Preserving and Creating ‘Wealth’

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest  Steve

Avoiding loss of one’s ‘wealth’ from whatever crises may befall you and/or your family seems paramount to helping avoid or at least mitigate the negative consequences that accompany emergencies and disasters, or even the general decline of civilisation. With currency devaluation, government overreach, civil unrest, bank bail-in legislation, labour strife, market corrections, negative interest rates, geopolitical uncertainty, economic decline (perhaps even collapse), it seems almost impossible to protect one’s wealth completely without even worrying about everyday calamities that can place financial stress upon an individual and/or family. The following suggestions seem the most likely way to prepare for an uncertain world, and avoid some of the more dire consequences of increasing volatility and possible confiscation by the-powers-that-be (a concern that must be considered as governments become increasingly insolvent).

It also seems prudent to reduce dependency on complex systems that are prone to disruptions over which you have no control, such as distant supply chains or infrastructure frailties–that is why I believe at the base of your thinking should be a desire for yourself/family/community to become more resilient and self-sufficient. (Note: I have included links to articles found on The Survivalist Blog only to keep the discussion ‘in-house’; and, the information that follows is not meant to be investment ‘advice’ but one person’s thoughts on how to prioritise ‘investments’.)

A common question that arises when contemplating emergency/disaster planning is where to start?

First, focus on yourself and basic survival gear.

Skills and knowledge you acquire are the most difficult to be taken from you. First Aid courses. Fitness/healthcare-oriented activities. Hunting courses. Archery/gun use. Gardening/food production knowledge. Survival training. ‘Handyman’ skills. Building a ‘survival’ library. Activities, training, and literature that can help you and your family cope with unexpected crises are perhaps the wisest ‘investment’ and can’t be confiscated by the-powers-that-be. These should likely be a priority.

Basic ‘survival gear’ is necessary to stay alive in the face of a crisis: water, food, medical supplies, and shelter are the four primary components here.

Having access to potable water is a must. A water filtration system, rain barrels, well, bottled water supply, etc. that can provide back-up to government-provided system.

Access to food is also a must. A well-stocked pantry, greenhouses, garden beds, seeds, fruit trees/bushes, seed propagation supplies, food preservation equipment, hunting/trapping gear removes the need for reliance on distant supply chains that can be disrupted in any number of ways.

Accidents happen. Having some medical/first aid training and supplies will help avoid the consequences that can accompany the most benign of medical emergencies.

As for shelter, if you own your own home, great. Make sure it is maintained and can withstand your region’s weather volatility (e.g. adequate insulation and wood-burning stove in northern climes). If you don’t own your current shelter, look towards purchasing something suitable with extended family members or like-minded friends. If you believe security of your residence could be an issue, invest in ‘fortifying’ it.

I would add to this list of ‘personal’ investments the notion of investing in your local community. You are likely to increase your chances of ‘surviving’ a broad-based disaster if your neighbours are equally prepared and like-minded. Do you have a skill or trade that you could teach/share with others? Does your community have a disaster-preparedness plan? What can you do to help prepare your neighbourhood/town? Don’t preach, but teach.

Second, if you are fortunate enough to have the above relatively covered and still have ‘wealth’ to invest, look at and evaluate your ‘investments’ within the current monetary/financial system. Having no education or background in any fiduciary capacity, I would not begin to advise others around business or market investments. That being said, there are some basic precautions I would suggest contemplating.

The fiat currency/monetary system we have been forced to participate in is a relatively recent experiment in human history and history-to-date has not been kind to the attempts by central planners to control financial/market interactions as they wish for very long. Economic decline/collapse has been a recurrent theme in large, complex societies and there is little evidence to justify a belief that ‘this time will be different’ for our civilisation. Despite a lot of people attempting it, predicting which way a complex system of this nature will go or behave is pure guesswork. Just knowing, however, that history is ripe with failed (and similar) experiments is enough to warrant extreme caution and prudence.

Pay off debt. Debt has a cost. Even though interest rates may never ‘normalise’ again, the interest that must be paid is a burden on future income–something I wish our governments would pay heed to.

Minimize paper ‘wealth’. Money in the bank or other financial institutions can disappear in a heartbeat; look at Cyprus and Greece for recent examples. It can be confiscated by the government or by the institution itself. Increasingly, governments are passing bail-in legislation, opening the door to depositor funds being taken to recapitalize insolvent banks. You could lose your deposits completely or be forced to receive bank ‘equity’ in lieu of your savings so reduce your exposure to these risks.

If some of the more likely scenarios arise, it seems important to have some cash/fiat currency on hand. For example, capital controls that limit withdrawals are becoming more commonplace, as are negative interest rates that eat into the purchasing power of your currency. Of course, the simple pursuit of inflation by our central banks ensures our fiat currency loses purchasing power everyday.

Purchasing precious metals is another possible means of protecting wealth and one advocated by numerous people. If this is something you wish to pursue, I would avoid paper forms (i.e. exchange-traded funds or certificates) and stick to physical delivery, storing the bars/coins in a secure, nearby location. Even precious metals can be confiscated, as FDR did in the 1930s, so possession of them is not foolproof (this caveat could almost apply to any of the wealth-storage mechanisms discussed here–history is replete with examples of insolvent governments going to any length to steal wealth from its citizens; including murder and redistribution of lands and money).

The above ‘advice’ is what I’ve learned as I’ve stumbled through my own awakening or fall into the rabbit’s hole of emergency preparedness and kept abreast of world issues. No one knows what the future holds. However, I believe the best evidence for what may occur ‘tomorrow’ is what occurred ‘yesterday’. I completed a post-graduate degree in anthropology/archaeology (before going into education for my career–since retired), and if there is one recurrent theme in our pre/history, it’s that all civilisations eventually decline. That decline may be relatively slow, as displayed by the Roman Empire, or relatively quick, as seen in the two to three generations of collapse on Easter Island. Even a slow degeneration can be accompanied by episodic catastrophes; imagine the chaos if the electrical grid were to suddenly cease functioning–and we don’t require an EMP incident for this to happen as experienced during the 2003 Blackout.

We live in a complex, globalised world where a coalescence of small failures can snowball into a crisis of epic proportions because of the interconnectedness of the various subsystems we depend upon. And this doesn’t even take into account a Black Swan event that could completely send all previous assumptions sideways in an unknowable direction. I honestly don’t know if there is any absolutely right or wrong way to create or preserve one’s wealth. A lot will depend upon personal abilities, preferences, and comfort level. Do what you can and are able to do while feeling comfortable in your choices. Every small step on the road to self-sufficiency and resiliency brings you and your family more freedom and independence, and increases the likelihood of successfully weathering the unpredictability of the future.

Prizes For This Round Include: (Ends July 29, 2016)

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.


  1. M. Biccum says:

    MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Wish I had some. Then I would be able to acquire all that the poster has aid we need. Unfortunatly those of us on S. S.-sick aging-or disabled will be “the first to go” in spite of any knowledge, skillsets, and preps we manage. to have. We will be at the “mercy” of whatever happens and whoever has the biggest guns, ability to “take” or outwait any of the above people mentioned.
    We know this; It is a fact of life. only the strong survive. Thus said, all of us, and I include myself, can do some prepping which might take us down the road for a while, but we know we are just kicking the can and hoping for the best outcome. Because we are aware of our limitations in a bad aftermath of very bad stuff, we can only hope that we help make a better world for those to follow. I do have a “few things,” but just think of what will befall the aging, the sick, the disabled, those without skills or a clue, the people confined to hospitals or nursing home, high rises or without transportation. Just think of New Orleans and you have a graphic understanding of what I am inferring to. “Wealth,” yes, but how long will it last? That reminds me: I heard or read somewhere that Bill O Riely was moving/buying land in Ireland. Don’t know if that is true or not.

    • JP in MT says:

      M. Biccum:

      Complaining that you can’t do anything because of your income source sounds like whining to me. I am on a fixed income, unable to get/maintain conventional job/income and not eligible for any public assistance (regardless of the level of government giving it); so I look for other ways to prep/make money. It’s there, but will not be found from your Ambitious-Boy Recliner with getting carpel tunnel of the thumb.

      • M. Biccum says:

        Firs of all you know nothing about me, my situation, condition, where I live or how I live. I have never been a complainer and I do prep the best I can according to my income. I am a realist and practical. I am citing how things will go and who will go first. I don’t have a Lazy-Boy. Your being judgmental without merit. The average S. S. “income” is about $900.00 per month. I do not get any gove. freebees and don’t want them. Try living in NYC on $900. 00 dollar or any large cities on that “income.” You would parish, one way or another. I am very lucky to live where I live and can make my S. S. stretch. The primise of my previous post is make people aware there are the silent poor out there that just can not prep and they will be the first to die by the wayside, just as the poor Irish did during the Potato Famine. I personally depend on no one, esp. our floundering gove. I certainly would not look to you, JP in Mt for any kind of aid or sustenance.

        • M. Biccum says:

          JP from MT, you really should go back and re-read my original post with an open mind.

          • JP in MT says:

            M. Biccun:

            FYI….My response was written after you posted this short note. I it still in moderation.

        • JP in MT says:

          M. Biccum:

          I must have mistaken your comments as an attack on the person writing the article. I seemed to me you were bemoaning your financial position and degraded physical condition.

          Social Security was never intended to be a sole-source living income. It was always designed as supplemental income.

          You are right that there are many silent poor who are currently dependent upon our social safety net who will perish rapidly when it collapses. And it has ever been so. Those who live close to the edge are the 1st to fall over.

          You are right that I do not know you, specifically or your circumstances. However, your comments are reminiscent of many I have heard over the years, where people complain that others aren’t providing for their needs/wants. I apologize if that generalization was offensive, it was not intended to be personal . More toward those who do expect others to fund their lifestyle.

          I understand that where you live will dictate how far your money will go. I would have liked to continue to live in Hawaii, but I could not afford it. So, I moved to somewhere else.

          But, your last statement i take as offensive. My assistance to others takes many forms, but you are correct in assuming that I would offer no assistance to those who impress me as one who would not explore every effort toward self-sufficiency. In my book, there is a difference between those who can’t and those who won’t. If a person is one who feels that they are owed something (money, low cost/subsidized healthcare, housing, etc.) simply because they have a pulse, they are bound to be disappointed by my lack of sympathy for them.

          • Axelsteve says:

            My grandparents always had another source of income other then a job. They had 9 acers of land and ran a mini farm/ranch. They always had a farm and livestock. They also had a couple or 3 litters of puppies for proffit. They had a female wimerriner or however those things are spelt. I never liked them but they got a good price for them.

          • Cavtrooper says:

            Well said.

  2. I am in the same boat as the last post but in a different way. My very life depends on maintenance drugs that are rare as my condition is very rare. Not many pharmacies carry my particular drug. Federal and state laws not to mention my insurance company prevent me from ever having more than a couple weeks supply at any given time. I can go about a week without my med before death. Therefore, my preps are for my family because I will be the first one to leave. That is my realty in any type of emergency or crisis situation. A snowstorm almost caused my death one winter. It was only by the Grace of God and a wonderful nurse willing to drive through the storm to deliver my meds to me. I think it is crazy that it is illegal for me to prepare for an emergency by having a month’s supply of meds on hand. It is not like they could be sold on the street as they are nothing anyone else would have any use for. It is indeed a crazy world we live in.

    • M. Biccum says:

      Kim, I feel for you. Where I live I am able to get a 90 day supply for most of my meds. My one eye dpp. cost about $240. 00 per bottle and that is only one of three. I wish you well and things don’t look to improve anytime soon.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      Kim, I don’t have any idea what condition you can have that only permits the storing of two week meds…it’s ok. i don’t have to know,.and don’t want you to post on this most public board..
      . I’ m asking not for your response to me ,but for your possible investigation., of a stone unturned…. but have you thought about alternate methods of care? sometimes herbs/naturals can be utilized to extend the benefit of limited meds… like home made insulin can be made from animal pancreas’.
      Try putting your medication/condition in a search engine with DIY alternative for care.
      There might be something you can do to help you through an emergency for longer than you can see now…thinking abt..blood factors, clotting factors, some are made from pigs now…got a neighbor with hogs?

  3. Really good article and resource links – thanks!

  4. Owl Creek Observer says:

    Age is a factor in all this, of course. In some ways, I’m comforted by the fact that there are a lot more years behind me than ahead of me. The length of time I need to prep for is a little more certain. If times get really bad, that time would likely be reduced even more. There is no way my wife and I could undertake a major hike anywhere or hunker down in the woods for any length of time without our health deteriorating rapidly. Though we accumulate as many prescription meds as we can, if the supply was cut off, they would eventually run out and our time would be cut even shorter. So while I don’t mean to make light of the difficulties involved in prepping for us older folks, there are actually a few benefits…sort of.

  5. Curley Bull says:

    Hold on to your shorts fellas, cause I’m gona throw in a shocker fer ya to contemplate.

    I’M IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH STEVE, M. BICCUM, JP in MT, KIM and EM!! If’in ya was ta take all these comments and roll em together, it would be a clear definite message!

    • M. Biccum says:

      Not too much of a shocker, Curly Bull. Everyone has a valid point, but I don’t wish to be judged out of hand. So peace to all.

      • PatrickM says:

        Never worry about earthly judgement, Stand fast in your beliefs and convictions. There are varients to be learned from all, some may help, some may not. One of my favorite saying’s is “Just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong”.

  6. Chuck Findlay says:

    A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3

    That pretty much says it all.

    Your income level is not an issue unless you decide it is. For years after a job loss, not being able to work from a very bad motorcycle accident and a wife walking out. (All 3 at the same time) I experienced a very low-income period that was below the poverty lever by a good factor.

    And I still prepped, yes it was Ramen noodles, dollar store bags of rice, fixing everything that broke myself. But I survived and while my income was just about zero I still built a surplus of food. I worked hard to make it better, it took several years, but it did get better because I made it better.

    So M. Biccum while we don’t know your situation, I do know what it’s like to live on just about nothing.

    And yes your post sounds like sounds like whining to me just as JP said.

    You can do more then it seems your post implies you are doing. You are not the first person to go through tough times.

    Are you an American or American’t? I don’t really like this phrase, but it just may apply in this situation. “Man UP, and start fixing things instead of wallowing in It’s too hard sediment.”

    As far as the original intent of this post, that being Preserving And Creating Wealth.

    I prep by buying what we all call preps (food and survival supplies)

    For preserving wealth I buy silver all the time.

    For creating wealth I learn new and refine skills, buy supplies and tools to support those skills and work for myself (home repair / handyman work) so I am in charge of my income and future and not a boss that doesn’t have my best interest.

  7. Goatlover says:

    Redefining wealth is part of the prepping process (IMHO). As a boomer, I knew long ago that the system wouldn’t be able to support us all in our golden years and that social security was NOT something to count on. So I invested, sacrificed, etc. But ten years ago, I came to the realization that I couldn’t count on “historical” average returns on investment, yadda yadda….$100,000 of unrealized gains were gone in an instant. As a prepper, I see wealth so differently now.
    Wealth is having multiple sources of clean water; acreage owned free and clear in a defensible location; livestock and experience in animal husbandry; an established perma-culture system, a well-developed garden, ample seed, and the ability to save seed; the knowledge and ability to preserve food; a healthy lifestyle not dependent upon the sick-care system; and a loving family that works together to make it all happen. (That last one might be the hardest to acquire!) The world’s wealthy thinks their money will protect them from calamity, but I believe that my “Prepper Portfolio” is better protection should things get rough in the future…

    • M. Biccum says:

      Goatlover, I have prepped. I just don’t say how much or where. My original post was in favor of those who can’t, not those who won’t. A whiner I have never been. Anyone who knows me would argue the point with anyone. You just can not judge someone who is not in total agreement with you or your values.
      I am a great supporter of thrift stores, 99 cent stores and similar outlets and rummage sales. What I did find that was troublesome about the original post submission is that the poster was alluding to in a sense, was that preppers can just accumulate whatever they need for long term survival. I am not attacking the poster as a lot of what he has posted is very good. Money, money, money….we all want more money…it is human nature to want what we don’t have because we are a selfish entity walking the surface of God’s green earth.

      I have what I need. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a warm bed. I was raised on a farm and know how to fend for myself even with a major disability and health problems. A whiner I am not. My point in my first reply is that not everyone here in the U. S. has as much as a crust of bread, let alone in greater parts of the world.
      I don’t have carpel tunnel as one poster has suggested, but a major injury to the right arm and shoulder might qualify. I have gone years without posting anything here(I’m not new here), but the first time I did after just reading the other post…I get a lot of snarky replies. Thanks a lot. Still I wish you peace and good tidings.

    • PrepperDoc says:

      Lots of good thoughts there…. If all your “wealth” is in $$$, you are not well protected.

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