Financial Survival Kit

What do you need to be prepared for the future financial turmoil? How can you survive?

Should I Buy Gold?

It seems like everyone is a gold bug these days, but is it the right thing for you?

What Are The Chances?

With all this "end of the world" hype going on, maybe we should consider the chances. What are the chances of a civilization threatening event?

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

Insurance is an extremely broad topic. Hopefully this generalization on the different types and amounts will help straighten things out a bit.

Iraqi Dinar: Scam or Scoop?

Some say it's an easy way to make a million bucks! But do you understand currency markets enough to take advantage?

The financial world we live in is just as wild, if not more, than the mountains and woods we walk through. We are told that the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but we can feel that something is wrong. My unique financial background and survival passion make Financial Survivalist and excellent place to learn and share.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dave Cantebury's 5 C's of Survivalability

Dave Cantebury is a hunting and survival expert. He is the founder of the Path Finder School, and author of The Pathfinder System: Survivability for the Common Man. He is also the co-star on the tv show "Duel Survivor." Through Dave's decades of experience hunting, tracking, and traping, he has developed a list of 5 things that are essential to survival. Missing any of these 5 things seriously limits your "survivability."

Dave Canterbury's 5 C's of Survivalbility

1. Cordage: rope, floss, string, fishing line, parachord.

Cordage is essential for building shelter, making traps, and fishing. Without it you may be lacking those things. Cordage is extremely useful in countless of survival situations. If found in the wilderness without cordage you can weave or braid certain types of plants to make improvised cordage.

2. Cutting: Knife

A knife is essential in a survival situation to make tools, traps, shelter, and fire. It is essential for cleaning animals and preparing food. If found in a survival situation without a knife, an improvized knife can be made by fracturing a densegrained rock at the correct angle.

3. Cover: cover includes any tarp, cloth, or bag that can be used for insulation or shelter.

Some materials can be used as traps, nets, or carrying devices. If found in a survival situation with out cover look for natural shelter first. If nature provides shelter you can save calories otherwise spent on building it. If no natural shelter is available certain types of trees and plants can be used to improvise a raised beed and rain shed.

4. Combustion: lighter, matches, flint & steel, steel wool & battery, convex lense, or dry wood.

Combustion or fire ignition is essential in a survival situation for cooking, purifying water, creating heat, and signaling for rescue. If found in a survival situation without a combustion source several friction techniques may be utilized by essentially rubbing two sticks together. However, choosing the correct materials is essential and friction techniques for creating fire are considered extremely difficult.

5. Container: can, cup, bottle, bowel or bag.

In a survival situation a container is essential for carrying and purifying water. An individual can die from dehydration in as little as 3 days. If found in a survival situation wihtout a container one can be improvised from certain plants or trees. Moisture can aslo be extracted from certain plants and feces. However, this is not recomended for anyone without extensive expertese. In a last resort situation it is better that you drink unpurified water and risk contamination than die from dehydration.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Make Millions in Real Estate... With No Cash by Tyler G Hicks

How to Make Millions in Real Estate in Three Years Starting with No Cash. Talk about a long title!

When I picked this book up I instantly knew that I liked it. I loved the feel of the paperback cover. It was the finish that I liked. It's a smooth but matte finish. Very unique. Unfortunately this was my favorite part of the book. In fact I was laughing after just a few pages and after a dozen pages I knew I wasn't going to like this book. It's a good thing that the format (endless lists) makes it a super fast read. A few hours later I was done.

Anyone that is familiar with our current real-estate climate will quickly recognize that this book is OUT DATED! Printed durring the frenzy of the real estate bubble (2005), 9 out of 10 things that Tyler recommends are nearly impossible, unrealistic, or simply irresponsible. Some of it verges on outright fraud. In fact, reading this book gives a good perspective of the psychology of a "bubble investor."

On page 4 he says, "So when I recommend real estate investments to you, I do so with the complete assurance that it is almost impossible for you to go wrong. Further, it is almost impossible for you not to make money in real estate." I was cracking up pretty good by then. I bet most of his readers lost everything, including OPM (other peoples money as Tyler calles it) in the crash. On the previous page he basically says that real estate ALWAYS goes up in value. In fact he implies this several different times. I guess that is why he has a huge disclaimer at the beginning of his book. Most real estate books I've ever read didn't have disclaimers.

In Chapter 2 he starts talking about the different way to finance real estate and a casually included using credit card loans and borrowing the money from a family members equity! It's true you can get money this way, but this is also how people's dreams turn into nightmares. It's how people read Tyler's book and then a few years later attempt suicide. Now, I'm not saying Tyler is responsibly for attempted suicides, but I'd be surprised if he didn't inspire a few. Think about it. What would it be like if someone borrowed $300,000 from family members and carried $100,000 on credit cards, then lost their job and the real estate. It's not like they can file bankruptcy and say "Too bad mom, you're not going to retire anymore." Again, I guess that's why he has the extensive disclaimer in the front of the book.

He also repeatedly talkes about using conventional financing to get 100-125% of the purchase price. There are a few government sponsored programs, but other than that it just doesn't happen anymore. He gives you a list of lenders that will do financing like this and does so with another disclaimer that some of them may have changed their policies. Go figure.

At one point he mentions an incident of discrimination by a leander who thought women were less reliable than men. Then he says it's a sentiment that 50% of the population shares. Unless women think themselves unreliable, that leaves all men who think women are less reliable. I think he may have made this statistic up. After all 35% of all statistics are made up (including this one).

All things considered, there is some reasonable content in this book. He does talk about some non-conventional ways of financing that are still possible. They are more difficult now, but still possible. He includes just about every type of real estate out there. He aslo has an extensive list of additional information; books, packages, other sources. I'd say about 1/2 are his own real estate training packages or services. He also has some good real estate advice. However, if you don't have enough real estate experience to know the difference between good and bad advice, just stay away. I would recommend this book only for people that already have some experience in real estate. There are just too many ways for beginners to be led astray and get into trouble.

Score 3/10

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dutch Oven Beer Bread

This is a video made by "Average Iowa Guy." I couldn't find a website for him but still would like to give him credit. The recepie he used was:
  • 1 beer
  • 3 Cups self rising flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar

REI Minimalist Bivy Review

On a recent trip I used the REI Minimalist Bivy. I have read that many bivy sacs have issues with condensation. I have seen this first hand with the Sol Emergency Bivy. To this point I had done all of my backpacking and camping with several different types of tents and shelters, but I had not used an official bivy sac. I decided to try this one out.

The bivy seams to be pretty durable and waterproof, though it did not rain directly on me. I used it along with a 15 degree bag in weather that was in the mide 20s. I was so warm I never zipped my sleeping bag, although I did have my base and fuzz layers on. If I would have removed layers I probably would have been a little more comfortable and zipped my sleeping bag. We also had built a pretty amazing shelter that kept our temperature significantly warmer than immediately surrounding.

The screen is designed to lay directly on your face. This made me a little claustrophobic and I could not keep the bivy zipped. Instead I kept it open and off my face. This would be my biggest complaint of this bag.

In the morning my sleeping bag was mostly dry, but the area where my back was laying was wet. I imagine that if the bivy had been zipped closed it would have been much worse. However, compared to my friend who was sleeping in a Sol Emergency Bivy, it wasn't too bad.

In the end I will be returning the Bivy, but not because the quality is unsatisfactory. In fact I would be very satisfied with this bivy if the screen part didn't rest directly on face. I thought about trying to rig up my own support, but decided against it. I will be looking for another brand and design of bivy that keeps the screen off my face.

Mainstay Emergency Food Rations

On a recent MBO (mock bug out) the only food I had was a Mainstay Emergency Food Ration and a cricket. There were some positives and negatives to the Mainstay Bar.


  • 3600 calories in a tiny package. My wife calls it Lembas Bread for a reason.
  • Filing: I really wasn't too hungry between meals. Not that I felt stuffed, but it seemed to suppress my hunger.
  • 5 Year Shelf Life
  • Coast Guard Approved
  • Non-Thirst Provoking. It really isn't, though water does help it go down.
  • Withstands Temperatures of -40 to 300 degrees F


  • Texture: it was kind of hard, like a moist chalk. It was like nibbling on a brick.
  • Taste: at first it wasn't too bad. Kind of like a bland cake taste. But after eating it for 1/2 a day I could barely stand to eat it. This may have been simply because the lack of variation.
  • Digestion: My intestines didn't take kindly to it. It gave me the runs after a day. This can be very serious in a survival situation, but I imagine my intestines would adjust after the first few days.


Overall I think it is a really good thing to have in a bug out bag. Even though it isn't as tasty or as light as some other food options, you will be hard pressed to find so many calories in such a small package. Not to mention how durable and convenient it is. If required to survive a long time away from tradition food sources, and on the go, I think this would be an excellent choice. However, I wouldn't make this your primary source of food storage. More likely a supplement.

Bargain Survival: To Skimp or Not To Skimp?

At first glance it may seem like preparing for the end of the world will break the bank. Not so. It is true that you often get what you pay for, but just as often the most expensive thing is not necessary. I am very picky when it comes to certain things, and other things I will gladly use the cheapest thing available. Below is just a few examples on what you can skimp on and what not.

Socks: Not to Skimp

It's funny that the first thing I write about I actually don't think you should skimp on. You can easily spend $10-$20 on a good pair of socks. That's a lot considering that some brands will sell 6 pairs for $8. However, in a bug out situation your feet may be your most important and most used tool. The last thing you need is sore feet and a bunch of blisters. It's true that a lot of preparation (ie breaking in boots, toughening your feet, etc) can go a long way, but so can a good pair of socks. There are plenty of hiking socks that will help prevent blisters by wicking moisture and also creating a soft friction reducing layer. Not only that, but by buying the proper socks you can make sure to keep your feet warm in cold weather.

Food Storage: Skimp

There are a million brands of longterm food storage. However, they are all selling basically the same stuff; some dehydrated, some freeze-dried. The difference between these brands is little more than packaging, taste, and ease of preparation (ie dehydrated food might take a few min. longer to hydrate). In a "bug in" situation these differences are negligible. If you want to live like a king at the end of the world, by all means go all out. However, I feel the likelihood that I will be forced to live on my longterm food storage is slim. I would rather save thousands on food storage by canning for basic needs, and spending the money elsewhere. For more information on food storage see Emergency Prep/Get a Kit. A few quick tips are:

  1. Dehydrated tends to be cheaper.
  2. Find a LDS Cannery close by. They can help you can a lot of your food storage for super cheap.
  3. Supplement what you can get there with a cheap dehydrated brand. We endorse Wise Food Storage found at However, we also like the brand Augason Farms. By following these tips you can save thousands on a year of food storage.

Clothing: Skimp

With the exception of a good rain layer, a little knowledge of fabric types can get you a long way at a second had store. You don't have to look like a professional outdoorsman to dress like one. Avoid cotton like the plague. Silk, wool, polyester, spandex and just about any synthetic fabric is good. Your layers are:

  1. Underwear: remember NO COTTON and something that won't rub.
  2. Thermal or Base: Any synthetic thermals or body armor type clothing is good.
  3. Fuzz: Fleece (no cotton) is common for this layer, but polyester pjs are just as good.
  4. Main Layer: This is your shirt and pants that you would normally wear. Synthetics only!
  5. Rain Layer: Don't Skimp. Cheap tyvek overalls would work well. Anything breathable and waterproof.
Lighting: Skimp

I found a really cool crank flashlight for $20. A month later I found the same flashlight with halloween print on clearance for $2.50. I purchased a mini keychain type light at REI for $15 and a few months later found the same light with some marketing material printed on it for $0.99 at Napa. My point is LED technology is getting cheaper everyday. Look for clearance and marketing material for the best value. These work just as good with the possible exception of battery quality. The same rule goes for head lamps and other lighting.

Backpacks: Skimp

There are plenty of quality backpacks available online or at bargain stores such as walmart. These backpacks may weigh a few ounces more, and may not be as hardy, but I have used them successfully for backpacking and other outdoor uses. If you want a specialty pack has a number of mid and high quality packs specially designed for "Bug Out" use. You won't waste any money going with a middle grade bag, but the highest quality packs are not necessary. However, if you have money to burn, feel free.

Shelter: Not to Skimp

I used a cheap backpacking sleeping bag and tent for a long time. It worked, but I was constantly getting cold and fighting with bad weather. I remember waking up with a puddle in my tent. Another time I slept in my car after a thunderstorm completely folded my $30 tent. A good quality $100 sleeping bag and $200 tent will keep you dry and warm. In an emergency situation a little comfort goes a long way. Shelter that fails can mean disaster, especially when you can't dry out or head to the car.

In conclusion, skimping is a matter of preference. My decisions are always based on my experience and where I lack, the experience of others. The more you test your skills, the more you will know your weak points and how to improve them. Money does not equal expertise, neither does super nice gear.

Killing Sacred Cows by Garrett Gunderson

Killing Sacred Cows is about debunking financial myths that infest our society. Not only do they infest our society, but these myths keep up from reaching our full potential. The majority of people do things like contribute to their 401k, try to get out of debt, and pay down their mortgage. These are all good things, right? Then why are the majority of people strugling to get by let alone retire rich? Dave ramsey says that you have to "get mad" in order to get out of debt. You have to live on rice and beans, beans and rice. However, Kim Hubbard made a very good point when he said, "I haven't heard of anybody that wanted to stop living on account of the cost."

In economics the majority is seldom right. I would argue the same is true for personal finance. This book will open you eyes and help you start living freely, and at the same time you can start to prosper financially. Garrett addresses many of the myths I have tried to address here on Richest Man In Zion. He goes a step further and debunks other myths, chiches, and faulty retirement planning advice.

If you are wanting to go from financial jellyfish to artful swimmer, then this book is for you. I think it is a well rounded approach at creating a new financial perspective. I have long proclaimed that our current financial service industry is corrupt and faulty. With recent turbulent times, people are starting to listen. This book will help you understand what is wrong with societies finances. Garret doesn't leave you hanging there. He gives you a formula and a plan to get yourself on the right path. After destroying everything you've been taught your entire life about personal finances, he puts you on your feet again.

My rating; 8.5 of 10. I especially recomend this book for anyone just starting to educate themselves financially. It's an easy read filled with quotes and little tidbits here and there. Hang on to it a bit and learn the formula for setting things right.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Aftershock by David Wiedemer

Did you lose money with the crash of 2008? These guys didn't. In fact, they probably made millions. They called it 100%. In Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown you will find a non-biased analysis of what caused the crash of '08 and what will cause the next economic meltdown.

This book may not be well received by many professionals, but I believe it is right on. In fact there are thousands of people that profit if this book is ignored. However, those who ignore it will feel pain far worse than when the stock market fell in 2008.

This book is not a "doom and gloom" type of book. In fact, this book gives me hope for the future. The economy will survive, it just needs to change a bit. Unfortunately the change will be so fundamental it will rock the very foundation of economics as we know it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are prepared you shall not fear. In media today we can see the "doomsdayers" and the "sooth sayers." We can feel that one is closer to the truth than the other. I have a finance background and didn't need the media to tell me that we aren't out of the woods. This book has helped clarify that picture. It has given me an understanding of the economy we live in that nothing else can rival. In fact, I think this is the most needed book to purchase for anyone that is financially aware or concerned.

There is one thing I don't agree with. That is real estate. They say that property values will crash even more as potential buyers begin to disappear due to high interest rates and unemployment. I agree with this. What I don't agree with is their view on rental properties. In fact, they don't approach this subject much at all. I feel that if you can purchase a property in a desirable location, for an incredible value, do so. People will always need a place to live. As Inflation begins to hit you can increase rents and pay off the loan with inflated dollars. Will it be a struggle to keep it rented? Of coarse. But if you are smart and purchase the right property, in the right location, at the right value you will come out owning several properties free and clear in 15 years time.

The key is cash flow. They MUST cash flow and cash flow WELL! This is an absolute must. No exceptions. If you can cash flow a property with a good margin don't buy, or dump it (even at a loss). I agree with everything else they say. I would put cash flowing real-estate in their category of farm land as a business. I know what your thinking. They talked about farming but not rental properties? I know. It doesn't make sense, but what's done is done.

Hands down the best book I have read that can help prepare you and I for the future economy. A must read, and officially the highest rated book of The Financial Survivalist. I give it... *drum roll please*


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rich Dad's Conspiracy of the Rich

Besides the fact that the title is extremely ironic, it also insinuates an insider's perspective to a giant conspiracy. You will be pleased to know that this book is not about aliens or government time machines. In fact, Robert Kiyosaki begins the book by explaining that some conspiracies are more than far fetched, but this one is based on facts. In this book Robert simply points out the facts.

He explains how the uber-rich of the world have manipulated governments in order to gain more power and surpress other would be competitors. He outlines several simple ways that they have done this beginning with political leaders of our time. He also explains how the current economic situation is largely the result of this conspiracy. He breaks the conspiracy into four parts: education, money, wealth, and financial intelligence.

He then describes how this conspiracy has changed the rules of money. No longer can someone succeed by going to school, getting a "secure" job, and saving a little each month. But we can succeed by learning the new rules of money and educating ourselves financially.

New Rules of Money

  1. Money is knowledge
  2. Learn how to use debt
  3. Learn to control cashflow
  4. Prepare for bad times and you will only know good
  5. The need for speed
  6. Learn the language of money
There is definitely a conspiracy of the uber-rich to obtain power. These are the people who have so much money it no longer interests them. Of coarse there are evil people in this world. Of coarse some of them are uber-rich. Of coarse many of them have colluded to gain power and surpress the masses. It has happened throughout history, why would today be any different.

What I really like about this book is that Robert Kiyosaki continues with his well known tradition of financial education. This book is just as much about taking control of your own finances as it is about a conspiracy. By helping us understand the new rules of money, we can understand how to use those rules in our favor. Out with the old and in with the new.

7.5 / 10 stars.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Money Supply and Inflation

If you haven't been watching the "right" news stations, you may have missed the seemingly endless advertisements for gold stating several reasons to purchase, one of which is coming inflation. But is there really going to be inflation? Will it be stagflation? Is there any way to know?

This is a chart of the monetary base for the history of the Federal reserve. This includes all cash in circulation and deposits in banks. As you can see it took the fed almost 60 years to have any significant increase in the monetary base. The largest reason for this is because until the 70's we were on the gold standard. That means the US currency was backed by or represented a portion of gold. Physical, tangible, real gold. Then, without authority of congress, President Nixon severed the dollar's relationship with gold.

By severing the dollar's relationship with gold, the dollar became a fiat currency and was now back by debt (ie the promise of the U.S. to pay it's debt). By doing this it allowed the federal reserve to print as much money as it needed/wanted, and allowed the U.S. government to take on more debt. If you compare the chart of the monetary base to the chart of U.S. debt, you will notice they are strikingly similar.

Probably the most noticeable part of the monetary base is that in late 2009 it skyrockets. It more than triples from about $800 billion to over $2.7 trillion in a few short years. What does this mean? Well, the easy answer is inflation. Inflation is the eroding of the purchasing power of your dollar. That is, the more inflation the less you can buy with a dollar. An increase of the monetary base of this magnitude has never been known by the U.S. financial system. Smaller increases have caused runaway inflation before, but nothing like this. The closest thing we can compare this too is the Weimar Republic.

The Weimar Republic was created in 1918 to replace the post WWI German government. However, as part of Germany's punishment for WWI many countries of the world decided that Germany owed them for damages. The Weimar Republic started deeply in debt. In order to free itself from this debt the government decided to print the money. This policy quickly caused hyperinflation ending the Weimar Republic's currency.

So, if the kind of printing we are seeing by the Federal Reserve today is similar to the kind of printing experienced by the Weimar Republic, why are we not experiencing hyper inflation? There are three main reasons for this. The first is that the Weimar Republic increased their monetary base by more than 1000 times. The U.S. has irresposibly printed money, but not yet to the degree of the Weirmar Republic. However, the inflation problem of the Weimar Republic started slowly as well. It happend over the period of several years. Even today the Fed is talking about a third round of printing money. We have only just begun.

Second, the great economies of the world are working together to inflate their money. The U.S., Japan, the E.U., China and many more nations have all agreed to a policy of printing money. They do this so the trade between our contries is not affected so drasticly by inflation.

Third, inflation is not caused by money supply alone. It is also caused by how fast the money moves through the economy (ie velocity of money). People are scared. They know something is wrong, and the kind of spending that happened before 2008 is just not happening. However, mark my words, as money begins being used again we will experience severe inflation. As inflation starts to take hold the speed of money will increase exponentially. Just how bad will it be? Based soley on the money supply, in less than a few years your dollar could easily be worth 1/3 it's current value. Depending on how fast money starts moving through the economy, it could easily be worth even less.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Should I Buy Gold?

Gold has been a long standing choice for someone wanting security and protection against inflation and economic uncertainty. With all the financial turmoil in the world there is no wonder why Gold has recently hit record high prices. Even though more recently Gold has retracted a bit from it's high, it is most definately still in a bullish (upward) trend. It is also no wonder why there seems to be an infinate number of gold themed companies. Whether it's some ghetto shop on the corner wanting to buy or sell gold, or a mail order company, they are everywhere. Every concerned person has likely asked themself, "Should I buy some gold?"

There are a couple different reasons why someone would buy gold.
1. secure investment
2. protection against economic collapse
3. protection against inflation
4. wealth protection

1. Secure Investment: Gold is not a secure investment. The price of gold may not be as volatile as many other investments, but especially with renued market interest, it certainly can be volatile. The security felt by gold is based on it's intrinsic value. Unfortunately, the price of gold is not. Speculators and gold companies have driven the price beyond it's intrinsic value. The further from intrinsic value, the more volatile it will be. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for us to know the true intrinsic value of gold.

2. Protection against economic collapse: many of the gold companies sell gold as a way of protecting yourself from financial or economic collapse. It's true that gold will hold it's inrisic value during economic collapse, but as previsouly stated, what exactly is it's intrinsic value? There are two other points that must be considered.

First, in 1933 the U.S. government confiscated all gold exept for jewelry and collectable coins. So, in theory during financial economic collapse, the U.S could do it again. So if you wish to use gold to protect yourself from economic collapse, you would have to buy collectable coins or jewelry. The problem is, to do this you will easily have to pay a premium of 25% or more above the current gold price. That means that the price of gold would have to increase 25% or more just for you to break even on your "investment" (assuming you get spot price when you sell).

The second thing is that in the event of economic collapse, food would be just as valuable as gold. In the kind of turmoil we are talking about, a loaf of bread would trade for a bar of gold. Which do you think is cheaper to invest in, gold or wheat? Which do you think is going to be worth more in the event of utter economic and financial collapse, food or gold? You can't eat gold. So, if you are looking for something to protect you from economic collapse, try food storage or seed banks.

3. Protection against inflation: the government is printing our money. In the last few years alone the government has tripled the money supply. See "Money Supply and Inflation." Since President Nixon eliminated the gold standard without the approval of congress, the value of the U.S. Dollar has been inflating and the price of gold with it. Gold has little intrinsic value because it has limited industrial uses. In fact securities, real estate, and several other commodities have more instrinsic value and industrial uses than gold. However, the price of gold is protected by it's scarcity and investor mentality. It has forever been a symbol of wealth and a go to for protection agains insecurity and inflation. That sentiment will endure and florish through our increasingly tourbulent economy. However, there are several ways to protect yourself against inflation. Gold is only one of them. My personal favorite is real estate, but not because real estate values will be completely protected against inflation. My favorite is real estate because it can cash flow. When inflation occurs you can raise rent and pay of the debt easier. See "Real Estate to Protect from Inflation."

4. Wealth Protection: For individuals that have considerable wealth, gold can have a great degree of security. I am actually very bullish for long term gold. Do not assume this is a pass to buy gold. I would reserve this recommendation for individuals that have considerable wealth, and have done all of their preps including a Financial Survival Kit. The definition of "considerable wealth" will vary and I leave that up to you. Keep in mind that gold is volatile and will become increasingly more volatile. If you are looking for a consistently increasing balance, this is not for you.

In conclusion, in the right situation, for the right person and the right reason, gold can be a good choice for an investment. However, unless you can purchase a very large amount of gold, the premiums can be quite inhibiting. Something that would be more practical are gold etf's and gold mutual funds. For all the reasons people buy gold, there are alternative choices. Please do your research, pray about it and make wise decisions.

Be Smart and Thrive