Certainly if you read this blog frequently, you know why and how we prepare. The archives of SurvivalBlog are an unmatched treasure trove of practical and technical survival wisdom. This article is designed to offer practical guidance of another kind. It’s intended to encourage mature individuals to imagine a different type of prepping. I want you to think long and hard about your realistic future as successful long-time preppers. I write this based on personal experience and with firsthand knowledge of the experiences of others who share my age and attitude about preparedness. Those of you who may be relatively new to prepping can benefit from this reading as well because an exit strategy (for you or your heirs) should be part of your overall prepping stratagem, just like having a defensible fallback position if your retreat is overrun by bandits. Like most prepping, this advice is common sense.
I’ll be asking a lot of questions to help you think through where you, as veteran preppers, are today and where you want to be in say 10 years. Some of us who were full of piss and vinegar 15 years or so ago, when organized “prepping” was in its relative infancy, are getting longer in the tooth. If you fall into this category of aging preppers, I challenge you to do some soul searching.
Have you taken stock of your situation lately? What type of community are you a part of? How many human resources do you plan to surround yourself with in case of TEOTWAWKI? Surely, you and your bride haven’t been planning to go it alone, but what is your situation today? Where is the “community” you planned to have back you up and share in the retreat activities when times get really tough? How many family members are you planning to support at your bug-out location? How many like-minded families have you recruited to come together in defense of your rural lifestyle, if there’s an emergency like never before?
Off-Grid Lifestyle A Handful
If you’re like some aging preparedness-minded folks, you may be thinking that the labor-intensive off-grid lifestyle of remote retreat living is getting to be a real handful every day. Severe winter months in some locales can really accelerate this thinking. Maybe you’ve been living the retreat life for 15 or 20 years and you know firsthand that it isn’t anything like reality television would have you believe. You know full well the average aging homesteader won’t make it on “Mountain Men.” How long do you intend to be able to pursue off-grid retreat living before you, a) get some live-in help; b) injure yourself and cannot continue with the manual labor routine you’ve developed, or c) decide to move on due to physical or mental health issues? These scenarios are worth some serious consideration because sometimes life really gets in the way of our best laid plans.
Gut Check Time
For some of you who are on, or are approaching, the north side of 70 years old, this is gut check time. We’re going to touch on some real-world options or the lack of them for you as a survival retreat owner/live-in. We’ll play “what if” for a while to see how well you are prepared for some future challenges that relatively few peppers have actually considered.
What Happens When…?
First off, what happens to your spouse when you are hurt or disabled doing routine chores at your retreat? Who takes up the slack when the spouse work activities go undone for an extended period of time? What happens if you can’t carry on with normal manual labor, such as maintaining the solar system or the water purification system, tending the livestock, or cutting/splitting/carrying firewood for the stove? Can your spouse take over? Is there a notebook of instructions on how to do all the stuff you do routinely, every day, to maintain your retreat? Have your kids memorized your routines? Can your retreat-mates follow in your footsteps without a document to guide them?
I could write a book on how to inventory your systems and build a comprehensive retreat operations guidebook. Suffice it to say that there better be some “bread crumbs” left by you or another principal at your retreat to direct those who come after you for whatever reason, be it you’re dead, permanently disabled, or you are reluctantly selling your retreat to the next generation of patriots.
Manuals and Documents
Sure, you know you need to keep all those owners manuals for all the stuff you have running around the retreat property. Could we assume that those documents are in one central location where someone else can actually find them? Let’s assume that’s covered. It really is, right?
Let’s say you’re dead now. You’re toast, history, yesterday’s news. What will your left-behind loved ones do with your retreat property? They kinda thought you were a bit “off your rocker” anyway for buying rural land and building a retreat, eh? I mean they spent so much time there, helping you prep and develop the property, right? They live a couple of states away. You were told that you could count on them to be there when SHTF. That’s right, isn’t it? Of course, it is. You get the drift.
Here’s your no-bull reality check. If you are the only one who knows all the systems, the operations, the maintenance, and the amount of blood, sweat, and tears it took to develop your retreat property, then how can you expect anyone after you to know the same? We’re talking about the value of your efforts. It’s your sweat equity, brothers and sisters. It’s how real estate speculators– “flippers”– make money. And it’s what your survivors will be wondering about once you’re on the wrong side of the grass. If they don’t have a thorough inventory, operations manuals, and easy-to-follow documentation about how to keep all your stuff running, then the effort you put into your retreat will be lost when some fast-talking real estate “expert” offers a fast track to liquidate the property for your heirs. This is okay with you, right? I doubt it.
Practical Guidance About Realtors
Here’s some practical guidance about Realtors. I was one and have worked with some good Realtors, but the real estate business has changed over the years. The team concept that’s been prevalent in the business for many years has fostered an environment where many Realtors have never done an entire deal from start to finish. Your heirs may see hiring a Realtor as the easiest path to selling your dear retreat property. That’s not so. Your loved ones should approach a Realtor’s listing agreement just as they would in hiring an employee.
They should check out all their claimed experience and references to be sure their bona fides are not an exaggeration or a total fabrication. If a veteran Realtor can’t verify they work at least 40+ hours per week, have a minimum of 10 years experience as a licensed Realtor in your local area, and do at least 12 transactions annually, you need to seriously consider declining an engagement. These are averages from the National Association of Realtors, but personally I’d be more demanding.
A Realtor Who Lives Off-Grid
Most likely I would recommend a Realtor who actually owns/lives on an off-grid property and looks like Daisy May Moses (Granny Clampett) or Grizzly Adams. Seriously. Some less-experienced Realtors might consider themselves “expert” if they only visited their grandfather’s gentleman farm a couple of times as a kid and more recently checked a database on the last sale of your property and researched your online county tax records. The reality is legitimate prepper Realtors are very few, and your heirs will have to provide any Realtor with all the detailed information about your retreat. There are no shortcuts to selling a unique property.
Tomorrow, we will continue by taking a look at liquidating your property and preparing for this. I will share some steps to take to help in valuing your retreat property and making it more appealing to potential buyers, what other things you should do before putting it up for sale, and considerations in selling.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 74 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 74 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.