This has been a crazy, but not surprising 7 days. Riots in England, S&P downgrade, an X7 Solar Flare and subsequent Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun, gold bouncing up and down like a yo-yo, silver barely moving, and the stock market drop has caused households to lose approximately $2 TRILLION in wealth since August 1st. ($181 Billion for each percentage point drop based on August 1st prices)
Just 7 days ago I said that I feel like Chicken Little sometimes, saying that the sky is going to fall…and somehow it doesn’t. What we’ve seen over the last 7 days is some of that “sky falling” pressure getting relieved. Will the bottom fall out of everything or is this one of many violent drops in a series? Personally, I think it’s one of many violent drops in a series. There are SO MANY controls that central banks have claimed over the last few decades that it’s unlikely that they’ll let the bottom fall out completely if they can help it. Unfortunately, every time they exert outside control over the market and artificially stabilize it, they’re virtually guaranteeing more pain when things finally do correct and stabilize or when a natural disaster/terrorist attack happen.
BTW, one of the big reasons why gold dropped late in the week is because margin requirements went up on gold. This isn’t necessarily manipulation or evil…it’s just the way the commodities futures market works. I wrote about it here when margin requirements went up on silver in May. http://secretsofurbansurvival.com/934/dont-let-osama-distract-you/
The VERY positive side of having a series of drops is that each drop wakes up a new batch of people to the need to prepare, which means that we’ll end up with more stable neighborhoods, cities, and regions.
Every one of these drops also serves as a tool to get people already aware of the need to prepare refocused.
With that in mind, I want to share an important lesson about time. To do so, I’m going to tell you about a friend of mine and his new bed.
Let’s call him “Doug.” Doug’s wife wanted to buy a new bed, so they started shopping. They were really turned off by the thought of paying $700 for a bed set, so they found one on Craigslist for $250 about an hour away and bought it.
The whole family spent a couple of hours in the car going to get the bed. It didn’t have the finish they wanted, so they had to sand and stain it. Doug had all the tools, so he didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Because of the way the original paint was applied and the underlying wood, it was a lot more complicated than he thought it would be.
He spent the rest of that day (Saturday), the next day, took off from work on Monday, and did the same thing again the next weekend. The first day he was excited about it. The next day a little less excited, and so on until it was finished. 4 weekend days, 2 days off from work, a few hours after work, plus materials to “save” $450.
Doug did a great job. The finish is EXACTLY what they wanted rather than having to pick from the limited options that they had in stores.
With 20/20 hindsight, it’s easy to see that this may not have been the best use of time. Doug’s a highly skilled guy who makes very good money—more than $450 in 2 days (roughly $59,000 per year). In addition, he lost 4 weekend days and a few evenings that he could have spent with his family AND added a good bit of stress to his life.
Doug’s a smart guy too. He realized the error of his ways about half way into the project when he was beyond the point of no return. He won’t be making the same mistake again soon. He still plans on doing fun woodworking projects where the process is as rewarding as the finished product, but not projects where he’s got deadlines and expectations from other people.
I hear from a LOT of preppers who do the same type of thing. They completely discount the value and limited nature of their time and repeatedly spend large amounts of time trying to do things that they don’t know how to do well. Even worse, they assume that they’ll be able to flip a switch and go from being a “chairborne ranger” to being a cross between MacGyver, John Walton, John Rambo, and Dr. Quinn overnight and suddently having the ability to complete any task perfectly and at a high rate of quality and effeciency.
Having grown up on a farm, this is a tough one for me. On one hand, I know I can do about anything I put my mind to if given the tools, time, and a little bit of knowledge. On the other hand, I know that in many cases I’m better off paying someone who has advanced training, more experience, and a higher level of skill than I do.
Some preppers scoff at the thought of asking ANYONE to do ANYTHING for them. For the most part, they’re just choosing to gloss over all of the things they ask other people to do for them.
Most could buy and build a “kit” plane and safely fly around the country, but choose instead to pay an airline every time they fly.
Most could buy and build a “kit” car, or design one themselves, but choose instead to buy a pre-built one.
Even if they “make” their own clothes, most buy thread and cloth. (I’ve sheared sheep, made thread, and turned that thread into fabric on a loom…it’s fun as an activity, and I’m glad I have the skillset and experience, but I’m VERY happy I can go to stores and simply buy clothes.)
Like most, I also buy almost all of my electronics…whether it’s pre-built computers, radios, lasers, solar panels, or even pre-built integrated circuts for breadboard projects or manufactured solar panel components, even though I’ve been doing integrated circuit projects for almost 25 years now.
Why do I bring this up? Because I don’t know how much time we have before we’ll be depending on our survival skills for day-to-day living. Of course, the timing and amount of advanced warning will be different for everyone…people who experienced wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, layoffs, and deaths/serious illnesses in the family in the last few months didn’t have weeks and months of economic reports to tell them trouble was coming…trouble just happened. You or I could experience a life changing disaster that thrusts us into survival mode today, next week, or never…we just don’t know.
And if we’re aware of serious threats on the horizon and have a limited amount of time to prepare for them, it’s wise to spend that limited amount of time as wisely as possible.
A large percentage of you already understand this concept and that’s why you’ve gone through my trainings instead of wasting hundreds of your limited hours researching, testing, and re-inventing the wheel.
Some of my readers are completely off-grid and living mostly self-reliant lives on small, medium, and large plots of land. That’s awesome, and I’m not being critical of that lifestyle AT ALL. You’ve invested the time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into getting where you are and are an inspiration. I would still bet that most of you are masters of AT LEAST one skillset and that others do or should seek you out for the value you add in that particular area.
But most of my readers still have a traditional income and are somewhere between eating out every meal and suddenly in a panic about the state of the world and being semi-off-grid. Most people in urban areas are also on a financial hamster wheel to one extent or another as well. And that makes this equation of doing stuff yourself vs. paying others VERY unique for every family.
As another example, I know how to grow my own food…both in the soil and hydroponically. It’s not easy for me, and I don’t always enjoy the process like many do, but I can do it. As a result, I “keep my toes wet” with gardening because I know it’s an important skill to own, but we buy most of our fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets and local stores.
I just don’t want to take away too much time from family, time spent strengthening my faith, other things that are important to me, and skills that I’m uniquely good at and have fun doing. I happen to be in a stage with my family where my boys need a LOT of daddy time. I realize how important I am in their lives and, as a result, have chosen to pay other people to do things that I’m not good or efficient at so I can help form healthy, productive young men.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not CONTINUALLY learning new skills, but just because I know how to do something (or even like doing something) doesn’t mean that it’s not smarter to pay someone else who’s uniquely skilled to do it for me so I can focus on the things that I’m uniquely skilled at doing.
This is becoming more and more important to me as the economy in particular and threat matrix in general become more complex and less stable. Frankly, I just don’t know how much time we have to get “last minute” preparations in place and I don’t want to waste any time that I don’t have to.
Of course, this is a concept that will be multiplied after a disaster. If you don’t have time now, when things are relatively stable, it’s probably wise to assume that you won’t have a large amount of “extra” time when you’re in survival mode.
So, when you’re making a decision on whether to do something yourself to save “a buck or two”, I want to encourage you to remember that your life is valuable…and your time is valuable. Not just your time working, but the time that you spend building relationships with friends and family.
What else? Continually evaluate your skills, what you like doing, and what skillsets you have (or would like to learn) that will have value in a barter economy. Also, start negotiating, bartering, dickering, and even experimenting with alternative currencies now…before it’s critical.
Personally, I LOVE lerning new skills and doing things by myself. I get very excited when I do a quick analysis and realize that I’m better off doing something myself rather than paying for it. But more often than not, I’m better off working with someone who’s an expert…even if it’s something I have the tools, skills, and experience to do myself.
Where do you sit on this continuum? Do you do everything by yourself all the time? Do you outsource everything in your life? How has your world changed in the last week with the global turmoil? Have you changed your plans for how you spend your time and money over the next 6-12 months? Let me know by commenting below:
God Bless and stay safe,