” who disclose secret information in confidence with him has shared that recently he was told that within the next three months, the World Bank and IMF will force a reevaluation of the currencies of 204 nations. Would this be good economic news for the U.S. or nothing to worry about? Could that all be a load of crap and nothing you should even bother giving any credit to? Perhaps. Are there even 204 nations in the world? Not according to the World Atlas, but this news isn’t completely surprising to me.

Argentina experienced an economic collapse from 1998-2002. Would you be able to hold out for four years?

Argentina experienced an economic collapse from 1998-2002. Would you be able to hold out for four years?

Is economic collapse even a possibility?

So maybe the conspiracy angle isn’t something you are interested in entertaining for any one of a myriad of reasons and the industry pundits who are calling for doom in the markets are easily ignored by you. Maybe Martin Armstrong who has predicted a crash roughly in the last part of 2015 is wrong also and all of this doom and gloom is precisely what you hate about some prepping blogs. If that’s you, maybe this article won’t resonate and you can catch me on the backside when I start talking about more appropriate things like finding water, starting fires or lists of prepping supplies you need.

I for one know economic collapse is a very real thing and this has happened throughout history multiple times. Nothing in our current trajectory gives me any hope that we will pull out of this dive without going through massive pain first and even though I have no proof, no degree in economics or even a really sharp understanding of capital markets and business cycles, the signs are on the wall for me. What I have been able to read and witness myself makes me feel like we are getting closer and the sense of urgency to prepare is greater again.

Just in the relatively recent past, Argentina had an economic collapse that lasted for 4 years. This isn’t really new for Argentina, who unfortunately has had a history of economic ups and downs, but if you want to see just how similar the circumstances they went through leading up to the crisis of 1998, you might want to watch this movie below. Before you do, realize that 100 years ago, Argentina was one of the wealthiest countries in the world. If it can happen there, it can happen here.

Economic collapses happen and when they do people lose their jobs. The costs of all goods rise to levels that are unlivable in some situations. Argentina had over 50% of their population who were considered poor and 25% who were indigent. You can protest and riot in the streets for change and that is what a good portion of citizens in Argentina did, but what is more important to me is taking care of my family should we ever face that same situation or similar in the U.S.

How can you prepare for economic collapse?

Even if a currency reevaluation occurs, you likely won’t notice anything different right away. You may find that you still have a job, the stores are still open and you can still take money out of your bank. But if the debt is called in or something else rocks the financial markets, we can expect a huge spike in the cost of goods. If the price of groceries doubles, what would you do?

Here are my personal priorities for getting ready for economic collapse:

Food

In Argentina and other areas affected by high inflation, food shortages were and are still common and even when they had food, people couldn’t afford what they once were able to buy. Besides our mortgage, food is the second highest monthly bill we have. Along with my current preparations if I read in the news about any capital controls or currency reevaluations, my first stop is the local big box store for as many 50LB bags of rice, beans, seasonings like Salt, Pepper and Cayenne, Bouillon cubes, paper plates and cups and toilet paper as I can carry in a few trips. Why these items? These last a very long time and can feed you for a long time. Paper supplies can be burned if needed instead of trying to worry about using water to wash/flush. Why don’t I have them already? Space. I don’t have it right now but I would make space if I needed to.

Water

Why isn’t water my first priority? Only because I have some redundancy already built-in but it is something I am going to redouble my efforts at. For starters I am going to acquire two supplies to pull water out of our well that could help in a couple of other ways. I am getting a manual hand pump since our well isn’t too deep, upgrading the water rain barrels to something with a higher capacity like a 530 Gallon Slimline Rain tank. I will be adding backup Berkey Filters for in home water filtration capacity. With rainwater, local (nearby) sources of water and plenty of ability to filter water we should be set. Not having access to clean drinking water is an easy way to catch diseases and happens very frequently in poor countries or those affected by disaster.

Shelter

This is a broad topic and for the purposes of this article I am focusing on our house and specifically making it more secure. Plywood sheeting to board up doors and windows, heavy chains to secure items, tarps, brackets to make improvisational door barricades and hand tools for the ability to work without power.

Security

Security for my family is mostly centered around firearms but I will be purchasing additional backup magazines for my pistols, more ammunition and spare holsters for all pistols. Binoculars I already have, but I am considering purchasing Night Vision monoculars and additional Bullet proof vests. It only needs to save your life once to make it worth it.

Bugging Out

The BOV is already purchased, but I plan to augment its capacity with all terrain tires and a roof rack to hold additional cargo as well as improve the structural integrity with some skid plates. ITS tactical has a brilliant article on some DIY modifications along these lines that could help you out in a pinch.

Health and Hygiene

Most of this is already acquired, but better safe than sorry, right? Additional bandages, alcohol, fish antibiotics, trash bags, quick lime and for the ladies, I plan on purchasing Diva Cups. Sure, this isn’t a subject that I want to cover, but in terms of re-usability, there are far worse options.

Power

Solar panels or a system like Goal Zero’s Yeti 400 with some additional solar panels will be a quiet alternative to a generator that you can actually bring into your house. I already have various solar charging systems that offer a lower amount of redundancy. I would add to the rechargeable batteries I have.

Communications

I already have battery-powered shortwave radios and ham handhelds, but a better base unit and chimney mounted antenna along with batteries would round out my communication supplies.

These are just items I still need to purchase and have an increased sense of urgency about with the recent news. My hope is that next year at this time, like so many years before, we will be able to look back and collectively say, again; “Nothing Happened”. Even if that is true, I am continuing to prepare. If you knew there was some economic collapse right around the corner, would you do anything differently? What do you think?

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  • EgbertThrockmorton1

    I don’t think it is ever “too late” to “start” prepping for an economic collapse. While I am not convinced that a full scale “collapse scenario” is imminent, I believe it IS coming, albeit, in stages. The current Regime, will, I believe force the collapse in a much smaller series of “Events” that will lull the sheeple into a false sense of normalcy, like they always try to do.
    We decided a long time ago that a Cypriot-bank-haircut was NOT something we wanted to “participate” in, if at all possible. We are and have made preps to mitigate any haircut at our financial institutions, as much as we possibly can, within our control.
    We would MUCH rather be our “own bank”to safeguard our hard earned assets and savings. Anything “on deposit” isn’t really ours anyway, Yeah, we DID read the fine print in the deposit agreements, as everyone should. Checks yours out, the financial institutions are indeed in full control of YOUR assets, YOU are not. (see the fine print)

    • I don’t think it is ever too late either Egbert, but frequently my titles are meant to drive a conversation which is happening on this post already. I go back and forth believing just like you do that it will be a slow creeping death as opposed to a violent end. In either case, I want to be prepared, it’s just a matter of how much I can accomplish that is still left to do while I am able.

  • LWJ

    My top four things to stock up to prep for the next financial collapse would be.
    1. The prescription drugs the wife and kids need. The prices and availability of them will make it hard to acquire.
    2. Fuel I would buy as much gasoline,diesel, and propane as I could.
    3. Water the more the merrier.
    4. Non perishable food. I would also try to split a cow with the family beforehand to have meat on the table still, maybe even chickens and pigs.

    If given any sort of advanced notice I will convert all assets in the bank into cash or precious metals to keep out of the Governments hands.

    If prices double we would have to rethink the budget, and plan accordingly. However you could also just say the hell with it. Lock and load because we would have to fend off the grasshoppers and those dependent on the Feds to meet their daily needs.

    • Great points LWJ and I didn’t get to fuel or medications. Probably because I have a supply on hand already. Could I use more? Of course, but then I have to start worrying about keeping hundreds of gallons of fuel somewhere. Medications aren’t an issue for us fortunately, but for millions they are a major consideration. Hopefully you are able to stock up on a sufficient supply.

      • LWJ

        I would prepare for rolling blackouts and only having power for 8-12 hours a day. I have no doubt that energy would be rationed just like in WW2. Propane is great to heat spaces and to cook with. An extra 10-15 Five gallon Jerry cans would be a wonderful ace in the hole. If I want to go out and shoot critters fuel will be a must.

        My son has asthma and having a huge stock of his meds would ease my concerns. It would be possible to do this, but slightly illegal.

        • NRP

          @ LJC “My son has asthma and having a huge stock of his meds would ease my concerns. It would be possible to do this, but slightly illegal.”
          Sorry LJW, and don’t misunderstand me I don’t advocate illegal activity, BUT if it might involve the life of my son or family, SCREW the legal/illegal crapo, I would have years and years of medicines on hand if I even had a slight inkling that something is coming down the pike that could disrupt the flow of Meds.
          JMHO
          NRP

  • Bolofia

    I join Egbert in the conviction that it is never too late to start prepping, and the topics that you’ve listed are not only worthwhile for an economic collapse, they cover the entire range of prepping for any SHTF or TEOTWAWKI scenario, regardless of what triggers it.

    I still have a lot of unresolved questions about the best method of allocating resources in preparation for any type of collapse. For example: It seems to me that it is better to have a large supply of food than to have a large quantity of gold (which remains inedible at last check). Likewise, I expect that a large supply of ammo or a critical skill would be far more desirable than gold in a survival economy that is based upon barter.

    Simply stated, if you reach a situation where NO ONE has food that they are willing to trade for services, expertise, fuel or tools, the value of gold and greenbacks will have already reached zero.

    Let’s say that you need an electrician to wire up a connection for your well and your house so that you can run a gas generator to power both. He and his family are hungry, the local supermarket ran out of food two weeks ago, but all you have to offer is cash. I don’t see that transaction reaching a successful conclusion.

    A small quantity of gold seems to make sense. A large supply of cash seems like a good idea for the first 24-72 hours after a collapse. After that, people will be seeking only two things: food/water and security. Am I missing something?

    • LWJ

      Your plan would be better suited for a complete collapse in matter of days. I was planning for something like a modern day Great Depression that lingers on for years. Greece has been doing the Austerity thing for quite a while. If this is the case I want my money to be converted to a currency that still has value, and not be stuck with paper. Think post WW1 Germany. I also don’t want the government to skim my accounts to pay the bills.

      I would stock up on lots of hunting ammo, not the tactical kind. I will shoot far more birds, deer, and speed goats than people.

      • Bolofia

        Good points. However, if there was a complete (global) economic collapse, I’m not sure what currency would be worth holding if you couldn’t convert it to something usable in your home town. I’m also thinking that the first time you barter with gold coins you will have just painted a target on your back. I don’t know the best answer, but I’m leaning heavily toward really basic commodities, food and ammo.

        • LWJ

          Silver is my metal of choice, an I prefer to have one ounce bars or coins. Any sort of stockpile will make you a target. I would invest in multiple hidden caches, and not the big hoard in one location.

    • I am right there with you Bolo on food over gold in the grand scheme of things although I do have some precious metals. I cashed out the 401K back in 2009 and ended any interaction with the market but since that time, I haven’t purchased any more. I have some, but my goal isn’t to trade for items in precious metals because I can’t see that being possible until many years after a true collapse. I have them in case the dollar is destroyed, but banks will still give you something (whatever replaces the dollar) for your precious metals.

    • NRP

      I have NO use for Silver and Gold “IF” I don’t have the all important metal —> Lead coated in Brass.

      Cash will be worthless if you don’t have food/water/shelter.

      Money is great to have if the economy is doing well and you want to purchase that new house and truck on credit.

      I often hear of people trading or bartering, IMHO that’s a great way to get yourself killed, You mentioned an “Electrician to wire up…..” First of all you should already know how to do that if you expect to survive in a total collapse or even in a SHTF.

      You also mentioned ” if you reach a situation where NO ONE has food that they

      ….” if you have food and “they don’t” there will be hundreds of people willing to kill you for what you have. NOT a good to advertise you have food by trading it with someone.
      Lastly I don’t think your missing anything at all.
      NRP

  • guest

    I am planning on building one of those “Remote Secure Cabins” on acreage in the boonies just in case. Silver coins. Establish permaculture on the acreage for now, and a hand pump. Build from there.

    • I think we would all like to be able to do that. It’s the best plan I can think of for those who have the resources but simply being remote isn’t an answer to all problems. It does seem to limit your exposure to a lot of other problems though.

  • Herman Nelson

    Nope. It’s never too late. It just means you’re waaaay back and need to get off the dime. Study what others are doing, don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made, be aggressive to acquiring what you think you need, inventory what you have and fill in the shortages. Learn and acquire skills you don’t have.

    It’s not about running down to Walmart or Sams Club and buying $2,000 in freeze dried foods and guns and ammo.

  • MrApple

    It is NEVER too late to start.

  • Thomas Paine in the butt

    Having just finished “One Second After” that the only time its too late.

    I have a very small quantity of silver but right now the only precious metal I’m interested in is brass.

    My goal is to have about 2.5-3mil quality calories in long term storage. That’ll get me through until I can start replacing them with grown, foraged or hunted food.

    • That was one of my early reads too. It really made me think and the story was good also. It was the best book in the genre I thought to present the concepts to my wife. She read it and was moved to believe more along the same lines as me on the need to prepare.

      • Thomas Paine in the butt

        I’ve read it 2 or 3x and to be perfectly honest there are parts that still get me choked up. Thats the sign of good story. And even though the good guys “won” did they really? And that was my second eureka moment…

        • Yeah, think I need to move that back to the nightstand pile again.

  • BobW

    Seems to me that doing anything, even if its last minute will put you ahead of 90% of the population (if not higher). Pat, I’m seeing an article here. “How to get started prepping on a limited budget.”

    Maybe a simple-ish list of ‘get the ball rolling’ items that jump starts the process…

    Something like:
    100lbs of rice
    25lbs beans
    case of hot sauce (cause beans suck)
    some kind of water filtration (to include a plan for getting water)
    12 gauge shotty
    1 brick of #7 bird shot (500 rounds)
    1 flashlight per family member
    1 case of disposable batteries for the flashlights
    box of candles
    1 case of canned meat

    You get the idea. Thinking of keeping it frugal to get the ball rolling. You can spend thousands on guns, dehydrated foods, fancy solar systems, and the like, but focusing on getting through a week without anything but the ‘stores’

    • Thomas Paine in the butt

      On the flashlights, I picked up some Faraday lights that are scattered around the house and solar rechargeable lights on the car dashs.

      That’s a great list and can probably be had for $6-700 with a decent shotgun, IE Mossberg 500. I’d add some 00 buck for the larger critters.

      • BobW

        I started to put down 100 rounds of 00, but realized that was a major expense. The idea is/was to define a solid, but not authorititive list of ‘get started quick’ items to kick start a newbie’s prepping.

        • Thomas Paine in the butt

          All this shotgun talk is giving me sellers remorse for my Saiga 12…

        • LWJ

          Perhaps it should be 20 00 buck shells, that should cover the home defense aspect easily…..unless you live in Fallujah or Ramadi.

    • That is a good idea for a post Bob!

  • Andrew Reed

    I would think that productive capacity would be a big must. Most people who did well in economic short falls were those who not only had, but could produce the things people needed and wanted. I learned years ago from my grandfather who to make beer, wine, and liquor and all of those are things that people will want. Even if the Liquor is only for fuel, and or cleaning purposes. I own a mushroom farm, and while that may not be people’s first choice to eat, they are a very nutritious food and can be grown on waste products such as sawdust, cardboard, etc.

    I would imagine that owning a cider mill and press would be helpful. As would learning how to build rocket stoves, filtering water in large quantities, raising some sort of livestock, productive machinery and the ability to power it, pickling crocks, large pressure cookers for canning, easy to power grinding wheels for tool sharpening, learning to make charcoal and the equipment to make it.

    I mean there are so many things that can be produced, and the means to production is the means to wealth, particularly when things are hard to come by.

    • Andrew Reed

      how* not who.

  • Samantha Atkins

    You know, the article pushes a lot of prepper prepare for societal meltdown stuff but says very little about protecting your money. At the very least move 20-30% of what money you have to hard metal (gold & silver you personally have on hand preferably purchased without paper trail). Perhaps put some into bitcoin or other online tradeable non-dollar currency. if possible put some into hard assets.

    If we are as close to blowout as I think, namely by this time next year, I am not at all sure paying off credit cards is good advice. That good credit is going to be worth squat. Your card will almost certainly be unusable in any case in such a set of events. It might be better to put what money you have into some harder assets like the above and into buying whatever amount of preparation beyond that you find appropriate.

    But let’s not kid ourselves. If we are really talking about a societal collapse rather than mostly just an economic one then there is no way to be prepared in the middle of a city or the typical suburbs. There will simply be way too many hungry, desperate and totally freaked out people to deal with. Let’s do all we can to keep it from going there, little as it might be at this point.