Hard Times at Here–Are You Ready?

The hard economic times that I–and many others–warned you about are now here. We are clearly now in the opening stages of a full-scale depression that will last a decade or longer.

This news article (sent to me by SurvivalBlog reader Eric C.) .about an unemployed couple in Indiana is a microcosm of what we will be witnessing for the next decade. Take a few minutes to read it.

Our pampered society is in for a rude wakening. Now, at the risk of sounding unkind and judgmental, the term “white trash” comes to mind. Note that this man in Indiana had no savings, plenty of debt, and obviously no food reserves. Also note that despite his “austere” budget on unemployment insurance, he wastes hundreds of dollars per month as he smokes cigarettes, drinks soda pop, drinks beer (in large quantity), gambles, and pays for commercial car washes. His wife still carries a Blackberry with an airtime contract. Why are they buying disposable diapers, when they could be washing cloth diapers? The article also mentions that the husband has gained 40 pounds in the year since he was laid off. Did he consider planting a vegetable garden? Or washing his own car? (Both would have saved money and provided exercise.) This couple needs a serious lesson in budget priorities. They say that they are worried about their children’s school grades, yet they still have a television and XBox games. It is time for a garage sale, to sell those time-wasting gadgets. Then regularly-scheduled trips to the local library, to get their children literate!

This gent is in his thirties, yet he has ruined his health with drinking, smoking, and over-eating. He and his wife seem to view military service as a last resort for their high school senior son. Well, I have a news flash for them: Both the son and the father should have enlisted! In 2006, the US military raised its maximum age of enlistment to 42. (BTW, as the economy continues to worsen, I expect the military to raise their standards considerably and eventually begin turning away large numbers of candidates, just as they did in the 1930s.)

It is also noteworthy that this man is on anti-depressants. He is not alone. Consider this article that was sent to me by Karen H.: Antidepressant Use Doubles in US, Study finds. That is alarming just by itself, but just consider what will happen if and when the Schumer Hits the Fan, and all those patients run out of their medications. (And their booze, and their cigarettes, and their marijuana, and their MTV, and their Crackberry instant messages, and their chocolate, and their American Idol, and their Dunkin’ Donuts, and their porn, and their meth, and their soap operas, and their “Energy” drinks.) This could get very ugly, very quickly, once so many millions of suddenly very cranky, very desperate people start roaming the streets. My suggestion is: Don’t be near then, in any significant numbers. Move to hinterboonies.

In summary: I had no idea that wallowing in self-pity was such exhausting, time-consuming work. At least they have a comfortable couch and recliner. This old quote mentioned by a SurvivalBlog reader sums up their situation: “The Lord does not bless the farmer who leans on his hoe.”

Here is my advice for SurvivalBlog readers on how to survive the currently unfolding Depression:

  • Work cheerfully and diligently. It is slackers that find themselves unemployed first.
  • Get debt free and stay debt free. Take on no new indebtedness, and pay down the debts you already have.
  • Learn to distinguish essentials from non-essentials.
  • Write a budget, and stick to it. Whittle it, as necessary, to avoid debt.
  • Sell off your useless Beanie babies and assorted knickknacks.
  • Increase your savings
  • Build up your food storage
  • Diversify your investments. Don’t put all your money in one bank.
  • Check your bank or S&L’s safety rating at TheStreet.com. Check your stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and insurers, while you are at it.)
  • Hedge your investments with some tangibles
  • Sell off any vacation or rental properties that don’t have retreat potential
  • If you move, then it should be to a place near a secure job, and preferably to a piece of farm or ranch land that provides some self-sufficiency.
  • Develop a second stream of income.
  • Release yourself from your addictions. Pray fervently, and if need be, seek help.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Stay in shape.
  • Be willing to accept work that is lower paying or less appealing
  • Be charitable.
  • Most importantly: Get right with God. (Believe, repent of your sin, confess Jesus as your savior, and be baptized.) It is time to pray hard, folks! I believe in predestination. If you are reading this, and feel convicted to make change in your life, then you are fulfilling what God has had planned for you since “before the foundations of the Earth.”

Forgive me for ranting, but that article about the unemployed family in Indiana got me a bit riled up.

One suggestion, in closing: If you get laid-off, do not move to a relative’s basement in Michigan. Instead, move to where you can find work, even if it hard, “rolled up sleeves” work.