Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Regular Joe. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.
There is a strategy among some survivalist and preppers that is included in their preparations. It’s the accumulation of gold and silver for use later after a SHTF event. I’m not trying to start an argument as to whether this is a smart strategy or not, only put forth my thoughts. Some will agree and some will disagree with me and that’s OK.
First off let me say that people prep for different reasons. Some do it in anticipation of TEOTWAWKI and some do it on a smaller scale for seasonal natural events like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and temporary power loss from storms. Others are preparing for the end of civilization and law. I think it’s the latter group that is primarily interested in having gold and/or silver on hand to use in a bleak future. I’m going to let you know my reasons for NOT stocking up on precious metals as a hedge.
Why stocking up on precious metals is a bad idea
First off most people who are in the process of prepping have found that it costs money. Now don’t get me wrong, I have read numerous articles on prepping on a budget etc., but I don’t know anyone who has prepped properly and not spent money on it. I for one am not what would be considered wealthy. My wife and I are comfortable and we have very little debt other than our house. I make a good wage so money is not a huge issue for us. We do keep cash on hand for the possibility of power outages that last a short period of time. That being said, we are not as prepared as I would like us to be and therefore need to continue our preps. I simply can’t afford to put money towards hording precious metals at this time nor do I think it’s a smart thing for me to do. Why do I say that? One reason is what I stated above, we’re not fully prepped. I want my extra money to go toward my supplies at this time. It’s kind of like needing to pay off your credit cards before you can start saving money.
Another reason I don’t think I would put gold as one of my supplies is simply a practical matter in my mind. Let’s say the worst has happened and we are all in survival mode. You know someone who knows how to make bread and you want bread. You have a gold coin that you paid $1100 for back when the world was still somewhat sane. Do you offer that coin for a loaf of bread? 100 loaves or a years supply? The person making the bread may not want gold. They want a pig instead. You go out and find someone who has a pig and offer them the coin. They don’t want it, they want alcohol. This is starting to sound like bartering isn’t it?
The next reason I don’t want to keep precious metals is this . . . Once society has collapsed there is no unified value set for your coin. In your community of survivors maybe a coin is worth a cow. 5 miles down the road in another community they may say its worth one box of ammo but a cow might be worth 50 boxes of ammo. Everyone sets their own value to things. If you were in the desert and dying of thirst and would be dead by the end of the day without water, how much would you be willing to give for just one 8 oz. glass of water? Living in the Northwest, water probably doesn’t hold the same value as in the desert. I think values will be set individually and by community. Who’s to say that the prepper that stocked up on cans of tuna isn’t richer than one who has 1000 ozs. of gold? Money itself has no value per se. Money derives it’s value as being a medium of exchange, unit of measure or storehouse of wealth. It is what allows us to trade goods “Indirectly”. Money is only valuable because everyone knows it’s value and accepts it. In some ancient cultures sea shells were highly prized and used as currency. Sea shells have very little value as a currency in today’s world. This is the reason that the $1100 dollar gold coin might be worthless if civilization ends.
I believe it’s more realistic to think that the surviving members of the human race will live by supporting each other and trading, much like our ancestors did. I’ll give you a stone axe if you help me kill that Sabre Tooth. They traded salt or other spices. Salt was once one of the most valuable things on earth believe it or not. During the era when the Phoenicians ruled the Mediterranean sea and surrounding area they basically had a monopoly on salt and could charge whatever they saw fit. It is more than likely that the value of salt was equivalent to gold with it trading ounce for ounce. This is where the saying “Worth your salt” comes from. Why was the value so high? You have to remember that in ancient times it was hard to preserve food. Salt was used to preserve fish and meats as well as seasoning not to mention the Phoenicians had the salt market cornered. I’m not saying go stock up on salt, just making a point. Who knows what value certain things will have? Again, I think values will be set regionally. Another example of setting value is the diamond. They are not rare, they are controlled. The ones who control it create the value by locking up the extra stock and marketing. There are other precious stones that are much more rare and cost more because they are in fact rare.
You might be better off thinking instead of where you PLAN on spending the End Of Days and stocking up on things that won’t be easily obtained in that area. The reason that the word plan was put in bold letters is that you must have a plan. It may not work out and you might wind up somewhere completely different doing something you didn’t think you would be doing. Live in the desert? Salt might be good. Water most assuredly. Live somewhere with a short growing season? Home canned fruits and vegetables might be the choice. All I’m trying to say is we don’t really know what will be valuable. If there is an Economic collapse, Gold and Silver may be a really good choice and I will be left eating my MRE’s while others feast on fine wine and steak. Who knows? I certainly don’t, but what I do know is I have skills to offer and those will always be valuable. All I can do is prepare the best way that I can using logic as to my situation and go from there. My logic won’t be your logic. My beliefs may not be your beliefs.
If you really think about it no matter what SHTF event happens, be it EMP, asteroid, zombie horde, alien invasion or super-volcano, the economy will collapse and it will probably collapse for a long time. When you are in survival mode buying gadgets and what not on amazon will be the furthest thing from your mind. Chaos will reign at the beginning and things will eventually settle down to various areas controlled by someone. That someone will be the one to set value to things. Maybe they will want to have gold jewelry all over them to show their power. My logic says that we will be in a bartering economy for quite a while. Eventually, we will revert back to using what we term as currency because bartering becomes too cumbersome. As populations come back and skills are developed we will need a way to trade and that way might very well be gold and sliver or some other precious metal or mineral. I think that if it truly was the end as we know it, where a very small percentage of people survive, it will be a very long time before we get back to monetary currency. More than likely the “currency” will be what ever you can trade or offer in service.