How to move

How to move:

  1. Buy 10,000 Garbage Bags
  2. Toss stuff out.
  3. Buy bus ticket.

OK, as tempting as it is to just throw stuff out and buy a bus ticket, it isn’t that easy. To begin with you need to have a reason to move. For us the primary reason is to buy a farm, deal with a lawyer, and get out of the city. Price of land dictated that we are moving to Ontario, limits on Legal Aid for a suite we are involved in did also, and mountains combined with health killed any idea of staying in British Columbia. Read more…

With only 26 days left till when we are suppose to be on the road, I am really feeling the crunch. Most people have to deal with canceling their phone service, and often those phones are either canceled to early, or to late regardless of what you tell Ma Bell. For us it’s not a problem because we are keeping our 604 phone number, and adding a 416 area code to the VOIP service we use. (I might even add a 800 number for it come spring, we’ll see.) The internet DSL we currently have is going to be canceled, but it is provided by the same company as out phone, so it can wait.

We did hook up cable TV for the last month while we we’re here, mainly because I am packing up all the satellite equipment and the distraction is worth keeping the younger kids out of my hair while this move drives me into the bat house. So that will have to be killed too, and the cable box returned to the thieves … I mean, cable company.

 

Speaking of thieves, … I mean utility companies, the gas company is over paid. We send a certain amount of funds to pay the bill every month, they re-accesses the amount of natural gas we are using and ‘forgot’ to tell us we were over paying. So that will help out with the fuel costs of moving.

 

Hydro has to be disconnected as well, I don’t even know how we are suppose to get the deposit back on that. They want to hold it till we move to the ‘new’ place, so I spent time arguing with them about being off grid, and out of the province.

 


We have to forward all our postal mail, which has created a technical problem.

 

There are two areas we are thinking about with farms we have looked up that we are interested in buying. And there are three lawyers we have to deal with. The first set of farms center around Stratford, Ontario. The Second set of farms are near Madoc, Ontario. (There is also a third area I wouldn’t mind checking out in person for buying a farm if we have the time.) The first lawyer is near Cornwall, Ontario, the second and third are near Toronto, Ontario. Plus there are some semi-related legal issues we would like to take care of near Ottawa, Ontario so we can go hunting, and trapping. So where exactly should we forward all our postal mail? Something that I haven’t fully covered yet.

 

So if we manage to deal with all those basics the real work will be actually getting to Ontario. This is where I am making a smart choice. We are simply not heading in a straight line. Since I still haven’t bought the truck yet, and it looks like the family wants to go with a motor home anyway, all I have to do is either rent, or buy one. The problem is that it will be untested if we buy, and I would rather buy, so the trip is going to include stop overs at places right here in BC. There are several campgrounds here we have never stayed at with good fishing, and other distractions that we can take advantage of, and lots of sights my wife and kids have not yet seen. So we plan on a test run with the motor home to these places, to make sure the vehicle won’t give us any really bad problems before we leave for good. Assuming that everything goes well, we will not be returning to the lower mainland, but just keep on going towards Ontario, if things do go bad, we will be near all our current resources, including a couple of jobs we can pick back up to pay for any repairs or changes that need to be done.

 


With plan “B” firmly set, I return my thought back to Plan “A” which is to get out of here in 26 days. We are only half way done with everything we need to do. And it has taken longer then 26 days to get to this point.

 

So I guess I should get off the computer, and get down to the basement with 10,000 garbage bags….

 

  • Wolfe

 

Lesson Learned: Don’t be a pack rat.

 

 


How to sharpen a knife

I just finished reading a post on Wolf Tracks by Shy Wolf, in which he goes into great detail on how to sharpen a knife. The reason he did this post was in reply to a post on M.D. Creekmoore’s survival site.

I really like not only the post, but the fact that Shy went out of his way to point out that idea behind the post came from a question on Creekmore’s site, so in hopes of starting a trend among prepper bloggers, besides the fact that I am packing like a crazed lunatic to move to the farm, and don’t really have time to post on my blog, here is a link to Shy’s post.

Whetting a Blade

enjoy,
Wolfe


How to Take Your Car From Everyday Ride to Bugout Vehicle

When everything hits the fan and you’ve got to bug out, the average family car just isn’t going to make it. A bugout vehicle has some specialized features that will help transport you and your family securely through emergency situations. During the Katrina evacuation, the National Academy of Engineering reports that significant traffic jams occurred as far away as Shreveport, 300 miles from New Orleans. Unless you’ve got very early warning, you’re going to hit massive traffic problems when you evacuate. The ability to drive off road and get through traffic jams could be the key to reaching your shelter safely. Read more…

The Basic Vehicle

If you don’t start with the right kind of car, no amount of modding can turn it into a great bugout vehicle. True four-wheel drive is crucial for getting you through tough off-road terrain such as mud, rocks and snow. It should sit high enough off the ground to pass over thrown tires, logs and even traffic cones, if need be.

Choose a vehicle you can repair yourself. You may not be a master mechanic, but doing simple repairs is a mandatory skill, and spare parts are an important part of your stash. The exact vehicle is a matter of choice, but something like a Jeep Wrangler or Cherokee fits the bill. After choosing the ideal vehicle, there are still changes to be made.

Tires

Spare tires are a necessity, and not the donuts that come with the car. Invest in two full-sized tires and rims and keep them in the vehicle at all times. Put a solid set of off-road or all-terrain tires on the car for dealing with any kind of weather or land conditions. Nexen tires have deep treads and a solid base to take you through all sorts of terrain.

Communication

Whether you need to keep in touch with other members of your party or just want to find out the details of your particular emergency, at least two forms of communication are important. A cell phones is a staple, as are battery-operated phone chargers. Keep in mind that in a true emergency, cell phones may be reduced to text message only, or worse. There are many other options, but a proven winner is the good old CB radio. It’s simple to operate, reliable, transmits over long distances and is very difficult to track. Keep a base model in your shelter and a car model in all your vehicles—Cobra makes quality models for both types.

Hidden Items

In all but the most permanent of emergencies, you’ll need a ready supply of cash, and often not a lot of time to gather it. Attach a hidden safe in or on your car, and make sure it’s large enough to keep money, valuable papers and even a backup weapon in case you need to grab the car and go. Use a car stash box—a commercial waterproof box with super-strong magnets on it, ideal for holding valuables and attaching to the underside of your vehicle. Their dark color and relatively small size make them perfect for hiding valuables where thieves won’t look.

Another option is the diversion safe, ordinary objects emptied out and filled with valuables, then placed casually so no one would suspect alternate contents. Popular models include coffee cups and engine degreaser cans.

Michael Driscoll

Mike is a retired New York City cop who blogs while pursuing a law degree.


I hate being sick

Everyone in my household is down with the flu. There are seven of us here, and it has been a learning experience. It brings to mind visions of pandemics, Stephen King’s “The Stand”, and a host of other SciFi based predictions of TEOTWAWKI. I hardly ever get sick, and when I do, it very rarely ever past a day. I’ve had this bug for three days now, and am now just feeling a bit better, maybe even enough to make a post to the blog. Read more…

When ever I have seen a movie, or read a novel about a virus that hits the entire planet, I never take to heart how much an effect it could have. We are very strict about washing hands, and barring people that are sick from coming into our house, in order to avoid what has happened this week, and we have learned as a result, it sometimes can not be avoided.

 

Virus are small little buggers that by-pass almost all safety measures, they measure smaller then 0.02 microns in size, and I have never found any filter for air, or water, that can truly deal with them. Air borne virus are the worse because you simple have no defense against them, penicillin is useless against viruses. The only defense is your natural immunity, and how well your T-Cells can reproduce anti-bodies against the infection. Passing that immunity onto others in your group is problematic in that not everyone is the same blood type.

 

If you happen to have a center fugue in your medical supplies, you could try to separate the immune factors from someone who isn’t getting sick, from their red blood cells in order to transfuse that to a new host, but it is dangerous for a number of reasons, the least of which would be other viruses, and disease. The best bet you have is to be healthy as possible before infection, and to keep your immunization shots up to date.

 

This of course brings up another issue about the shots themselves. I have a rule of thumb which I apply to new immunization shots, that they must have been used on human hosts for a number of years before I allow them used on my family so that side effects are well know before use. In my opinion, testing isn’t done enough these days to risk the 20% effective rate they accept the new shots on. (NOTE: the current 20% pass rate for immunization shots under the new system is very similar to the 80% success rate under the old, it’s not that I do not trust the new system, it’s that I don’t trust the ‘for-profit’ pharmacies.) I also do not accept any medications only passed by the FDA in the states, Canada has much stricter rules for allowing new medication into the public usage, and I prefer to trust that more. (Mercury being a major issue)

 

All that being said, your still going to get sick, and it will rob you of being able to do anything.

 

You have many options for defense against bacteria, but viruses are something that scare the crap out of the WHO, avian influenza being near the top of the list. If two things occur with Bird Flu, that being going air born, and transmittable to humans, we are in serious trouble.

 

I believe that the primary reason we are sick is due to a new job my oldest son has, not that I am blaming the him. He suffers from the same fate as new teachers and nurses, your clients get you sick even if they are not. This is why washing of hands is so vital in the new age of possible pandemics. In Hong Kong they are well aware of the risks involved in over population, and high population density, people wear masks all the time when a health alert is issued, this is something that North America is going to have to be adopted by Western Culture.

On my site there are links to data maps that are updated live about virus out breaks. If you know of any other relevant map and data sources let me know.

 

Now, I’m going to go back to bed, open a window, cover myself in blankets, and eat chicken soup. I’ve been sick all week, and I’m not going to let this screw up my weekend.

 

- Wolfe


Im an atheist but

I’m an atheist, but I believe in …

I’m an atheist, but I believe in faith.

I have faith that humankind will eventually mature,

grow and learn to love each other,

to realize that this earth is home

and should be cared for, that all are equal.

I have faith that someday there will be no war,

or conflict, or hate.

I have faith that all living things will be respected by us.

I’m an atheist, but I believe in spirit.

My spirit is the courage that I need to make my faith valid.

It is the zeal I have as a father, brother, and son.

It is my foritude for honor, honesty, and moral fiber.

I’m an atheist, but I believe in miracles.

Everytime I see a sunset, it is a miracle.

Everytime I hear a child laugh, it is a miracle.

Everytime I touch a living thing, it is a miracle.

Everytime I smell a flower, it is a miracle.

I’m an atheist, but I believe in hope.

When someone is fed there is hope.

When a child is born there is hope.

When you reach out your hand to help another,

you are hope.

Wolfe

 


Inflation

If your like me you have noticed that the price of food has been steadily going up for the last few months, well maybe longer. I figured awhile back that our grocery bill had increased by about 26%, and our income level has not matched the increase. Since then the prices of staples, and the real food, that being such things as bread, rice, potatoes, as well as fruit and vegetables, has continued to increase. Some people who do not understand how fiat money works would think the low interest rates  is a good sign, that the overall cost of living is starting to drop, but believe me when I say this is a very bad sign.

Read more…

Last weekend I was talking to my Dad like I normally do on a Sunday. It is our weekly chat that gets me through the fact that I am far away from my family back home, it cures the homesickness I feel from time to time, and buys me another week while we wait to buy the farm. During last weeks chat with Dad the topic of the economy came up. He was under the impression that because the Toronto Stock exchange seemed to be making a small come back that things were going to improve, I immediately corrected his logical fallacy on just one point. You cannot come to a conclusion about something , when you are only considering one fact.

As an additional result I spent the last week checking various other sources to figure out exactly where we stand in the eyes of the world, us being North America in general, and comparing it to what has happened else where, namely Argentina. The news is not good folks.

I predicted months ago that we are likely to experience massive inflation and deflation at the same depending on what you are looking at. I would at this time like to change that prediction, which up till now looks like it might still be true, but new issues in my view of things have changed my opinion.

We are looking at two possible outcomes, both are the same outcome, the only difference is the timing.

In order to make clear about what I am about to say I’d like to give some direct predictions about various things, and there related costs. Hopefully this will not only give a more clearer view of what I am trying to say, it will allow for me to look back on it, and update the predictions to make them more accurate in the near future.

First and foremost, at least for me, is the real estate market in British Columbia, Ontario, and North America in general.

British Columbia is going to experience the worse real estate market crash in it’s history, this is likely to start next spring. During 2007 the average cost of a house jumped up by 23% on the West Side, Adrienne Warren of Scotiabank says that real estate prices will drop 10-15% nationally in the near future, yet the Canadian Housing Information Centre has already seen a drop by ten percent across Canada. With out the real estate ‘bubble’ popping, that’s a loss of 2% more then the gains in 2007. A mere two percent loss, a prediction attempting to be positive, will cause a 5% increase in bankruptcies in the sub-prime mortgage area, this is compared to the 15% loss the United States experienced in 2007. What people fail to realize is that 15% loss in the United States financing in 2007 translated to 25% by May 2008 of the sub-prime market. The sub-prime market at the time accounted for 80% of all mortgages in the United States. To get an idea of what that means, there were 2.3 million foreclosures by 2008, that is almost 1% of all individuals in the United States, including children.

 

Thirty five percent of Canada’s GDP, $440.1 billion (2007 est.) was exported, ranking it third on the world stage, 81% of that export went to the United States ($356.4 billion). The investments coming from the United States in the past has been as high as 72% of all foreign investments in 1999.

 

In the last three months, the United States has experienced a deflationary loss of 2.4% combined, that would be equal to 4.9% of 2008 increase. What that means for Canada is a reduction of $17.4 billion dollars in exports, and 6.8% loss in foreign investments, and that is only taking into account the last three months. Read that again, a loss of $17.4 billion dollars is over 4% of our GDP within three months, if the trend continues it could equal greater then 16% of GDP by the end of year, that’s 1% higher then what the United States lost in the sub-prime mortgage area alone in 2008, not counting the loss of foreign investment, or the chain reaction effect of the losses from other countries!

 

All of that works out from just one factor, but there are more supporting factors involves. Like I said to my father, you need to have more then one fact in order to make a prediction, in order to get a clearer view, and make a better guess. Take note that I am guessing here, the trends we are are currently seeing may in fact match in many ways to what happened in 1930’s in more ways then one, but there is a huge difference, that being we are dealing with fiat money in 2009. In the 1930’s we were dealing with the gold standard.

 

The last three months of the Consumer Price index, as compared to those same months a year ago has seen a drop in the average cost of consumer goods. This is another factor that is miss understood as seeming to be good news. The main issue about this index is that it is a lie. It’s a lie because the government changes the basis of the index every so often so that you don’t notice the real difference between the first index, and the current one. The current index is based of prices in 1984, the previous index was based on prices in 1967. It is still a good system if all you are comparing your consumer costs to is recent price changes, it is not a good index if you want to view the economy and the buying power of your dollar over the course of a lifetime, such as when your child is born till they retire.

 

The way to avoid this is to check the Cumulative Inflation Since 1913 and compare the cost of living against it. Since 1940, most of the cumulative inflation has been close to 2000%, no that is not a typo. Since 1984, the approximate cumulative inflation from the same index works out to 85%. In other words, something that cost you a dollar in 1984, on average, now costs you $1.85. The over all change in real inflation since the sub-prime collapse in the States was guessed to be 6.84%, when the Consumer Price Index from last month is accumulated since January of 2006, a year before the crisis, and averaged out, it works out to an index of 208.58. Which means that within the last three months we have almost reached 4%, remember it was guessed that we would reach 6.84%, for the entire year!

 

I could go on to include other factors such as the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), un-employment rates, bank rates (wow, I don’t want to deal with the banks rates today), and the interest that is owed on all the bail outs, from the United States, Canada, and not to mention the way this will effect the world economy. But to be honest, this Monday’s Lessons Learned has turned into a bit of a rant. Maybe I will continue this tomorrow.

 

Lesson Learned: We need a broad overview to see what is really going on, not a narrow viewpoint.

 

– Wolfe


Inspiration is a pain

Waiting for inspiration is a pain in the neck.

It is hard to create inspired notes in this house sometimes. Between the kids, the guests, and other civilities that take place here, I sometimes find my brain requires more then the space my little corner gives. Read more…

 

There are tools to writing good. I have numerous books on the subject. Most have the contexts of being a technical writer, but in my view, creative writing is not only more important, but more difficult. Other tools have more to do with the practical, from that first cup of coffee, to the mellow music playing in the background. But what I find that helps the most is just living life.

My family has shared innumerable events in our paths of life. There are so many stories that I could share here, in theses page that I really don’t know where to begin. But it is not the past that I wish to share. It is the future. And when I think of the future, I have to think of the past. Of great men, of great writers…

I have a dream…

Famous words of hope, I am sure we all share. Each of us desire to have a secure future filled with freedoms, and dreams. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they take longer.

that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Rang those words off the walls of every building near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was five years before I was born, but I still hear those words today.

Those words were inspired by hope.

The dream is still growing. It grows to include every man, woman and child. To be respected by character, not color, not class, not citizenship, but by the very nature of all good people. Borders shall not stop the dream, neither shall war, famine and disease. Hate shall pass away to understanding. Fear shall be changed by tolerance. Disrespect shall become acceptance.

I have a dream too…

…that one day all people of all lands, shall rise up in one voice saying: “All of us are family.”

wolfe

 


Investments for Preppers Part 2

I’d like to continue my opinion on investments for preppers by adding somethings that have occurred to me. These suggestions have mostly to do with a conversation I had last night with Mushroom in the chat room, which has to do with the actual preps we tend to collect. Read more…

There are three schools of thought that come to mind about investing for the future. First, people invest for retirement, that being the day they get to old to continue in the career of their choice. Second, people invest so that they can get rich, and third people invest to avoid financial disaster, (yes, otherwise known as savings).

 

5 year chart price of gold
(SOURCE)

 

Buying Gold when the price is close to the average price of gold for the last five years is a safe bet to maintain the buying power of your dollar. But like I said before, buying gold is safe to maintain the power of a buck, not to make a profit. The best way to look at it is that precious metals are a good source for savings, rather then investments.

 

Real Estate is another common investment people make in an attempt to gain ground (pun intended), in the back pocket area. Generally speaking this is a mistake, not because real estate is a bad investment, in fact it is usually a good one. The reason I say that it is a mistake is because the motives behind buying land tend to have nothing to do with what the land is used for. You’ve heard of the housing bubble, let me explain a reason why it happened that you have likely not heard of before.

 

The US housing bubble happened because of high risk hedge investments in real estate. In a nut shell, investors gave loans to people who would likely not be able to pay them back under the trends that were apparent. Those trends were that people were buying houses as investments for investment sake alone, not housing.

 

Imagine that you own a small manufacturing company, would you take $250,000 of your hard earned money to purchase an apartment building, or buy a new building for your company that would save you the rental loss you currently have? The latter is better because you know all the factors involved already with the location of the company, your not going to buy a place to is so far away that you loose your current client base for example. Buying a house as an investment only makes sense if you intend to use it as a house. When you buy a new home one of the factors you take into account is how far away it is from your source of income, another might be how close to schools, hospitals etc… you add up how much it will cost you per month, and decide if it is better then paying rent. Those who bought houses just for investment, did not do these things that real home buyers do, it started an investment trend that crashed badly. In other words, don’t buy a farm unless you plan on being a farmer.

 

Currency exchange markets are another high risk investment that anyone who had money in for a length of time would tell you. Since 1971, we have had play money, fiat money is not the same thing as buying Gold Swiss coins, or French gold coins. When you exchange money based on debt or the gross domestic profit you are trading one set of political economic choices for another, which brings up something that bothers me greatly.

 

Many of my readers know that I am a fan of FerFal’s writings, and I am sure that almost all my readers are aware that Argentina had an economic collapse back in 2001. The reasons that it happened are warning signs to North American preppers.

Argentina had a number of factors riding against it, first it took on debt to do some public projects that were never completed. Those uncompleted projects were never added to the GDP. Second, the state did a massive bailout of private debt, just like the USA bailing out General Motors and company, and one of the final nails in the coffin was the real unemployment rate at 18% , while the claim was only 5%. Eventually, after a few years of turmoil in inflation and other factors, there was a run on the banks, people exchanged their peso’s for US dollars.

 

The interesting thing about all this at the moment is that it has been less then ten years since the peak of these events took place, and although Argentina has not yet recovered, some things are really scary.

 

First, the US external debts to a percentage of their GDP is 94%, while Argentina is only 35%! Second, Domestic debt within the USA is 52% of the GDP, while Argentina is only 49%! If all debts were paid off today, the USA would be in the hole 49% of it’s total credit value (GDP), while Argentina would be ahead by 16% of it’s GDP!

 

That is not to say that you should go and invest in Argentina, but it is important to note that if you were a bank and both countries were clients, you’d be more interested in loaning money to Argentina then the USA, they owe to much.

 

So what investments should a Prepper be making now? My first suggestions still apply, but I would have to say that beyond a small percentage of your savings being placed into Gold (assuming you can purchase it around the average price, not current price), would be to invest in paying off your debts as soon as possible. Another would be to reduce your need for money, buying land to live on, good idea if you can pay it off, finally investing into a business that is production based, and the raw materials to maintain it’s source of income would be the final suggestion for today.

 

  • Wolfe

 


Investments for Preppers

Introduction:

Before I begin this post, I need to clarify two things. First, I am not a stock broker, I am an information broker, and there is a huge difference. Stock brokers deal with trade-able certificates of shares in public companies, Information Brokers deal with data, research and the like, often hired primarily to find information and translate it into layman’s terms. I am not offering financial advise here, but rather how to get it. Second, my purpose is to inform the average survivalist on certain limited aspects of money, investments, and getting the information you need to make informed decisions to keep the buying power of your dollar rather then make more. In other words, if you want to learn how to make money off of investments your reading the wrong blog, if however you want to be able to buy a roll of toilet paper for the same amount of effort in the future as it costs you in labor today, keep reading. Read more…

Money and Wealth:

Most of the Preppers that I know are aware of the fact that money isn’t real. It’s an idea, a representation of something else. That two dollars in your pocket is the idea of a cup of coffee after work on Monday. What people fail to realize is that it goes beyond that. The current system of currency we use today is called fiat money. Fiat, in this case, means something declared by the government to be legal tender. There really isn’t anything more to it then that. Some claim that Fiat Money is based on debt, or the Gross Domestic Product, or some other factor. Which is only technically true, the real truth is that fiat money is nothing more then the government saying it is money, nothing more, period.

If I came to you and claimed that I was born on an alien planet, your first response would be that I was completely nuts. Your second would be that I would have to prove it. If I showed you a fancy piece of paper, with bar codes, computer generated graphics, a hologram, and strange characters, claiming it was my off-world birth certificate as proof, the only thing you have to go on that it is real, is my word on it.

Incredible claims require incredible proof. The government claims that with this piece of paper, you can buy anything you want if you have enough pieces of paper. Those who translate this to mean that each piece of paper is a small representation of the Gross Domestic Product, are saying the same thing as each piece of paper represents a small portion of ownership of every product in the country. Which brings a question to the forefront of my mind, since when did you give me a small portion of the house you live in?

Anything which claims to be something it is not is a lie. Fiat money is a lie. The real value of fiat money comes from taxation.

Chartalism is a monetary theory that states the initial demand for a fiat currency is generated by its unique ability to extinguish tax liabilities. Goods and services are traded for fiat money due to the need to pay taxes in the money.” - Wikipedia

Real wealth has nothing to do with money. This isn’t some moral stance, it’s a fact. Money looses value every year, on average by 2%, so therefore can not be a method of storing wealth either. Real wealth is stuff. It is the bread you eat, the car you drive, the house you live in.

As an example of this, if you placed $1,000 in a non-interest paying bank account in 1965, today there would be $1,000 in that same account (no interest). On the other hand, in 1965 you could have bought four thousand seven hundred and sixty-two loaves of bread for a thousand dollars [1], or seven thousand one hundred and forty three pounds of zinc [2]. Today that same zinc would be valued at over $7,300 which would get you close to over four thousand seven hundred loaves of bread. In other words, for readers of The Alpha Strategy, buying metals is a perfect way to maintain the buying power of your dollar, but does nothing to making you money.

You might pay a hidden Corporate tax, which is 19.5%, federal income tax is 29%, and provincial income tax at 24%, force payments to a pension fund is 4.95% (another form of tax), sales taxes 15%, for a total of 92.45%! (Tax rates Canadian) Getting interest on financial investments is subjected to taxes, and placing the order for those investments is subjected to broker fees (0.7%).

And don’t forget that planned inflation rate of 2%.

The planned inflation rate of 2% appears to be never met. It gets close when looking at it from a month to month view, but the reality is far more evil. Since 1965, the average yearly cost of living has been increasing just over 13%. To translate this into layman’s terms, your screwed before you even start.

Real Investments:

There is only one real way to make wealth, and that is to produce/acquire real goods. In 1965 a dozen eggs would have cost you about 55 cents, since then the cost has gone up four times as much, but the chickens which produce the eggs did not start eating four times the amount of grains to produce the same number of eggs. By the same token, it might take a carpenter almost 200 hours to build a kayak, those hours might come down to half that with greater skill, but it will never reach zero, neither will the amount of wood in the actual craft change much. The finished product, will in fact, still bring in the same trade value for eggs or bread.

Invest in Yourself:

The first real investment any Prepper should make is in themselves. The skills required in the future, any future, will be useful for trade. “Know-how” goes a lot further then a devalued dollar.

There are two things I look for when I think about what I should learn next. The first is usefulness by average people of the final product. Coffee cups are used by most folks, so I learned how to build a ceramic kiln, wedge terra cotta clay, make glass glazes, and throw clay on a potter’s wheel. A coffee cup is a useful product used by the common people that I can produce, it is a trade-able good that does not spoil, is easy to transport, and is recognized by everyone.

The second is how the skills of the a final product can be used to create something else and how it relates to these key words: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Entertainment/Education. If I find a set of skills or a trade that can fit into all the above, I have found a gold mine for the future. A carpenter can frame a house (shelter), fence in cows (food), build a loom (clothing), and make marionettes (entertainment) or bookshelves (education) he is far ahead of the game of surviving and starting to thrive. A ceramic artist can make a brick (shelter), produce coffee cups (food), make trauma plates (body armor clothing), kiln fire chess pieces (entertainment/education), he would be in just as far ahead being able to thrive as the carpenter.

Invest in Time:

The second type of investment has to do with time. Anything that saves time, is worth it’s weight in gold. A dishwasher is far more likely to be a better investment for the average Joe then the same amount of money being invested into IBM stocks. Think about how much money you are worth in your current job, if for example you are working for only $10 an hour, an hour of washing dishes each day is worth over $3,650 per year to you, a dishwasher is a lot less then that. Any tool that can get the job done better and faster saves you time, and time is literally money, spend it well.

Invest in Energy:

The third consideration about real investments has to do with energy. Energy is ultimately the real currency we all trade in, your labor. The labor the work horse or John Deer tracker does, even the energy that the welding torch does compared to a black smith is what we all really trade each other with. Stored energy is the bank system we use everyday. Oil, that black gold we are currently running out of, is the Earth’s trust fun, it equals about the same as each of us having 50 slaves each in the Western World. Getting off the grid has more to do with producing my own wealth then with saving the planet from “Global Warming” (note I said wealth, not money). But producing energy, and storing are two separate things. More important then storing energy is collecting the free energy all around us (No, the kind that breaks the law of thermal dynamics, free as in beer).

I’m going to take a little author privilege in the following terms to help make a point …

Static Energy is any source of energy which does not vary by a large degree, it’s constant. Geothermal is a source of constant energy in this category. It doesn’t really change even in winter. Using this source to maintain the temperature in your home is likely the most common first thought in your head. But the reverse is true, since the same principals are in play when one makes a root cellar to store food.

Dynamic Energy is some form of energy that comes and goes, if you don’t live in Squeamish, British Columbia, this means the wind or any other form of energy that is not constant. A good example of storing wind energy is to make it do work now, that can be used later, such as filling a raised water storage tank. Solar Energy actually falls into this category, because clouds might get in the way the sun even though the Sun gives off the same constant source of energy. There is no further effort required by you to use dynamic energy then setting up a system to use it or store it. Growing sunflowers can be a method of collecting solar energy since the oil of sunflowers can be used with making Biodiesel.

Kinetic energy is the result of stealing work from one thing and transferring it to another. A mini-hydro dam to generate electricity is a big political hot bed right now in British Columbia, but using that same stream can be used to irrigate your garden, it is still a form of work since the flow itself can aid in the process of watering your plants.

I’ve used the above terms to do one thing only, and that is to get you to think differently. The most common thing people think of when you mention Solar Energy is Solar Cells, not Sunflowers. Thinking outside the box is essential to being successful in any project. Energy is not the same thing as electricity, if all you try to do on your little homestead is create electricity you will miss great investments of your time and money.

Invest in Transportation:

Humans on this planet have survived for over forty thousand year without the advantages of the automobile. But the investment that man put into the creation and development of the modern car has provided man with several survival advantages. There are several reasons why transportation is an important investment, one of the key ones is emergencies. You may need to get from point A to point B in a hurry in order to save a life. Every survivalist dreams of the ultimate G.O.O.D. Truck, myself included, but a more practical approach is usually the result of finances and common sense. Depending on your budget, any method of transportation from a bicycle to a personal tank is an advantage you should seek, but when given the option you may want to consider some, if not all, of the following:

  1. More is better. In this case, I mean more options. When I play the game of chess, one of the main tenants of strategy is to make moves on the chess board that opens up more options for future moves. When planning for future needs of transportation more options is always an advantage, for example, if you have limited funds, buying two cheaper cars instead of just one is a better choice, or perhaps a car and a boat. Having the engines run off of more then one type of fuel is also an advantage, hybrid electric cars, diesel vehicles which can run off of used cooking oil, or a boat with a sail are better choices.

  2. Simple is usually the answer. The more complex a thing is, the easier it is to break. An engine with all kinds of computer software, electronics, and gadgets is far more likely to be a pain for the home mechanic then a standard diesel truck that is 20 years old.

  3. Being Rich is not the same as being wealthy. Having that H1 collector hummer maybe a sweet thing to own for the armchair survivalist, but a good old fashion Jeep or Land Rover is far more likely to be useful in the long run.

  4. Don’t forget Peak Oil. Ultimately you may decide that one of the options that is best for you is to own a horse, but remember that a horse in today’s modern world is still eating Oil like the rest of us. Unless you have the means to feed the horse yourself by growing your own grains, keep in mind that one of the reasons the horse and buggy went by the way side is because the Ford model T was more efficient then the western camel.

Invest in Security:

You are responsible for your own health and welfare. It is not the purpose of government to hand you food, clothing and shelter. The purpose of government is to maintain liberty and freedom. Everything else is your own success or fault. (Side Note: I do believe we all have a social responsibility to those who are limited to provide for themselves at no fault of their own however.) What is the point of providing your own food, clothing and shelter to only have it stolen from you in the future? There will always be people who think that life some how owes them something for nothing, and if you have it they may choose to take it from you by sleuth, violence, or theft. A strong active security set up can reduce or eliminate that risk, and is always a good investment. I know of several extremely rich people who live in North Vancouver who do not even have a simple home security system, if there was ever a massive earthquake I would not want to be in their shoes.

Security comes in many forms. An alarm system isn’t a security system, it’s a warning system. Bells going off in the middle of the night do not prevent a home invasion, what prevents a home invasion is a shotgun, a vicious dog, and a strong steal door. But humans are not the only threat to your livelihood. Security against fire, flood, and other aspects of threats to your real wealth can help prevent loss. Placing some time into setting up a smoke detector and learning CPR can go a long way to preventing wealth loss.

There are other things I could go on about concerning real wealth before I start with some really simple investment ideas for the actual stock market, such as investing in your own freedom by acquiring a second passport, or spending time with your family since children are the best investment of any kind. But such posts are going to be in the future.

Fiat Investments:

The reality is that you are going to need money. At the very least you are going to need it for the things you can not produce yourself or trade for, pay your property taxes, and maybe get some term life insurance. At the foremost you wouldn’t mind having a modern microwave oven that fit the style of the dream wood-stove in your kitchen. Making investments in the stock market seems to some to be an easy way to make a few bucks, and to even a fewer fools an easy way to get rich. But there area merits to investing in the stock market, one of which is that those reports you get from the companies you invest in can give you a head up on some thing in your storage you should stock up on.

So when it comes to investing in the stock market I need to repeat what I said at the being, this post is not about making money so much as it meant to help you maintain the buying power of your dollar. Therefore I offer you a few ideas, but with this warning, these are just ideas…

  1. Invest for replacement. Let say you want to maintain your current lifestyle come what may, and in that lifestyle you include the convenience of a microwave oven made by John Doe Manufacturing Ltd. You like the product because you already own one, and are aware of how long it will last, the amount of maintenance it requires, and what it’s current replacement value is. Let me fill in a few of those blanks for example. Let’s say that the model “A” microwave oven cost today about $100 for easy figuring. Now let’s say that the current asking price for dividend paying shares in John Doe’s Manufacturing Ltd is $10 and the payout per minimum investment of $100 is on average $1. Let us also assume that the microwave in question that you currently own and like is most likely to last you ten years. That means that you would need to invest about $1000 in order have enough invested into the company so that the returns on your money will get you a new microwave model “C” in ten years, give or take.

    The advantages to this system is that it takes the guess work out of what to invest in. If during the ten years your waiting for ship to come in with your new microwave you discover something impractical about the model “A”, you may want to switch your investment to another company which has already altered it’s design to accommodate the issue. Nothing beats investment research then first hand knowledge. The other advantage to this system is that you see your own retirement forming around you, literally and it is directly related to real wealth, in this case a microwave oven.

  2. Invest for a living retirement. The only real reason people want to invest in the stock market is to be able to have a day when they no longer have to go to work. Read that last sentence again. There are two ways to read it, at first glance most people assume that I am talking about retirement at age 65, which is true since that is the primary reason people invest, for retirement. But there is another way to read that same sentence, investment for a day off.

    If you invested in an income based mutual fund enough so that the dividends returned to you equaled your average income for one day’s work, you would be retired at least one day a month for the rest of your life, or until this fiat system of money collapses, in which case you won’t need the money to pay property taxes anyway. Repeat this 30 times, and your done with working for the man, and the advantage is, it gets easier to do as you go along.

  3. Invest against theft. I have always been against primary residential property tax, I believe there are other options which can supply our neighborhoods with the essential services other then the theft of wealth via property tax. Government savings bonds the idealist answer to this problem, since it is the government which demands that you re-pay your private property over and over at a rate of 1% per year it seems only fair to get them to pay for it themselves. A one thousand dollar property tax bill is a huge debt to have to come up with in a limited budget, having the same amount owed to you by the government is just ironic revenge.

None of the systems above will make you more then a dime. That has to be understood, it’s not a get rich quick scheme, in fact it is a how not to get rich scheme if you really think about it. The point of the above examples is that we are currently stuck with this dammed system of fiat money and taxes, and I don’t see why we should play the game not with the intention of winning, that’s impossible, but for a tie.

- Wolfe