The title for this post was the hardest of all for me. What to call it…hmm… Some potential options were:
- Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse
- The Government and Me: a Love Story
- Back to the Future 4: Insanity Overtakes America
- Fearmongering 101
- DIY Tin Foil Hat Ideas
I settled for a title that is a little less outlandish but hopefully still conveys the idea behind today’s post. What does tomorrow hold? Good question. Today, I’m going to go through a quick run-down of some of the ways I believe we should all be prepared to deal with the future, without becoming die-hard conspiracy theorists and without ending up on a terrorist watch list. Your comments for this should be fun, if nothing else. Let’s dive in.
We can all agree that NO ONE knows the future. We can all agree it is our responsibility to be prepared, as best we know how, to approach whatever the future may hold. We can all agree extremely high levels of debt are bad. Most of us would agree if you can be totally debt free, you should. I would propose that it all boils down to risk mitigation – minimizing the unnecessary risks in your life. That is in fact how I opened From Debtor to Better, with a discussion of risk, risk management and how to do a basic risk assessment.
I believe a reasonable mortgage is a sometimes-necessary step to fully owning your own home and being completely debt free. If you rent forever, you are always required to come up with a monthly sum to pay a landlord. If you have a mortgage, you are “always” required to come up with a monthly sum to pay the bank…until you pay it off. Unlike rent, you can pay extra and be done with a mortgage faster. Renting is not evil and is a very good idea for many. However, if the goal is to minimize your risk, the goal should be to OWN (not borrow, rent, steal) enough property and living space to be relatively self-sufficient. My point: if you lost your job the day after your mortgage was paid off, it would be a lot easier to deal with because you would need a lot less cash to make ends meet each month.
We have to make educated decisions as to what is the best way to provide for our family’s long-term needs. Below are my thoughts on basic investing:
- I don’t believe in all the gold investing hype. Why? There are least seven reasons gold doesn’t make sense to me.
- I don’t believe the government can take care of me when I retire, so planning on Social Security makes no mathematical sense, even if you’re already pretty close to that golden age of retirement.
- I believe there are too many entrepreneurs out there with too much ambition to let our economy be driven completely into the ground. Notice I didn’t say the government wouldn’t try…
- I believe in investing in mutual funds is the safest long-term savings plan that minimizes the risk that my money will magically disappear.
- You NEED short-term savings that are easy to get to in case of a crisis. Cash is always good and utilitarian items to barter are pretty handy too. Haven’t you ever watched an “apocalypse” movie?
- Cashing out a 401k or other retirement plan is DANGEROUS. You’re betting the government or our economy will fail. If you’re wrong, you are in a tough spot when retirement comes along. Plus, you pay a stiff penalty + taxes for cashing out these types of plans.
With GMO seeds and modern farming practices, it is becoming more and more difficult to live independently through gardening, but I think knowing how to grow your own food, store it (canning, freezing, dehydrating), and prepare it multiple ways are all essential skills every person should know. If you have the black thumb of death, as we do, partner up with someone who likes to garden and exchange that skill for one you might have in other essential areas (food storage, for instance). I also believe water filtration and storage are critical issues – BERKEY to the rescue.
Hunting is a skill that is quite helpful and should be taught to those willing to learn, as nature does a good job of providing protein-rich food if we’re willing to seek it out. For those all up in arms about guns and gun control, recognize I’m referencing a hunting rifle/shotgun and plenty of ammo as tools to provide food for your family (whether for food or protection) and not trying to make a political statement about gun rights.
I could keep going about ways to prepare for the future, but I think you get my drift and since I’m pushing 800 words, I’d better stop for now. I’d love your input – what are some ways you prepare for the future?