Ten Ways To Maintain Middle Class Status

By: Tom Chatham

Many people are now lamenting about how hard it is to maintain their former economic status. They have less money and more bills than ever. They cannot seem to figure out how they got in this situation. If only things would get better then everything would be alright they think. Nothing ever gets better until you stop and realize where your problems are coming from and make meaningful changes.

As I have said before, most people get into a financial situation and try to go on living as normal until they eventually run out of resources. Only then do they try to come up with a plan to deal with their problems. But by then, they have no resources left to help them fix their problems and are left with very few options. It is important to realize you have a problem while you still have the resources to effect a change. This is a very basic premise that eludes most people.

If you want to maintain a sustainable economic status that allows you a good quality of life you need to mold your living conditions around the resources you have available now and not what you think you may have in the future. If you have more money in the future to upgrade to a bigger home then great but if you own an expensive home now and the economy or your economic status changes, you may be stuck with what you have and cannot afford as many have found in the recent past.

When my father worked on the river he had a fiberglass boat with thick foam between the hulls. You could literally fill it with water until it ran over the sides and it would not sink. When your life and well being depend on something to float, it is good to be unsinkable. This is how you need to design your life. You need to surround yourself with the means to be unsinkable when others are drowning.

This means you need to make sound financial decisions about how you live. We all want nice things in life but when you go deep into debt to get them you are effectively tying a huge weight around your neck that can drown you if things suddenly go wrong. To prevent this you need to make conscious decisions about how to deploy the resources you have available.

1) Stop spending more than you make every month – The modern generation wants everything right now. Life moves faster now in many ways and people do not want to wait for anything. Having everything right now comes with a price. You will never get ahead if you are constantly in debt all of the time just so you can have it right now. Saving money, even a small amount, will provide you with capital to take advantage of opportunities in life. It will also provide you with funds to live on during emergencies when income or banking services are cut off for any reason.

2) Live in a home you can afford – Everyone wants to live in a nice home that shows how successful they have been in life. If you are currently living in a nice home with a large mortgage you need to ask yourself , can I really afford this? If not you really need to consider moving into a smaller home, preferably one you own free and clear. If this means you need to sell your current home and move into a small cottage then so be it.

3) Drive a car you can afford – Most people like to get a new car every few years. If you can afford it there is no problem but if money is tight you need to live within your means. An older car can save you not only on purchase price but on insurance, taxes and repair costs. If driving a newer car is a status symbol to you consider getting a classic car to drive. A classic Mustang or Camaro can be stylish and economical.

5) Produce more of what you need – One way to help you live within your means is to produce some of the things you use on a regular basis. This can mean producing some of your own food, fuel for your car or energy for your home. Every dollar you save is worth more than a dollar in purchasing power because you do not have to pay taxes on the money you do not have to earn in the first place.

6) Buy used and save – One way to get ahead is to buy used items instead of buying new. Furniture is a good example. Some older furniture is better made and will last longer than much of what you find today. Older furniture is also a better store of value than much of the mass produced stuff today. Antiques not only hold their value better but can be the status symbol you desire.

7) Learn to save money every week – The act of saving will help you stay within your budget. It does not have to be a lot. Even saving two dollars a week in a jar is a good start. Once you get in the habit of saving every week you may find yourself wanting to save even more.

8) Only maintain a few credit cards for emergency use – Credit cards are very convenient but they can dig a serious hole for you to climb out of if not used properly. They can help you build up your credit and provide a little extra during emergencies but paying lots of interest simply reduces the amount of money you will have for other things you need. If you go around paying twice as much for everything in life because of high interest you will ultimately have much less to show for all of your hard work.

9) Store your wealth in a medium that holds its value – Even if you expect some type of payment in the future you still need to put aside some funds just in case. If the entity providing you those funds fails for some reason, you could easily lose all of the money you were expecting. In a similar manner, storing your wealth in a bank is a gamble these days. Its about as safe as storing it with your alcoholic neighbor and his drug addict wife. You need to store excess wealth in a form that holds its purchasing value such as precious metals and keep them in your possession.

10) Don’t lose money – This may sound obvious but it never really occurs to most people until it is too late. Any investment of your money is an investment of your labors so you need to insure any investment will not be a losing one. Breaking even is ok but make every effort to make sure you do not invest in a losing proposition. There is always someone willing to separate you from your hard earned money for their own benefit. This includes friends and family members.

There are many more tips that can help you to get ahead and stay ahead in life but these are some of the most important and most basic. When you spend your time working for pay you are converting your time and labor into money. If this money is wasted then in effect your time and labor was wasted. If that is the case then you would have been just as well off sitting home doing nothing.

Everyone wants to have instant success today. The days of starting at the bottom and working up by saving are lessons never learned by today’s younger generation. The money printing by bankers has created easy credit that has trapped many in a revolving door of debt they cannot get out of by modern living standards. The only way to beat this debt trap is to live as older generations have and live within your means until you have the means to improve your living conditions. Only then will you be truly successful in life

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Are We Headed For A New Dark Age?

By: Tom Chatham

Those who dismiss the dark ages as an anomaly or never learned about them to begin with may get a chance to relive them. The economic forecast for the future is getting no better and many still cling to the hope that everything will go on as always. Hope is good but it should not prevent you from preparing for uncertain times. If a new dark age engulfed the world it would not be pretty as a review of the past can show.

Feudal lords ruled the land with an iron fist and everyone else was a serf. Money was hard to find. Life spans were short. The climate made growing food difficult or impossible depending on where you lived. Life was hard and the future looked bleak.

People relied on ox carts and horses and the streets were muddy open sewers. Some people may challenge the thought that we could ever devolve to such a state again but the stories coming out of San Francisco regarding the condition of their sanitation challenged streets would make even a skeptic think twice.

An economic or societal collapse does not have to mean the end of civilized society. A community that can come together in bad times can survive. The problem we now have is that certain forces in society are working hard to tear down the framework that would allow communities to come together. The bonds of religion, nuclear families, political beliefs, morality and patriotism have been attacked by those that seek to destroy the similarities we have and open the door for anarchy following some nation wide event.

If you knew that in the next few years the economy would crash like never before, everyone would become impoverished, life would become more difficult and the resources you depend on would be difficult to get, what would you do today to make that transition easier and less disruptive in your life?

If the world suddenly fell into another dark age I would rather be in a position to become a feudal lord than a needy serf dependant on the goodness of others. That does not mean you need to become an evil person taking advantage of others, it merely means you can be the glue that holds the community together. How you prepare for the many unknowns in our future will determine what your capabilities will be and how well you get by. It will also determine what you can do for others that you enlist into your kingdom.

It is important to remember that many of the ills in society emanate from peoples minds and not always from environmental problems. People can create horrors for society that rival the worst nature can produce and they can do it with a smile while thinking they are doing something great for posterity. In many ways we are our own worst enemies.

When societal shifts come there are certain things you can do to minimize the dangers and sufferings of your family. Simply having some extra food stored, a means of energy production that you control, a means of defending yourself, a few rolls of silver coins and the moral conviction to do the right thing can make all of the difference in getting you to the other side of whatever perils may come your way.

A dark age can take many different forms. The things that can define a dark age are the sufferings of the population for want of food, freedom, security, sanitation, morality and hope for the future. It takes a person with vision for the things that can be to hold the community together and lead them to a new prosperity. It will take many leaders to see society through the difficult days we face and emerge with the freedom and prosperity we are capable of as a people.

A dark age does not have to be the end but can be a rebirth of the ideals we hold dear that have proven successful in raising people up from poverty to live the American Dream. It seems inevitable that a collapse of some sort is in the offering. It is the result of the massive damage done to the economy by mismanagement of the currency and moral decline imposed on the population by intellectuals who live in a fantasy world.

We control the environment we live in and only we can fix the problems we have allowed to fester for decades. Fixing the problems will either be a simple and peaceful endeavor or it will be a violent and bloody one. Either way, the problems will be resolved, and what we are left with will be our endowment to the future.

Energy Is The Key To Everything

By: Tom Chatham

When people are sitting around making lists and deciding what they need to survive or just get by in the future there is one thing they need to give great thought to. Energy is the basis of everything. Energy takes many forms such as food, electricity, liquid fuels, mechanical, nuclear, solid fuels, solar and wind to name a few. Without it your body will not function, you will have no light, no heat, no transportation or communication. Energy is the foundation of everything humans do in this world. Without energy in its many forms we cannot live.

If you can produce enough energy you can do just about anything. You can live deep underground, live on the moon or even in space. You can heat your home, produce light to see, grow food, power vehicles and radios, produce goods from raw materials and power equipment to keep you alive.

Most people do not think about this very often because they can simply walk outside and feel the warm sun on their skin, do numerous tasks and even feed themselves as a result of this energy from the sun. They can do many things without modern technology because the sun provides the energy to do it. Knowing how to generate and utilize the various types of energy allows you to survive in many different environments. Here is one example to think about to show you what I mean.

In the movie The Road, the earth is consumed by an environmental disaster that leaves the world in a cloudy haze, leaving it cold and dead. The survivors wonder around looking for any type of sustenance they can find including each other.

Even under the circumstances given these people still have the ability to produce energy. Energy means life. Nuclear power would still work under these circumstances especially in navel vessels. Even though all of the trees seem to be dead, they can still be burned for fuel. As long as water falls from the sky hydroelectric power will still work. Where you have power generation you have the means to provide heat and light to grow food. You only need the knowledge and skills to do it.

In a survival situation, especially an extreme one, having an energy source that allows you to live is very important. That is one reason why knowledge and skills are so important to many preppers. Knowledge and skills allow you to construct a new living environment following an event and energy plays a major role in that. It is idiotic to walk around like the survivors in The Walking Dead, with no food, water, equipment or transportation when there are resources scattered all around you that can be utilized.

Simply burning wood can provide you with energy to run a vehicle, produce power for lighting and communications and produce heat for cooking. With sufficient energy you can grow food, produce clothing, distill water, even provide fresh air and refrigeration. Energy is the key to living and the more knowledge you have in producing and controlling it the more likely you are to survive long term. The types of energy produced and the ways you utilize them are entirely up to you when your survival is in your hands. The more energy you can produce, the better your living standard is likely to be.

When an abnormal event occurs that can bring civilization to a screeching halt, the energy you have available to you will determine if you survive or not. Energy in all of it’s forms is something most people never think about until it is too late. It does not matter if it is the sun, wind, hydro, wood, oil, bio fuels, coal or thermoelectric. You need to be ready to utilize what you have available when the time comes. Your ability to create and utilize the energy available to you is your ability to live.

The West Line Is Telling Us Where We Are Headed

By: Tom Chatham

The west line theory states that the shipping center of the world moves in a westward direction slowly over the centuries. It started in the mid east and has moved west through the Mediterranean, Europe, North America and now sits over Asia. A shipping center usually implies a production center as well giving that area great wealth. The U.S. was the previous shipping and production center in the world. We now find ourselves on the back end of prosperity and all that it entails.

We are not the first nation to find ourselves in this position. Those nations that came before us had to deal with a slower, smaller economy following the westward shift of the line. We must now do so as well. Understanding this phenomenon allows people to adjust their lifestyles to maintain a good standard of living. To ignore this natural process is to invite much suffering and chaos into your life as everything changes around you while you remain static expecting things to continue as usual.

For those that are waiting for prosperity to return to the U.S. as it once was, you will not see it unless you are still here several centuries from now. You can not turn back the clock and reverse a process such as this. You must learn to understand it and adjust to it. Having a slower, smaller economy is far from a death sentence. Americans are accustomed to a great deal of abundance that is now seeping away until equilibrium is achieved. By understanding what is happening we can equalize the process at a level we find comfortable.

A good standard of living can be had by most Americans in the future if we adjust our thinking and return to a more sustainable level of living that we can maintain without excessive money printing. As I have stated before, a person can live comfortably on about $10,000 a year and have a standard of living equal to someone making $40,000 a year living an excessive lifestyle. That may sound crazy to many people but it is true. How you live and spend your money has a lot to do with your standard of living but that fact is lost on most people.

For those that have an open mind and want to understand this, it falls upon you to look ahead and plan for the leaner economic times ahead. Those that do will have a much easier time living a normal life. Those that do not make the difficult decisions now will likely find a tent city in their future as many people now deal with in many once prosperous cities.

There are many things you can do to prepare for this leaner economic future. For one thing housing is too big and expensive today for most to afford. Having a small plot of land and a small home on it makes good economic sense. Building a 16’ x 32’ home with a basement and second story will provide you with a home over 1,500 sq. ft. but is cheaper to build due to the smaller foot print. It is cheaper to build up than out. Providing your own power with solar or wind makes good economic sense today as electricity rates continue to rise and solar and wind equipment continues to fall in price. Growing at least some of your own food makes sense as well as inflation begins to climb and transportation costs increase.

Having an older paid for vehicle is cheaper in many cases. An older paid for vehicle requires less expensive insurance and eliminates a monthly car payment not to mention cheaper property taxes. Depending on how much you drive and how much of a do it yourself person you are you might even be able to produce most of your own fuel. There are average people today that use wood gas for their pickup truck or bio diesel for their car made from used vegetable oil they process themselves.

A little bit of time and effort on your part can pay huge dividends if you simply put some thought into how you live today and how you want to live tomorrow. A major change in our economic future is now taking place and it will occur whether you want it to or not. Making plans now to survive in a slower economy will provide you with the best chance to maintain a normal existence in the future. A slower economy is guaranteed at some point if the west line holds true but a possible full blown economic collapse due to excessive money printing would make your future plans even more important.

Are You Prepared For 19th Century Living?

By: Tom Chatham

Those that are aware of the EMP commissions report have probably also heard the statement that this type of event would suddenly transport everyone involved back to the 1800’s almost instantly. It is also possible that up to 90% of the population could die within 2 years due to the sudden lack of modern technology. It does not matter if it is an EMP, CME, cyber attack or terrorist attack on the grid, the results will be largely the same.

This is a sobering notion that you can either believe or disbelieve. If you think it is all hype you need only to go back to your daily activities and hope it never happens and leave your survival to someone who will do something if it ever happens. For those hardy souls that take responsibility for their own fate and that of their family, it falls to you to determine what this type of event will mean for you. An event of this magnitude will affect different people in different locations in different ways.

It is important to first realize what changes you will likely see following this event. To understand this you must look at what a 19th century lifestyle would look like to you. Understanding these differences will help you to determine what plans you need to make ahead of time to adjust to these changes in a way that will allow you to survive. Here are some of the things you will face with a collapse in modern technology and this does not even take into account problems you will face from the ill prepared.

19th Century support systems included the following

Sailing ships for cargo and human transport
Steamships for cargo and human transport
Steam locomotives for cargo and human transport
Horses and wagons for cargo and human transport

Horses, mules and oxen for cultivation and harvesting
Root cellars for common storage
Ice houses to store ice cut in winter
Open pollinated seeds for planting
Livestock manure for fertilizer
Local mills for processing grains
Shallow dug water wells for fresh water
Manual tools for building and repairs

Developed systems for kerosene, whale oil and candle making for lighting
Mechanical power systems for factories and machinery
Telegraph lines for communication
Local craftsmen to build and repair items
Human and animal means to produce coal

Wood stoves for cooking and heating
Outhouses for sanitation needs
Buildings designed for natural ventilation

Limited clean water systems
Limited hospitals and doctors
Limited drugs, medications and medical equipment
Limited firefighting capabilities
Limited law enforcement capabilities

Physical currency of silver and gold
Banks utilizing paper records

Many of these systems exist today only in museums or historical sites and in insufficient quantities to support the population we now have. So simply going back to 19th century living standards would be impossible for the vast majority of people even under the best of circumstances. This brings to light the conclusion that 90% of the population would not survive long term under these conditions.

Assuming this type of event did occur, what would you need in advance to insure your survival? That is a question many people need to ask but most will not simply because their belief system would be shattered if they acknowledged potential threats and that they need to be responsible for their own lives.

There is the potential for many types of catastrophic events that we may never see but the potential should be enough to cause reflection on the individuals part to at least ask the important questions for their own survival. To prepare mentally as well as physically is important to survive the worst of the potential events we could face. You may not find yourself living in the 19th Century tomorrow, but what if?

Seven Acres and Independence

By: Tom Chatham

Any size homestead that fulfills your needs is a good size but here are some things to look at when designing one. Different people desire different things and that will determine how much land you need.

I have determined that 7 acres is a good size small homestead that can provide all of the items you need to be self sufficient to a large degree.

Two acres for a wood lot
One acre for buildings, garden, orchard
Two acres for pasture
Two acres for grain crops

Two acres of mature timber will produce about 1.5 to 2 cords of wood per year sustainably. That will provide you with wood for cooking and heating during the winter months.

One acre is enough for a home and out buildings, a large garden and a small orchard. This will provide enough food not only for your family but extra to sell.

Two acres for pasture will provide enough grass for two cows. A milk cow and a beef cow to provide dairy products and meat throughout the year.

Two acres will produce enough grain for your family’s needs and extra to feed hogs or chickens and still have extra to sell.

The amount of acreage you need will depend mainly on the systems you decide to have for food production and how much extra you want to produce for sale but the 7 acres outlined above will satisfy the needs of most people. It is important to understand that different people will have different needs. Some people may not want to produce meat for consumption and elect to rely on a vegan diet. This would require much less land, while others may want to produce excess meat for sale that requires more land.

Whatever you decide your ultimate goal will be, this 7 acre plot is a good starting point to insure you allow room for the production systems you plan to use. A farm of this size is within the ability of just about anybody in terms of cost and work load. The ability to produce food, shelter, products to sell and even a large portion of your energy needs can provide a good nights sleep when the world around you ceases to function as normal.

A homestead of this type can not only provide a means of income but provide a survival position to insure your family has the basics they need if financial difficulties grip the world once again. Having little money on hand becomes less of a problem if your needs are provided for internally. This is something many people never think about until they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of resources.

Most people work for a paycheck to provide enough income to buy the resources they need on a daily basis. The more resources you provide for yourself the less income you will need to produce. Producing a dollars worth of resources for yourself is worth much more than a dollar when you take into account taxes, transportation costs and other assorted expenses associated with making that dollar at an off sight job. Producing most of your resources internally can greatly reduce the income you need to get by which is becoming harder every day for many people.

Something as simple as a small homestead can provide you with many benefits depending on your situation. It can provide relaxation from a fast paced world, a retirement home to reduce expenses, a means to produce extra income or an escape when chaos engulfs the world. Building a small homestead does not have to be expensive or difficult. All it requires is a solid plan and the will to make it happen.

Things Work Until They Don’t

By: Tom Chatham

As the world begins its next adventure in financial chaos and rolls over to expose its soft underbelly of lies and deceit that have been perpetrated on the public, those that see the truth have been warning the people once again. You can give people the truth but you cannot make them believe it. That is for them to come to grips with.

Trade wars are usually bad for all parties in the end but between the beginning and the end there can be some surprising developments. Human actions and delusions on the part of the public can produce strange results at times. All of our systems are based on trust. When that trust is lost, everything will come crashing down. Until then, things will go on.

If trade tariffs with China have the short term effect of creating American jobs, that could have a wealth effect by creating more disposable income in American pockets. That in turn can have a positive effect on the stock market and consumer confidence. Also, commodities are set to soar in price soon and this could carry the stock market up with it for a while.

Richard Russell once said he believed we would have a third leg in the current bull market before the bears take charge. He was right in the past and could be right again, only time will tell. This situation can not last long due to the enormous mal-investment built up in the system over many decades. A house of cards will eventually fall and the taller the house the longer and harder the fall will be.

One thing that could destroy the temporary high could be the destruction of the financial system due to loss of the reserve currency status and the replacement of the petrodollar system. If and when that happens things will not be looking good for America for a very long time. China is taking actions that could result in just that type of outcome. Their new silk road initiative and oil trading system utilizing Yuan to gold will eventually have serious consequences for Americas standard of living.

Total debts and derivatives in the world amount to 30-50 times of world GDP. The bulk of this is derivatives and when they fail they will become worthless. The 250 trillion or so in global debt will default when asset prices implode and interest rates explode. When the debt bubble explodes stocks could decline by as much as 95%. Interest rates could exceed the 20% rates we saw in the 1970’s.

In the last 100 years the value of major currencies have declined by 97-99 % relative to purchasing power in gold. The last 1-3% will follow very soon. When the financial system collapses due to losses from derivatives and stocks it will erase all of the savings, and retirement funds people were expecting to get at some future date. This will instantly impoverish the bulk of the population.

As the system collapses the banks will likely try to re-inflate assets by massive money printing which will only cause hyperinflation at some point. As hyperinflation kicks in the price of many assets like stocks, bonds, investment properties and art will likely collapse in real terms. Items like gold, silver and productive farmland will likely fare better.

Eventually deflation will carry all asset prices down as the world falls into a global depression, possibly for decades. All of these things will likely result in social unrest and wars as people become hungry and angry at a system they took for granted for so many years. The trust will be broken and people will look for something else to believe in.

One thing is for certain. People today believe anything but reality and that will catch up to them all very soon in a very painful way. Things work until they don’t. Our economy has been rolling along for decades on the stored wealth of previous generations but that is about to run out of steam very soon. When it does it will be a shock to all but a few. You can ignore reality but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

Trade Wars With Silver Linings

By: Tom Chatham

The current trade war that is ramping up with China has many pitfalls but could have positive sides for Americans. The world cannot survive without American agricultural products, especially food. They may be able to replace most of it from somewhere else but not all.

The estimated loss of agricultural shipments to China is estimated at around 15-20 billion. This is small potatoes for a government spending 1.5 trillion a year on many questionable items. The U.S. government could do something to relieve the stress on American farmers and actually do something positive for Americans in the process.

The government could simply buy all of the excess farm products that would normally be shipped overseas and create a strategic food reserve for Americans. Anyone who has been keeping up with the food production over the years knows that we keep very little food stored for national emergencies anymore. We should have a food reserve similar to the oil reserve, just in case.

One of the positives for this type of investment is that unlike investing in wars or social projects we would actually be investing in something we could use or sell at a later time making the investment minimal in the grand scheme of things. Purchasing and storing these food reserves near large cities around the country would provide a strategic resource that could save many lives if the distribution system is ever disrupted for any reason such as fuel disruptions, cyber attacks or a grid down situation.

If we are going to spend billions of dollars a year for pet projects why not spend some of it on systems actually worth something to us. The world is not getting any safer and we need to have resources set aside for emergencies.

Removing these resources from the world market would have immediate and profound results. It would send a signal to the world that we do indeed have more than one arrow in our quiver and even in the face of massive deficits we are still relevant in the world.

The world cannot continue adding millions of people a year and expect to feed them all without the U.S. The U.S. has many natural resources and some of the best farmland in the world. We can survive the problems we face as a nation but the world cannot go on without our contributions.

We can get along without the electronic gadgets and trinkets we get from China but they cannot get along without our food. We need to use our resources in a smarter and more sustainable way to continue being relevant in the world. Simply printing our way to prosperity will no longer work. We need to provide real value in the world and our food supply is a valuable commodity. Our farmers are a strategic asset and a necessary one for our country to survive. We need to support them now so they can continue to support us in the future. If a trade war is the only way to solve our trade deficit then let them keep their trinkets and we will keep our food and we will see who is better off.

Surviving The Next Great Depression

By: Tom Chatham

Numerous economists and investors are warning of another great financial crisis to come but few people want to listen to them. No crisis is ever exactly like the last one and the next great depression will be different from the last one. In the last depression those who had money were in a good financial position to ride it out but the next depression will see those with fiat money drowning in it as it becomes worthless.

Very few Americans have any significant savings today. Most live on credit and those with savings have it stored in financial instruments that will be wiped out as the bankers collapse the system to hide the theft they have been involved in for decades. Those who think they will retire with their IRA, pensions or social security will suddenly find them all gone never to return leaving them with no means to care for themselves.

The west line has moved to Asia. This means that North America is no longer the shipping center of the world. The consequences of this for Americans will be disastrous. This means our economy in the future will be smaller and slower and will result in a standard of living far below what it currently is.

Those that own very few assets free and clear will become the new homeless as they become jobless and default on all of their credit obligations. All of the social safety nets that exist now to keep people fat and happy will fail leaving mobs of people to roam the streets to seek out what they need to survive. One only has to look at Venezuela today to see where this will all lead.

The basic minimum wage in Venezuela today is $7 dollars a month. Not a day or a week but a month. Those that hold local currency see it devalue on a daily basis making things increasingly worse as time goes on. Had any of these people stored some of their wealth in gold they would have the ability to live a little easier as the economy collapses. One ounce of gold in the hands of a Venezuelan today would last them for years. This is a lesson we all need to heed.

Simply storing some of your wealth in gold and silver is no cure all but it is part of a bigger strategy to insure you do not have to suffer as many will in the coming years due to their blind faith in their belief the government will care for them. Keep in mind that the government is actually controlled by the same people that will destroy your standard of living so why would they care about your suffering.

Understanding what will likely happen and insuring you have a plan to deal with it is the only hope you will have of coming through the coming bad years in tact. Those who trust in government or only live for today will reap what they sow and it will be unpleasant at best if they survive at all. A simple strategy to insure you do not suffer does not have to be expensive or complicated. The best plans are simple and allow you to adapt to the changing times. If you invest in a simple, inexpensive plan and the world somehow goes on as normal, you will not be any worse for the investment but if things takes an unexpected turn and your plan becomes necessary, it will allow you to survive the crisis much better than the bulk of the population.

The strategy I outlined in The American Dream Lost is a basic plan that will work for just about anyone but is mainly designed for those that have only a few thousand dollars to draw on in an emergency. That is to say it is designed for the majority of Americans that have little money. It is important to understand that a plan of this type is an insurance policy against bad times that can do great harm to you and your family and needs to be understood in that light.

One of the worst problems people have is that when something bad begins to happen they attempt to continue living as they always have and ignore the future consequences until it is too late to do anything meaningful about it. If a person loses their job they continue to live as they always have using up their small savings in the hope that things will change for the better before they run out of money. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, it depends on how lucky they are. This type of mentality often leads people to the point where they run out of money and only then do they try to come up with a plan. The problem is, by then they have no resources left to enact a plan with. This is what you need to avoid.

When your economic situation suddenly changes for the worse you need to immediately sit down and determine what the future is likely to look like. It is good to be optimistic but if the chances of finding a new job are not very good you need to decide how best to use what resources you have to maintain a decent living standard. You may have to make some very difficult choices but the option of doing nothing could be very harmful in the long run. For those that decide radical steps may be needed to continue caring for their family the following list is a good place to start.

Buy a years supply of basic foods and supplies that store easily
Buy some durable clothing for future use
Buy an older vehicle for cash that can pull a trailer
Buy a good used camper trailer for cash that can house your family
Buy a weapon and ammo for protection and hunting purposes
Buy a few rolls of silver coins to preserve wealth and act as an emergency fund

What this gives you is the ability to continue caring for your family even in the worst of situations if everything is lost to creditors. They will have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, security and the ability to buy critical items that are needed at some future time. Convincing your family they have to move to a camper for a while would not be easy but the alternative of being homeless would make it an easy choice. The fact that thousands of people all across America are at this very moment living in tents near large population centers is proof enough it can happen.

Depending on your shopping skills all of these things can be secured for under $5,000 dollars and much less if you have time to look for bargains. Your plan may be slightly different depending on the resources and skills you have. You may have access to a small piece of land you own somewhere that a cabin can be built on or you may have the skills to retrofit a van body truck or enclosed trailer for living in. In situations like this skills are worth as much as gold coins.

When the next great depression hits it will be unlike anything we have lived through before. Nothing will be as it seems and only those that have the resources to adapt will come through it whole. Preparation is the key to adapting to future events and those without resources will reap a bitter harvest as they struggle to survive. No announcements will be made, no warnings will be given by the establishment, it will just suddenly happen out of the blue and everyone will say it was unpredictable. But those who prepared will know better.

How Can We Make Schools Safer?

By: Tom Chatham

With the increase of school shootings the past few decades the safety of students has become a more difficult proposition. There are people on different sides of the issue arguing for their solution but few are actually sitting down to analyze the problem and put forth sensible solutions. No one solution will be best for all locations just like no one solution will work equally well for disaster preparedness in all locations. We need different approaches for different locations based on the threat posed.

One of the most needed changes to schools today is the reintroduction of moral standards to children to curb the hostile intents kids have for one another. You cannot eliminate these feelings completely but you can instill the fear of acting out on these feelings through moral standards and the knowledge there will be a price to pay for doing so.

Teaching kids not to kill one another is probably the simplest way to stop killings but there are those that have true mental problems that only therapy and proper medications will help. These individuals need to be identified and monitored to insure they do not become a threat. This can be done without violating their rights.

Some schools in crime ridden areas go to the extreme length of having metal detectors at the entrances. This has served some areas well but anyone determined to get weapons into the school could still do so if they wanted to bad enough. Simply breaking into the school after hours through a window and planting weapons inside for later retrieval is always possible. Only their willingness and imagination prevents it.

The first line of defense is to keep the hostile person out of the school to begin with. Having external doors that are secured during school hours is one way to minimize the access. External doors as well as exterior windows on the first floor that are bullet resistant will go a long way to making forced entry difficult.

Once a weapon or hostile individual is inside a school there need to be systems in place to deal with the threat. The most effective method is to have an armed security guard that can face the individuals and stop them with lethal force if necessary. This may be the best option for some areas but not necessarily all of them. Armed officers make sense where the threat is high but not all schools have a high threat level.

Inside the building, certain interior doors should be bullet resistant and have an internal bolt to lock the door preventing entry of even an armed person. Keeping a physical barrier between shooters and victims is essential to preventing casualties. If a shooter manages to breach a door those inside should be prepared to defend themselves. This is one thing children need to be taught. Never go down without a fight. This applies more to older children than to smaller children.

The most vulnerable time for a shooter is when they move through a doorway. They can not see what is on the other side of the wall and that is where resistance needs to come from. Being up close to a shooter leaves them little room to maneuver for a shot. When assaulted by several persons at once up close a shooter can be overwhelmed and brought under control. Using a simple weapon such as a piece of wood or pipe and striking them in the head as they move through the door can take them down long enough to get control of them.

There is much debate about arming teachers in schools. This may be the best option in some areas. The more friendly weapons you can bring to bear against an intruder, the greater your chances are of ending the event quickly. There are many that do not like this option due to their fear of guns in general.

One possible compromise to the arming of teachers could be to arm them with less than lethal weapons. Arming every teacher in certain schools with tasers and providing them proper instruction on their use can also provide a deterrent to hostile individuals. The type of tasers that many police departments use can take down an assailant from several feet away very effectively. This type of weapon would reduce the fear of accidental discharges in schools.

Using a mixture of the items listed can make schools safer and give children some piece of mind while they are in school. Every school is different as are the communities scattered across the nation. Only by analyzing the needs and fears of each school can we begin to secure these locations and end the threats posed by people who wish to do harm to others.