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Post Collapse Retirement Plan

By: Tom Chatham

The majority of people work all their life and look forward to a pleasant retirement. Their retirement plan involves paper assets to provide for their living expenses in the future. The major problem with this type of plan is that they have no backup plan to provide for themselves in the event that all paper assets are destroyed through inflation or default.

It does not matter if your plan is wrapped up in stocks, bonds, currency, CD’s, pensions or social security payments. When fiat currencies collapse, all paper assets go at the same time. When this happens, you no longer have the means to pay for your future needs without working for them. This is the Achilles heel of the retirement system that we use.

The old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket applies here. It was not until the later part of the 20th century that retirement actually became a prospect for people. Until then most people simply worked until they died. Retirement is now considered a given in society but few realize how fragile the system is and how fast it can be taken away through a world changing event. It is this fragility that necessitates the rethinking and forward planning of retirement at this point in time.

There are two reasons to save for retirement.

1) To enable you to stop working full time and enjoy more of your time in a leisurely way.

2) To insure you can pay someone else to care for or provide services for you when you are physically unable to do so any more.

The most widely used method today is to save some of your current production in the form of currency or paper assets which provide a medium of exchange to acquire the things you will need in the future. In the event of a failure of fiat currency, you will loose your saved production for future use if it is kept in paper assets that become worthless.

One way to avoid this loss is to keep your savings in an alternate form that will still have value after a currency collapse. This can take the form of an alternate medium of exchange such as gold, silver or diamonds or in the form of goods that will still command a premium in the future.

It may take the form of land that can be leased, rented or sold in the future. Leasing or renting will provide a continuous income for many years while selling will provide a one time source of money that must be evaluated to determine if the selling price will last the amount of time you require. Some combination of the three may be appropriate over a long term period.

The ability to own buildings to lease, rent or sell may also be a way to store wealth until needed in the future. Regardless of the dollar value of things after a collapse, you will be able to adjust the price to current values maintaining your purchasing power.

Some people may say it is unwise to buy and hold because you might pay $100,000 for a building today and after a currency reset it may only be valued at $10,000. This is true on the surface but that is only if the new currency has the same purchasing power of the old one which will be unlikely. If the value of hard assets drop after a currency collapse it will likely be only in dollar value but not in purchasing power.

This is a distinction people will have to learn. A silver dime from 1964 is still only a dime that will buy very little today but the value of the metal in the dime still has as much purchasing power today as it did then. With a new currency if the value of your assets drops it will likely be relative to the value of everything else. That means a quart of milk may suddenly cost .15 cents and a loaf of bread .10 cents while your building becomes $10,000. Those hung up on the dollar price of things need to start thinking in value terms rather than dollar terms.

There are many different ways to employ a strategy to insure you can preserve your current excess production until you need it in the future. Your plan needs to reflect your personality, your location and your future desires in order to make you feel comfortable with it.

Here is one example that may work for some. You may want to buy a small plot of land maybe 10 to 30 acres in size. Construct a small but comfortable home on it equipped with the tools and livestock you will need to provide most of your necessities for years to come. Once you have the land set up to insure you can provide the things you need you will then need to think about how you will store your excess wealth in a way you can use in the future when it is needed.

You might want to build 3 or 4 small cottages that you can rent out. Each can have a small yard capable of housing some small livestock and a garden. You may have a small shed or barn in the backyard of each cottage as well for the tenant to use. This will provide a tenant the ability to produce much of the food they will need helping to reduce their expenses.

In the aftermath of a collapse, many people will be destitute and have few valuables to enable them to get by. Someone in this position will need shelter and food for their family and you will be in a position to offer it to them. In exchange for their help on your farm you can provide them the means to care for their family and later as things improve they may be able to earn money and pay actual rent. Their ability to produce some things themselves may allow them to sell products to do this.

Keep in mind that the two reasons to store money are to reduce your work load in the future and to help care for yourself when you are no longer able to do so yourself. In a restored currency situation you will be able to save money to buy the help you need in the future. In the absence of a restored currency system you will be able to offer a service, housing, in exchange for your tenants services that you are unable to do yourself. It may be growing some food or cutting wood or home repairs. As long as you get the things you need you will have the same benefit as having the money to buy it.

This type of collapse scenario works best if you have family members that can care for you later in life but lacking that, you will need a plan. The three main things people will need most are food, shelter and clothing. Your ability to produce or provide these things will give you a resource to help provide for your retirement. As things improve the opportunities will increase but the basics will never change.

The storing of your excess wealth in assets such as gold and silver will give you a store of value to draw on in the future but you should not overlook the basic things that may take precedence in society during and immediately following a collapse. Land, tools, livestock and buildings are always going to be necessary when society must fall back on the basics for survival. In the immediate aftermath of a collapse your precious metals may have little value until society restores itself to a condition where people have the basic needs fulfilled and commerce is once again possible.

With this in mind you need to develop a plan that you feel comfortable with to insure you will have the things you need later in life. Your planning horizon needs to be at least a few decades to insure you will have the resources available to get you through and insure a pleasant retirement.


The Bread and Circuses of Failed States

By: Tom Chatham

It’s now official. America is a failed nation. How do I know this? It’s the same thing Rome went through when it decayed into nothingness.

The past few years have seen the food stamp program go from just over 26 million to almost 50 million. The people are becoming increasingly impoverished and the state throws them bread to maintain order. Very few notice and no one cares as long as they get what they need to survive. When the bread is not enough something else must be introduced to the situation to keep people occupied.

The most recent incident that verifies the decay we are experiencing is the nationwide show initiated by the Boston bombing. The bombing is not the item to focus on but the public reaction is. As the police began their investigation the media did everything they could to direct the blame to innocent parties even before the evidence provided any answers to the perpetrators identity.

The media built a ground swell of insinuations and accusations to get the masses worked up leading to the main event. When the guilty parties were discovered the real games began. Like a scene right out of ancient Rome the crowd gathered around to view the chase and eventual carnage. They cheered on the police from the comfort of their homes and watched with bated breath for the next engagement to begin.

As the blood began to flow the masses were worked up into a frenzy until the final scene where the victors dragged off the surviving enemy to the cheers and chants of the people. Few bother to question the official narrative even though it keeps changing. The outrage at the bombing and the casualties are ignored to recount the fight scenes people can’t get enough of. This is what public consumption has devolved to. Just a simple act of holiday violence.

When the pursuit of justice is devalued to nothing more than a spectator sport to be cheered at, the morals of that nation have decayed to levels that are virtually unrecoverable by the masses. While it is a good feeling to know a dangerous person is taken off the street, to use that incident as nothing more than a distraction to divert public attention from more serious matters of state is a clear sign of failure in government.

We can look forward to more spectacles of this nature in the future as the nation continues its’ decent into third world status. When the blood sports on the streets become boring to the masses it will be time to lock everything down to maintain control. This is what a failed state looks like just before the end comes. Those that see the current events for what they really are should take heed and prepare for the worst.

When the bread and circuses run out it will be over and a new reality show will begin. It will be called survival of the best prepared. It is a game the masses are not prepared to play but when it comes they will be forced participants in it. We don’t know how this episode will end but history gives us a good idea and it is not pretty.

Gun Control: The Red Herring

By: Tom Chatham

Ever since the Sandy Hook shootings, all you have heard from the left is gun control. They know this is a subject that will ignite the ire of the gun owning public and stir up a lot of bad feelings between the left and right in this country. That’s the point. While the left desperately wants to disarm the public, this latest show of disarmament is just that, another act in this long playing show. While any advances in gun control will be met with glee from the left, they know any meaningful disarmament would be a declaration of war.

They know that a massive push for more gun control will be the sole thing on many peoples’ minds. The people that know the current status of the U.S. and the financial calamity we are about to face will be too occupied with defending their guns to worry about anything else for a while. What is it that Rahm Emanuel likes to say, never let a good crisis go to waste. When they show you something with their right hand always keep an eye on their left one.

The power brokers in D.C. know that financial Armageddon is just around the corner and need to focus the nations’ attention elsewhere. As is the historical precedent, they will need to divert attention with a major war somewhere. Who is to say that war will not be in the U.S.? That would definitely divert everyone’s attention when the time comes.

It would be a two for one for the government. They could divert attention away from the financial crisis right up to the very end, then when everything falls apart go for the guns to keep pressure off of themselves for the crisis that they created and even have people look to them for help while blaming the deteriorating conditions on defiant gun owners.

While keeping an eye on the gun issue it is important to also keep an eye on four other issues that will have monumental effects on the public in the coming years. These issues will allow the government to gain full control of the population and tyranny will rule.

Dollar Status –

The derivatives bubble and the reserve currency status of the Dollar is a pressing issue that has the ability to change the world overnight. The worldwide value of derivatives is estimated at about 600 Trillion. If there is a meltdown it will take down major banks and possibly governments worldwide. Almost as disastrous is the reserve currency status of the Dollar. If the U.S. looses reserve currency status, the U.S. economy will implode almost overnight as everything that we must import will become much more expensive and we will no longer be able to just print money to buy the things we need. It will almost certainly cause hyperinflation in the U.S. destroying the currency and peoples’ savings. The FED is already buying most of the U.S. debt and several countries are moving away from the use of the Dollar in international commerce. If oil ceases to be sold in Dollars and oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia refuse to accept Dollars for oil then you will know the end of the Dollar is near.


The major stores of wealth remaining in the U.S. are in pension plans and retirement accounts. When the public is not looking they will try to grab these funds to continue funding the government and lock them into government securities that they control. These securities will either be wiped out in real value through inflation or if any value does remain the government will have control over who gets it and how much. Redistribution will be much easier once they have control of these funds and you will be at their mercy. I can imagine that anyone being labeled a terrorist by the government will have these funds seized by the government for their use.

Private Property –

The financial crisis will come as a surprise to many and these people will have no means to retain their property when the financial networks freeze up. Many will lose the money they had in the banks and with no means to continue paying their mortgage or ability to pay taxes, these properties will become an asset of the government either through the loan guarantees from federal agencies or from tax seizure by local governments. Those that have other payment options such as gold and silver to maintain payments will fare better than most others. Government ownership of most of the homes in the U.S. will give them the power over who gets shelter and what kind. They will also want control of the farmland which brings us to the fourth item.

Food –

The droughts of the past year have caused the global stocks of grain to become very low. If the drought conditions affect the grain harvests in 2013, the world will find itself in a precarious situation. The current low water levels in the Mississippi River are a good indication that ground moisture is very low in the center of the country. Unless we get sufficient rain in the next few months the winter wheat crop could be damaged. Food is power and if things get out of control the government will want to hold that power. If people are distracted from a potential food crisis by other things, they will not be stocking up on any food and will be caught with few supplies when a food shortage appears. This will allow the government the opportunity to control the food supplies and dictate where they are used and how much people will get.

It is not a coincidence that many of the gun owners in this country are also people who recognize the coming problems and have stocked up on food, gold and silver and own property to grow food, making them independent from the whims of the government. These are the very people that have tried in vain to alert the unsuspecting public with little success. It is to the governments’ advantage to keep these people distracted with other things while the country slips further into the abyss. Gun owners are the governments’ sworn enemies and the feds will seek to destroy them when the time comes.

At the end of the day the government will come after the guns but not before they have used guns as a distraction from the other problems that are not being addressed. These people are criminal but they are not stupid. The more chaos they can create at one time the better it will be for them. Who will care about the government coming after Billy bob’s guns when they are struggling just to feed their families and find shelter. Everything will be orchestrated for maximum effect and advantage. When the government starts to push gun control hard with the right hand, keep an eye on the left hand and watch out.

When Murphy Shows Up For Dinner

By: Tom Chatham

Everybody knows Murphy. Just when you think you have everything figured out and set, Murphy shows up and ruins your best laid plans. It always happens at critical times.

I’ve said several times that you always need several backup plans for a severe crisis. Even if most of those plans are just paper assessments of what to do in unusual circumstances it is important to think about them while you have the opportunity to make a rational plan. The recent interviews by Doug Hagmann, at Northeast Intelligence Network, with a DHS insider should leave you with a sense of foreboding. After reading these interviews it is up to each individual to assess the information and come to their own conclusion. In the end you will need to rely on your gut instinct and do what you feel is necessary to preserve your wellbeing.

Many people have seen the storm clouds forming and realize the danger we face as a nation and many have made extensive plans and laid in many supplies. Those that have a rural retreat that is well stocked and secure from most hazards must keep one thing in mind. No matter how well you have planned, expect Murphy to show up at a most inconvenient time and ruin everything. It may not happen but you would be foolish not to plan for it.

If the nation is locked down for any reason and the government feels the need to bring the total population under tight government control, your rural retreat may not help. The cities would be the first place they would secure due to the large population there. The suburbs would be next then the rural areas. They already know a lot of the gun owning population lives in farm country so if they decide to do something stupid like confiscate firearms, they will have a plan to do it.

Most likely they will do a reconnaissance of the area they are about to secure and identify any well armed and supplied persons then show up in force. Most of those that have planned to defend their homes have planned for several heavily armed civilians at most working in unison to attack them. If the only danger is from civilians, this might be sufficient. If a platoon of heavily armed federals show up with air support, the dynamics will be much different. Think ATF, DHS and TSA goons with predator drones and armored vehicles.

In this instance most would either surrender or fight to the death and the federals would be willing to level the place. This is the scenario you need to contemplate. As General Patton once said, no poor bastard ever won a war by dieing for his country, he won it by making that other poor dumb bastard die for his. Sometimes, its better to live to fight another day. That means if the war comes to your front door one day it might be better if you were not home to answer the door. At the very least you should have the ability to prevent any vehicles from getting within half a mile of your home to reduce the aggressors abilities.

For those that have made extensive plans, this might be unthinkable but needs to be said. Even if you have what you consider the perfect retreat to sit out any collapse, you need to consider what circumstances would cause you to leave and where you would go. This may only be a temporary relocation until your home is safe again. Then again, your home may be lost forever. Are you prepared for that eventuality? There are some simple and relatively inexpensive things you can do to cushion the blow of this type of upheaval.

If you have several acres of land you have the ability to build a hidden “root cellar” on your property to store critical items that will allow you to go on if most of your other supplies are lost. If you do not have sufficient land for this, and you live close to a heavily forested area you may be able to install a small cellar there, hidden from view which you can store supplies in. If you see the need to relocate in this type of scenario, you may want to identify a large national forest or park near your home that can be utilized. A weekend hiking trip to the area can provide the reconnaissance you need and allow you the opportunity to actually build your cellar while you are there.

A simple 8 x 10 cellar covered with logs and dirt and lined with plastic can provide you with all of the storage you need. It can even act as a relocation site to provide a shelter if things become desperate. Keep in mind we are talking about extreme circumstances where everything is going wrong and you have few options. This may even be a backup plan where you review topographic maps of the area and have satellite maps to see what is actually there. Without even going there, you can choose a site to fall back to in desperate times. Once there you can build a cellar for shelter and storage. With nothing more than a shovel, bow saw, hatchet and roll of plastic, you can build a cellar utilizing locally available materials.

By digging a hole, then lining it with plastic and utilizing the roof logs to hold the top of the plastic in place, you can create a floor and four walls with a moisture barrier. Any extra plastic can be wrapped around the top of the logs and left on top. A second piece of plastic can be laid on the top to completely cover the logs to prevent leaks from heavy rains, and then the structure can be covered with dirt. The amount of dirt will depend on the size of the logs used. A hidden entrance 2’x 4’ can be built and camouflaged to prevent detection. As with a root cellar, two plastic pipes can be installed for ventilation and a third pipe made of metal can be situated to act as a chimney for a small wood stove should it be necessary. With a small enough stove, even automotive exhaust flex pipe may be used. The floor and walls can be reinforced with masonry or logs but will take considerably more time and expense to complete.

If installing a stove pipe, it would be beneficial to have it protrude from the ground at least several feet if not yards from your cellar. This will prevent your cellar from being destroyed if the heat signature of the pipe is used to direct weapons to you. This will also help to diminish the heat signature as the smoke travels through the pipe. If a plastic or metal form that resembles a large animal like a deer or a bear is positioned over the pipe exhaust it may appear on infrared detection equipment as just the heat signature from an animal and be dismissed.

Just to be clear, what I am suggesting is this. In the near future those in America that believe in the constitution and its protections, will be faced with not one war to fight but three. They will be fighting a revolution against the Government, a civil war against those who support the government and eventually a war against foreign troops attempting to take control of this country. Once the country is weakened by internal fighting and unable to defend our borders, it would be the best time for an aggressor to strike. This is why even well stocked rural retreats may not be enough to keep you safe throughout all of the fighting. A cellar stocked with critical supplies may be your last resort to keep in the fight and stay alive. Those that do not have the financial means to stock an extra site should not dismiss it outright. You can still identify a cellar location and make a plan for relocating the supplies you do have to that location if it becomes necessary. A well thought out plan will cost you nothing now but may save your life later.

In the movie Defiance, Russian Jews were suddenly and violently killed when the German army overran their country. Some escaped to the forest where they formed a resistance and fought back. Their life in the forest was difficult because they had no resources to live there initially and they suffered for their lack of basic necessities. This is a prime example of why a backup plan is necessary. Things can go bad very quickly with little warning.

At some point in the near future, everyone in this country will have a Murphy moment, and when that happens they will suddenly realize that all of their future plans are now destroyed. They will suddenly feel like they have a giant hole in their chest as if their guts were ripped out, and they will be gripped with fear. When that happens even the most prepared will ask the same question. Oh my God, what do I do now? Those that prepared will have an immediate answer to that question.

Here are some potential items you might want to stock at a cellar site as minimal backup.

Sanitation Kit –
5 gal. bucket with gamma seal lid
4 rolls toilet tissue
2 qt. pine oil
50 8 gal. waste bags
1 toothbrush
2 tubes toothpaste
1 collapsible sink
10 disposable razors
2 cans shaving cream
1 bath towel
1 wash cloth
12 bars soap
1 bottle medicated powder
1 mirror

Clothing Resupply –
5 gal. bucket with gamma seal lid
1 heavy work shirt
1 heavy work pants
1 pair boots
3 pair socks
3 pair underwear
3 t shirts
1 thermal top
1 thermal bottom
1 hat
1 neck gator
1 field jacket

Food Stores –
6 lbs. rice
6 lbs. beans
42 oz. oats
32 oz. vegetable oil
100 tea bags
4 lbs. sugar
5 lbs. cornmeal
4 lbs. milk powder
8 oz. salt
2 oz. pepper
1 lb. popcorn
2 lbs. potato flakes
Multi vitamins

• multiply this list by the number of months you need

Kitchen Equipment –
Kerosene or propane stove
5 gal. kerosene or 20 lbs. propane per month
Cook set – 1 frying pan, 1 – 2 qt. pot w/lid, 1 – 2 qt. pressure cooker, 1 coffee pot
Dining set- knife, fork, spoon
Cooking utensils- Spatula, large spoon, carving knife, large fork
Dish pan
Dish soap
Dish rag
Dish towel
Cooler 25qt.
5 gal. water jug

Power & Lighting –
5 gal. bucket with gamma seal lid
Kerosene or propane lantern with extra wicks/mantles
Candles 100 hr.
LED flashlight
Handcrank flashlight/ radio
Rechargable batteries – D, AA
Solar charger
5 gal. kerosene or 20 lbs. propane per month

Sleeping Gear –
1 cot
1 sleeping bag
1 sleeping pad
1 pillow

Field Gear & Weapons –
Weapon – This can be a cheap bolt action like a Mosin-Nagant capable of defense or hunting large animals.
Ammo – 400 plus rounds of ammo for defense and hunting.
Rifle cleaning kit with oil
Ammo pouches
Back pack
Canteen, cup, cover
Rain gear

Medical Supplies –
Antibiotic ointment
Eye drops
Hydrogen peroxide
Burn cream
Calamine lotion
Surgical razor
Bandage scissors
Emergency Dental Kit
Cotton balls
Irrigation syringe
1st aid dressings
Surgical tape
Butterfly closures
Ace bandage

Misc. Supplies –
Bow saw
Vegetable seeds
Food prep table
Dining table w/ chairs
Mechanical clock
5 gal. solar shower
Portable shower enclosure w/ tub
Butane lighters
Sewing kit
Playing cards
5 gal. water storage containers
Water filter
Fishing supplies as appropriate

Ten Questions You Need To Answer Before The Next Global Depression Sets In

By: Tom Chatham

The global financial system is beginning to come apart like a cheap suit. When the normal life you rely on ceases to function properly, what are you going to do? If you do not have a plan you will be left helpless in a rapidly deteriorating situation that will put you and your family in danger. It costs you no money to think through some basic questions and come up with realistic answers. The sooner you address this, the more secure your future will be when things don’t go as planned. Everyone expects the government to be there with a safety net when things go wrong, but the government may not be there in the future when you need them or they may require things of you that you are not willing to do or give up. When times are uncertain, it is your responsibility to care for your family and that is a responsibility you cannot pawn off on someone else. If you have no plan or don’t know where to start, you can begin with some basic questions.

How will I feed my family? – If your income is cut off or your food supplier is shut down, what is your backup plan to provide food for your family and how long will you be able to do so? The acquisition of potable water is also a concern you need to address.

How and where will I shelter my family? – If you lose your job and the ability to pay your bills, will you still be able to live in your current home? If your community becomes dangerous will you stay there and if not where will you go?

How will I provide security for my family? – When the financial system breaks down, many who depend on it will become desperate. They will do things they normally would not do in order to maintain their living standard. Many will become violent as their comfort zone is breached by many unknown variables they are not ready to confront.

How will I preserve my wealth for future use? – If you have wealth in the form of paper assets and they are stored with institutions, you may lose access to them in an emergency. They may also become lost, stolen or greatly devalued depending on the circumstances. If the well being of your family depends on those assets, are you prepared to lose them? If not what are your contingency plans to protect those assets so you have buying power in the future no matter what happens to the system?

What will I use for transportation? – In a depression type of collapse it may be difficult to acquire fuel or get your vehicle repaired. What is your backup plan if you need to evacuate your family to another area? Do you have a storage of fuel supplies, an alternate fuel source or the ability to maintain your own vehicle? Do you have an alternate source of transportation you can use?

How will I provide clothing for my family? – If you have no income or savings, how will you provide clothing for your family? Can you make your own or do you have a plan to trade for what you need? Should you store extra clothing now for future use and how much should it be?

Do I have others I can depend on if I need help? – If the situation deteriorates, do you have others you can rely on? It may be a need for food, clothing, shelter or security but in a prolonged situation you will need help in some form at some point.

What will I do to earn a paycheck? – In a serious downturn that lasts many years, what will you do to earn a paycheck? What skills do you have that can be traded for the things you need? What equipment do you have that can be used to provide a product or service?

How will I provide medical services to my family? – If the situation is desperate and medical help is expensive or unavailable, how prepared are you to care for a sick or injured family member? While broken bones and internal injuries may require a professional, can you care for minor injuries and provide medicine for sick individuals?

Can I provide power and communications if the grid is disabled? – The financial collapse of nations can lead to the shutdown of major service providers or leave you unable to pay for those services. If you can provide your own power and communications during critical times, it can provide you with information and capabilities to keep your family safe. Even a solar panel, 12v battery and small power inverter can give you many capabilities.

Once you have answered these questions in as much detail as possible you will have the outline for a basic plan to follow. As you answer these questions, more questions will arise that will lead to more detailed planning. Planning is a continuous process that develops more capabilities as you progress. In the future, the more capabilities you have, the easier it will be to navigate the disruptions in society that you are likely to encounter.

Silver Bugs Take Heed, Buying Opportunity Ahead

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

All silver bugs out there that wish to add to their stockpiles should take heed of the silver price over the next 60 days. The price of silver has slipped in recent weeks but the best may be yet to come. When volatility strikes markets many investors sell commodity positions to maintain liquidity. This can cause the price of precious metals to drop substantially over the short term creating a buying opportunity for buyers of physical metal. Martin Armstrong has used his forecast models to project market conditions and he has now said we should expect severe volatility in the August – September time frame. If he is correct, this volatility could produce a low in silver and gold. One economist predicts a drop in silver prices to as low as $18.00. If silver goes anywhere near this price it will present a great buying opportunity. Everyone is aware of the economic problems in Europe and the coming elections in the U.S. will cause the release of money by the government to maintain an illusion of a good economy until after the elections. These monetary problems will be much more visible after the elections so anyone preparing should pay attention to prices over the next few months. Between now and September, you could see the last opportunity to buy silver at bargain prices before the next run up. Even at the current price, silver is a good hedge against future money printing for those who wish to preserve their wealth so be sure to take advantage of any price drops in the next few months. Anyone planning to buy a home or land in the near future may be better served by buying gold or silver and waiting for the monetary crisis to bottom out and buy the property at a steep discount for cash, but this is a strategy that each person will have to decide on for themselves. Volatility is approaching so stay alert.