Never a better time to buy silver and gold

In every recent economic collapse, there have been bank holidays.   Notable are recent economic collapses in Argentina, Greece, and Cyprus.   During Cyprus’s bank holiday, a bail-in occurred, where the government took away savings from bank accounts.    In the potential of any economic collapse, the most reliable store of wealth has always been silver and gold.   And there has never been a better time to accumulate silver and gold.

With the drop in commodity prices, relatively low inflation, and low interest rates, silver and gold have not been popular investments in 2015 and 2016.   Another major macroeconomic reason for the lower silver and gold prices is the relative strength of the US dollar currency.    Both silver and gold have lost a bit more than 10% in value during 2015.  As of this date, the price of silver is $14.26 per ounce.   This price is up 75 cents from just one month ago.   I believe that the bottom has occurred for gold and silver prices.  From a price point alone, now is a great time to buy silver and gold.

I like to buy both silver and gold coins.   I save silver coins for what would be everyday transactions.  The gold coins are for a long-term store of wealth and major purchases.    In a long-term SHTF or WROL environment, such as an economic collapse, much of what commerce that will occur will be done through barter.  Since silver and gold coins are universal currency, the easiest barter will occur with exchange of silver and gold coins.   For one 10 cent silver dime, you could envision buying a loaf of bread.  A half ounce of gold coin could buy a side of beef (one-half of a beef cattle).

My favorite way to buy silver and gold is small amounts every month.  Each month, depending on what is left over from paying the bills, I’ll buy small amounts of gold and silver.  Depending on your monthly available budget, the following is a suggested monthly buying plan.

$50 Monthly Budget – 2 or 3 US once ounce silver Eagle coins

$100 Monthly Budget – Buy above five US Silver Eagles coins, and on alternating months, buy one US $5  coin with 1/10th ounce of gold

$250 Monthly Budget – One 1/10th ounce US gold coin and about five US Silver Eagles coins

I like the 1/10th ounce gold coins versus 1 ounce gold coins for several reasons.   First, the 1/10th ounce coins are very small and easily hidden.   You could have 20 1/10th gold coins sew into clothing, hidden within a zipper belt, or in the heel of your shoes.  The larger gold coins are more likely to be discoverable from an x-ray or an airport security detector device.

Another way I like to own silver is in the form of circulated old US and Canadian silver coins.   Pre-1965 silver dimes and quarters from US are nearly universal in recognition and will be useful for everyday commerce.

Some good reference sites: – Monitor the hourly, daily price of gold in many differ types of currencies – Monitor the hourly, daily prices of silver in many differ types of currencies

Silver Coins Prices (Coin Inflation) – The value of various silver coins

Silver Coin Prices (Coin Inflation) – The value of various gold coins

I sleep well at night knowing that I have save real money outside the banking systems.   With about 5% of my wealth stored in the form of gold and silver coins, I feel at peace that I’ll be able to feed my children in the event of a small or large SHTF/WROL event.   For example, if I lost my job, I know that I’d be able to sell my gold and silver coins to pay bills and buy food.   I hope and expect never to need to liquidate my coin holdings.  My hope is to leave my coins to my children, so that they never need to worry about feeding their family in the event of some future economic collapse.

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I’ve been away from my blog for too long time

I’ve returned to posting.   Just survived a rough year of health and relationship issues.   Finally feeling positive enough to start posting again.   Much of what I’ve survived the past year are excellent topics for preppers and survivalists.    Bless you in 2016 for good health, wisdom, and prosperity.  – suburban prepper.

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Dust Bowl and Great Depression – Travel in Pairs

The news of the droughts in California, Texas and Oklahoma are very worrisome.   Recent news:

There is a global crisis for fresh water.  The results of this crisis will affect everyone around the world.   Where fresh water is available, food can be grown and life flourishes.   In developed countries, the price of food will skyrocket.  In less developed countries, the result will be starvation and misery.

Another symptom have the water crisis is Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ is the size of Connecticut

By year 2030, there will be dramatic geopolitical changes around the world regarding fresh water and food availability.  The have’s and the have-nots’ will be separated by having enough to eat.  The wealthy will be identified by having 3 full meals per day.  The middle class will have 2 meals per day.  And the poor will sadly have but one full meal per day.  This is a reality that is becoming real already.

There are several things you can do to prepare for the global water crisis.

  1. Have an emergency reserve of drinking water.   The water emergencies in Toledo show the risks associated with an interruption of water availability.  I recommend one gallon of water per person per day.  At minimum, have a week’s worth of drinking water stored at your home.  For a family of 4, the means setting aside 28 gallons of drinking water.  Preferably, having 3 weeks of stored drinking water is optimal for emergency purposes.
  2. Can rain water from your roof down spouts.  Store the water in rain water barrels.  Collected rain water can be used for gardening and flushing toilets.  When purified through a water filter, then use for bathing, drinking, and meal preparation.
  3. Acquire and use a ceramic water filter, such as the Big Berkey.  I have the Big Berkey in their stainless steel option.  They also have a plastic version and portable versions.  I have several of the portable sports filters in my bug out bags.   The Berkey is amazing.  You can put mud water (not advised by possible) into the Berkey and get fresh clean drinking water out.  I recommend that your pre-filter any water put into the Berkey.  I have several spare filters in the event of a long-term water emergency.  Berkey only works for non-salt water.
  4. Identify open water sources in your area within walking distance.  Know where there are ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers within a short distance.  In a dire emergency, you can haul water and then purify through a water filter.
  5. If you live near the ocean or salt water sources, acquire a water distiller to cover salt water into drinking water.
  6. The best long-term food security is producing your food.  Have a garden.  Raise chickens or rabbits for meat.
  7. Conserve water.  Give up on watering your lawn and washing your car.

Throughout history, droughts have been paired with a Great Depression.  The Dust Bowl of the 1930 added greatly to the misery of the Great Depression.   A drought can often push a fragile economy into an economic depression.   Given the severe droughts in California and the Midwest United States, I am very concerned that a long drought cycle has taken root in the United States.  And concerned that the cost of food increase and agricultural job loses will negatively impact the economy.   This is a situation that I recommend that you watch closely.

If you live in a severe drought area, I would consider moving while the real estate market is relatively stable.  As the drought persists over time, the value of real estate in the severe drought regions will go down.  During the 1930’s Dust Bowl, there was a mass migration of people from the Midwest to California.  Since now California is experiencing a severe drought, where can people go?  To Detroit?

Too many people.  Climate change.   Lessening arable land.  Lessening fresh water availability.  Depletion of fish in the ocean.   These growing trends do not arrive in a good place.

How am I preparing for this?  The answer is much the same to any other long-term disaster preparation.

  1. Have long-term food storage.  Currently, have about 18 months of food stored for my family.
  2. Store and rotate non-GMO garden seeds.  I must have close to 500,000 seed stored for grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  3. Keep out of debt to provide you with economic security.
  4. Keep an emergency fund equal to 6 months or more of expenses.
  5. Increase your job skills and continually prepare for a job loss.   Technology is shortening product life-cycle.  Skills valued 10 years ago can now be obsolete.  Make continuous learning part of your career plans.
  6. If you live in a high risk area, such as in a severe drought region or close to the ocean, consider moving before the price of real estate collapses. If you must live in a high risk area, rent instead of owning real estate.
  7. Build up a financial reserve in gold and silver coins.  Currently, I allocate 10% of my savings to physical gold and silver.  A financial reserve in gold and silver is a bridge to a new life, after a disaster or job loss.  Owning a gold coin means not being hungry in the future.
  8. Improve your home buy planting a garden, planting fruit trees, planting nut trees.
  9. Buy local foods to support the local farming community.  The more food grown within your local town, the higher your food security is.  Buying direct from farmers is a good way to security access to food.
  10. Don’t include relying upon the government or a social security check for your future needs.  When the next great depression arrives, the government will be overwhelmed and forced to greatly reduce welfare and social security benefits.
  11. Attend to any health issues you may have now.  Lose weight.  Stop smoking.  Address your addictions.   Attend to your dental problems.  Get those elective surgeries down now.   Start exercising — at any age.  Your most valuable resource is your health.   Having a chronic health problem during an economic depression will only result in misery for your and your family.
  12. Strengthen your family relationships and network of real friends.  Don’t fight over little things with your spouse.  (But do not tolerate any bit of abuse.)   Be a better, given spouse to improve on your most important relationship.  Divorces are avoidable, expensive, and saddening.   Be a good neighbor by offering to help.   Visit the elderly and shut-ins in your neighborhood.  Offer to watch your neighbors homes and pick up mail during their vacations.   A some point in your life, you will need help.  Those that you helped may come back to help you.   Creating good karma pays dividends.
  13. Pay close attend to inflation, especially the rise in food prices.  As you see food prices start to accelerate, then accelerate your food storage and food production plans.
  14. Learn to do home canning.   Home canning is very simple with a few lessons.  Your grandparents and great-grandparents most all did home canning.  I’m excited about the new automated home canning machines.  Ball freshTECH FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System.  As soon as the price decreases for automated home canning machines, I’m buying.
  15. Be strong in your faith and in your soul.  In difficult times, it is faith, courage, and strength of purpose that will enable you to overcome life challenges.

May your family never be dusty or depressed.  – Suburbanprep’er

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Investing in Precious Metals (Gold & Silver) for SHTF, WROL, TEOTWAWKI

There hundreds of articles that talk about investing in gold and silver.  Many of those articles are produced by commercial sellers of gold and silver.  Or those advocating in gold and silver have a stake in seeing the price of gold and silver rise.  I want to talk about investing in gold and silver by common folks, like me.   I have no stake in a company selling gold or silver.  And don’t take advertising to remain independent.

So here is the core truth about gold and silver.   These are not investments.  But rather, gold and silver are assets.   So what is an investment?  By my definition, an investment is the putting money to work into some specific purpose with the expectation of producing income or capital gains with some type of business that provides an actual product or service.   Owning apartment buildings is an investment.  Owning timber land that sells timber is an investment.  Buying stocks and bonds are an investment.   Buying gold and silver is buying an asset.

That is not to say that gold and silver don’t go up in value.  As an asset, the price of gold and silver are established by supply and demand.   In fact, gold and silver can and do dramatically rise and fall.     The website that I use to track the prices are:

Here is my perspective and reason why I own gold and silver.   Gold and silver are the only assets that function as money.   Take an ounce of gold to any country in the world, and you’ll find that the gold can be exchanged for goods, services, or currency.   The reason I own gold and silver is capture a store of value.   Buying gold and silver is like stopping time with your money.   As of writing this article, the price of silver is around $20 per ounce.  So for one ounce of silver today, you can exchange for about 5 loaves of bread.   Likely 5 years into the future, that same one ounce of silver also will purchase 5 loaves of bread.  Perhaps even 20 years from now, the one ounce of silver will be equal to the value of 5 loaves of bread.   By buying one ounce of silver today, you are capture the current and future purchasing power for 5 loaves of bread.    From my perspective, my stored gold and silver insures my children will never go hungry.  Having 500 ounces of silver is equivalent to 2500 loaves of bread in the future.

The way to own gold and silver is best in physical coins or stackable bars.  I don’t recommend owning gold or silver in an IRA account or brokerage account.  Why?  Because the government can and will see every bit of gold and silver owned in an IRA account or brokerage account.  If a severe economic crisis unfolds, there is a distinct possibility that the government will confiscate all gold and perhaps silver as well.  There is a precedent where gold was confiscated by the US Government in 1933.  And gold and silver don’t produce dividends or income.  And important attribute of gold and silver is it transportability and privacy.   No one knows how much gold or silver that I own.  And I like it that way.   So why give up the independence, privacy, and transportability by owning either physical or paper precious metals in some type of investment account.

For those that say that an economic collapse is coming and you should liquidate all your stock, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs.  And then build gold and silver.   My question to the folks that say put all your investments into gold and silver, what if an economic collapse never comes?   While my personal opinion is an economic collapse and another great depression is very possible within the next 20 years, I have no way of knowing if this will come true.   As a survival prepper, my goal is to prepare for both good times and bad.   My wife and I are working hard to save for our retirement.   And our primary ways to save for retirement are 401(k) and IRA accounts.   We don’t have pensions.   I very much want my retirement accounts to grow.   And the best way to grow your investments in the long run are equities (stocks).   For this reason, I limit my ownership of gold and silver to about 10% of my total investments.   And the other 90% of my investments are in stocks, bonds, ETFs, and some mutual funds.   And since 2008, my retirement accounts are up nicely.

I strongly advocate that you own gold and silver in physical form.  What I mean by physical form is you actually are able to hold your owned gold and silver in your hand.  And not gold or silver in mutual funds or ETFs.   Owning gold or silver ETFs defeats the purpose of owning gold and silver.  In my opinion, owning gold and silver is a hedge (insurance) against an economic collapses.   If my gold and silver is in the form of ETFs, then when an economic collapse arrives and the stock market crashes, it is not possible use the ETF to buy food.   In a stock market crash in the likes of 1929 and a bank holiday is declared, an ETF helps you none.

The form that I prefer for gold and silver is in coins.   My favorite gold and silver coins are the US Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and South African Krugerrands.   Austria and Australia also have gold coins that I like.  What avoid is Chinese coins of any type.  Chinese coins have a high risk of counterfeit.  My preferred sizes are 1/10th ounce for gold coins and one ounce for silver coins.  In these sizes, you will be able to make common purchase.   As of this writing, one ounce of gold is about $1300.00.   It is very difficult to buy groceries with a one ounce gold coin.   A 1/10th ounce gold coin is a perfect size to go grocery shopping with.   My ratio of gold to silver purchases is 1:10.   For every ounce of gold, I want to have 10 ounces of silver.   By having this ratio, I’m able to make change for purchases made with gold and silver.

Another way I like to store silver is in pre-1965 US coins.   Dimes, quarters, half-half dollars from 1964 and back contain silver.  Also Morgan and Peace dollars from 1935 and earlier contain silver.   These types of circulated coins are often referred to as “junk silver”.   I like holding US circulated silver coins for several reasons, including (1) they are widely recognized in the United States, (2) Are perfect for making small purchases in a SHTF, WROL situations, (3) these coins have personality and character.    I owe a number of Morgan and Peace dollars, simply because of their beauty.   My full-kit bug-out bag (actually 3 bags and 2 plastic bins to place into our vehicle) contains 20 Morgan and Peace dollars, since they are so widely recognized.   Morgan and Peace dollars do not contain a full ounce of silver, but rather contain about 94% of an ounce of silver.    One Morgan or Peace dollar plus one pre-1965 US dime together are equivalent to one ounce of silver.

Lots of people will say, I can afford to buy gold and silver.  I say, most people can.  Just do it slowly over time.   My approach is to buy a 1/10th ounce of gold and one ounce of silver per month.  This is equivalent to storing $160 per month into gold and silver.  A lot of people can afford to set aside $160 per month.   By taking this approach over 6 years, I’ll accumulate 6 ounces of gold and 60 ounces of silver.   If you can’t afford to set aside $160 per month, then I would recommend that you must buy one or two silver coins each month.  Could you afford to buy one Morgan or Peace silver dollar per month at $24 dollars each?   Give up on a case of beer or Starbucks Lattes each month, and you can afford to buy a Morgan or Peace silver dollar.

My favorite way to buy gold and silver is over  I tend to bid in eBay for the spot price and no more.   I’ll lose 9 out of 10 auctions.  But I’m fine with just winning 1 out of 10 auctions.   Going to a gold or silver in person or via the Internet will result in paying a mark-up over the spot price.   When you bid on gold or silver in eBay, I recommend that you place bids for reliable sellers.  A reliable seller will have over 100 positive feedbacks, and no negative feedbacks in eBay.    You’ll like pay a delivery fee, when purchasing via eBay.  Some coin auctions have free shipping.

So how do store my gold and silver?   Most of my gold is in a bank safe box, in order to protect it.  But you must be vigilant if you store gold in a bank safe box.  You must retrieve the contents of your safe box well ahead of an economic collapse or bank holiday.   If the stock market takes a big dip and the bad economy dominates the news, it is time to empty your bank safe box.   If you have a bug-out locations, 2nd home, or vacation home, I recommend that store a portion of your gold and silver coins at your bug-out location.  Use buried caches or behind the dry-wall as places to hide your coins.  Since silver is very heavy and very bulking, storing silver in a bank safe box is not practical.   Most of my silver is stored in hidden places throughout my home and at my bug-out location.   My hiding place is very non-traditional and you’ll never guess where.   I prefer not to say where for safety reasons.

I often will be carrying silver coins when I travel.   In my luggage, I have five silver one ounce coins.   And I have 5 silver one ounce coins in my every-day-carry bag.  The reason for carrying silver coins is a major disaster situation.   I recommend that no matter where you go, always have at least $200 in cash in your wallet for emergency purposes.  Flat tires, rural speed tickets, sudden trips to the emergency room, and helping a family in crisis are events that cannot be scheduled ahead of time.   Carrying a few silver coins is my reserve emergency money for a major disaster situation.

How will I use and spend my gold and silver coins?  There are just a few reason why I might sell my gold and silver coins in the future.   The reasons include:

  1. In a long-term disaster or economic collapse situation, such as occurred in 1929, my gold and silver will be used to buy food or pay for a relocation to a safer location.
  2. If I lose my job for a long period of time, I’ll liquidate my gold and silver to pay the mortgage.
  3. And finally, my preferred outcome for my gold and silver coins is to provide an inheritance for my children.

There are many stories throughout history about a bribe of gold with let an escapee go past a checkpoint, or buy their way out of prison camp, or  buy the last ticket to freedom.   An example of this type of event is Simon Winston   In the most worst case situation, have a gold coin sewn into your clothing my get you past a dangerous situation.

Other metal that I’d recommend store, but not as a store of value, are lead and copper.  If you can cast your own bullets and able to conduct your own ammo reloading, your price of shooting goes down vastly.  And you’ll have an excellent post-collapse business.

Joseph of the biblical story in Egypt advised the pharaoh to safe grain for a coming 7 year famine.  When the famine arrived, stored grain was withdrawn to feed the people during the 7 years of famine.   In my efforts to acquire and store gold and silver coins, I’m saving for the potential of a proverbial 7 years of famine.    I sleep peacefully (mostly) as night, knowing a have a high-capacity firearm within arms reach.  And I have gold and silver set aside to feed my children in the event of some dire disaster.   And if the next great economic depression never arrives, then I’ll happily set up my children with their lifetime financial last-resort store of wealth, and they will never go hungry during their full lifetimes.

For additional information on this topic, please see this video:   Five Reasons for Gold & Silver after SHTF 

I welcome your commentary and questions on this subject.

May your family never know famine.

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5 Key Foods for Long Term Food Storages

There are 5 key foods that should be part of every long-term food storage plan.

  1. Wheat — Properly stored, wheat has the best long-term storage potential for common foods.  Hard Red Wheat berries have a 30+ storage life.  Be store to store the pre-ground wheat, which are called wheat berries.  Once ground into flour, it last only about one year.  Soft red wheat berries stores up to 20 years.   The white soft and hard wheat berries stores for 10 or less years.  For your critical long-term preps, stick with hard red wheat.   Be sure to have a wheat grind on hand, so that may flour from the stored wheat berries.  If you allergic to wheat, consider oats or quinoa instead.
  2. Salt — This is not so much a food, but rather an essential mineral needed by your body.  If kept dry and sealed, salt has an endless storage life.   I store two types of salt.  Pure salt, or often called canning salt, has no iodine.  I reserve the canning salt for food preservation.  Before refrigeration, meat, fish and cheese were storable due to salt preservation.   And I store several pounds of salt with iodine added for cooking and table usage.  Salt is an item that is often overlooked in food storage.  Yet is has so many usage and is vital to good health.  Both too much and too little salt is bad for your health.
  3. Sugar (or honey) — Pure white sugar and honey, if properly stored, never expires.  Keep sugar in a sealed container, and it never goes bad.   For more preps, I store Domino’s sugar that is already pre-sealed in 4 pound plastic canisters.    Honey is best stored in glass jars in a cool, dark place.  If honey crystallizes over time, just warm it a bit to become fluid again.  Honey has a lot of micro-nutrients, and is my preferred way to store sugar for the long-term.  Occasionally, my local drug store, CVS, has the Dominos 4 pound canisters on sale or I might buy with CVS extra-bucks.
  4. Rice — White rice, if sealed in cans with oxygen absorbers, can have a 20 year storage life.  Brown rice has a storage life of around 5 years.  White rice is simply brown rice with the husk removed.  Brown rice has more flavor and more nutrition.  But white rice stores longer, since the husk of brown rice has small amounts of oil within that go bad much quicker.  What I like about storing rice is the amount of dense calories it provides.   Rice is easier to prepare versus grinding wheat berries.  A cups of white rice plus of vegetables from your garden makes a filling meal.  Many people don’t realize the rice has some protein.  Rice combined with beans provides all the protein your body needs.
  5. Powdered milk — If you have children, this is a key food to store.  Regular powdered milk has a shelf life of 2 years.  If packed in meal cans by a reliable vendor, powdered milk can be stored for 5 or more years.   Fat free powdered milk stores a bit long.  Most baking recipes call for milk, of which powdered milk is an adequate substitute.  My favorite powdered milk for long-term storage is Future Essentials Canned Powdered Homestyle Creamery Milk Substitute and Honeyville’s powdered milk. 

These are the 5 basic long-term foods that should be the beginning of your long-term food storage plan.

A couple honorable mentions are dried beans, TVP (textured vegetable protein typically made from soy beans), dried pasta, freeze-dried meats, dehydrated vegetables, dehydrated fruits.

The truly best long-term food plan is your own garden.

With Summer harvests coming in, now is the time to start home canning.  The canning season is upon us.  I’m a big gruff city boy who learned how to do home canning.  My blueberry jam is fabulous.  If I can learn, anyone can learn to do home canning.

In good times and bad, many your family always have enough to eat.

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Personal SHTF Series: Major Illness or Death in Your Family – A Realistic Survival Event

Nothing is more stressful than a major illness or death in your immediate family.  This is the ultimate SHTF situation.  Whether its your spouse (or partner), a child, a sibling, a parent, or even yourself, nothing can be more gut wrenching.  And yet, we all must face this type of event several times during our lifetimes.  If we live long enough, we will bury parents, siblings, friends, and more.  A severe illness or death of a close family member cannot only take consume you with grief, but could also consume your financial and spiritual health.  While we should all morn, grieve, and feel sorrow for the loss, life goes on and you mustn’t let the situation destroy you.  It is the duty of the living to keep on living.  Your loved one would want you to continue with a happy and fulfilling life.   Preparing for the inevitable is wise.   If others reply upon your hard work to provide for home and hearth, then you have a duty to protect your family from the possibility of your early demise.

How do you prepare for this?  Here are some ideas and recommendations.

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.   For goodness sake, your body is a temple.  I grieve everyday when I see people carrying around 50 lbs too much weight.  Or use tobacco products. Or addicted to drugs.   Or abuse your body in any way.  Life is too short already, why knowingly shorten it further? Why steal precious time from your family?  Smoking cigarettes may result in missing your grandchildren’s weddings. First rule of survival peppers is simply to live!  So then the recommendation is straight forward and well-known already.  Eat quality foods.  Avoid sugar and salt in your diet.  Moderate exercise. Moderate alcohol.  No tobacco. Build happy relationships with family and friends. Hard work is essential for men’s longevity.  Many studies have demonstrated that the longer a man works, the longer his body will sustain.   My personal belief, of which you should form your own opinion, is a man’s duty is to produce and defend his family.  And as a grandfather, this does not end, as your duty shifts to being a good role model and teacher.
  2. Always have health insurance.  Work a 2nd job is you must, but never be without health insurance. Many, too many bankruptcies are caused by financial burden of a major illness.
  3. Until you children are finished with college, until you fully fund your retirement, and until all your debts are paid, you should carry life insurance.  It is your duty to your spouse and children.  And if you can afford it, consider acquiring long-term disability insurance.  No one plans for their time of death. But you can plan to protect that lifestyle of your family.  Life insurance should be obtained for both parents, including a homemaker.  The value that a homemaker provides to their family, apart from their immeasurable love, is financially valuable.   Just try to put a price on all the roles and duties that a homemaker provides, day and night.   Term life insurance can be cheap. Go get some now!
  4. Have a will.  If you are married or have children, then you have a duty to your family to have a legal will.   If you are divorced, remarried, have physical assets such as real estate, retirement fund, valuable collectibles, and other valuable assets, then you will need to designate who will be they recipient.  Not having a will places all your assets into probate court, which will be expensive for your family.   If you life situation is simple, then a service like is a quick and easy way to produce a will.  If you have a complicated family situation, such as divorce, 2nd marriage, or stepchildren, then better to utilize the services of an experience lawyer, who will help you navigate the complexities of probate law.  Each state has varying laws as it pertains to inheritance.  In most states, the surviving spouse receives the departed’s asset — but it is not a given.  A will provides the needed clarity as to what your wish are and what instructions are to be conducted with assets.
  5. If you have more than $2 million in assets (include life insurance proceeds), then consider setting up a trust to protect your assets and insure your family uses your assets as you desire.  The $2 million threshold is just a guideline.  IRS rules about inheritance taxes can move any year.  And each state has varying laws about inheritance taxes.  Trusts are a way to protect children from themselves.  It is not wise to drop a million $ on an 18-year-old, who’s clarity and judgment hasn’t finalized growing.  Trust can specify when and under what conditions that children receive their inheritance.  A good friend of mine has set up trusts for his children with a brilliant idea.  His children will receive funds from the trust that matches what income the children produce, until age 30.  This way, he incentivized his children to work, in order to receive their inheritance.  If the children don’t work, become bums or drug addicts, then they don’t receive their inheritance.  Just brilliant.
  6. Make learning a lifelong endeavor.  Learning keeps you mind exercised, alert, and making new synaptic connections.  Plus learning is just fun.  What ever your hobby or personal interests, become the expert.  And then teach and share your passions with others.  Not only will you enjoy life more, but your brain will be healthier and sharper into later years.
  7. From a prepper’s preparations, you will need to consider death from a pre- and post-SHTF.  Pre-SHTF (before), death will invariably involve doctors, police, or some type of public official. And a death certificate will be issued, mortuaries will handle the body, and nearly everything about the body is handled by someone else.  Post-SHTF (after), when their is no rule of law, there are some preparations to be made.  First, take accurate records and notes of the situation and take photographs if possible.  Gather and protect the dead person’s valuables and memories, so that they may be passed along to the closest family member.   For public health and sanitary reasons, it is best to bury the body quickly.   Wrap the body in plastic if possible.  The old movie saying of 6 feet deep is founded in truth.  For sanitary reason, a dead body should be buried very deep and far from drinking water sources.  All bedding and clothing associated with the dead person needs to be thoroughly sanitized — hot water and beach are the best.   I pray you are never put in this situation.  Gives my chills just to think about the possibility.

This is a tough subject.  But being an adult requires dealing with serious matters sometimes.  Much of being a prepper is fun to me – guns, gear, planning, and practice.  This subject is all about being prepared grown-up.

Wish you a long, healthy, and prosperous life.

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Personal SHTF Series: Unemployment – A Realistic Survival Event

This is the first in a series of personal SHTF articles.   SHTF is Shit Hit The Fan.  SHTF is a disaster event that impacts you or your family.  A realistic, common and likely possible SHTF event is losing your job, losing your income.  This is a situation that most of us will face during our career lives.   This article talks about how to prepare, react, and recover from looking your employment.

If you go through life never being fired from a job, never being laid off from a job, well then, you are truly blessed.   The modern product and innovation cycles are accelerating.   New products come to market faster.  And products become obsolete faster.  As a result new companies form quickly.  And companies dissolve more quickly as well.   I have a good friend who started a home theater business.  He was after the high-end segment of wealth people building their own home theaters.   It was all the rage 5 years ago.  That was before LCD TVs became bigger, better and much cheaper.   Where my friend might have charged $100k for a macdaddy, super home theater 5 years ago, today you can have better quality home theater for under $10k, and you can do it yourself.   So my friend’s market opportunity when poof-away very quickly.  And he had to find a new career suddenly.   Industries fail.  Markets get disrupted.  The march of progress changes what companies and products are in favor or falling out of favor.

It is very easy to quickly find that your company no longer has the hot product.   Or your company was just bought, merged, or went bankruptcy.  Or your company could have financial problems and announce a downsizing, layoff.   Layoffs come suddenly and without warning.   All of us could lose our jobs tomorrow.  Yes, even government workers can lose their jobs.  During the 2008/2009 financial crisis, state and local governments shed jobs quickly as tax revenues dried up.  Suddenly big cities where laying off police and fire-persons.   In this day and age, it is wise and prudent to be ready anytime for  a sudden and forced job loss.

Also to consider, you can suddenly become ill or become injured.   Many men how are injured on the job in their 50’s fall off the career track, never to return.   Everyday, people are crippled and maimed in automobile accidents.    Disability is a common cause of losing your job.

How do you prepare for a job loss?  How do you prepare for short or long-term disability.  Here is some sound advice.

How to prepare for loss of a job:

  1. Stay out of debt.  Debt is modern slavery.  Carrying a lot of debt, you are a slave to interest payments.  If you are carrying debt when you lose a job, your entire financial situations collapses.  Very quickly, you can lose your car, your job, and all your possessions.   Best way to stay out of debt is life a frugal life.  Try to live off of 50% of your income.   And save the remainder.  Buy with cash.  There is are only 3 things that I recommend carrying debt for, including:
    1. First mortgage on your primary residence.  And no mortgage on a vacation or 2nd home.
    2. Your primary commuter car for going to/from work.  But buy used cars to be frugal.
    3. Student loans for a 4 year university degree.  But only if you can not work while going to college.   If you must borrow money for college, go to your local state university to save money.  Or start your first 2 years at a community college.  I was fortunate that I could work part-time to pay for the first two years of my college degree.  And only needed to borrow money for the last 2 years of college.
  2. Build an emergency fund.  Everyone of us will face an emergency.  The water heater will break.  You might have a car accident.   You might have an injury.   The roof might need to be replaced.   Or you can lose your job.   For a single (unmarried person) without children, you should have a goal of having 6 months of expenses banked away for emergency usage only.  For families or single parents, the goals is 12 months of expenses stored in an emergency fund.   During the 2008/2009 financial crisis, it often took 12 to 18 months for people to find a comparable job.  And many settle for less paying jobs.   Your emergency fund is your bridge to a new job.  Without an emergency fund, losing a job immediately becomes a crisis.
  3. Have a food reserve.   From any survival and disaster prevention reasons, I recommend that you have stored food.  For a single person, again the recommendation is 6 months of stored food, primarily in canned food.   For a family, the recommendation is again at least 12 months of stored food, which is composed of canned food and long-term dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.   If you lose your job, and you have a food storage plan, then you need not worry about eating.  Your remaining cash can be spent on utilities, mortgage/rent, and job search expenses.
  4. Build your career network.  The best time to look for a job is when you don’t need a new job.  In this day and age, I recommend that you continually keeping one eye on the job market.   Opportunities for a new job or career advancement comes at unpredictable times, often when you are happy and content with your current job.   Continually keep in touch with headhunters, peers in your industry, and even your competitors.   And build your personal network of business contacts and colleagues every day.    At every opportunity, meet people in your work, impress them with your skill and knowledge, and connect with people of influence.  Most good jobs are obtained through network and personal contacts, not help wanted ads.
  5. Continually reinvent yourself.  Increase our skills and knowledge continually.  During the course of your working life, expect to need to reinvent yourself 3 or 4 times.   With the shrinking of the product and technology innovation cycle, expect that your skills will become obsolete every 15 year, with the last 5 years of those 15 years in serious decline.  Therefore, expect to reinvent yourself every 10 years.   That means, you need to find a career every 10 years.  Since new careers just are not achievable overnight, I recommend that you get into a dual 5 year cycle with your career.  Just college or the first 5 years of 15 year career cycle to gain new skill and reach expertise level with that new skill.   Then the next 5 years reaping the fruits of your new skills.  And then using the last 5 years of the 15 year cycle to build new skills and arrive into your next career.   No taking this approach, you may find yourself at age 50 with obsolete skills and now way to stretch into retirement years.
  6. Use any opportunity to get extra training.  While you are working, take every single available training class your employer offers.   Not only will training keep your skills up to date, but your employer will more likely see you as a valuable employee, and as a result, you are less likely to be laid-off during tough times.   Training classes are great opportunities to build your career network and gain new business contacts.  In fact if you are able, offer to provide training classes at your employer.  This will show that your are a more valuable employee.  And one of the best ways to learn is to teach.  If your employer pays for training, especially college course, for goodness sake, take advantage of employer paid training.   Not taking advantage of employer training is just leaving money on the table.  And strikes me as being a bit lazy and myopic.  Laziness does not lead to career longevity.
  7. Balance the careers of families.  If you are married, it is wise in this day and age for both partners to work.  While I’d prefer that one family member stays home to keep the home and raise the children, the majority of families cannot do this.  If one spouse losses their job, at least you can keep food on the table with the other spouse still working.   It is recommended that spouse/partners do not work for the same company.  And preferable don’t work in the same industry.   When the real estate market collapsed in 2008, if both spouses were in the real estate industry in 2008, then quite often both spouses lost their jobs.  That exact situation hurt a lot of families.    A very good situation is one spouse have a very secure, low throttle job, such as teaching or government work.  And then the other spouse have more aggressive job with higher pay.   This is a nice balance.  This is a type of family career allocation that can reduce overall unemployment risk.
  8. Have a home based business.  Another way to reduce unemployment risk is to have a part-time, home based business that you run on nights and weekends.   Hopefully you can leverage your primary skills or a hobby to build a part-time home business.   For example, if you repair automobiles as your primary job, then do some under-the-table repairs from your home garage on the weekends.  So then if you lose you primary job, you’ll be immediately able to ramp up the time spent on your home based business.
  9. Never be unemployed, rather you “transitioned to consulting”.   One way to never be out of work is to immediate start a consulting business, if you lose your primary job.   This is a good tactic for white-collar, professional workers.   Employers don’t like to see gaps of non-working time on a resume.  If you are laid-off, fired, or separated from a job, then immediately pronounce yourself as a consultant, and offer your skills on a part-time or consulting basis.   Through this approach, you’ll leave no gaps on your resume.   I’ve had to do this a couple of times, and it was very successful for me.  And then I used my time as a consultant to find a full-time job with an established company.
  10. Keep your insurances up to date.   Have enough life insurance to get your children through college and fund your spouse’s expenses into retirement.   If you have a job with any physical risks, I strongly recommend that you obtain disability insurance.  Pay for disability insurance with after-tax money, so that you might not be taxed on disability compensation.  Too many men working jobs like construction or manufacturing become injured before age 60, and not have disability insurance, and then are in a dire situation.  Relying only on social security disability insurance is guarantees you will live in poverty.   I greatly dislike Obamacare for political reasons.  But if I lost my job, I would take advantage of Obamacare to obtain low-cost health insurance.   Never, ever, be without health insurance.  Many bankruptcies are caused by medical bills from not having sufficient health insurance.   And have adequate levels of vehicle insurance.  Carrying only the minimums for auto insurance, and then having a major accident with injuries, then you are immediately entering dire poverty.
  11. Start a garden.   Having your own garden.  Or garden boxes.  Or hot boxes to grow some food allows you to devote your few available monies for rent, utilities, and job search expenses.   And learn how to do home canning, which is a huge cost saver for food consumption.
  12. Save aggressively for retirement.  Your retirement might arrive before you plan for it.  After you pay off debt, attempt to maximize your retirement account contributions.  Due to job loss, injury, or illness, you might be forced to take retirement early.  Many folks fall off the career track at age 55 or 60, well before full retirement years.  If you did not save aggressively for retirement in your early years, it is very painful to attempt to catch up in your later years.  The one bit of advice I give all recent graduates of high school or college is immediately start your retirement savings.   Take advantage of the concept of compounding interesting.   You can easily become a millionaire by your retirement years, if you started early.   Also in the event that you lose your job and exhaust all your emergency savings, then as a last resort to pay your bills, then you can tap your retirement accounts.  Many folks were saved from bankruptcy and homelessness during the 2008/2009 financial crisis by tapping their retirement accounts as a last resort.   But only as a last resort.   Also it is more important to save for retirement that fund your children’s college expenses.  You can always borrow to pay for college, but can’t borrow to pay for retirement.
  13. Build equity in your home.  And don’t use your home as a piggy bank.  Don’t use a home equity line of credit for anything other than as an emergency source of funds.  Attempt to pay down your mortgage, when you have spare money.   With equity in your home, you’ll have better options to take a home equity line of credit, or be better able to sell your house to relocate to another part of the country for a new job opportunity.  Too many people were trapped in homes they could not sell after a job loss, because they had outstanding HELOC balances or were under-water (negative equity) in their homes.   And with owning your home outright, you’ll never be homeless.   Try hard not to enter retirement with a mortgage balance, as all your retirement funds should be devoted to current living expenses, not paying for any type of debt.

Hope this helps.   Becoming unemployed is a huge and real risk that most of us have.  It is what scares me more than anything else.  I feel that I can overcome most challenges, if I keep a job.   Preparing well ahead of time to lose a job will greatly lessen the impact.

May you always be busy and always able to pay your bills. – suburbanprep

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Mosin-Nagant Rifles on sale for under $100

Perfect timing after my recent post.

Mosin-Nagant rifles are on sale this weekend at Classic Firearms.  Link: Original Molot Russia M 91/30 Mosin Nagant Rifles – Grade B rifles

Classic Firearms is one of my favorite firearms — very good folks.

Best money you’ll ever spend.

I don’t receive advertising money from anyone.


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The Best Prepper Summer Vacation – Family Camping

I am a strong advocate of family camping.  There is so much that is learned, gained, and experienced when families go camping.   Each Summer, my family allocates a week of vacation time to camping.  Another separate week is dedicated to a week at the beach, which my wife favors.

Camping is not a given in my family.   I’m a former Boy Scout, so I have a lot of experience in setting up and running a camp.   But my wife is a Northeast suburban girl, and very accustomed to the comforts of hotels, spas and resorts for vacations.

From a prepper perspective, camping is an invaluable experience for families.   Families grow in knowledge, personal resilience, and strength of character.   What a great way to train and prepare for a potential bug-out event.   If you can prepare and execute on a week of camping, then your family is prepared to bug-out in a dire emergency.

I have a full camping kit for my family.  This includes a tent that has been conditioned with water-proofing spray. (Reference: Amazon query for waterproofing tents  Each family member has an outdoor-quality sleeping bag rated to 10 degrees F.   Have a Coleman portable propane heater for the winter and Coleman cooling fan for inside the tent during the summer.   I love Coleman camping products!  (Reference: Coleman’s clearance website).   Have portal propane stove and LED lanterns.   Have a portable aluminum folding camping table.  Have tarps and collapsible chairs.   Have camping cookware, dishware, and ability to wash dishes.  Have camping ax, shovels, saws, and lots of outdoor knives.   Have too many coolers to hold food.  Have 5 ways to start a fire.   Have various games stored with my camping gear.   I even have a portable camping toilet.  All my camping gear is stored in large plastic binds of a gray color in the garage.  The camping plastic bins are a distinct color from my other plastic bins.  I’ve written the contents of each bin on the outside with a black sharpie.  All my camping gear as been accumulated from many years of single adds.  One year, bought a portable stove.  The next year, bought the portable table, and so on.  It adds up over time.  One of the reasons I stick with Coleman equipment is I know the stuff will last for many years and has designed specifically for outdoor camping.

In the event of a bug-out emergency at home, the camping plastic bins can be loaded on our vehicles within 5 minutes.   With the emergency supplies that I natively store in each vehicle, plus our always-ready camping kit, and plus our always-ready bug-out kit, our family is ready to leave quickly in the event of a severe natural or man-made emergency.   Also to mention, our family bug-out kit includes a large plastic bin dedicated to portable, non-perishable food.   The bug-out food bin has enough food to feed my family for 2 weeks.   Thus, my camping kit is an integrated package that is synchronized with my bug-out kit and vehicle emergency kits.

As the camping kit is always ready to go, I feel very confident that our bug-out supplies and tools are ready.  What needs to be refreshed each year for our comfort-seeking suburban family is the skills, attitude and mental toughness to perseverance, survival, and prosper during a major bug-out event.  Thus, our annual camping trip is vital to our prepper capabilities.

We go camping for a week’s time.  The first day of our camping is very exciting for the whole family with all the travel and setup.  Roasting marshmallows over an open fire is a lot of fun.  Being with nature gives me a sense of peace and tranquility during my hectic, busy life.  On the 2nd and 3rd day of camping, that is when the complaining peeks.  The bugs, the outhouse smells, that dirt, the uncomfort of sleeping in the tent, the summer heat or rain, the lack of privacy, the hard work of maintaining a camp, the unwashed hair, the worries of wild animals — these complaints all come out on the 2nd and 3rd day.   The key to these days is to have a lot of activities.  We go hiking and explore.  Or if we stay at a public campground, where there are often activities for kids and families.   To moderate the uncomfort of hardcore camping, we’ll often camp at Yogi Bear Camp Resorts.  Yes I know, it’s not roughing it.  It’s not pure camping.   But when you are married to lifelong suburban girl, compromises are essential  These resorts often have swimming pools, arcades, planned activities, a sundries store, and most importantly for my girls, a heated shower.   By the 4th and 5th day, our family is in a good living rhythm and sleeping well.   By the 6th or 7th day, my kids don’t want to leave.   And when we return home from our camping trip, I have confidence that my family would survive outdoors in a worst-case bug-out situation.   We have the gear, supplies, and knowledge to carry us through many weeks of living rough.

For those people who are attempting to convince their family members to adopt a prepper lifestyle, camping is a fantastic way to introduce skills, tools, and supplies that provide a start into the prepper lifestyle.  The essence of camping is self-reliance.  Self-reliance should be the motto for being a prepper.

I recommend that all families have a full camping kit and go camping at least once each year.   By being ready and practiced for camping, your family is ready anytime for a bug-out situation.  Being in close quarters, camping brings families closer together.  Families grow in their personal bonds, in their skills, and in individual strength of character, when camping together.  Having fun, enjoying each other’s company, and growing in capabilities — that is the sweet spot for preppers.

Hope you have a blessed and fun Summer 2014.  Hope you have the opportunity to enjoy pure nature.  And be safe and healthy.  And grow together as a family.

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Buy Ammunition Now – A Rare Window of Availability is Near

One of my considerations offered to all preppers is about ammunition storage.  During a SHTF, WROL, or TEOTWAWKI event, ammo is a high priority.   For pepper supplies, only food, water, medicines, and shelter are more important than ammo.   During an emergency event, the first thing that disappears from availability is ammo.

Here are several current dynamics that are currently in place.

  • The severe shortage of ammunition after the awful Sandy Hook event is starting to abate.   While purchase quantities are still be limited by many retail sellers of ammunition, you can now find .22 LR, 9mm, and .223 Win ammunition.
  • Obama is looking for any opportunity to shut down importation of ammunition.  Just this Spring 2014,BATFE has banned the importation of AK-74 ammunition (5.45x39mm).  I am predicting that Obama will ban before he leaves office the importation of 7.62x39mm for AK-47 and 7.62x54R forMosinNagant.
  • As the pent-up demand has been met for retail ammunition purchases, I am predicting that ammunition manufacturers will lessen production capacity by the end of the year.
  • The price of ammunition only knows one direction.  Had you bought ammunition 5 years ago, the value increase of that ammo was better than investing in the stock market.
  • If then next US President is a Democrat, expect that there will be increase challenges to decrease access to firearms and ammunition.   I’m expecting that state will place high taxes on ammunition.  If I had money to spare, I’d buy a 50 BMG rifle and 500 rounds of 50 caliber ammo, as I’m expecting this caliber to be outlawed in the next 5 years.

The next 6 months will be a rare window where ammunition will become widely available again and price increases will moderate.   Thus, if you don’t already have your lifetime amount of ammunition set aside, I’d recommend that you buy and store ammunition before the end of the year.   After the terrible Sandy Hook event, when immediately thereafter ammunition because widely unavailable, I did not need to buy any ammunition, since I had plenty of ammo already stored.  In fact, I sold some un-needed ammo to those desperate to purchase.

Remember to store ammunition in a cool, dry place, which is inaccessible to children and adults alike.   All my ammunition exists in thick plastic tool boxes, such as the Stanley tool boxes, each with a pad lock.   The toolbox protect against water and heat.

Also, do not store all your ammunition in one location.  If you lose your home to a natural or man-made disaster, don’t also lose all your stored supplies.   Store some of your food, firearms, and ammo with friends, family and/or in a rental storage unit.

How much ammo do I have in storage?  It is a simple methodology for my ammo storage.  For each primary firearm, I have 1000 rounds of ammunition stored for the long-term, which will only be used in an emergency situation.  Add to that, 1000 rounds of ammunition for each primary weapon set aside for training purposes.  For my hunting rifles, have an additional 500 rounds in long-term storage.  Any ammunition that I use for plinking, training, or hunting is immediately replaced.   Thus for each primary weapons, have at least 2000 rounds set aside for the future, which is never to be touched unless an dire emergency occurs.   For my 22LR rifle, I have at least 5000 rounds set aside to never been touched.

What is a primary firearm, versus a non-primary firearm?  I consider the following to be my primary firearms:

  • My night-time semi-auto pistol on my night stand.
  • My concealed carry semi-auto pistol
  • My .308 Win semi-auto rifle, which is primarily oriented towards hunting, but can be repurposed in a WROL environment
  • My intermediate range carbine rifle in .223 caliber, which has the purpose of defending my home
  • My wife’s self-defense carbine in 9mm caliber
  • My 12 gauge shotgun for hunting and self defense
  • My 20 gauge shotgun, which is a trunk gun for self defense
  • My Mosin-Nagant rifle, which is a back-up long-range rifle
  • My 22LR rifle for small game hunting, pest control, and target practice

In my perspective, firearms are tools with an intended purpose.  I’m a peace-love, law-abiding, good citizen.   I’m a good family man, good neighbor, and good friend to all in my community.   My firearms are tools, not weapons, because I am peace loving.  My firearms are tools to hunt, control rodents, ensure security, and preserve peace.  Preventing violence and preventing crime is the purpose of my firearms.  Only when criminal elements challenge my town, neighborhood or home, only then do my firearms become reclassified as self-defense weapons.

What are considered as non-primary firearms?  Any nice-to-have, non-essential, or odd caliber weapon.  Any extra firearms not on the list above.  I might have a few hundred rounds for each of “give away” firearm, but I don’t worry about how much is stored for non-primary firearms.

Take advantage of this time period.   In the next mass shooting by another uncared mentally ill person, that will result another challenge to ammunition availability.  Or if Russia does more stupid stuff in Ukraine, and thus importation of Russian ammunition is inhibited, then ammo for Russian rifles (AK-47, AK-74, and Mosin Nagant) will become unavailable.   Or another Democratic President will write further Executive Orders regarding ammunition.  Or a big tax increase will be placed on ammo purchases.  Or has been seen in some states, there might be new state laws requiring purchase permits for ammo or new state laws limited the amount of ammo purchases.   A good way to avoid all these risks is to have a lifetime amount of ammo already purchased and stored.

If properly stored, you’ll be able to keep ammunition for 50+ years.  Hopefully, you’ll live in peace and pass along all your stored ammo into your children in the form of inheritance.  I’m expecting nearly all of my long-term stored ammunition will pass to my children and grandchildren.  And I pray above all else for the peace and safety of my children and future grandchildren.  I pray that my children and grandchildren will never know tyranny, violence, civil disorder, war, or an economic depression.  I pray that my children never need to buy ammunition, because they inherited all their ammunition from me, and because I never had the need to break into my stored ammunition.


Disclaimer: This post, and all my posts, are targeted towards law-abiding and good citizens.  Understand how federal, state, and local laws pertaining firearms and ammunition may impact your decisions.   Conduct your own research.  Make good decisions which are relevant to your unique situation.   This posting is offered for educational and discussion purposes, and not as a personal recommendation.

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