It’s no secret that preppers are preparing for some sort of hard times. Whether it’s a natural disaster, economic collapse, or something else, they know that things could go south quickly. One of the most important aspects of prepping is financial readiness.
Many preppers are prepared for physical dangers but neglect to prepare for intangible ones like job loss, poverty, and economic hardship. In fact, it is an economic disaster that is most likely to be the “big one” you’ll have to face in your lifetime.
If you’re not prepared financially, you’ll be in a world of trouble when things go bad. In this article, we’ll discuss how to achieve financial freedom and become more prepared for difficult times ahead.
Financial Trouble Can be Just as Bad as Any Disaster
Natural disasters cause plenty of destruction and mayhem on their own, but it is the “quiet” destruction of economic collapse and personal financial woes that can radically shape your personal landscape, and not for the better.
In the wake of a natural disaster, you may have to deal with things like looting, price gouging, shortages of essential items and services, hardships in getting necessary medical care, damage to or loss of your home or property, and more. These are just a few examples. The list could go on and on.
But what about when there is no physical disaster? What about when it’s all ones and zeros, the soft terror of making ends meet? That’s where economic collapse can be so dangerous.
It can cause all sorts of havoc in our personal lives without us even realizing it until it’s too late. Job loss, poverty, and homelessness can happen very quickly in an economic downturn. And they can be just as devastating as any natural disaster.
So, how can you protect yourself? How can you be prepared for this “big one”? The answer is financial freedom. Financial freedom is the ability to live without having to worry about money.
It’s the ability to weather any storm, whether it’s a natural disaster or an economic one. And it starts with taking control of your finances.
How Can a Prepper Defend Against a Financial Downturn?
Sometimes we can see money woes coming due to happenstance, or our own action or inaction. Other times it seems we are beholden to forces that are so much bigger than we are, and completely beyond us.
Whatever the case, like any other crisis there is established and reliable procedures for minimizing and mitigating the damage.
The first and most important thing is to put a stop to the biggest financial vulnerabilities that most people living in the West fall victim to.
Call it cultural, status quo or whatever you want, but these factors can quickly prove to be the weak link in your financial armor. We will talk about these specific vulnerabilities in the next section.
The other thing you can do is increase your financial IQ! You are taking that all-important first step by reading this article, but your studies must not begin and end with this.
You must learn how smart people handle money so that is always one step ahead of the game, and so that stay ahead of insolvency by keeping the stream of greenbacks flowing ever toward them.
It isn’t enough to put your head down and work away like some kind of beaver; you must act and react to an ever-shifting, ever-changing financial landscape if you want to survive a financial calamity!
How to Prepare for Economic Hard Times
The key to preparing for economic hard times is to be proactive and take steps now to secure your future. Here are the chief vulnerabilities and strategies that must be addressed :
- Start by evaluating your current financial situation. Make a budget and stick to it.
- Slash personal and institutional debts. Any debt is a massive vulnerability in a crisis, particularly an economic one.
- Save money wherever you can. Cut back on unnecessary expenses and put the savings into a rainy day fund.
- Invest in yourself by taking courses or learning new skills that could lead to better job opportunities down the road.
- Moonlight to raise extra funds with what time and skills you have. Most people who are experiencing money troubles aren’t using their time wisely.
- Put some of your money into assets that will hold their value during tough times, such as precious metals, land, or even cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Smart preppers will make use of liquid assets that can be readily converted to cash.
We will discuss each of them in turn below.
Budget Like Your Life Depends On It; It Does!
One of the best ways to prepare for hard times is to get your finances in order. This means creating and sticking to a budget. It’s not easy, but it’s essential. When money is tight, you need to know where every penny is going.
There are many helpful online tools and apps that can make this process easier. You can also find free printable budgets online. Just do a quick Google search and you’ll be on your way.
Another way to save is by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Brown bag your lunch instead of eating out, cancel cable and sell unused items online.
These small steps can add up quickly and help you build a solid financial foundation that will “snowball” quickly into huge strides towards your objective.
Get Rid of Debts
Another important step is to get rid of debt. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually one of the best things you can do for your financial health.
When you’re in debt, you’re essentially paying someone else for the use of your money. And if you can’t make your payments, you could end up losing your home or your car.
Don’t delude yourself into thinking that debtors will forgive your debts in an extreme situation, or that they won’t try to repossess anything the debt is attached to; we have too many examples in the recent history of bankers and tax men doing just the opposite!
Acquaint yourself with the auctions taking place during the American Great Depression if you need more confirmation!
So, how do you get rid of debt? The best way is to start by paying off your high-interest debt first. This includes things like credit card debt and payday loans. Once you’ve paid off these debts, you can focus on paying off your other debts, one by one.
You can also try to get a lower interest rate on your debt. This can be done by refinancing your mortgage or by taking out a personal loan to pay off your other debts.
And finally, make sure you’re not spending more than you earn. When you have more money coming in than going out, you’ll be in a much better position to pay off your debts.
Savings: Your Survival Air Tank
When it comes to prepping for financial hard times, savings is your survival air tank. Think of it like an air tank that a scuba diver wears to descend into the deadly depths of the sea, or a rescuer wears into a toxic atmosphere: as long as there is air in the tank, they are far less likely to be harmed in what would otherwise be lethal conditions! Your savings are the same.
It’s important to have enough saved up in the “tank” so that you can ride out the danger without having to worry about providing.
It’s also crucial to remember that not all savings are created equal. In a downturn, certain types of savings will be more valuable than others.
For example, savings in a checking account are much more liquid than savings in a 401(k). Other investments might be great and highly productive, but could be virtually unreachable when you need to make use of them!
A “liquid” asset means that you’ll be able to access it as cash much more easily if you need it. So, if you’re looking to beef up your financial preparedness, make sure to keep some of your savings in a checking account or some other method where you have better control of it.
Or, you could do it like your grandparents did it and keep a stash of cash money on hand and well hidden so you can always get to it when you need it.
It is imperative that you protect this stash from theft and destruction, and that you understand it becomes less and less valuable over time due to inflation!
Making Yourself Less Financially Fragile
Probably the most important thing you can do as a prepper in the 21st century is starting making yourself less fragile financially.
What this means is diversifying your income sources and hardening yourself against economic downturn, job market challenges, and other things that can serve to cut you off from a reliable, steady income.
It is no longer adequate to simply go to school or learn a trade, find a job at a reliable company and then hold on tight and put your time in for 20 years before you retire with a nifty pension.
That era is long gone. Outsourcing, automation, and obsolescence can see most professionals living in a “here today, gone tomorrow” market.
Instead of getting mad or living in desperation or fear of being left at a dead-end in the rat race, adapt! Make yourself into a financial hydra; if you suffer an injury, you come back stronger!
You can do this through a few means, namely by diversifying your skillset, moonlighting for extra cash, creating passive income streams, and radically reducing your dependence on society.
Diversifying Your Skill Set
The first step to taking control of your financial future is diversifying your skill set. This means having more than one string to your bow so that if you lose your primary source of income, you have others to fall back on. In tough times, having marketable skills is more important than ever.
If you’re unemployed or underemployed, it’s time to invest in yourself. Skill up! Take courses or learn new skills that could lead to better job opportunities down the road while times are good.
The key here is not to become a “jack of all trades” but rather to have a few solid skills outside but complementary to your normal AOE that can be applied in different ways and bring in extra cash flow if need be.
For example, if you are a web developer, also learn some basic graphic design; if you work in customer service, also learn some basic accounting or bookkeeping.
Alternately, you might invest in a completely different but evergreen skill or trade that will survive the total collapse of your industry sector and is also something that remains in high demand.
Things like plumbing, electrical work, transportation, and so forth never really go out of style, so to speak.
If possible, you might try and learn at least one profitable skill that can be done online or from home, so you’re not reliant on finding a traditional employer who is willing to give you an “in-person” job.
A great way to build up some extra cash flow is to moonlight; doing a few freelance jobs in your free time or evenings.
This can be anything from writing, design work, tutoring, or even pet sitting! The beauty of freelancing is that there’s no need to commit full-time and you can easily fit the work around your current job.
The key here is to make sure that the jobs you take on are high quality and reflect well on your personal brand.
You don’t want potential clients thinking “oh, she’s just a part-timer” or “he does crappy work for cheap”. Quality over quantity always!
Creating Passive Income Streams
One of the best ways to become financially resilient is to create passive income streams. These are sources of income that come in regularly, with little or no input from you once they’re set up.
Some common examples include rental properties, dividend stocks, peer-to-peer lending and even writing a book!
The key here is to start small and work your way up; don’t go out and buy ten rental properties on day one! Try picking one or two things that interest you and see if you can make them work for you. For example, if you like investing, research low-cost index funds that have a good track record.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, add another stream and keep going until you have a few different sources of passive income coming in each month.
Reducing Your Dependence on Society
Finally, one of the best things you can do to become financially independent is to reduce your dependence on society.
This means cutting down on expenses wherever possible, creating and sticking to a budget, and investing in assets that will hold their value (such as gold and silver).
It also means becoming more self-sufficient, so that you can provide for yourself and your family without needing to rely on the government or big businesses.
This might mean growing your own food, learning basic carpentry, or even just having a well-stocked pantry! Many preppers see a fully functional, self-contained, and off-grid homestead as the ultimate means to this end.
In short, there are lots of things you can do to become financially free and take control of your future even if you are facing disastrous times. It may seem daunting at first, but with a bit of effort and planning, you can make it happen.
By following these steps, you can become debt-free and achieve financial stability and certainty. So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Start taking control of your finances today.
Do you have any other tips or proven strategies for becoming financially free? Let us know in the comments!
Tom Marlowe grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, He has the experience in helping civilian shooters figure out what firearms work best for them.