16 Signs That Most Americans Are NOT PREPARED For The Coming Economic Collapse

By Michael Snyder – Economic Collapse Blog

Disaster-Is-Coming-300x300Sometimes I think that I sound like a broken record.  I am constantly using phrases such as “get prepared while you still can” and “time is running out”.  In fact, I use them so often that people are starting to criticize me for it.  But the truth is that only a small percentage of people out there are actively taking steps to get ready for what is coming.  Most of the country is not prepared at all.  In many ways, it is just like 2007 all over again.  There were many people that could see what was about to happen and were doing all they could to warn people, but most did not listen.  And then the great financial crisis of 2008 struck and millions of people lost their jobs and their homes.  Unfortunately, the next great wave of the economic collapse is going to be even more painful than the last one.  It is imperative that people get prepared for what is on the horizon, but for the most part it is just not happening.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have such short memories and such short attention spans in America today.  Thanks to years of television and endless hours on the Internet, I find myself having a really hard time focusing on anything for more than just a few moments.  And we are accustomed to living in an “instant society” where we don’t have to wait for anything.  In such a society, we are used to “news cycles” that only last for 24 hours and very few people take a “long-term view” of anything.

And another one of the big problems that we are facing is something called “normalcy bias”.  The following is how Wikipedia defines it…

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Over the past several years, the U.S. economy has been relatively stable.  And that is a good thing.  But it has also lulled millions upon millions of people into a false sense of security and complacency.  At this point, most Americans consider 2008 to be a temporary bump in the road, and most assume that the U.S. economy will always be strong.

Unfortunately, that is not the truth.  As I have written about previously, the long-term trends that are destroying our economy have continued to get worse since 2008, and none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.

We are steamrolling toward the edge of an economic cliff, and most people in our entertainment-addicted society are totally oblivious to what is going on.  So they are not doing anything to get ready for the immense economic pain that is coming.  The following are 16 signs that most Americans are completely unprepared for the coming economic collapse…

#1 Could you come up with $2000 right now?  According to a shocking study that was just released, most Americans could not

Forty percent of individuals in the U.S. said they could not or probably could not come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose, according to research by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

#2 In that same study, Americans were asked the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

An astounding 60 percent of people that responded said that they do not.

#3 Another study found that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#4 Some people are actually trying really hard to get ahead, but admittedly that is really tough to do when we are all being taxed into oblivion.  In fact, it was reported this week that Americans now spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

#5 Right now, more Americans are dependent on the government than ever before.  In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that currently gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#6 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.  That is a stunning number.

#7 It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 millionpreppers” in the United States.  But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping.

#8-16 The following are nine more statistics that come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a significant portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days…

  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

What do you think is going to happen to these people once the economy collapses and there is chaos in the streets?

How are they going to survive?

After all of these years of writing about the coming economic collapse, nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.

We are still heading toward a complete and total economic meltdown.

But most Americans continue to have faith in the system, and the mainstream media keeps assuring them that everything is going to be just fine.

And in this “dumbed-down” society of ours, most people are perfectly content to let others do their thinking for them.  In America today, only one out of every six Americans can even find Ukraine on a map of the world.  That is how far we have fallen.

In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves.  The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind.  If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion.

In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things.  Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen.  When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading.

Sadly, most Americans will never do that.


  1. Sort of like the frog in the pan of water. People aren’t aware that there is actually economic erosion occurring every week, month, year. Not paying attention to the water that is starting to get really hot.
    By the time economic collapse occurs, the frogs will be cooked.

    • Even a frog will attempt to escape as the temp rises. In fact a frog will attempt to escape the whole time it is in captivity.

    • Donna in MN says:

      Hi Perky, Dan doesn’t get it.

      • Donna I do get it. I was just saying a frog is smarter than the sheeples in our society. Give a guy a break will you?

        • Donna in MN says:

          Well, the “theory of a frog in a pot of cool water gradually brought to a boil won’t notice he is being cooked” = sheeple, which this article is pointing out as well as Perky was sayin.

          Didn’t mean any offense.

  2. Mystery Guest says:

    Even the most prepared are not prepared for what could come.

  3. Tactical G-Ma says:

    It is definitely not “if” but “when”!

  4. mom of three says:

    Well, this article makes me feel good. I have all of our basic covered.
    We would like to be more out of debt, that is our goal to keep paying down our bill’s and not add to it. You have to do what you can and keep moving forward. That’s what we live by.

  5. recoveringidiot says:

    I know its coming and I pray its a slow slide and not a waterfall. I know I’m not ready for a quick, long term event and don’t foresee that changing soon. I have the short term mostly covered but long term events will reduce me to contemplating the Conflicted Tuesday question. At least my new partner in life is on the same page, its so nice to have someone that understands whats coming down the road. I need more time that I probably won’t get but we keep praying and working on getting ready every day.

    • poorman says:


      All you can do is keep plugging away. I have quite a few preps but I don’t think even 10% of the folks here have everything in line and we are part of that 3 million. I just keep storing food,ammo,learning more about gardening, adding tools ect as I can. If you keep adding things you are just that much further ahead each day. I picked up another 20 lb of rice today,that means I can feed my family for another month if needed just don’t get discouraged and quit. Then you become one of the sheeple.

  6. JP in MT says:

    The “normalcy bias” goes all the way to the highest levels of leadership in this country. That is why 9/11 was a “surprise”. That is why they are “only mildly concerned” with the discontent of the general public. “If you tell a lie often enough, eventually most believe it to be true.” It takes effort to see through the “smoke screen” that our leaders, our “people in the know” are putting out, to see the real truth. American’s have been loosing buying power for 20+ years, yet it was only a couple of years ago what if finally got so bad that the government actually admitted it.

    Our government has been able to pretty much ignore the economic facts in America and spend as they want. They don’t want to think of our current situation as anything but temporary. “If only (the other side) would do things the way we want, we wouldn’t have these problems.” Detroit has basically had one party rule for how many years? They got their way with no real opposition. And what situation are they in now? “But that’s different. I wouldn’t/couldn’t happen here.” Yet, everywhere they (the spenders with no understanding of how money works) are in charge, the same problems exist.

    Generally debt by individuals is increasing. This means that we are continuing to buy things we can’t afford. As a prepper, hopefully we realize this, and are working on reducing our personal debt while increasing our means to mitigate the pending disaster. Some are counting on the disaster to “wipe out” their debt.

    BE WARNED – those in power will do ANYTHING to keep it. Those in “high finance” will get protection, political protection, from loosing everything, while you and I will bear the brunt of the disaster. If you are counting on taking advantage of the debt situation as an individual, YOU WILL LOOSE! They don’t play by the same rules we do.

    • anonymous says:

      Your last paragraph is particularly true. Those in debt, will be the first to lose all.
      I’ve heard others say; “Why worry about my debt?” “When the system fails, who’s gonna care?” Well I can assure you, that the banks and government will not stop seizing your property. In fact, that will become their main focus. When the dollar’s failure is finally accepted, tangible property will be recognized as the only true wealth there is.
      The (bank owned) government is not going to simply put it’s guns away and start gardening for a living. It will use force. Raw, brutal, and ruthless force to preserve itself and it’s masters.

      • mom of three says:

        You hit the nail, banks will be coming after to take whatever they can. This is why both hubby and I have been paying down our CC Debt, as fast as we can. My mother in law, believes that if we have a collapse that everything will zero it self out! I don’t think that will ever happen just because we collapse, the banks still have all their information so those who believe it re sets itself will be in for a shocker.

        • mom of three’
          interested to see you say that. i figure three years and we might be out of CC debt barring any disasters.
          we own no property [real estate] so nothing to seize.
          i see a time coming when debtors may be enslaved to those whom they owe. i want to be clear of debt and cancel the cards as they are paid off.
          with people using our info to get cards in others names and then others having to do the proving that they are not responsible for the debt i still don’t know if we’ll be safe even if debt is actually paid off.
          am i paranoid?

  7. While we are aware of what is going on, we actually fit the bill on several points made above due to a drastic reduction in pay and several personal disasters that have hit us this year. We do what we can with what we have, and that’s the best we can do right now. At least me and mine are ahead of the game by being aware of what’s going on in the world around us and are slowly building up our reserves.

  8. Don Duncan says:

    Detroit was the most productive city worldwide. It was destroyed by the people who let local govt. run their life. Now, with no public services, people who stayed survive without govt. by reclaiming empty lots for gardening, grassroots groups that provide security, housing, and services once provided by govt.

    There is life after govt. fails. All governments have destroyed their societies. The question is: Will the populace learn this and boycott govt. or will it re-establish the parasite?

    • Donna in MN says:

      I saw cycles how society first offers a few laws and limited gov’t but mostly freedom in a libertarian society, then adds more laws and adds taxes and more gov’t to a less free society, then cycles into no freedoms, all government, tyrany, all taxes. Eventually the people can’t stand it any longer and it turns to anarchy. When the anarchy settles down, a few laws and a limited government starts it all over again.

      My answer to your question is it will re-establish the parasite eventually, or skip a cycle and go full bore.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      (The question is: Will the populace learn this and boycott govt. or will it re-establish the parasite?)

      Re-establish it, sheep will always need and want a Shepard.

  9. madison says:

    the first paragraph is the scariest one to me. I hope the collapse doesn’t happen in the next few years. the thing about not being able to come up with $2000 is insane. the job I`m going for pays a lot and in high demand. I`ll be building my life plus a decent savings account. I wont be someone with not even have 3 days worth of food and supplies. the problem is, I`ll be a college student soon. I’m turning 18 tomorrow and I won’t expect my mom to buy my groceries very often when I go to college, much less help me prep. I need to look up prepping for college students. I’m not sure what to do there besides be an extreme couponer.

    • Hooray for you, Madison! It’s so refreshing to hear from a young person with such wisdom and determination.

      • yeah. I just opened a present from my sister and it was a pocket knife and a match holder. my mom had to buy it cause my sister is only 9

        • Tom The Tinker says:

          Madison: My DW spent 24 years at the University of Toledo. She told me.. showed me that somewhere and several times a day some Department or club or ‘retailer’ is feeding the masses…. every senior or masters recital feeds the masses… ever opening night at the campus Theatre.. they feed the crowd. Every time some olde prof. retires… they throw a party. Every Sunday morning you can find a bus load of students at Cost-Co… for brunch. Madison… when you get to Campus get to know .. I mean first name bases know ..every Department Secretary there is. Apply for ‘student worker’ status and let these ladies know you are available. My wife was like the mother of 500 kids each semester at Theatre, Film, Dance, Music and ‘Rocket Band’ .. and there are several dozen of those ladies on campus…

          Stay out of the dorms and spend your spare time in the ‘stacks’ study…ing. Any other moments you may have…. hit the lecture circuits and recital halls You will have the time of your life… and come out with your head screwed on nice and tight.

          • Madison,

            TTT is absolutely right here. The vast majority of college students are just in it for the party and the piece of paper. If you keep focused and surround yourself with successful people, you will be successful.

            And there is food everywhere on college campuses. You can often use your meal card for food preps.

        • Happy Birthday, Madison!!!

    • Madison, also keep up with events on campus. Many events include free food. Also, when yoj get to college, check out local churches. Some will have snack breakfast available on Sunday morning flr students. If there is a Target near your school, you may use a target coupon (print off website) and a manufactor’s coupon for the same item. Publix grocery stores do the same as well as accept other local store’s coupons.

  10. Chuck Findlay says:

    All bad things pointed out in the post above.

    I prepare on a personal for my own survival and I don’t worry all that much about the masses being able to come up with 2-K in cash. I don’t worry about them having food.

    Why do I not worry? Because I can’t change them, I could shout it from the top of a mountain and non of the sheep would listen, so I focus on what I need to do to survive and keep quiet about it so others don’t know I have supplies, food, guns or PMs.

    I think about action I may have to take to protect myself, but as sad as the numbers are above they basically don’t change my actions too much nor do I worry about it too much.

    You can’t fix someone that doesn’t want to be fixed. And Americans don’t want to be fixed.


    • TinLizzy says:

      Ditto, Chuck!
      Plus, I stay very low on the radar screen, stay very “gray”. No one is invisible, but a little camo can’t hurt.
      The ones I concern myself over are the ones watching when there’s no reason to watch.
      Losing all the electronics might not be such a bad thing.

    • grandma bear says:

      Amen. You cannot fix stupid! I must admit I have stopped trying! They have made their decision, we both have to live with that. I must admit it will not be easy, but it is what it is!

  11. Based on this list I feel pretty good. 35+ years of prepping, saving, etc. has paid off well for us. That being the case, why do I still feel like I’m still not ready for what may be coming, although I suspect I’m not alone in this feeling.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      I don’t know that any of us would be ready for a Mad Max / Patriots world. But a 1930s depression I feel confident I could do OK.

      I’ve lived through a job loss, serious accident (both knees, shoulder, other wrist 1 ankle and on the other foot the big toe all broken at the same instant, and I scraped off A LOT of skin.) Plus a divorce at the same time. I think I can say I experienced a personal SHTF and I survived it. It was not fun at all. But if I can make it through that, I feel confident I can make it through a depression.



  12. Tactical G-Ma says:

    We all have the jitters. Do I need to relocate, build a shelter, raise rabbits, have a garden, buy PM, etc., etc., etc. We still have to live as well as prepare for bad stuff.

    And Chuck Findlay,
    I have great sympathy for all the casualties of war, disaster, and hard times. We have had the luxury as a developed and educated society to care for those who would not otherwise survive. In the most dire situations we will no longer be able to care for anyone outside our tribes at least for a while. Those unable to provide for themselves for any reason, will die. The young, the old, and those with compromised health will die. And people who are intelligent, healthy, and well prepared will die.
    There are so many variables in any given situation over which there is no control.

  13. If the Govt. robs your bank account or the banks fail,who THEN could come up with 2K?

    • Kdk

      To begin with everyone should have a store of cash at home for this scenario and also for disasters such as power outages ect. But if that was all you got out of everything in that article I feel sorry for you. The whole point was to show how little preparation most people have done.

    • Donna in MN says:

      When you see rumors of bank fears or foreign banks and investors pulling out of US securities, get your money out before it happens. If it was a false flag, put it back in if it is needed.

      This is one reason I don’t have auto bank withdraws to pay my bills, except one small insurance bill requires it. Auto draws are a way for someone else to control your bank account.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        Have 2 bank accounts, use one of them for auto-pay and keep the balance just above the needed monthly payout amount. This way no one at the auto-pay companies can take too much as the account is kept low.

        Better yet buy a heavy safe and keep money in it.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Those with PMs in their safe. 1 gold coin will likely be $2K of money value.

  14. I have recently zero out. I don’t owe anything and I am slowly building up backups and stock over a year now. The real eye opener for me was the small scale destruction and looting during thr floods where I live. All three super markets and around 5-6 local stores were completely out of staples and water. The filter stations were run “dirty” in a mstter of days and filtration plants were submerged in fecal contsminated water. I was not expecting it. A family member was out of the city and told me to go empty their place out.

    You never know when an emergency happens. You can see where we are headed, get ready.

    prepper in Bangkok, Thailand.

  15. I found this interesting article today. It is a device that pulls drinking water out of thin air! Check it out at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/this-tower-pulls-drinking-water-out-of-thin-air-180950399/?no-ist even in a desert environment they said that you could get 25 gallons per day and the cost is cheaper than drilling a well. I would love to get this for us especially since I have a natural gas pipeline going through my front yard and the ground is hard rock.

  16. Chuck Findlay says:

    A rain barrel collects water out of the air. And it is easy to make. Just make sure you use a first-flush device on it.

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