Category Archives: Economics

We Will Have To Reboot Our Standard of Living To Survive As a Nation

By: Tom Chatham

In 1940 you could buy a nice cape cod style home for around $2,500. Someone entering the job market likely started out at $25 a week. A 1940 Buick with a straight 8 would run you $895 and up.

Why this stroll down memory lane? Because it is meant to show how much inflation has changed the price of things. When we still used money that was based on gold and silver, inflation was kept in check to some degree. Fractional reserve banking and excessive credit creation have distorted the value of things we depend on for life and we are coming to the end of that failed experiment. All of our recent prosperity has been paid for with our ability to print dollars out of thin air.

If you want to know where we are being led you only have to stroll down any city street where the homeless live, or you can look through the many pictures of the great depression. The American people are being systematically impoverished and it is being done knowingly by those in charge and is allowed by a dumbed down, apathetic public too busy staring at their iphone to notice.

If this nation is to survive and retain a reasonable standard of living and quality of life, we will have to downsize to a level that we can actually afford. We will need to forego the 2,000 sq. ft. $300,000 homes we all like so much and settle for a more affordable 900 sq. ft. $30,000 home we can actually pay for. We will have to give up the $40,000 autos coming out of Detroit now and settle for a smaller inexpensive model that can actually get 60 mpg.

We will also need to return to a financial system that is based on real value. This being gold and silver money. If we try to use anything else we are simply trying to fool ourselves. You cannot use a currency that does not act as a store of wealth over the long term.

We can do this by choice and salvage what is left of our country or we can continue on the current path and end up an impoverished country with a dictator in charge like most other failed nations in the world.

If we want to continue having a country worth living in we need to go back to what we know works and try to build up from there. We no longer have sufficient manufacturing capacity to employ all of the people in this country and any kind of welfare will not work without debasing the currency.

This will necessitate 20% of the population going back to living on small farms to insure they have a job and sufficient resources to care for their families. Nothing else in our current situation will work. We have too many unemployed people living off of the state and this will end soon. We will either have a mass exodus from the country or a mass extinction within it. As unpleasant as it sounds that is our future if we do not make substantial changes while we still have time. That time is nearly up.

Downsizing our lives and our wants will be a necessary change if we want to salvage something of our future. We have lived too long in fantasy land and now we must come back to reality. The west line has moved and we will never get back all of the production jobs we once had. We must accept that and accept that our country will be less productive and less prosperous in the future and learn to live within our means.

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Do You Have A Plan Of Last Resort?

By: Tom Chatham

We have been reading for years about the increasing number of people that are becoming homeless in this country. Many of these people now live in tents, if they are lucky. Some of them live in their vehicle and even have a job of some sort. Those with a tent or a vehicle have managed to create a last resort backup plan to house themselves. This is not an ideal situation but at least they have something to work with.

When the worst happens, having resources to work with provides you with options. Those options increase with the number of resources you have.

When most people suddenly lose their only source of income they immediately determine how much money they have left to live on. They then determine how long they can continue living as they currently do before they run out of funds. They hope things will change for the better before they run out of money. They try to ignore reality and pretend everything is normal for as long as they can.

It is only after they have no resources left that they decide to come up with a plan to take care of themselves. By then their options are very limited because they have little to work with. If this is not the case then why are so many people living in tents and cars?

As I mentioned in The American Dream Lost, you need to realize your situation when the money stops and come up with a plan immediately. You need to accept that things may not get better before you run out of money and plan for the worst. You need to decide the best use of the funds you have left to insure you can continue to take care of yourself for the foreseeable future.

Simply trying to live as normal and ignoring reality will do you more harm than good in the end. If you can maintain a solid roof over your head and room to work in you can better survive the struggle you face and work your way back up to an acceptable level.

If I were facing potential homelessness, I would take inventory of the things I have to work with and devise a plan to have a place to live. With just a few thousand dollars or even several hundred to work with, you can create a place to live to keep your living standard from dropping below a certain level.

If you can buy a van, small delivery truck, camper or even a small trailer to build an enclosure on, you can create a small home to live in until things get better. The thing is, you need to do this before all of your money is used up.

This summer I plan to build a 7’x 11’ enclosure that I can use to store some of my equipment and extra supplies in, mainly because I need the extra space. I have decided to make this a multipurpose building to get the most out of it. It will be wrapped with Mylar for insulation, which will also make it a low level faraday cage for my electronic gear, and the inside will be set up so it can also be used as a camper. This building will fit on my 10 foot utility trailer and enable me to move it around. The materials will cost me around $400 dollars. The way I have designed it, I could actually live in it if necessary. A backup plan can be something as simple as this.

I also plan to put my battery pack, charge controller and power inverter inside and build a roof rack to hold my solar panels. This will give me a portable solar installation to power the house if the power goes out for any length of time. All I need to do is park it in the sun and run a power cord to the house or shed. This would also be helpful if I had to evacuate for any reason.

Things may be going fine for you right now but if you depend on a regular inflow of cash every month to maintain normalcy then you should be thinking of a plan of last resort while things are still good for you. Virtually every system connected to the economy is in a massive bubble right now and is set to pop soon with little notice. When it does many people will be left with few good choices and their only salvation will be the resources they have on hand.

Having a supply of food, medicine and energy are good things to have but what will you do with it if you lose your home? Having some place to call home that you will not lose if the economy goes bad is one thing many people do not think about until it is too late. Food, shelter and clothing are the first things people seek out to fulfill their immediate needs so keep that in mind.

An old pickup truck equipped with a wood gas generator and a camper trailer with solar power, that are fully owned, and a few rolls of silver quarters is just one possible plan that can solve a lot of problems when you have lost everything. It can provide you with shelter, energy and transportation when you have no money to pay for these things. In a currency collapse a little bit of silver may also be enough to buy a small piece of land for cash. The more you can provide for yourself at no cost when you have no money, the easier it will be to survive the times and rebuild your life.

Many people living a middle class or upper middle class life right now can not comprehend that some day everything they have worked for may all be lost. They have planned for nothing but success in life and will not know how to deal with a financial or societal collapse that takes away all of their support systems. They will become refugees in their own country that resemble the masses we now see coming across our border. The sad thing is, it does not have to be that way if they have a plan of last resort to fall back on.

Why Are American Communities Dying?

By: Tom Chatham

Most Americans who have been around for a while know life is nothing like it used to be. When someone wanted a job one was found with a little bit of searching. Today jobs are difficult to find, especially in small communities.

When I was growing up in the 70’s, there were several car dealers in my community. There were three tractor dealers and too many mom and pop stores to count. Today there are two used car dealers and the nearest tractor dealer is twenty miles away. So how is it that we now have more people, but fewer businesses to employ them?

A nations wealth is derived from having a product to sell. That wealth needs to circulate in towns and cities to compound the wealth effect and create jobs and businesses. When wealth is not created or it is siphoned off to other places, the wealth effect can not happen, and in many cases goes into reverse. A community needs a certain amount of service related jobs to function but it also needs some type of production jobs to bring in money from the outside. This can be mining , agriculture or manufacturing type jobs, but they must exist to insure a healthy economy.

America has two major problems today. A large amount of our production is done outside the country eliminating production jobs in local communities and many of the small local businesses that kept wealth within communities have been supplanted by large corporations that siphon wealth out of communities and send it to wall street.

In the past when a small business made profit, that profit was kept in the local community because that is where the owner lived. Now, that profit leaves the community never to be seen again. With less money to circulate within the community the businesses that depend on people spending their extra dollars, have fewer customers and eventually go out of business. With fewer jobs there is that much less money circulating and the economic situation spirals down until nothing is left.

These days corporate businesses and government jobs make up the major part of many local communities. In many cases if it were not for the government jobs, many communities would no longer exist. So what do you think would happen if the government suddenly no longer had money to pay those workers? What would happen if corporate profits dropped to the point where corporate stores decided to close and cut their losses?

To some extent we are seeing this happen now in many places. Corporate stores moved in and drove small local businesses out. Then when the profits dried up the corporate stores closed leaving the community with no jobs or products to buy. With no capital in the local communities to rebuild small businesses, the people simply drive to other areas to do their shopping.

The corporate cronies and government laggards control most of the money flowing through communities now and they want to keep it that way. Any attempt to rebuild local businesses is met with luke warm results. Any business that might make a difference is either killed outright or regulated into oblivion before it can get off the ground. The county where I live has all but abandoned local businesses. The bulk of their income comes from property taxes generated by vacation homes and retirement homes of retired government employees. As long as the government pensions and paychecks continue, they see no reason to change the status quo. The result is that the younger people leave as soon as they can and the average age of the population continues to get older. As with many places today, this area has no future.

Where I live is a microcosm of the nation. Corporate and government entities continue to siphon what little money there is out of communities and just as small communities are dying, the nation will soon follow if current trends do not change. A return to small local economics is the only way to reverse some of the damage and keep our communities livable. But, do not be deceived. There is no way to undo all of the damage that has been done and even if we survive, we will only be a shadow of what we once were as a nation

Why Do Some People Live Paycheck To Paycheck?

By: Tom Chatham

It is common place today to hear of people living paycheck to paycheck. If so many people are living so close to the edge one must ask why? There are many reasons why someone might be in financial distress but one looming question remains. If they lack sufficient funds to live as they do, why do they continue on that path?

It has become evident to me that many people live paycheck to paycheck because they choose to. It seems that many people today decide what standard of living they want and start living it. They get the home, car, clothes, jewelry and other items they view as their birthright. Then they try to find a job that will pay for it all. They are basically doing things ass backwards.

In a normal world a person gets a job and builds a life around what they can afford. They live within their means in other words. This includes having sufficient funds for emergencies so they can continue on for a while if something happens to disrupt their income. This is the way most responsible people have always lived.

Today is different. Most people have never had a good role model to teach them how to handle money. The banker controlled media has led them to a life of debt and despair. The people have been conditioned to spend everything they can get their hands on and then spend any credit they can get. Even though they have been conditioned to live like this they make a conscious effort to do it.

To get off this debt cycle they only need to want to. Many people are paying a lot for monthly rent or mortgage and cannot afford it. They do not have much control over what someone wants them to pay for rent but they can control where they decide to live. Just like they can decide what car to buy and what they buy at the store. Their choices determine how much they have left at the end of the month. Show me someone living paycheck to paycheck and I’ll show you something they pay for and do not need or are overpaying for.

There are people living in some cities right now paying more for monthly rent than I spend on all of my living expenses all year, and that is not an exaggeration. And I am not talking about rich people in expensive homes, just ordinary people in ordinary apartments.

Most people like to live near their jobs for an easy commute but their jobs are usually located in expensive areas that house a lot of working people. The landlords know what people in that area make so rents are adjusted to get the most they can. The ordinary person just tries to get a place as cheap as they can which is usually more than they can really afford.

Instead of doing this they have the option of choosing a longer commute allowing them to get a place in a less expensive area. There are people in my area that work in D.C. every day. That is a 100 mile drive each way every day. They do this because they can earn more money and live in an area with a low cost of living. It takes a lot of dedication to do that but it can pay off in a big way over time.

While it is understandable for someone making $15k – $20k a year to have financial difficulty, there are a lot of people making $40k – $100k a year also living paycheck to paycheck that should not have to. These people are struggling now when things are fairly good but it won’t take much of a drop in the economy for them to go negative. That day is fast approaching and if they do not get their financial house in order now, they may not be able to later and that will force them to change their living habits causing a lot of pain along the way. It is better to do it now while it can be done with minimal pain.

How Individuals Can Reset The Financial System

By: Tom Chatham

We have often heard the predictions that the currency system will be reset at some point when the bankers can no longer keep the current ponzi scheme going. The current scheme involves the ability of the bankers to convince the population that pieces of paper rolling off a machine or digits created on a computer screen are real wealth. The education system has been successful in that regard.

Very few people actually understand what real wealth is or anything about economics. They have been led to believe that these things are too complicated for them to understand and it should be left to the experts. These same experts get richer as everyone else gets poorer. That is the way they have rigged the system.

Resetting the system and taking these con artists out of the loop can be as easy as refusing to accept paper or electronic money and only accepting gold and silver for payments. This sounds crazy on the surface but it is not impossible to do and it must be done before they can transition completely into electronic payment systems. Once they transition into electronic payments they will be able to control everything you do and buy.

If they do not want you to own guns or ammo they can simply ban all of these types of transactions. If they do not want you to buy gold or silver they can ban those transactions. If they do not want you to stockpile food they can limit how much you buy from week to week. With no way to buy outside of the electronic system, you will be totally under their control even more than you are now.

The simple way to bypass the control mechanisms meant to control you is to have a medium of exchange that is universal so it cannot be controlled by any one person or group. Many people see the block chain system as a good way to go because it is secure but there is something you need to keep in mind. This system requires the use of electronic systems to process and transmit these digital units. Those who control the electronic systems control the flow of digits. You may have a wallet full of coins but if you cannot connect to the person you want to trade with, how much are they really worth?

A system that cannot be controlled by anyone has been around for millennia. That system is gold and silver. The free market constantly adjusts the value of these metals when they are used as money. They are time tested and proven methods of exchange and stores of wealth.

A population that wishes to rid itself of the corrupt money makers has only to begin using gold and silver as the primary means of exchange. To be useful these metals must be present in sufficient quantities to act as an exchange mechanism in society. This means that individuals must exchange some of their fiat currency for these metals while they still can. With as little as two ounces of gold and twenty ounces of silver per household, the population of an area would have the quantities necessary to transition to a pure monetary system. At current prices three thousand dollars per household would set the population free of bankers and rigged monetary systems.

While this much gold and silver may not sound like very much you need to remember that since 1913 the dollar has been devalued by over 97%. The value of this much gold and silver one hundred years ago was quite substantial for a household to have. With the elimination of inflated currency the prices of goods can return to their real value in terms of gold and silver.

The only thing standing in the way of a new monetary system based on gold and silver is the population itself. The lack of understanding by the average person will ultimately doom society to the poverty and loss of freedom defined by fiat currencies. Until this changes, society will continue to suffer at the hands of those who control the production and flow of currency.

How Do You Beat The Bankers At Their Own Game?

By: Tom Chatham

Those that have been following events for several years know they are under attack by an enemy that has no face and means to do them great harm. Nothing less than their sovereignty and freedom is at stake. Absolute control over people and resources is the ultimate goal.

People need to understand that the bankers need to collapse everything and leave the population in want of resources and supplies. Just like after a natural disaster when the government shows up to provide help to those that have lost everything, the bankers want to show up after the population has lost everything in a collapse, to be their savior and gain control of everyone by offering resources in exchange for compliance.

There are several actions you can take to prevent these people from gaining control over your life.

You must be able to feed yourself-

You must have a home to live in that you own free and clear-

You need to be your own energy company-

You need to be your own bank-

You need to be able to defend what you have-

You need to have skills to operate your own business-

You need to promote a community based economy-

To put it simply, you need to get out of their game and start your own. Remember, the house always wins.

The bankers can only win the game if people are dependent on the elite for everyday necessities. The bankers have created a society of dependent people that they can exploit. They can only continue to exploit people as long as they are dependent on the bankers for the things they need. Once this dependence is broken the bankers lose much of their control on society. This dependence is broken by people who can provide their own necessities.

Early Americans were largely self sufficient in many things which prevented the bankers from controlling everything. Most people used barter to get the things they needed and bankers have no control over barter transactions. They also have little control when gold and silver are used in cash transactions. These people tried several times to build a central bank in the U.S. but were thwarted. Once the bankers created the FED in 1913, they had the mechanism to control the people.

The bankers and politicians can only win if they have absolute control over you and your family. They can only do this by controlling your access to the things you need and must get from others. By maintaining control over these things yourself, you retain that control and rob them of that power.

In many ways, freedom is a result of self sufficiency. The less you depend on others, the more freedom you have to make your own choices in life. People who make their own choices are difficult to control and once people realize they can live without the bankers and government entities the collective power of these entities falls away. The future will be either a collective society where government controls everything you do every minute of the day or it will be a free society where people make their own decisions and take responsibility for what happens. What people do today to free themselves from the control of the bankers, will determine what world we will live in tomorrow.

Things Change, But Not Always For The Better

By: Tom Chatham

The whole universe operates in cycles. Just as the seasons change on a regular basis, all other things change on schedule as well. A person is born, they go to school, they get a job, they get married and buy a home. Later they have children, buy a bigger home, send their children to school and save for retirement. Their children grow and leave home, they get a smaller home and retire. These are predictable cycles most people go through in life but never pay much attention to.

Knowing that these cycles occur can give a person an idea of what to prepare for in the future. We know that the national debt doubles about every 8 years. We know that the economy goes into a recession every 6 to 8 years. We know that the FED manipulates the economy with money printing and interest rates. We know politicians spend money we don’t have to get reelected. We know from history that these things eventually cause problems that we must deal with as individuals.

When we realize these things we can make plans to deal with these problems before they happen and limit the affects they have on us. The problem is that most people do not see these things coming because they are kept occupied with other trivial things and they have short memories. Then when these disruptions occur they are caught seemingly unaware and suffer for it. To be aware is to be prepared.

We are coming to the end of many different cycles at once and the disruptions that will occur will be larger and more disruptive than anything most people have ever had to deal with in their lifetimes. We appear to be coming to the end of a 300 year economic cycle. When long term cycles end they tend to be very disruptive. More so than regular short term cycles. It also appears we are coming to the end of long term weather cycle. The last time we had as few sun spots as now was during the little ice age from around 1645 to 1715. Global cooling can cause serious problems for food production and people need to be aware of that. When taken in combination these two things can be more serious than the great depression. And keep in mind these are only two of the cycles that are about to come to an end. We are potentially looking at a change in the cycles of war, society, philosophical beliefs, world leadership and morality.

It is difficult to give specific dates when certain things may happen but we know these things happen within certain periods of time so to be aware of this provides you with the ability to see the future in some respects and prepare for the disruptions that will ultimately occur. And keep in mind that these disruptions will occur just as surely as the changing of the seasons. You cannot stop it but you can prepare for it.

Between now and 2032 we will see many changes that will affect the way we live. These changes will be very disruptive and in some cases very deadly depending on where you live and how well prepared you are to weather the changes. Getting to the other side of the gulf will require you to be flexible and adapt to the changing times. There is no one best way to prepare for these changes. Your preparations will depend on who you are, what you know and what you are capable of doing to tailor a plan that will work best for you.

While these changes may happen over the next decade which sounds like a long time right now, you need to remember that many changes in the past seem like instant changes to us looking back. The fall of Rome, the little ice age, the civil war, the great depression and WWII were substantial periods of time for those living in those times but have been reduced to little more than footnotes to modern society. In the grand scheme of things, a decade or two is just the blink of an eye so do not be lulled into complacency by any seemingly long timelines.

We measure everything as a period of time. Time is a measure of change. The changes we are about to experience will define the future and in a few hundred years become another footnote to history but to those that must live through these coming times it will be a struggle for survival and a search for some meaning to it all. Things are constantly changing, but not always for the better.

The Road To Riches Is Paved With Savings

By: Tom Chatham

The consumer culture most Americans have grown up in has left them with a distorted sense of what being rich is. To someone making $20K a year someone making $50K is rich. To someone making $50K a year a person making $150K a year is rich. The problem is that most people, even many of those making over $100K a year, are living paycheck to paycheck. This is due to the conditioning people have had over the decades. No matter how much they make they are conditioned to spend all of it.

If they have a nice place and suddenly start making a lot more money, they instinctively look for a bigger, more expensive place to live. People adjust their spending to how much money they have, not necessarily how much they need. This ultimately leaves them perpetually broke or near it.

There are people living on less than $20K a year with a good quality of life even though they are considered poor. It’s all a matter of priorities. You need to decide what is important to you and make that your life’s goal, not necessarily making a larger paycheck. More money provides you with more opportunities in life but do not confuse that with a better or happier life simply because of the money.

Wealth is what you are able to keep, not what you are able to make. When you start looking at money in this way you will be able to reduce your spending to needs and have more savings to use later. I personally know someone who inherited 50 million dollars and all of it was gone in a few years with nothing to show for it. Would you consider this person rich or poor? He had more cash at one time than most people make in a lifetime but what does that matter now? Once it leaves your hands it is no longer your wealth but someone else’s.

You may buy something like a new pair of shoes that cost a lot and they may make you feel good for a while but if you only wear them a few times then throw them in the closet never to be worn again, how much were those shoes worth to you in the long term? When you are thinking about buying a new piece of equipment to make your work faster and easier, if you are not going to do something useful with the extra time you will have you need to ask if the new equipment is actually worth it.

When you start asking these kinds of questions before every purchase you may find you can not justify making the purchase and skip it. You do not need to eliminate every want you may have you just need to curb them to keep your spending manageable.

Retirement is a relatively new concept. People take it for granted today that at some point they can stop working and they will still have the money they need to pay for things. That is only possible for many because of government programs that provide for them. If those programs ever stop, those depending on them will have nothing to fall back on. Even if you are supposed to get money from a retirement account or pension plan, if those funds are lost for any reason you will never see them. Those funds are worth nothing to you until they are actually in your hand. Having money saved that is actually in your hands will guarantee you have something to pay for your needs and can help you sleep at night.

When you reduce your spending to needs you have more money to save for some future time when you may be desperate and need it. The end of the world does not have to be a full blown economic collapse or WWIII. If you lose your job and cannot find another one it may very well feel like the end of the world if you can no longer pay your bills or buy food.

When you save you are essentially providing the means to pay for future needs out of present earnings. If you find yourself unable to work at some point in the future it will be essential that you have the means to provide for your needs. This can only be guaranteed through savings. Future promises of payments cannot be guaranteed by any means. A regular program of savings can accumulate over time to provide the safety net you will eventually need. Keeping that money safe and preventing the loss of purchasing power over time is also essential but that is a topic for another time.

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

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.