I was a “closet” prepper until recently. Years ago, I began to slowly amass both long-life food and countless resources that would be necessary if basic commodities were no longer available. The spark, if you will, was in the wake of reading articles about global shifts that sought to deconstruct and reconstruct economies based on dangerous ideologies. I also purchased hard assets in case conventional means of buying ceased overnight, for I read of once strong banks and currencies collapsing or weakening with each financial year.
Recently, with the events leading up and still being felt because of COVD-19, I became more open about my prepping lifestyle, as I witnessed misinformation shut down global economies, medical assumptions stated as “facts” and differing views persecuted and suppressed, and precedents becoming policies. That is not to say that I told everyone I know that I have been quietly prepping for years and that they need to do the same, but rather, I began connecting with like-minded preppers in the online community and will slowly introduce the concept to others. I am still on this journey.
In enjoying my interactions with those who are preppers, mostly online as it is difficult to connect with other preppers locally (as it is not something one broadcasts or has a group meeting once a week), it has also been beneficial to read articles of the experiences of those who are preppers, of successes and failures. There is a lot of good material out there, but there are also poorly researched and sensational writings pieces as well. Preppers should not think of themselves as prophets, but purveyors of truth. It has been a blessing, however, to read articles from a variety of different perspectives and of not only what to buy and do as a prepper, but how to act and think as a prepper.
It is my intention in this article to share some thoughts I have in my own experiences and wide reading in relation to what I will phrase are the bookends of the prepping life; investing and diversifying. This may not be ground-breaking, but it may be new to some, while for the veteran prepper, I hope that it will refresh and even revise your train of thought.
Broadening how you think of Investing
When we think of the word invest, we most often think of financial. We believe that investing is putting money into something and expecting (nay, hoping) it will grow in value and worth. In reality, investing is so much more than that. To truly invest in something is to consider something worthy of not just your money, but your time and effort. Time is more valuable than money, for you can never amass or reclaim the former. As such, we need to start thinking of investment as being a mindset in relation to prepping, for what we place both our seconds and actions into, needs to have value that transcends my bank account or portfolio. Its profitability should be determined as if money itself didn’t exist. This is not to say that we don’t need money, that is foolish, but what I am saying is that we should not see “investment” as solely a financial goal, for we have seen throughout history, in our nations and perhaps in our households, how finances can fall away far quicker than it took the time for them to rise.
A prepper then, must invest in individuals and community, researching, and skills.
We need to invest in individuals and in community. By invest, I do not mean use someone or being insincere in starting a new friendship, but I mean that men and women are not meant to be alone. The “lone wolf” lifestyle some preppers edify is self-defeating and cannot be sustained long-term. Even a Swiss Army Knife needs sharpening at some point! There is strength in numbers and two or more are more effective than one of anything.
We as human beings were meant to be communal and must understand the bad and good capable in humanity. We can not do it all and it is mentally and socially healthy to work alongside and with those with differing interests, personalities and skills, as it is for them to be working with us. Preppers must not feign morality in their choices and lifestyle, for helping another in the worst of times, ensures that we have help when we are not in the best of times.
We need to invest in researching about national and world affairs, history and laws, nature and science, politics and religion, and other relevant matters. This is a neglected investment, one that is vital in an ever-changing and growing world. Knowledge in power. Understanding what something is and how and why something works, is as important as understanding where and when it did. You and your country are not the only inhabitants of earth. You should know about the differences between capitalism and socialism. You should know how global markets work.
You should know where your local water bodies are, where you can purchase hard to find resources, and how an ecosystem works. You should understand the laws in your state and online, how to change a car tire, and erect a tent. You should know the differences within Christianity, Islam, Atheism, Communism, and about cultures and languages differing from your own. You may think some of these examples to be useless, but to do so, reveals a tunneled thinking and does not take into consideration the difference as much as the similarities there are in the world. Nothing will be wasted, you will grow in character, and one day such information may be essential for you or another’s survival.
Finally, skills are those abilities needed to perform a given task based on learned information and personal experience. One should learn a new skill each week, at most a month, and one can do so through free and paid courses as well as voluntary work and mentoring. How one assembles, builds, creates, and fixes is vital to everyday living. Learning how to hunt or forage, clean and cook in general, check your car’s oil and gas, can and preserve produce, make candles and soaps, dress wounds and identify medicinal herbs you’ve established in your garden, know how to sew and repair clothing and shoes, are just a handful of skills that are invaluable as they often can be used in more than one context or scenario and are teachable to others.
The more skills you have, the more you are able to survive all that comes your way and can build up your community. Hence, investing in skills connects us to the need to diversify, for we should not think of engaging only in skills that are relevant to us. Our greatest growth it outside our comfort zone.
Ensure Diversifying in All Aspects
A good teacher in the classroom will teach their students the importance in diversifying their knowledge and skillset. They will stress that one should ensure a wide reading of materials in order to establish a general knowledge of the world in which they live, regardless of whether the information is relevant to their everyday walk. A well-rounded individual, one whose knowledge stretches across subject matter, ensures that they are not ignorant and uninformed about the past, present, and possible future. Likewise, the student that diversifies their skills so to ensure that they can perform the most basic of tasks as well as consider the most difficult, ensures that they are not so specialized as to not be able to operate outside their sphere of expertise. For them, there is not one path prepared, but many; there is more than “Plan A”.
In connecting investing with diversifying through skills, a prepper must go on to diversify their assets, disciplines, and resources.
Regarding assets, the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is true. Prepping costs money, money you may not have if your income were reduced or ended down the path. If you have a growth in finances or are able to budget so that you can put some of your income away for a period of time, purchasing items that will have multiple uses, long-term uses, or be able to be sold later for greater uses, is desirable. Money in the bank gaining interest is fine, but don’t let it be your only asset. Start small if need be, for example, tools. Some tools never go out of fashion and can last the test of time. If you have antiques, determine what is worth something and what is better as cash in your hand right now. As finances grow, purchase gold and silver, no matter the size, and research other “hard” assets. By having assets as a prepper, you can fund future purchases or position yourself as a credible barterer.
By disciplines, I am referring to the structure of one’s day and how it is ordered and the way in which time is utilized. Concrete templates made by us soon crumble, for each day brings with it challenges and differences that render our best-laid plans asunder. Changes in finances, health, family and external factors beyond our control must be accounted for. The best disciplines must adapt over time, as life changes all the time. Be flexible, be willing to change your task around, be able to prioritize, and do what you can and do it now, rather than dreaming of what you think you can and never starting. Create walls between you and distractions, temptations, time-wasting activities, and vices, the create doors for you to walk towards those activities that will grow and strengthen you, body, mind and soul.
Resources are those items and products that assist and ensure that we survive, regardless of their need at this moment in time. “Always be prepared” implies there will be times, perhaps never, that you will need something because of a situation. It is imperative that you create a list of resources needed by you, your family and if possible, others in need. Your list will differ from mine and that’s alright.
While finances will dictate the volume of your resources, that does not necessarily mean it will dictate their value. Clothing, food, equipment and tools, accessories and utensils, anything classed as a commodity. It doesn’t matter if you buy the cheapest label of packaged food or discounted items close to expiry date; food is food and something is better than nothing. Buying one can of food a week and putting it away is better than not starting at all, because you think you need to buy a carton’s worth at once.
Start building inventory at your local discount store, weekend markets, or second-hand thrift store. Build, not hoard, resources that will assist you today as much as a year down the track, regularly used or never to be used. Bulk purchases are great, but bit by bit is just as clever. Expenses purchased today are expenses absent tomorrow and we have seen that the most basic of staples can disappear and become rationed when the masses determine a want becomes a need.
If the bookends of the prepping life are investing and diversifying, the bookcase, the foundation, of which it entirely rests upon needs to be YHWH, the one and only God of the Scriptures. One point that was magnified in the wake of COVD-19 was that even the most prepared prepper was rattled and shocked at how everyday life changed overnight, let alone the general population’s reaction. What people had placed all their trust in, came crashing down in an instant. For at the end of the day, all the prepping, all the investing and diversifying, will amount to nothing without a foundation that is unshakeable, a worldview with absolutes, and that is only found in and through Jesus Christ, the God of Scriptures made flesh. While the Scriptures are replete with calls to prepare and provide for your family and community, Christ Jesus’ words on the importance of Him as a foundation are the starting point of any prepper’s journey to true security, both in this life and the next:
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49)