If you buy the notion that life as we know it, is very likely to become life as we KNEW it, you must be wondering how on Earth this can be survived. The good news? It can. The question is how?
In the "Mad Max" world that is rapidly unfolding, the key will be to survive until the new order replaces the decaying elements of our soon-to-be terminated empire.
The U.S. Dollar, will at some point, be relegated to toilet paper. For now, it remains relatively strong, but not absolutely strong. If its value as both a store of value and medium of transactions ends, are there any good subsitutes? I suggest 2. One is Gold and Silver, the most historically useful mediums of exchange. No matter what transpires, precious metals will be around for the duration.
Gold, now trading near all-time highs of $1,250 per ounce, is beyond the reach of most folks. But Silver, still well below its all-time high of $50 per ounce, is currently trading at under $20 per ounce. Most people can afford to have some around. If you're in a position to accumulate more, by all means do so. A great way is to purchase coinage from the pre-1965 era, when coins were minted with a 90% silver content.
Even pennies and nickels should be kept. At current prices, each are worth about twice their face value. Ultimately, the mint will discontinue them for that reason. Save your change!
Another alternative form of currency is cigarettes. Used in prisons, cigarettes will also be valuable, even if you're not a smoker. And, as Uncle Sam looks to raise revenue, taxes of ciggies will undoubtedly go up. So, a good time to purchase a few cartons would be today.
Protect your access to food and water. This can be done by purchasing a good supply of canned foods and dried foods such as beef jerky and de-hydrated fruit. Or, if you have the ability, grow some. Many foods can be grown on a balcony. If you live in a region not conducive to growing, then by all means, go the dried route. The 99 cent stores (NYSE: NDN) are a great and inexpensive source of canned and dried food.
Water is still virtually free, but may not be so for long. Even if you get it from the tap, it can still be filtered using a relatively inexpensive store bought tap purifier. Keep as much of a supply as you can. Or, if you live in an area with heavy rainfall, collect that. Last I checked, the guvmint has not taxed rain or snow.
Access to energy is pretty much out-of-reach for most people. Ideally, one could have solar panels, which have gotten much cheaper in just the last few years. But, they are still expensive and require a pretty hefty capital outlay. A decent substitute would be a back-up generator for home use, but that does nothing for you if you need to drive somewhere. In that case, tele-commuting or the ability to work from home may help defray this cost. Again, not everyone has this option, but many do.
For heat, there's always wood. If you have a fireplace, that would keep the energy use lower, and reduce your need for expensive heating fuel. If you don't have a fireplace, there do exist some relatively affordable indoor fireplaces at most home improvement stores. Your landlord may not like it, but it beats having more vacancies.
If indeed, we enter an age of civil unrest, protecting one's self will also be paramount. Few people will have the foresight to anticipate the coming shortages. Once they materialize, the desperation to feed families may just drive hungry people into the streets. Survival of the fittest. Personal protection should be at the top of your list.
A great option for personal protection is a guard dog. The shelters are literally brimming with dogs that would be suitable and trainable for that purpose. You can both do society a favor by giving these magnificent creatures a home and protect yourself at the same time. Another alternative is to purchase a firearm. If you do, please get the requisite training. Guns, in the hands of those who're not trained, are dangerous.
From an investment standpoint, even if you have absolutely NO wherewithall, there are still steps that you could take. For example, consider the impact of a deteriorating currency. That suggests that any liabilities you have such as a mortgage should eventually be fixed. Yes, we maintain that rates ought to stay low for a while, but as hyper-inflation ensues, rates will ultimately have to go much higher. Paying your debt back in depreciating dollars will protect you.
On the other side of the coin, don't allow any cash flow you receive to be fixed. Let whatever income you have to be, as much as possible, indexed to inflation.
If the seige comes to pass, how long will it last? Tough one. I'd say 6 months at a minimum. Ideally, you should have a disaster preparedness mentality that assumes a pretty long period.
Above all, don't let anyone tell you that taking some or all of these steps is crazy. If none of this happens, well, no loss. You can eat the food and drink the water and burn the wood. The guard dog will make a terrific companion. But, what IF this comes to pass? Once it does, taking these steps will be too late, and the cost of doing so will go WAY up. So, why not get started now?
Be a Boy or Girl Scout. Be prepared.