May 24, 2017

A Practical Look at the Economy and What You Can Do To Prepare

I was recently sent an email from fellow Prepared Christian Jeff, asking if I would give my thoughts on the economy, debt and how scripture may tie into it. First, thanks Jeff for the email! Second, I’ll say that I am, by no means, an economics expert. I could only give a novices explanation to the workings of the stock market, or how the economy of a country works. I am, however an expert at threat analysis and troubleshooting in general. While I do think I could do wonders to fix the economy, nothing I say will have any impact on a national level. But I also have some ideas that could help you and your family get out of debt, put more money into your pockets, and build an emergency fund.
 
 
At a National Level

The truth is that nothing I say in this segment matters to the extent that we can do anything about it. It is important to understand how and why things will trickle down to the point where you will feel it.

I don’t want to get to political, but we can’t discuss our national economy and our debt without wading into politics. I used to be someone who thought the person we voted for would have some impact on the economy; no longer. I have used this analogy before; our economy lies in a coffin, one party is pounding in nails slowly but steadily with a hammer. The other is frantically putting them in with a pneumatic nail gun. While one might be doing the job slower, they’re still putting nails in the coffin.

President Bush increased the national debt a huge amount with the start to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the creation of DHS. This was made to look like child’s play by the staggering amount of debt the Obama administration has created. From the continuation and eventual withdrawal of the war in Iraq, to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the various militaristic involvements, to the untold number of social programs and on and on and on. Not to mention QE 1, 2 and 3, and Obama care. We have more American’s on welfare and disability than ever before; there are 20 million people that cannot feed themselves without some form of government aid. Some could argue that this was done on purpose, research the Cloward Piven strategy.

I could go on and on, but the point is that in the last fifteen years the value of the dollar has decreased significantly. The country has taken on debt that, if we stopped spending today, would probably still take my great grandchildren to pay off. But that won’t happen. I believe each President for the last fifty years has spent more than his predecessor. Instead, we’ll keep digging the hole deeper and ask China and other nations to help remove some of the dirt from time to time.
 
 
At a Local Level

How can this affect you? I’m not one who believes in the impending economic collapse that will see societal collapse and WROL (Without Rule Of Law) overnight. Instead, I think it will be a slow boil. I believe it is only a matter of time until we see another recession. I think that this one will be harsher than that of 2008. Federal dollars will have to stretch further due to the above mentioned incurred debt, so cuts will need to be made.

These cuts will be to federally funded programs, some in terms of money given to states, and others in forms of cuts to social programs. If less federal dollars are coming into the states, the states need to make cuts, thusly will the cities.

When we see a recession, we obviously see unemployment rise. We’re not in a recession now, and I am seeing more local businesses fold then I am seeing open. When we do see a recession, this number will rise. If you would like a few ways to judge the health of your local economy, I wrote an article called Signs of a Slowing Local Economy.

In the last five years I have seen some reports that cities are no longer having street lights on after certain hours. Police have said they won’t respond to certain crimes and won’t ticket or arrest for others.

We’re also seeing more and more young adults living with their parents. I think the main reason for this is that the jobs they are able to find aren’t paying enough for them to afford living on their own. I have read that the unemployment rate for people in this age group is nearly three times what it is for older workers.

These items might seem unrelated, but let me tie them together. We’re not currently in a recession, and there are several municipalities making cuts to basic safety features. Many small businesses are closing their doors and we have many college-age people living with their parents because they are either unemployed or underemployed. All of this is occurring during a “stable” economy.
 
 
The College Bubble

Here is an article that will explain the College Bubble better and in more detail than I. Here is my quick and dirty explanation; federally backed student loans are handed out to just about anyone. Colleges are continually raising the tuition costs; I wish someone could explain to me why it costs more not to teach someone about a topic like computer programming than it did ten years ago. Student loan debt is over 1 trillion dollars and, according to the linked article, has surpassed credit card debt.

I see enough similarities to the housing bubble to believe it will pop. When it does, enrollment will drastically decrease, causing schools to lower tuition or close. In both cases, cuts to staff and salaries will be made. I also agree with the article that it will be much harder to get a student loan.
 
 
Debt

I hate debt. In fact, I think it steals from ones future; and you should too. This isn’t to say I don’t use it, I just avoid it at all costs. I saw statistics that say the average household has from $7,000-$12,000 in credit card debt alone. If you could pay $100 toward your credit card debt each month, it would take almost six years to pay off $7,000. Unfortunately many of us who use credit cards can only afford to pay the minimum payments. I bought into this trap in my early twenties. I bought a computer for $2,500 and made the minimum payments. It took me seven years to pay that off.

The Bible lists the word debt in less than ten verses. My favorite is this one from Romans 13:8:

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

Biblical times didn’t look at debt like we do. Back then, if you had a debt and you couldn’t pay when the debtor wanted to collect, you could be sold into slavery until the debt was paid. Now this isn’t the kind of slavery we had in America. It was more like indentured servitude. An indentured slave would work until their debt was paid off. I don’t know this for sure, but I would imagine that the cost for room and board would be added to their debt, increasing the amount of time they might need to work. Keep in mind, it was Jewish custom to forgive the debts of fellow Jews (I believe) every seven years.

If you’re currently living a lifestyle where you use your credit cards frequently and are sporting hefty debt, you might not see it as slavery. But I bet as soon as you decide you want to be debt free you will be.
 
 
What Do I Suggest?

It’s not my place to tell you what to do. Instead, I’ll offer my suggestions. First, you have to want to get out of debt and decide to only spend what you have, as does your spouse if you have one. Along with this, Tithe. If you don’t have a church you want to give to, find a Christian organization to give to. Give God what is His, and let Him bless you in return.

Next, I would work on an emergency fund before paying off the credit cards. You need to be able to pay for the things that go wrong without going into more debt. I think enough money to pay one month’s bills makes sense. This way if there is a major car repair, or you’re hurt and can’t work for a few weeks, the bills are paid.

Now, I would pay the minimum on all cards, then pick the card with the smallest outstanding balance and throw as much “extra” money at it as you can. Once it is paid off, use all of that money to pay the next smallest one, and so on until all cards are paid off. I haven’t looked into him much, but I believe Dave Ramsey has a similar approach and I know some of you have had great success with it.

So, you’re debt free. Now what? Now I think would be a good time to do two things; pick a more expensive prep, save up for it and purchase it with cash.

Don’t hesitate to hold cash. I know some people believe cash will be worthless overnight. The only scenario I can see that in is a total grid down event, and even then it would hold its value for a time. Now that I think about it, in this scenario and many others, cash will still be king, at least for a while. People know its value, they believe it is worth what it is stamped with and transactions can be done without power.

It is a good idea to keep some cash at home, or in a safe deposit box. I also keep a small amount of emergency cash on me. In fact, they are the same bills I originally started carrying. I consider this money only to be spent in dire situations.

I think saving for retirement is a good idea. We have no idea when or if the economic “meltdown” is coming, or what shape it will take. I know some of you believe the fed will seize all assets in 401K accounts. I just don’t see it. I think there would be blood in the streets and they know it. I can’t even imagine what creative ways they would use to come after more of our money, but I do think that they would do it going forward, not taking money that has already been saved.

Once you are debt free and have your preps squared away, you could work on both barter items and learning skills that you could barter.

This would also be a good time to invest in precious metals, if that is of interest. I think it is a good idea. I wrote a two part primer on precious metals, part one and part two. I see gold and silver as currency that has held its value over time, that can be used to barter. I don’t hold it as an investment. I see it the same as paper money but with a stronger run in terms of holding value.

One other big ticket item you may consider is a BOL (bug out location). This is a goal of mine; a piece of land I can do some permaculture on, use as a vacation spot, and BOL if ever needed. Does this mean more debt? It might. We will have to pay cash for raw land or take a mortgage for land with a structure. If this is my only other debt besides my current mortgage, I think there is more than enough upside to take on the additional debt.

The last thing I will suggest to do once you are debt free is to save up and treat yourself in some way. Life is more than prepping, working and saving; as long as we don’t go into debt for it, splurge a little.
 
 
Final Thoughts

The point I am trying to make is that there is plenty to be concerned about when it comes to the economy. Watch for national signs, and especially local signs because these things never happen overnight. The best thing we can do now or if things really go sideways and we do see a complete economic collapse overnight, is to have our financial house in order.

 
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Comments

  1. So many good ideas and worthy paths to follow. However, I will take exception to one mention – that of using a safe deposit box. Although I have one, if things go bad, I would not expect to have access to the contents, so to me it’s a risky proposition. Think- a run on the banks and closing of the doors ala Greece and was it Cyprus a year or two ago? Banking things frozen and off limits. Don’t trust the system to consider your inconvenience because you put your emergency silver or cash or jewelry for barter in the vault and you need it now. Just sayin’. Maybe invest in a book or two about hiding stuff.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Larry you are correct that the safe deposit is not safe if our economy is in the same shape Greece. But ours isn’t there yet, and there will be plenty of signs that it is headed downhill, which will give people time to empty their boxes.

    • Malcolm Foster says:

      I agree with you. For the past +2 years I have turned 25% of our life (retirement) savings, split 50/50, into gold and silver – as a store of wealth, not to make a fast buck. It is in physical form of course (not a piece of paper stating I own it – along with up to 100 people owning the same gold) and safely locked/hidden away at home. I believe in the maxim – If you can’t hold it, you don’t own it.
      I am currently, quietly away, drawing chunks of cash out of my banks, again to keep at home, before the forthcoming financial meltdown and inevitable Cyprus-style `bail-ins’, AKA – legalized daylight robbery, until I reach perhaps another 25%. It is not as if it is earning any interest, which is now heading for negative. I will not pay to keep MY money in THEIR bank!
      Other long-notice accounts are being terminated for quick access. I read that all banks round NY shut down for a couple of weeks post 9/11 but private storage firms (Brinks-Matt?) kept open.
      I am also well down the road with my stacking and general preparedness goals (with great help from channels like this, thanks) and will start to look at home grown food provision in my back garden very soon for the longer term view.
      My biggest problem weighing very heavily in my mind, as it surely is for others, is – immediate friends, neigbours and family who show no interest in heeding my warnings about forthcoming events. One said “There is no chance of that happening in my lifetime” and ridiculed me. You learn to keep quiet. Yet how could you refuse, say 3 little grandchildren and their parents, if the time came? You could not and yet is is not possible to plan for much more than the 6-12 months sustenance of the 3 in my household.
      This leads me to my final point. In the end, you can only put your faith in God and trust He will provide all the solutions you require. All the stacking of gold, silver, food, water, fuel, medicals, etc, is meaningless without him at the centre when, for instance, we may be looking at an imminent global thermo-nuclear war which our current political elite seem hell-bent on. I do try to acknowledge that.

  2. My Dear Brother in Christ, Chris, I agree with you whole heartedly. I feel one thing must be added. God’s Will for America. With voter fraud rampant, all politician lying and the destruction of America from the presidency, I have to take a step and breathe. God is in control and I am a man and his servant. He is either trying to wake America up or we will fall and be against Israel. My dear brother there is no way to look at it. I write and write and all I get back is form letters from some (excuse my language) dumbass staffer. They get to DC and all that matters is their bank accounts. Look at Mia Love and McSally. They both talked big and got elected and now what? They toe the line and do what the party tells them to do and in turn they make lots of money. The whole system is corrupt. Which in turn shows me God is control and I need to praise and worship Him and Him alone. He knows and is in charge. I not saying don’t vote or raise your voice but ultimately God is in control. This is a hard lesson for me and I am learning what Proverbs is telling me. Mike keep your mouth shut. I’m not telling you that cause your words have greater wisdom then mine ever did. I pray for you and I pray the Spirit lifts you up and keeps you bold. Amen, Mike

    • Chris Ray says:

      Thanks Mike, I appreciate the prayers. God is in control, and will be in control whether I like the way America is headed or not. Keeping ones eyes on Him, and seeking His will are what is needed.

  3. THanks for a good overview Chris. Others may want to read up on the Federal Reserve’s role in printing all the extra cash (actually it’s not printed; they just add some digits to the debts of the major banks they deal with.) in the last 8 yrs. QE started under the Bush admin in Sept ’08. (In political irony, McCain & Palin were running about even w/ Obama until the financial crisis hit.) But I encourage others to read the history of the US nat’l debt on wikipedia -the most thorough unbiased source I’ve found on the debt.) Bottom line: The Fed has enabled the US govt to dig huge hills of debt in the last 10 yrs.

    One of my basic beliefs about the debt changed. All my adult life, 30+ yrs, I’ve been told the debt will be a horrible burden on our children & g-children. I now believe it’s going to cause huge problems in MY lifetime -in the next 10-20 yrs. & this has motivated me to begin prepping.

    • Jim Moore says:

      Good encouragement RedC, I agree. Perhaps first, take out your Birth Certificate and confirm you’re a corporate commodity of the Federal Government, just check to see that it says “Department of Commerce.” Then Google, “The Bankruptcy of America – 1933” to gain even more understanding. Then read about debt. Then I suggest you combine all this knowledge with some serious, heartfelt prayer.

      I also agree I’ll see something drastic in my lifetime Red. I can’t see how it can keep going like it has been going.

    • Chris Ray says:

      You’re right about debt, I didn’t mean to imply it wouldn’t be a burden for us now. I think it will be, and for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Chris.

    I can vouch for the wisdom of having an emergency fund. I have been laid-off several times in my life. The last time was for about 4 months. Prior to this, God had led us to get out of debt, and save up a 3-month emergency fund. The layoff was still difficult, but God saw us through it, and eventually provided a new job. I know it may be very difficult for some people to get out of debt and save up that much, but with hard work and sacrifice it is possible, and you feel a lot better on solid financial ground. And God is faithful to help us in these practical matters if we ask him.

    Glad you mentioned tithing. One of my favorite scriptures on that is Malachai 3:10–

    “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

    We can’t out-give God. When we give generously, He promises to provide fo all our needs more than we can imagine. And really, we’re just giving back a portion of what He’s given us. It also shows faith– that we’re trusting in Him more than ourselves and money.

  5. Keeping some cash on hand is a great plan. The amount should equal about a months expenses. If you don’t have a safe, think long and hard about an alternate location. I gun safe is more secure than most “home” safes in that it is heavier and the door is generally more secure. It’s also a good idea to diversify the locations of your preparation materials and money.
    As for saving gold and silver, remember that if the grid goes down, gold and silver may not be as exchangeable as first thought. After all, it’s just a hunk of metal that most people won’t have change to give you back if you use a one-oz coin valued today at $1200. Ammunition might be one barter item while your idea that a working skill is a great idea.
    On your idea of a bug-out location, make sure it’s secure and easily reached. I recall an expert once saying that a person that leaves their home and doesn’t have a safe, secure place to go where there are sufficient supplies is called a “refugee”.
    Bugging out should always be the last resort. If you own a home, make that It is as secure as possible before a disaster hits and then just hunker down and survive! If you can afford a bug-out location, you might also afford to secure the place you live and use that as your bug-in place. Remember, the road will not be a very safe place in a national emergency, especially if the grid is down. No gas stations will operate, most stores will sell out in hours, pillagers will be roaming the streets looking for food and water, and other dangerous people will be on the prowl.

    • Chris Ray says:

      You’re right that gold and silver might not be exchanged right away. But I have looked at several economy’s that have either collapsed, or were unstable and gold and silver always have a roll. I recommend smaller quantities that a $1200 gold coin, a silver eagle for example at the time of this writing is under $16.

      I agree and have written several times that buguing in is a better idea 90% of the time. However, if one has a place that is not to far away to get to, having land you can use now and in the fan starts spinning is not a bad idea.

  6. Jim Moore says:

    Great stuff Chris. I agree with it all. I do, however, fluctuate between which will cause collapse first, our finances, terrorist infiltration or our war machine dependency. Of course I keep watch on the beautiful solar activity we’ve been having too.

    One point that I have experienced being ‘cash only’ for over a decade (I cut those cards up) and having moved around a lot. These two factors have slowly reduced my credit score that would take some work if I were to need a large purchase like a home or property. Be debt free, but be aware and use any Credit to manage and build your credit carefully if you intend on making any large purchases.

    I believe Scripture encourages debt free living. I also believe there is a mass of evil surrounding the economics of our country and the whole world. I see a huge shift of people toward spiritual things on the other side of that and feel in my Spirit that Scripture points out how the opposite camps will be growing and prospering toward the end of days.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I think a terrorist infiltration will destroy our economy for sure.

      Your right about the credit score taking a hit. So either have enough cash to pay for those big purchases, for example a 20% down payment in cash would probably still get you a loan for a car or home, that is if you have employment.

    • I tend to believe that an economic collapse & terrorist attack or infiltration could go together. For ex, a partial govt collapse due to economic reasons, could weaken our nat’l defense thru drastic defense budget cuts, & thus be seen as a “great opportunity” by a terrorist group or political enemy, & lead them to attack the US in an attempt to take over natural resources &/or land territory. A partial economic collapse could also lead to cutbacks in electronic defense, weakening our defense against an online attack.

      For ex, if US relations w/ Russia continue to be tense & viewing each other as enemies, what’s to stop Russia from planning a major military exercise in NW Russia, & if an e-attack is successful while the US govt is struggling economically, moving their troops & weapons into Alaska & taking over AK’s oil & other natural resources? & the CIA & US military don’t have sufficient resources to respond adequately. Granted, this scenario assumed a weakened US, & surely our CIA & military have planned for similar things. But start playing w/ the what-if’s of a weakened US, & there are similar possibilitiies, or should I say similar nightmares?

      • Jim Moore says:

        I can so identify with your thinking Red. We indeed live in volatile times. It all increases my confidence in the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6, especially the lean not on my own understanding part.
        Blessings!

  7. Sad Sad state of affairs. What’s been so hard for me at my age is knowing this America isn’t the same America I grew up with. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve actually grieved for her.

    • Chris Ray says:

      oh I understand, I’m only 42 and it isn’t the same America that I grew up in either.

    • Malcolm Foster says:

      Very much same in the UK – believe me. Without seeming to be racist (as I think it is only natural survivalism and, although White, I have part West Indian ancestry – my brother is dark skinned), it just does not seem to be our own country any more and I do not think this is as God intended. You have to experience it to understand it – to walk/drive around your local town centre and see very few of your true fellow countrymen/women and to hear so many talk in a foreign language, worshiping a different God. To see most of the remaining shops selling goods that have nothing in common with your race, creed, religion and culture. Add to that, greedy and corrupt politicians, along with the steady degeneration of our Western society, and it gets quite depressing – when you have 3 grandchildren under 10 who will not enjoy the quality of life you did.

  8. Chris –
    Excellent piece on dealing with the current economic atmosphere from a personal position!
    I learned more from homeschooling my kids than I did in 16 years of formal (public) education and debate was one of the BIG ones. To successfully debate, one must understand both (or multiple) sides of a topic. With that in mind, I would like to present another angle …
    In this case, I wish to present for your examination, the really big picture of world economics, national economics, personal economics and what The Word says as that is The Light needed to see my argument clearly.
    World Economics
    The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are privately owned (by a small group of ‘investors’) organizations created in 1944 with headquarters in Washington D.C. By their own words, “The IMF monitors the world’s economies, lends to members in economic difficulty, and provides technical assistance.” Run that through the translator and you realize that the IMF exerts enormous influence and leverage over the United States economy and over 60 other countries as well. In order to get loans (to cover deficit spending), assistance from other countries, or ‘disaster relief’, a county has to follow the IMF policies. The IMF determines public policy in each of these countries through control of the purse strings by deciding how much debtor countries can spend on social programs, military expansion, infrastructure maintenance, etc. The IMF is the banking institution over the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and all other international banks which are also privately owned institutions. These ‘banks’ are all owned by members of the same small group of people – the 1% of the 1%.
    For purposes of discussion, the Christian could consider this group The Adversary. The Adversary is active not only in finances but also politics, education and entertainment because ultimately EVERYTHING boils down to money. And when you have all the money what’s left? Control.
    National Economics
    The Federal Reserve (a privately owned institution) was established (or given control of the U.S. economy) on December 23, 1913 while congress was on Christmas break because it was such an unpopular proposal. Since then, all politics have been carefully planned and executed with the right wing (Republicans) and left wing (Democrats), being the two wings on one big dirty bird. We can go back to any president since and see that his policies contributed one way or another to the situation we’re in now. Reagan was the most popular president since John Kennedy but during his reign he created more alphabet agencies than all previous, his ‘trickle down’ economics actually shifted money from the bottom 5% income people to the top 5%. Then the top 5% income bracket went about investing in the stock market (get rich quick) rather than industry, bringing about the rise in venture capitalism. The most common activity of the venture capitalists was the acquisition of manufacturing companies, dismantling them, selling the parts and ‘out sourcing’ the jobs to foreign countries. In a nutshell, our economy moved from industrial to financial, eventually leaving the middle class unemployed or employed by some type of government agency. I’ll admit the 80’s were a pretty easy time but it was on borrowed money and the chickens are coming home to roost. Under George the First, our economy became heavily dependent on the military industrial complex which could have just a little influence over our foreign policy. After all, how can you justify building more weapons if you haven’t used up some of the old ones? Our country has been high centered on this model for over two decades, with candidates giving nothing more than lip service to “Main Street v. Wall Street”. And more government jobs get created for children getting left behind or homeland security or affordable health care and greater presence of the oppressor in the lives of individuals.
    Oh, wow, flash back to The Adversary … The Adversary is active not only in finances but also politics, education and entertainment because ultimately EVERYTHING boils down to money. And when you have all the money what’s left? Control.
    Personal Economics
    I can’t even count all the times I’ve heard poor Christians say, “Money is the root of all evil”. 1 Timothy 6 is an excellent lesson on wealth and verse 10 tells us, “For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” We have to keep it clear in our minds that money is nothing more than an inanimate object used to exchange goods and services. We go to work every day, selling our services in order to exchange them for goods and we must guard our hearts that we don’t find security in these goods rather than in God. The Old Testament gives many examples of men who were blessed with great wealth because of their faithfulness. The Adversary, however, acquires wealth through “changing money” and usury, going so far as to call it a “rainless crop”.
    Leviticus and Deuteronomy (books of The Law) admonish Israelites against usury. Deuteronomy 15:1 commands the remission of debts every seven years. Leviticus 25:11-16 describes the Jubilee, release of debt and return of property. It is The Law of Deuteronomy Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Fulfill in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance means ‘to make complete’. Deuteronomy 28 is the chapter of blessings and curses that will come upon Israelites as the consequence of their own behavior and verse 44 is an important piece of this picture, “He shall lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you will be the tail.”
    The Edomites of the Old Testament who were the Pharisees of the New Testament, were masters of usury, money changing and political control – there really is nothing new under the sun. Let me more clearly familiarize you with these people, members of the same group who were changing money in the temple.
    John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
    2 Peter 2:12 – 14, “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct … having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;”
    1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
    It seems pretty evident that as a nation, we have neglected God’s will (The Law), we have fallen for the leaven and we are now under the curses of Deuteronomy 28 collectively and individually. The only answer is repentance, a change of heart that is evident in the way a person thinks and behaves. This has to happen on an individual basis at least half a million times, we better get to work. When critical mass is achieved, the tide of curses / blessings will change.
    2 Chronicles 7:14, “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    Do the words of Malachi 3:6-10 apply?
    “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My Statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows”.”
    Looking at today’s economy, how do you prepare for what’s to come? Tithe FIRST, cover debt second, create no new debt by spending only what’s left – easier said than done. Paying off personal debt has multiple benefits; by doing so, you ease your own stress, you fall into line with The Law thus pleasing The Lord, you lessen the gain of the Adversary and as an active Christian Soldier, you contribute (however small) to the health of The Body. Rather than paying off the smallest bill first, take care of your neighbor – the dentist, the vet, the mechanic. Then tackle the debt that charges the highest interest. The object is to starve the beast. Turn to The Master of sacrifice, follow His example by denying yourself and never forget the power of prayer, BELIEVING.
    Matthew 21:22 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
    Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
    What we really need to prepare for has absolutely nothing to do with money, the issue is control. We are and always will be servants, the choice is between The King of Kings and the adversary.
    Many believe in Him, few truly believe what He said and act in faith.

  9. Dare Tuitt says:

    While it is important to get out of debt ASAP, I disagree with you on several points. I recommend finding other methods of saving and wealth preservation other than a 401K. Obama has made it clear he wants to tap into our 401Ks, and like everything else he says he wants, he will get this, too. The powers of this world have already stolen money directly from people’s bank accounts in Greece. This will happen in America. I advise getting out of banks altogether and opening account(s) in a local, more accountable credit union(s). Next, save each month and work towards saving enough to replace your income in 3 month increments. If you earn $2000 a month, save $6000, then $9000, then $12,000. Once you have a year’s income replacement saved, think about saving the down payment on some bug out land, where you can live and grow food. Also, each month pay down debt using the debt snowball method. Don’t wait to start collecting barter-ables. I buy $20 of barter items from the Dollar Store each month. Items like feminine hygiene products, baby diapers, extra toilet paper, instant coffee, canned milk, canned meat, can openers, flashlights with fresh batteries, zip lock bags, garbage bags, etc. The way things are going for the Baby Boomers there will be no “retirement.” You are either not working full time now or plan on working until the Lord takes you home. Either way, work at learning a skill that can benefit yourself, your family and others NOW. Learn to garden, knit, sew, first aid, weld, do fabrication work, car repair, etc. A sample monthly budget would be to
    Tithe
    Housing
    Utilities
    Insurance
    Food
    Transportation
    Misc.

    Any money left over could be allocated like this:

    Savings (first for income replacement/wealth preservation)
    Debt Service (use debt snowball method)
    Preps
    Barter items

    Finally, if your money runs out before the end of the month consider a second job. Work both jobs until you have covered a year’s income, paid off debt and squared away your most important preps.

    In the meantime, work each category within what you budget for it. Find ways to save money within each category. Every dollar saved in lowering your housing cost, food costs, transportation costs = more money to save for your ultimate prepper goals!

    • Dare T, why do u think that small local credit unions are out of reach of the long-armed fed govt? I’m not convinced they’d protect our $$$ any better than any bank.

  10. Chris, under ur suggestions, u wrote: “Once you are debt free and have your preps squared away,” Can u explain what u mean by having ur preps squared away? I know what the term squared away, but how many skills &/or stuff does it take to have reach that point?

    • Chris Ray says:

      I wish there was a hard and firm answer, but it really depends. Part of it depends on what you set as a personal goal. For example, if you feel that 90 of food and water purification is enough, then who am I to argue? If someone else feels like they need a years worth, good on them. But if you can only afford 90 days worth and are debt free, but on a limited budget, and have your five basic needs covered, then I would say you’re squared away.

      On skills, again it depends. I think it is impossibly for any one person to own every skills set, so I try to be a jack of all trades. I think knowing how to meet and protect the five basic needs makes one a valuable asset. You might not be able to build a solar system, but if you can purify water, know how to store food, are trained in first aid, know how and are able to defend yourself and so on, then to me your skills are squared away. Does everyone need to know all of that? No, but it is a good goal to have. Its been a crazy day and my mind is racing, so if I didn’t explain myself well enough, just let me know and I will do so again when things have slowed down.

  11. I know this doesn’t have to do with economy…but I saw yesterday in the news that there was a large X2.2 solar flare with possibly a CME with it. What does that mean? Is this common and am I just now hearing about it? Is that big enough to cause a blackout? The reports said that it takes a couple days to have the effects from the CME. No one seems really concerned… should I be?

    • Chris Ray says:

      It could be a big event, if it hits earth and depending on which hemisphere it hits. here is an article I wrote some time ago that might help explain it a little.

      http://preparedchristian.net/the-difference-between-an-emp-and-a-solar-flare/

      • Jim Moore says:

        Here’s the web site I visit almost daily; http://solarham.net/

      • Thanks, I read the article. I guess what I don’t understand is how strong does the solar flair/CME have to be to cause damage if it is facing us straight on. Do “they” really know? The report said the CME from Tues solar flair will be here Friday (it wasn’t straight on) and the bigger one from yesterday, I guess will come on Saturday? Did anyone else see these reports?

        • Jim Moore says:

          No, they don’t know. The system set-up to keep us posted on the intensity of these type of CME events is currently having computer server issues.
          Go figure, could something happen on Friday the 13th, ha ha!
          Hopefully it will be a non-event and only effect some radio transmissions. People far north should get a light show though.
          Only time will tell for sure Angie.
          2297 is right NOW in the spot where we could get a direct hit if it is really active today. Solar storms with the class of this one, Beta-Gamma with a Delta configuration, have historically shown to effect our atmosphere the worst. So, it’s something to watch.
          No Worries!

        • Jim Moore says:

          Nice! Thanks. It’s good to see it all in one video. It’s going to be interesting to watch for how it impacts Earth. I don’t expect much. We’ve had a bunch of stronger “near misses” since 2012 and we’re now on the down side of the solar cycle.
          Which always reminds me of the question; do we really want to know ahead of time if a solar storm is going to wipe out power and all technology? Can I imagine the anxiety of knowing? Ha ha! It’s a Wonderful Life here on Planet Earth. Exciting Times!!!

  12. Major Dad says:

    Good article Chris.
    My wife and I finally got out of debt, paid off our house and are saving up cash, and stocking up on preps as we also enjoy our lives a lot more by being free financially.
    We did not cut up our credit cards as some do, but we do manage them to maximize our earnings by never charging anything that we do not have cash to pay for immediately. For example, we earn air miles on one of our cards and we use it for most of our “regular” purchases -(gas, clothes, etc.) But as soon as we charge something, we come home and use our on-line banking to pay the bill as soon as it hits so we accumulate no charges there. By doing this – it keeps our credit rating high (820 last time we checked) and that helps us qualify for the cheapest insurance rates, etc.
    As you suggested, we also did a trip last year to celebrate being debt free (after having saved in advance up to pay for it.) We flew from Alaska to Boston (toured New England for a week), then flew to Miami and spent a week in Florida, drove to Georgia to see some friends, and then flew back home to Alaska. It that sounded expensive – it cost us $60 in air travel fees – and the rest was on reward miles from the credit card. This was a trip we had wanted to do for a long time and we were able to pull it off by wisely using a combination of cash and credit card rewards.
    Now this cash/credit plan does not work if a person is an undisciplined shopper and can not control their unplanned spending urges. But with planned purchases placed on a rewards earning credit card, you can enhance your financial situation. For example, my wife had to fly out of state due to a family emergency which would have cost us over $2000 but we had enough air miles so it cost us $75 – which we simply took out of our emergency fund.
    We have saved up about a one month emergency cash fund which we have hidden in a couple different places where we can access it quickly in an emergency.
    We also use cash only when purchasing items for our preps. I bought a generator to give us emergency power and paid cash and got a 5% discount for doing so. We also use cash when buying ammunition for our target practice sessions.
    We shop locally for our preps and use cash when all that stuff to include buying a few gold and silver coins. We mainly buy silver coins – both one ounce silver bullion coins and ‘junk – pre1964 dimes and quarters – and also the 1/10 ounce gold coins. By paying cash for our preps there is no way a credit card company (or any other snoop) can keep track of purchases that would identify us than anything as other than average people, rather then them viewing us as some sort of “radical preppers.”
    But what you said about getting out of debt is true. At one time we had a credit card debt of several thousand dollars on a card which charged over 15% interest. By paying off that card – we gave ourselves a 15% boost in cash flow. Such is the advantage of getting out of debt.
    We are not rich by any means but we learned our lesson several years ago and struggled to get out of debt, and once we were – vowed never to go back.
    I want to encourage everyone that with some financial self discipline and hard work- they too can get out of debt and finally experience the joy of financial freedom.
    May God bless all of you
    Major Dad

    • Chris Ray says:

      great testimony, thanks for sharing!

      We shop in the same manor, and only use the cards when we can pay them off immediately. This has saved us a LOT of money; because we’re forced to use delayed gratification. We often forget we wanted an item by the time we could afford it lol.

  13. Excellent article Chris! Combine all of the withe severity of the drought in west and south west, and things are adding up to tough times ahead. People should at least know how to grow their own food at home, because fruits and veggies are going to get pricey (ever more so than now).

  14. Chris,
    Fab-o article, as usual.

    PMs and cash came up a couple of times. I know people like silver and a fair number dislike the large amount held in a gold “coin”.
    I have some in the $400-500 ranges and the $1200 ranges, but they’re for cashing in for back taxes, mortgage payments, major repairs, major purchases, etc.

    The biggie I wanted to point out, though, are the suisse/PAMP & sunshine bars. They can be had in a number of denominations.
    JM carries them in 1, 2.5, 5 and 10 gram sizes, encased with certification. They run ~$50, ~$100, ~$200, and ~$400.
    I know apmex/apmax/ampax/ampex (sorry – brain freeze) used to carry at least the 1, 2-2.5, and 5g bars as well.
    (NOT the carabar/karatbar sellers.)

    For me they provide reasonable denominations at reasonable costs, even though I think it’s a smidge more $$ to buy in the smaller denominations.

    And I like that they’re in the cards (neat, tidy stacks) and clearly marked with weight and purity, regularly with a condition/quality cert or stamp.

    “Now” all I have to do in a crisis is print the latest prices every week or month to cart around with me.
    Not a book or pages that show the silver content of my coin to deal with people who may not know.
    Not a jeweler’s loupe and be restricted for-sure to somebody who knows how much more precious X is over Y and Z.
    Just a sheet, or the page from a newspaper.

    Just like I carry ones, fives, tens, twenties and fifties shopping now, it gives me less to carry than a solid four rolls of silver coins, but reasonable denominations I can expect to use.

    Just an option I’m putting out there for people who think some form of currency besides straight barter (my evil cat for your seven carrots and twenty pounds of seed) will be an option, but want something in between the more common and affordable silver and the $$$$$/$$$$$ gold coin-coins.

    :)
    Thanks again for your hard work and your good work.
    -Rebecca

    • Oh, and I meant to say, if you’re inclined, the suisse bars and any “collector’s” coins are insurable (just like the household’s most beloved shotguns and laptops and soil auger – specifically, just saying).

      I think the last time I tried to subtly find out, cash-cash money in a fireproof box or safe (they will all fail eventually) was not or was CRAZY high or had a cap — something that I wasn’t thrilled about.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Thanks Rebecca!

      Good add on the smaller denominations of gold. I have looked into it a little, but maybe I should add some.

  15. Great info, I too have been slowly purchasing Silver Eagles, but not gold as it is way out of my price range. One question I have, and it is off topic, but when the financial collapse happens, what happens to such things as credit card payments, car payments and mortgage payments. Currently my wife and I are debit free, so they can’y come collect anything, but what about those who do have such payments?

    • Chris Ray says:

      Don’t believe for a second that credit card companies, banks or other lending facilities will not expect payment. the only way they will not expect it is if there is an EMP and they can’t come collect it.

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