Finances and prepping sometimes don’t play nice together. No matter what your philosophy or level of preparedness, the prepping supplies you need cost money. So how do you and I manage family finances in such a way as to allow for preparedness? And how can we balance these things out in an uncertain economy, where the dollar is expected to collapse one day?
These are the kinds of things Jim addresses in Prepper’s Financial Guide. Jim is this week’s DestinySurvival Radio guest, and he shares a few insights from this book. Below I’ll share a few words about both the book and our conversation.
A Few Words About Jim
You should know from the start that Jim isn’t a financial counselor or investment advisor. As a result, he’s not going to steer you down a questionable path or cheat you out of big bucks. I say that because, as far as I know, he has no vested interest in making money off of you in the stock market or selling you gold.
Here’s a little more info, in case you’re not familiar with who Jim is.
Jim Cobb is the owner of Disaster Prep Consultants (www.DisasterPrepConsultants.com) as well as the author of several books, including Prepper’s Home Defense, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, and Countdown to Preparedness. Jim also writes for several magazines, such as Survivors Edge, Self Reliance Illustrated, American Survival Guide, and OFFGRID. His primary home online is www.SurvivalWeekly.com, and he can be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/JimCobbSurvival.
Jim has been involved with disaster planning and mitigation for over thirty years. He lives and works in the upper Midwest with his beautiful wife, their three adolescent weapons of mass destruction, two killer canines, and one cat that greatly exaggerates his importance to life as we know it.
A Few Words About What to Expect from This Book
You won’t find budget worksheets inside. No worries about being burdened by homework. No pictures in these pages either. It’s plain text with a few charts and simple graphs here and there.
If you’re looking for tips on how to make it big in real estate or the stock market, this isn’t the book for you. It’s straightforward, common sense information and advice. In fact, you’ve probably come across some of it before, but perhaps you hadn’t seen it in one place, or you hadn’t related it to prepping.
Jim gives an overview of a number of topics that fit under the umbrella of finances and prepping. If you want to do further research, go for it.
Chapters cover the following topics…
- What Is Economic Collapse?
- Debt Reduction
- Precious Metals and Minerals
- Post-Collapse Barter and Trade Goods
- Bartering Skills Instead of Stuff
- Safeguarding Valuables
- Investing in Self-Sufficiency
- Putting It All Together: The Home of the Self-Sufficient Investor
A Few Words About Collapses in History
He goes on to relate historical perspective so we can see what a collapse looks like. Because Jim’s writing style is friendly and easy to read, you won’t find this history to be complex or a screaming bore.
Collapses don’t happen suddenly, though there may be noteworthy events. The stock market crash of 1929 comes to mind. Nonetheless, it was only part of the picture with regard to the Great Depression.
Most of us have heard about Germany’s financial struggles in the 1920’s and ’30’s after World War I, which eventually led to the rise of Adolph Hitler. Though inflation went out of control, it didn’t happen overnight.
Jim also touches on Argentina’s woes in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s. He also mentions our so-called Great Recession in recent years.
While Jim doesn’t like to make predictions, during our conversation he shared an observation that will give you pause for thought. What if the collapse we’re anticipating isn’t like anything we’ve seen before?
A Few Words About Getting Rid of Your Debt Load
Jim compares it to losing weight. If you want to lose pounds, burn more calories than you consume. That means either reducing the number of calories you take in, or increase your activity level to burn more calories.
What’s the parallel to debt reduction? I relate to it this way. Years back my wife and I received simplistic counsel from a man at a consumer credit counseling agency. He said we needed to either spend less or make more.
Well, duh! I already knew that going in. I was hoping for more specifics. We had to figure things out for ourselves.
And, while Jim does give you guidance on how you can reduce your debt and make extra money, there are things you’ll have to figure out for yourself. As with other aspects of prepping, what does your unique situation call for? You’ll know that better than anyone else.
When it comes to looking for ways to bring in extra bucks, don’t be disappointed or surprised if you don’t bring in all the money you need. Bringing in at least some money will help. Maybe more than one method of bringing in a little money is the way to go.
Oh, and if it’s any consolation, Jim says you don’t have to cut out all of the fun stuff when you’re cutting back on the extras. Keep one thing you enjoy. You do need to keep your sanity after all.
At the risk of stealing some of Jim’s thunder, here are a few pointers he gives in the book.
Start small at reducing debt by cutting out a few of the things you don’t have to have. Pay down your smallest credit card first, then progress from there. Get rid of the plastic, except for one credit card to use in emergencies–and he means only emergencies.
Eat out less. Don’t buy so much convenience food at the grocery store. Besides, you and I most likely need to eat more healthfully anyway.
A Few Words About Currencies, Gold, Silver and Jewels
If you’re considering purchasing gold and silver, ask yourself a few questions first. These are issues to think about carefully and plan for accordingly.
- Do you have your preparedness basics already laid in?
- How easy is it to negotiate deals for what you need with gold or silver?
- How can you be sure the con and fraud artists won’t take advantage of you when you try to buy something with gold or silver?
What about alternative, digital currencies, like Bitcoin? Jim makes an excellent point. It’s stating the obvious, but if the big one happens, and there’s no electricity, you don’t have your money.
A Few Words About Bartering
When it comes to items to have, they should be things that are of value to you. Think of things you’d want to have if they became hard to get. How about first aid and hygiene supplies? How about tools, fishing supplies, and things to start a fire? What about games and books to read?
If you have plenty of soap and heirloom seeds stored away, you can always use them yourself if nothing happens. If collapse does occur, you’ve got something others will readily use.
Of course, liquor and tobacco are barter items a number of other people will value, too. But the key is to set aside things you put a value on first.
As for skills, you’ve probably got some already which would be of use to others, such as cooking from scratch or sewing. But you might want to learn new ones, too. How about learning to make soap or candles, or repair engines and bicycles?
Learn new skills while there’s still time. If you learn a skill no one uses later, what have you lost?
A Few Words About Other Treasures in the Book
The chapter on investing in self reliance gives a brief overview on gardening, hunting, trapping, fishing, using solar panels for electricity, digging your own well, and more. Of course, there are certain expenses involved with these; but you’ll save money sooner or later. And, of course, you’ll want to practice recycling and using, or reusing, things you already have on hand.
That leads into the next chapter on the home of the self reliant investor, which gives you a cursory look at homesteading.
One area Jim didn’t address is dealing with insurance and FEMA after a disaster. But then this book is designed to get you in a better financial position before trouble comes your way. The better shape you’re in ahead of time, the better off you’ll be when bad things happen.
A Few Words About Troublesome Survival Mindsets
- Joe Prepper says the world is coming to an end as we know it on such and such a date. He goes hog wild into a crash prepping program. You know, max out the credit cards and get all the preps you can now while there’s still a chance.
- Joe Prepper has maxed out his credit cards and taken a second loan on his house. Now what? Screw the banks. The big bankers have gotten their share and have ruined life for all of us. Time to declare bankrupcy and stick it to them all because it’s all coming down anyway.
- Joe Prepper gets his 72-hour kit to be minimally prepared. But when the big stuff happens, let the insurance companies, FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc., take care of helping him get back on his feet. That’s why they’re there.
A Few Words About Panteao
A Few Words About Your Next Step
One simple step you can take today is to hear my conversation with Jim Cobb by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 26, 2015. (Right click to download.) If you want to get Prepper’s Financial Guide, click on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That will take you to the page where it’s featured, and you can place your order from there.