What would do if you had a strong impression that another recession was coming soon? What kinds of actions and changes would you take to weather the coming storm? The steps that I list below aren’t a complete list by any means, and I don’t expect that anyone would be able to accomplish them all, but if any of them sparks something in you to do something that you’re not already doing to become better prepared for a sudden and significant economic downturn, I will have fulfilled the purpose of this blog.
The signs of a coming new recession are all around us:
- There has never been a sufficient recovery from the Great Recession that started in the autumn of 2008 with the collapse of the housing market. A huge number of people have been unemployed or severely under-employed since that time. They haven’t experienced any recovery or reprieve, just a severe downslide to the brink of poverty and a radical adjustment to what for them has become “the new normal.”
- Having tens of millions of new people become dependent on the government for food stamps, medical care, and other necessities of life has been a boat anchor for the economy. In a real recovery they would find decent jobs, they would produce something, make their own money, spend their own money, and save some of their own money. All of these things would make life better for everyone. Instead, it is a growing problem that will continue to apply downward pressure on the economy.
- Big companies have begun laying people off again. Sandy and I run a business-to-business company. Our client businesses have stopped spending money, are laying off employees, and are offering early retirement deals to help save money in the future. All of these are signs of economic contraction.
- The stock market has been climbing to record highs, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. The rise isn’t caused by underlying economic strength, but because of years of “economic easing,” the federal policy of printing billions of dollars of new money out of thin air. It creates the illusion of wealth without having any real foundation for it.
I could go on, but if you’re reading this article, you probably don’t need to be convinced. You just want to know what to do to help you prepare for it.
- Stop the bleeding! Are you spending money as if all is well and everything will go on as it always has? Stop it. Take an honest look at every aspect of your life and look for places where you are spending money that you may soon wish you still had. Sandy and I love to travel, but because of the recessionary clouds on the horizon, we’re not going anywhere for a while. Our DirecTV bill is $100 per month. I’m looking into pulling the plug on it and going with all Internet-based streaming TV. Eating out can be another huge drain on a household budget. You can eat like royalty at home for a week for the price of one or two meals out at a marginal restaurant. Make sacrifices. Stop the bleeding.
- Reduce your debt. Debt is the obligation for payment of money that you spent sometime in the past. Debt is just like the government’s economic easing policy — you generate cash out of thin air to buy things you can’t afford today and hope that you can find a way to pay for them tomorrow. When a recession hits and you aren’t making as much money as you used to (or no money at all), you don’t want to have to pay for purchases you made a long time ago. You’ll need everything that’s coming in to go toward current expenses. Reduce or eliminate your debt now so that you won’t be trying to pay for past expenses at a time of increased current need.
- Spend wisely. Is there anything that you could buy now that would be a good investment against hard times to come? Is there anything that you could buy now that would either help reduce your expenses or increase your income in the future? I’m thinking about things like:
- Sell some of your stuff. Do it now. We all have stuff that we don’t really use or need, but for some bizarre reason we hang on to. Sell it now, while you can find a buyer who has the money to pay you what’s it’s worth. The other option is waiting until a major recession hits, needing to sell it to generate cash, and not being able to find anyone who can afford to buy it.
- Save wisely. It’s tempting to spend all of your money now to buy things that you expect to need in the future. Prices continue to inch upward on almost everything, while incomes remain flat or actually decrease. Some staples that we stocked up on a couple of years ago are selling for 25% more now. That’s a pretty good investment return. Some people believe that our money won’t be worth anything in the not-to-distant future, so they say you need to spend it now to get anything at all from it. I don’t know enough about that stuff to have an opinion on it, but I do know that having a cash reserve has always been a good idea in the past and looks like it’s still a wise choice for the foreseeable future. Saving wisely can be a tricky one. Save as much as you can afford to now so that you are able to meet future expenses, emergencies, or can pounce on a great deal if the opportunity presents itself, but don’t save so much that you can’t spend wisely and reduce your debt now.
- Increase your income. Earning more money will help you accomplish all of the bullet points in this article. There’s a lot of talk these days about creating multiple revenue streams, which is just another way to say adding an additional source of income to your primary job. You’ve heard the old saying that “it takes money to make money.” Yes, but to meet the goals of the challenge of preparing for the sudden onset of a significant recession, you want to find something that you can do to earn extra money that won’t cost you an arm and a leg to set up. What can you do to earn a buck on the side without a lot of start-up costs?
- Build things
- Repair things
- Cook / bake / cater food
- Sewing and alterations
- Create and sell crafts or works of art
- Sell new or used products on Amazon (yes, you can do that), eBay, or Etsy
- Pet-sitting or house-sitting
- Do yardwork
- Trust God. I really wanted to lead with this point, but I also didn’t want anyone to tune out before I got to it. You won’t find “God helps those who help themselves” quoted in the Bible anywhere, but I believe that God expects us to do our part, and He wants us to trust Him to do what we can’t. Some people refuse to prep because of their faith in God. I’m just the opposite — I prep because of my faith in God. I take action because I trust in Him.
Even since I sat down to write this I’ve received word of one of our client companies cutting their budget to the core and requiring all employees to take a week off without pay this summer. The storm clouds of recession (or worse) are everywhere. It’s time to get busy and it’s time to trust God.
What will you do when medicine isn’t readily available? That question is one of the things that got me interested in Essential Oils. Medical preps are one of the most overlooked areas of prepping. Synthetic-based (i.e., man-made) medicines expire in a relatively short period of time. When SHTF happens, you won’t be able to go to the corner drug store, hand them your insurance card and pick up your needed medications. Most essential oils, on the other hand, have a very long shelf-life. (Some that have been found in archeological digs still hold their medicinal properties.) So I started looking into essential oils a little over a year ago. (See part 1 of my 2-part blog here.) After a year of dabbling, it’s time for me to get more serious about it. Enter the Healthy Oil Summit…
Oops…I’m a bit late in publicizing the free upcoming The Essential Oils Revolution Healthy Oil Summit. It starts tomorrow – Saturday, May 11 – and continues through Friday May 17.
First things First – you can register for the free event by clicking below:
Free Gifts You’ll Receive
When you register, you’ll receive a number of free gifts, including advance access to two of the presentations. One of these presentations, “Essential Oils for Gut, Thyroid and Adrenals” by Josh Axe, is the absolute best presentation on Essential Oils I have ever seen, live or recorded. The three free ebooks are also very well done.
How the Summit Works
Beginning on May 11 and continuing through May 17, four or five videos will be posted each day for you to view. You’ll receive an email each day with info on the videos available that day. Topics are as wide ranging as:
- Antibiotic Resistance — How Essential Oils Can Help
- Cancer and Essential Oil Research
- Using Essential Oils for Beauty and High Performance Health
- Culinary Uses for Essential Oils
- Empowering Emotions with Essential Oils
- Essential Oils for Animals
And of course, there’s much more.
If you want to buy a copy of all the presentations for viewing again later, you will be able to purchase all 31 presentations for $47. Register for the free event and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase your own copy of the presentations.
It’s Time for Me to Take the Next Step — How About You?
I’ve been “playing with” essential oils for about a year. What I mean by that is I’m using them sporadically (when I remember) for just a few things — to help me sleep, as a pick-me-up in the afternoon, to ease sinus congestion. Over the past few months as I’ve read more articles and talked to more users, I’ve been developing an awareness that essential oils could do so much more for me. It’s time for me to begin to use them as part of a healthy living regimen.
Our humble little blog has attracted the attention of a television production company in New York City. While I’m not well-versed in the world of cable TV production companies, I have heard of Pawn Stars, one of the shows this organization is responsible for. They are in the process of casting a new show that will allow participants to showcase their survival skills in the wild and they invited us to audition for the show. While Sandy and I would describe ourselves as “preppers” we are a far cry from being “survivalists.” That’s a horse of a different color. Out of our league.
End of story, right? Nope.
They gave us their contact information and told us, “If you happen to know any exceptional self-reliance experts, instructors, students, or colleagues, feel free to pass it along to them as well.”
Our loss could be your gain. You could be a TV star.
Here’s more of what they sent us by email:
In the real world, survival is not a game and there is little room for failure. Survival is a matter of self-reliance that cannot be faked.
- Are you a TRUE survivor in every sense of the word? Is self-reliance a way of life for you?
- Do you believe that the act of survival has become trivialized in popular culture today?
- Do you want to prove that you have the skills, determination, willpower and strength to take part in THE ULTIMATE survival experience?
No gimmicks. No film crew. No games.
From the producer’s who brought you Pawn Stars and American Restoration on The History Channel and Clash Of The Ozarks on Discovery comes the biggest survival experiment ever attempted. The series will feature a group of self-reliance experts as they battle the elements and fight to survive on their terms with nothing but what they can carry on their backs. Their mission: to survive alone in the wild and document their journey every step of the way.
Whether you’re an outdoorsman, homesteader, adventurist or survivalist, if you’re ready to take on the survival challenge of a lifetime, we want to hear from you!
If that’s got you licking your chops in anticipation, give Natalie a call at 212-564-2607, ext. 2652. Or you could send her an email at Casting@LeftfieldPictures.com.
Been There, Done That
On a similar topic, here’s something that we haven’t told very many folks about yet. We were contacted by another TV production company last fall. This one was the company that does the show Myth Busters and a bunch of other programs for National Geographic Channel, Discovery, and other cable channels. They were shooting a show on “faith-based preppers” and they asked us to be a part of it. After several phone calls and a Skype interview with various members of the production staff, we agreed to do the show.
They sent a film crew out to our house in December and spent two days with us. They came to our church and filmed the entire service on a Sunday that Sandy preached. While they never put words in our mouths or scripted us in any way whatsoever, they were visibly disappointed that Sandy wasn’t preaching about some apocalyptic topic. They had a list of end times related Bible verses and let us select several of them to read and discuss. They filmed us doing everything from taking target practice to walking our dog. The point of the show was to express how our Christian faith impacts our prepping and I know that I didn’t make my point well at all. It was one of those situations where two days after they were gone I went, “Doh! I should have said this!”
Sorry. No do-overs. In the blink of an eye they were on their way to Arizona and Georgia to film the other participants.
We don’t know when the show will air, but we know that it will be on the Destination America channel (DirecTV channel 286), one of many cable channels that Discovery owns and operates. So we’re waiting for our show to air. If they give us any advanced notice, we’ll clue you in as to when it will be on. If you miss it, I know they rerun their shows a lot on Destination America.
So you see, Sandy and I have already become TV stars. Are you up for your 15 minutes of obscure cable TV fame? If so, contact Natalie at Leftfield Entertainment, and tell her The Approaching Day Prepper sent you.
We’ve signed up for the Survival Summit and are really looking forward to it. Twenty-nine (at last count) survival and off-grid self-reliance experts will be giving workshops throughout the week. The best part – it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE! Yes, they will offer the recorded workshops for sale but if you watch while they’re available during the Summit they are free.
And OK, maybe free isn’t the best part. In fact, I’m guessing it isn’t. I’m guessing the best part will be all the great info we’ll get. But free means it’s no-risk to check it out.
When all is said and done, they will have provided more than 37 hours of survival training. Here’s how it works: Each day, about five workshops will be uploaded and made available to those registered for the Summit. You have 24 hours to watch the videos for free. They will then take them down and upload another five for the next day. So each day five new workshops are uploaded and available for viewing free during that 24-hour period. Throughout the Summit you’ll have the opportunity to purchase any you miss or want to have for future reference. I don’t know but I’m guessing they’ll offer the entire package at a great price.
So, sorry for the late info on this, but click on the link above or below and register today so you don’t miss any of the workshops. Oh – not sure you’ll like the topics available? Well, the topics range from growing your own food to personal protection to fuel, housing and more. Check out the Schedule tab after you click on the link.
Has the world always been as fragile as it is right now? It seems like we’re on the tipping point for disaster in any of a number of areas: worldwide economic concerns, nuclear threats from the rogue nations of North Korea and Iran, ecological disasters, extreme weather, earthquakes and volcanic activity — the list goes on and on.
One of the purposes of this website is to alert our readers to potential threats that could trigger bigger problems. We don’t want to be alarmists. We prefer a calm faith based on a saving relationship with a loving God. But with so many potential threats, we feel it’s just common sense to be prepared to face a significant disruption of our current way of life. To me, that’s what prepping is all about.
When I survey the landscape of potential threats, one that stands out to me is the global lack of competent, sane leadership. The Bible clearly describes a future in which the world will be united under the strong leadership of one man, the Antichrist. While we’ve been seeing the world moving in the direction of a worldwide government and banking system, what kind of event will eventually trigger the acceptance of a globally unified governing system? Economic collapse seems like a likely contender, but along with it (and indeed, probably the leading contributor to it) is the lack of leadership in the world. People are starved for a strong leader.
What we’re seeing on a worldwide scale is that the good intentions of government leaders are backfiring on them. The solutions that they propose and enact only serve to make the problems worse. One obvious case in point is the bungled implementation of the Affordable Helthcare Act. It was pushed through as a means to provide lower cost health insurance so that more people could be insured. The results have been the opposite of the stated intentions — insurance rates are skyrocketing and more people will be uninsured than ever before.
But I digress.
What prompted this blog was an editorial in the New York Times written by the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Great Britain, entitled Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone. The Saudis have been waiting patiently for coherent, consistent, and competent policies from America to bring stability to their region in the face of mounting problems in Syria and Iran. They have waited as long as they can. Now they’re planning to “go it alone.”
For my entire life (and I’m no spring chicken) America has been the leader of the free world. Our leadership has crumbled. Some think it’s because of our fragmentation as a nation. We are a house divided, with nearly every important vote virtually split at close to 50-50 with no clear majority. Author and documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza has speculated in his book and movie Obama’s America, that this is all part of President Obama’s master plan to weaken America:
America as we know it—wealthy, powerful, assertive—is not what Obama wants. He wants a smaller America, a poorer America, an America unable to exert its will, an America happy to be one power among many, an America in decline so that other nations might rise—all in the name of global fairness. To Obama, the hated “one percent” isn’t just wealthy Americas; it is America itself. In Obama’s view, America needs to be taken down a notch.
While it certainly seems to me that this is precisely the direction America is headed in, I’m not entirely convinced that President Obama is smart enough or powerful enough to pull off such a colossal undertaking. Perhaps instead of attributing these “accomplishments” to a diabolical master plan to dismantle American power, we should apply Occam’s Razor and say that a simpler explanation for an event or phenomena is more likely to be the real cause than a complex explanation — namely a lack of competent leadership.
Whichever of these explanations you choose to pin the blame on for the direction our nation is headed, one thing is clear: We can’t depend on the government to help us. There will be no personal “bail-out” for you or me. We need to put our faith and trust in God, become more self-sufficient, and less dependent on government-based financial programs. For many of us, that will require a major shift of worldview and focus. Have you been counting on Social Security and Medicare to carry you through your retirement? You might want to come up with a new Plan A. Does a retirement check from a military or teaching career or other public service position make up a large portion of your income? It might not always be there for you. What are you doing now to prepare for it?
Aristotle sagely noted that nature abhors a vacuum. Something will always fill the void. That something isn’t always good. Faced with a worldwide vacuum of leadership, I propose that you and I step up to become leaders in our own households. We might not have much say about the direction that our nation or the world is going in, but we can take positive action right now to put our own household in a better position to thrive in a time of chaos.
Like the folks at Nike say, just do it.
WARNING! The video in this posting is graphic and disturbing. Even though it was broadcast on TV, we feel that it is not suitable for young viewers.
I don’t know if you saw this video, but a home in New Jersey was recently invaded by an unarmed assailant in broad daylight. The invasion wasn’t some middle of the night robbery. This happened at 10:30 in the morning. A woman was home with her 3-year-old child, opened the door for a stranger, and was beaten, stomped, choked, and flung down a flight of stairs. It was all captured on a hidden nanny-cam. As I warned, the video is disturbing. The perpetrator of this brutal crime has not, as of this writing, been apprehended.
Home invasions are among the most violent of all crimes. Criminals use the privacy and security of their victims’ home to their advantage. Once the occupants have been subdued, there’s no rush on the part of the criminals to finish their business and leave. They can be leisurely in their commission of the atrocities of assault, robbery, rape, and murder.
Don’t let this happen to you or your loved ones. Don’t be an easy target. Decide in advance not to be a victim.
When anyone rings my doorbell or knocks on my door, they’ve just put me on high alert. My first thought isn’t, “Oh boy! I wonder what the UPS man brought me today!” (OK, that’s my second thought.) My first thought is that an unexpected and uninvited person (or persons) is standing at the threshold of my home with who knows what purpose in mind.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. In my house, the only time I don’t have a loaded gun on me is when I’m taking a shower. And even then, a loaded and chambered gun is just five feet away. When someone comes to my door, I’m already prepared. I’m not going to be taken by surprise. So Lesson #1 is don’t go to the door unprepared. The woman in this video had no time to react after she opened the door. Her assailant was on her instantly. There was no time to retrieve a gun from another room, load it, and be mentally prepared to use it, if need be. Those actions and attitudes have to be in place before the decision is made to answer the door.
If you call me on the phone, I may or may not answer. It’s not that I’m screening my calls. It’s just that I don’t feel an obligation to respond to every unexpected and uninvited ringing bell. The same applies to a knock on my door. If I don’t feel like it, I won’t answer it. So Lesson #2 is that you don’t have to be at anyone’s beck and call. Deal with these unexpected interruptions on your own terms. Don’t be as predictable as Pavlov’s dog. Don’t answer the door if you don’t feel like it, especially if you see someone at the door that you don’t recognize. If the woman in the New Jersey invasion hadn’t opened her door to this stranger, he might have gone on to an easier target.
Whether you open the door or not, don’t assume that the unwanted visitor has actually gone away after you’ve either ignored them or dealt with them. Your failure to answer the door might signal to them that there’s nobody home and the house is available to be broken into. Lesson #3 is to stay on alert after the visitor leaves. If you’re hinky about someone, call the police and report them as a suspicious person. The police will come and check it out for you. Your tax dollars at work.
I don’t want to make you paranoid, but the knock on the door might just be a diversion. The guy at your front door may be posing as a salesman to distract you while his partner sneaks in by another entry point. Lesson #4 is to be alert to the possibility of a diversion or distraction that can give an invader an opportunity.
When I grew up, we didn’t always lock our front door at night. Drivers would leave their keys in the ignition of their car when they went into a store. Those kinds of behaviors are wildly out of place today. Evil is on the rise. Crime is much more prevalent. Despite that, our tendency to trust strangers and to give them unwanted access to our lives hasn’t caught up with the times.
I wish times were like they used to be, but I know in my heart that they’re not. I don’t see things getting any better, either. Trust has to be earned. I don’t trust the stranger at my front door.
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I watch Doomsday Preppers. I don’t believe everything they say on the show, but I watch it. I know that the producers have their own agenda and they want to include some variety, so they have the featured preppers say that they’re preparing for a volcano to erupt in Wyoming, or an earthquake to hit the Midwest, or an epidemic of some exotic disease. Exciting stuff, but at the end of every episode the voice-over dude comes on and calms our fears by telling us how astronomically improbable these doomsday scenarios are.
The Real Danger
Back in the real world, most preppers are preparing for an event that experts from many, many fields agree is extremely probable in the not-too-distant future: a global economic collapse.
Let’s face it — there has been no real recovery from the Great Recession, as reported in this recent article from the Chicago Sun-Times. (Note: I’m not as rosy about our housing market recovery as their article is.) The government of Cyprus is stealing money from the private bank accounts of their citizens and some have speculated that such options are on the table for handling the debt crisis in this country, too. Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland have been in the news with alarming tales of their economic problems. New stories are coming out about how Japan is printing money like mad (as is America) to try to stimulate their economy.
One of the many problems with America’s economy is that we’ve become a consumer nation. We consume more goods than we produce. It wasn’t always that way. We used to make a lot of stuff here and sell it to the rest of the world. But then the big corporations discovered that they could save a buck by moving their manufacturing centers overseas and exploiting cheap foreign labor. Corporate profits went up as expenses went down, but America lost its manufacturing base. Look at the labels on the products that you buy. Where were they made? A lot of it comes from China, but you’ll find other nations as well. It’s become pretty rare to find a consumer product made in the USA. We’re not just dependent on foreign oil; we’ve also become dependent on imported manufactured goods.
It seems like the only booming economy is China, where (surprise, surprise) all of our manufactured goods are coming from.
Things Aren’t Always What They Seem
Not so fast, there. China’s economy might not be booming as much as it appears and may in fact be the biggest economic bubble of all.
We said that America has become a consumer nation. China has the opposite problem. Even with their staggering population, they produce far more than they consume. China’s economy is dependent on exporting manufactured goods. For a couple of decades now, we’ve had a vigorous trade relationship with China. We send them our money and they send us their goods. (In case you didn’t catch that, that’s not a good thing.) If the money stops flowing into China, they’re going to be in a world of hurt. It should be obvious that with all the American national debt that’s held by China our eventual inability to pay off our loans will send a shockwave through the Chinese economy. But for now, the money is still flowing.
So what are the Chinese doing with all of
our their money? For starters, they’re building factories to manufacture more stuff. Just as it was in America 100 years ago, people are leaving the countryside to move into the cities because that’s where the jobs are, so the cities are growing by leaps and bounds to accommodate both the growing businesses and the influx of new residents. Because of their booming manufacturing base, China has seen a rapid expansion of the middle class, and now they have more expendable income than they know what to do with. Due to Chinese governmental regulations, there are limited investment opportunities for the average person, but one investment opportunity that they are allowed is real estate.
On March 3, 2013, CBS’s news show 60 Minutes ran a chilling story about the building boom in China. You really need to see this video. You’ve hung with this posting this long. This is the pay-off. Here’s the link: China’s Empty Cities.
The implications are scary. The bursting of America’s housing bubble sent us into the Great Recession which we have not recovered from. We’re in a weakened condition. What happens if/when this Chinese real estate speculation bubble pops?
What Can I Do About It?
The reason why I write stuff like this is not to scare you, but to prompt you to not be caught unaware and unprepared. Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” It’s time that we start constructing our place of refuge. You can do it right where you are by stocking up on food and supplies that you might not be able to find or afford when the next economic downturn hits. You can learn skills that will help you through hard times. You can search out other like-minded people and form a supportive community. And you can keep reading this blog…And share it with your friends – click on any of the share buttons below. Thanks!
It’s being widely reported today that major banks and broadcasting media companies were simultaneously hit by a cyber attack that crashed their computer networks. Some systems were down for as long as six hours. Here’s a link to a story from the Washington Post:
The number of cyber attacks worldwide has spiked in recent times. We’ve all become heavily dependent on digital media. (You’re using it right now. So am I.) The bad guys know that the best way to cripple an opponent is to take out their computer systems.
And it’s not just the bad guys. Our side is doing it, too. It’s been speculated that the only reason that Iran doesn’t already have nuclear capability is because we (or Israel, or both of us working together) cyber attacked Iran a couple of years ago and caused a major set-back in their development program.
A successful cyber attack on American banking or defense or communications systems could make a real mess of things in a hurry.