One of the hottest trends today is prepping. There is a huge population of people that
would consider themselves preppers or survivalists. This may be offensive to some, but I consider the terms
survivalists are more hardcore than preppers.
You can meet two different preppers and they may be
preparing for completely different things. Prepping can be for anything – terrorist attacks,
hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear war, asteroids hitting the earth, an economic
meltdown, or any number of other things.
Preppers will differ in their top fears, but their strategies are often
I do not consider myself a prepper, at least as the term is
used today. However, I do learn
from reading and watching what other preppers do and I think there are useful
lessons for everybody.
I do not have the time, energy, or dedication to be prepared
for a terrible scenario where the entire division of labor economy breaks
down. If you think this is a
likely scenario, then you pretty much have to devote your life to it. Storing some extra food and water isn’t
going to save you. You better move
out of the country or move to a rural part of the U.S. that is isolated and
On the other hand, I do think it is important for everyone to
take some action in preparing for a temporary breakdown. This could be for a weather related
event, an electrical grid failure, or any number of possibilities.
It is always a good idea to have a couple of weeks’ worth of
food available, along with water.
It doesn’t have to be bottled water. It just needs to be clean enough to drink. You should also have some other basic
necessities for light, cooking, and heat, particularly if you live in a cold
climate. You should also build up
a small extra supply of any medication you need and just remember to rotate it
so that it doesn’t get old.
One other thing that people forget about is cash. It is a good idea to always have some
cash available in case ATMs don’t work and stores and gas stations can’t take
credit cards. You don’t need to
have a lot, but a few hundred dollars is probably a good idea. It should be somewhere that is safe,
but accessible. You will also want
to keep most of it in smaller denominations, particularly one-dollar
bills. You don’t know if others
will be able to make change.
Aside from some common sense necessities to hold you over
for a couple of weeks, I’m not sure it is worth it to go beyond that, unless
you are really going to go hard core.
I’m not sure that people really think through a worst-case
scenario of a total economic breakdown.
If there are no longer any stores available to do your shopping, then
you really better be a hardcore survivalist to have a chance. I’m not sure how many people would want
to survive in such a world.
It isn’t just a matter of providing food and shelter. There is sanitation and plumbing. There is medical care. There is heat and air
conditioning. There is
refrigeration. There is
communication. You can live
without these things, but imagine a world without them. What will you do after a year when your
sneakers have worn out and you don’t have any reliable shoes? If you sit there and think about it for
a while, you could probably list a hundred things easily that you would no
longer have available and miss dearly.
Again, it wouldn’t be much of a life.
There probably are some preppers and survivalists who really
would be prepared for a worst-case situation, but there would also be many that
would fall short.
Interestingly, one piece of investment advice I give to
people with lower income levels and savings is to buy things in bulk and store
them, if possible. This could
include things such as paper towels, toilet paper, razor blades, shampoo, soap,
toothpaste, bottled water, or really anything with a decent shelf life.
When you find a good sale on something, buy more than you
need at that time and store it.
What are the chances that the price will be any lower a year from
now? Most likely, the prices will
be higher. You will save money by
buying in bulk, buying sale items, and hedging against price inflation. And for the sake of this article, it
also will make you more prepared for an unexpected event where you may not be
able to get to the store for a few days.
In conclusion, while I don’t adopt a prepper lifestyle, I
think anyone can learn some good useful strategies from preppers. You should always prepare for a
situation where you may not have access to a store for a two-week timeframe.