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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How To Replace a Roof

How To Tuesday!
How to Replace a Roof.

Step 1: Tear it all off. First the shingles and then the bad boards.
Step 2: Replace the bad boards.
Step 3: Tar Paper. Just lay it evenly in layers, overlapping about 6 inches. Use staples or special nails with washer looking plastic pieces.
Step 4: Add shingles. Start with 1/2 shingles for the bottom layer and work your way up. Make sure to space shingles equally. At the top add the crown layer over the ridge. I just cut shingles into thirds for those pieces.

Roofing isn't hard. Doing it well is a little difficult, but after a few you tube videos I'm sure you can get it right. Replacing this garage roof cost me about $600.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

United Socialist States of America

A while back my father gave me a t-shirt as a gift that said, "Fight Socialism." I wore that shirt today and at the pet store the cashier commented on my shirt. She asked me where I got it and I told her. Then I added that I wore it because we live in a socialist nation and we need to stand against socialism.

She asked, "How is the United States a Socialist Country?" I quickly answered:

  1. 1 of every 4 dollars spent in the economy are directly spent by the U.S. Government.
  2. Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae
  3. Auto Bailouts
  4. Bank Bailouts
  5. Department of Energy
  6. Medicare & Medicaid
  7. Food Stamps
  8. Social Security
  9. Department of Education
  10. Department of Agriculture
  11. Federal Drug Administration
This list of government intervention and attempts at social planning goes on and on. How could we think anything different?

She said, "That's and interesting perspective." I shook my head and said "Good day."

Then, walking out of the store I thought interesting perspective? I'm not some right wing nut job. I have a finance degree. I am well read politically and economically.

People need to wake up. Socialism is not an on/off switch. It's a sliding scale and a slippery one at that. Freedom is a constant uphill battle and the moment we stop fighting for economic freedom we start sliding downhill. 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

World Wide Web Wednesday! Animated Knots has dozens of useful knots.

Quick animations so you can see them tied.

Step by step instructions.

Lists of uses and very well organized.

Learn you knots, it could save your life.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson

Non-Fiction Friday!

One of my all time favorite books, and my first true dabble in recreational reading of history, The Ascent of Money is an amazing account of the development of currency. The book adequately describes different types of financial systems and financial cycles.

Ferguson aslo connects significant historical events with related financial cycles. Money is a huge part of our world, and it matters what happens to it. Our fiat system is inherently flawed and in danger of failure. All financial systems have failed in the past and ours will too. The question is when?

History repetes itself. Can we learn from our past mistakes? Can we study history and make an educated guess on the future? I believe so, but never will enough people do so to break from of the cycle known as the condition of man. However, by knowing the past we can prepare for the future.

The Ascent of Money is a must read for a financial survivalist. There are no options here. One of my favorite books, I give it a 10!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aesop's "The Grasshopper and the Ants"

The other night my wife asked me, "Why do we live our lives worrying about all these "what if's? What if there's a flood, earthquake, government coup? That's no way to live!" My answer was, "If we prepare, we shall not fear."

I believe that in my lifetime, I will experience the end of the fiat financial system and the end of our current government in the United States. Societies have life cycles just like businesses. All the great societies have gone through the same stages, and the United States has entered it's decline. Is it physically possible to break this cycle? Yes, but it is against human nature to do so.

My point is that my life brings many uncertainties, and life is to precious to worry about all the unknowns. That means you can ignore them, or prepare. I choose to prepare. Instead of spending money on jewelry, cars and nice clothes, I spend it on preps and investments. The following is a short, but to the point story about why "it is not what you spend, but what you save that matters."

Be Smart and Thrive

The Grasshopper and the Ants

In a field one summer's day a grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content.  A group of ants walked by, grunting as they struggled to carry plump kernels of corn.

"Where are you going with those heavy things?" asked the grasshopper.
Without stopping, the first ant replied, "To our ant hill.  This is the third kernel I've delivered today."
"Why not come and sing with me," teased the grasshopper, "instead of working so hard?" 

"We are helping to store food for the winter," said the ant, "and think you should do the same." 
"Winter is far away and it is a glorious day to play," sang the grasshopper.
But the ants went on their way and continued their hard work.

The weather soon turned cold.  All the food lying in the field was covered with a thick white blanket of snow that even the grasshopper could not dig through.  Soon the grasshopper found itself dying of hunger.
He staggered to the ants' hill and saw them handing out corn from the stores they had collected in the summer.  He begged them for something to eat.

"What!" cried the ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter?  What in the world were you doing all last summer?"
"I didn't have time to store any food," complained the grasshopper; "I was so busy playing music that before I knew it the summer was gone."

The ants shook their heads in disgust, turned their backs on the grasshopper and went on with their work.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

5 Steps to Winning: Need VS Want

Money Monday!

I think we often forget the difference between a need and a want. Obviously we know the difference, but how many people purchase a Wii on credit? Maybe they get the credit card thinking, "We need a new bed and this is the only way" or, "Our car broke down and this is the only way to pay for the repairs." It doesn't matter if they use the credit for emergency repairs, if they are purchasing a Wii at about the same time they might as well buy the Wii on credit.

There are times when you can spend money on wants. If you have consumer debt or need debt for living expenses you SHOULD NOT be purchasing wants. In my opinion if you aren't Bill Gates then you shouldn't be purchasing wants. However, that is a little extreme.

5 Simple Steps to Need VS Want:

  1. Ask yourself, "Is this a need or a want?"
  2. Don't make impulse purchases. Giving yourself time to think about the purchase will help you distinguish if it is truly a need or a want.
  3. Create an allowance in your budget for wants.
  4. Repair instead of replace broken or worn items.
  5. Destroy credit cards if they are a temptation. I think with a little discipline, credit cards are better than traveling with cash, but an alcoholic shouldn't hang out in bars. A shopoholic shouldn't carry cards.
As always, be smart and thrive.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Harry Potter: A Real SHTF Scenario

Today, Non-Fiction Friday, is Fiction Friday. I have spent many years not reading the Harry Potter Series. In fact, almost everybody I know was surprised that I wouldn't read them. I have my reasons. However, recently I have given in. After watching all the movies, I finally decided to read the Harry Potter Series. What I have recently discovered is that Harry Potter is a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario.

Plan a Normal Life

Like anyone normal, Harry, Ron and Hermione all planned normal lives. Even after Voldemort had risen, Harry was still considering a career as a Auror (dark wizard hunter). They all planned on going to school and passing their wizard exams, and then going on to some wizard type career. They were not preppers, but luckily they were wizard. Wizards, like boyscouts, are always prepared.

Big Government

The Ministry of Magic obtains such power as to detain any "half blood." In Harry Potter they are half bloods that are rounded up, but in real life it could be Jews, Japanese or Germans, two of which have been rounded up and imprisons in the United States!

The ministry denies the rise of Voldemort, which allows him to gain further power. They also try an change education and use large amounts of propaganda in the Daily Prophet to control the masses. Eventually the government is nothing but a tool of dark wizards.


Voldemort had returned and started WWII (Wizard War II as in his second attempt), which derailed all the plans of Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Bug Out

Harry, Ron and Hermione all had to drop out of school in search of the horcruxes, magical items that contained part of Voldemort's life force and in a sense made him imortal. They had to find and destroy all the horcruxes before they could destroy Voldemort himself.

Unlike you or me, they had magic to help them with their bug out. They had all the supplies they needed in Hermione's purse. They slept in a tent, running here and there, constantly fighting to find and destroy horcruxes.

The story terminates in a big battle, in which they are able to destroy the last of the horcruxes and Voldemort. Sorry if I ruined it for you. Though, I have not finished the books, I am told by my wife that they never return to school, never graduate or pass their wizard exams. Just like in a real SHTF scenario, all their plans changed.

As I plan for my future, I do so with the realization that retirement as we now know it may not exist by the time I reach the proper age. That is why I am a financial survivalist. If you are prepared you will not fear. In the mean time, be smart and thrive.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

To Skimp or Not To Skimp Part 2

First I would like to apologize for not being very consistant over this holiday season. I have been super busy traveling with and visiting family.

Last time I did "To Skimp or Not To Skimp" I mentioned several things that I think you can and cannot skimp on. Today I would like to go over some more items based on my most recent trip.

Camping Cup: Not to Skimp

I just got back from a MBO (mock bug out) in the snow. As part of our challenge, we took no water. However, there was plenty of snow, so we were constantly melting it in the fire. The camp cup I brought was the Coleman 12 Ounce Enamelware Coffee Mug. It is definitely not acceptable. As a cup, it works great, but definitely not versatile enough for what it should be. By the end of the trip the blue coating was chipping off into my food/water.

A Camp Cup should be stainless steal. You should be able to cook on it as well. It should also have a folding handle that allows you to pick up the cup even when it's hot. This Olicamp Space Saver Cup is an excelent, inespensive example of what you should have. Spend an extra $6 and get the cup that may save your life.

Knife: Not to Skimp

A knife is an essential piece of equipment. If your knife fails you may find yourself in a lot of trouble. Don't buy the cheap knife because there is a big difference in quality. A good basic survival knife is the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife. This has all the essential parts. It's strong and reliable. The cheap knife is no comparison.

Sleeping Bag: Not to Skimp

A sleeping bag is your bed. It's where you spend a large portion of your outdoor life. When the weather turns, your life could be on the line. There is a giant difference between a $30 bag and a $300 bag. A little extra money on a bag like the Marmot Trestles 20 Sleeping Bag will lighten your load, improve your comfort and keep you warm. It's worth it.

Food: Skimp

You don't have to spend $8 per meal to get a light, easy to prepare and tasty meal. If you have room in your bag, try Top Roman or similar products. One of my favorites is Bear Creek Country Kitchens Cheddar Potato Soup. It's easy to prepare and very tasty. I usually, supe up the soup a little (pun intended).

Sleeping Pad: Skimp

As I experience on my last trip into snowy mountains, insulation from the ground in essential. However, you don't have to spend $300 on a good pad. I got a ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad (Steel Blue, Regular) at a second hand store for $5. It works great. It's soft, insulated, and when camping I sleep better now than I have in a long time.

I have been told more than once, that I am so tight with money I squeak when I walk. When it comes to skimping, I know just as well as anyone. But sometimes you just need to step up and spend the money. Sometimes it will save you a lot of frustration and in the long run, money. Be Smart and Thrive.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. This book is perfect to follow up my blog "What is Retirement to You?" Tim Ferriss is an amazing entrepreneur. He is what I aspire to be as an entrepreneur. This is a step by step guide to break free from the 9-5.

Tim does not condone being a bum and only working 4 hours a week. In fact, he believes that through outsourcing, prioritizing, atomization and entrepreneurship you can make more money in those 4 hours than you ever did in a week. In fact, Tim has and does do it, and yes, it is possible for anyone to do it.

This is not a "get rich quick" scheme. In fact, if you follow Tim's step by step process, you're in for a lot of work. Ton's! But once you get everything up and going you can do what you love and only work 4 hours a week. Some may work 5 or 6, but you get the point.

This book is not the only reason, but it's one of the big reasons why I walked away from the financial planning firm I was working for. My job could not be automated, I could not take my clients with me, I could not sell it, and I did not enjoy it. Tim doesn't recommend walking away from your job until you're ready, and not at all if you're happy.

I love Tim's life philosophy. It works hand in hand with mine. I would rather do something I love and be poor, than do something I hate for my entire life just for money. Fortunately I am good enough with money that I won't be poor.

This is a great book. It's definitely one of my favorites, and a must read for any financial survivalist. I give it
9 Stars

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

World Wide Web Wednesday! is a FREE budgeting software. Create an account and attach all your online financial accounts and it will automatically update all your balances. Create a budget and it automatically categorizes your transactions. Each time you visit the gas station or the grocery store, it will categorize your transaction to the proper budget category.

If it doesn't you can change your tansactions and it is suppose remember your changes. However, I have yet to experience this. It is a wonderful software and I am confounded as to how it is free. Despite my lack of understanding, it is free.

You can set up weekly updates and alerts for numerous things. You can monitor your spending and view your spending history. This is by far the best FREE online budgeting software. Check it out, and get your spending under control. Maybe this time you can keep your budget with the help of

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How To Tie an Improvised Climbing Harness

If ever lost, stuck or trying to self rescue, a harness may be required when confronting rough terrain. Unless you are on a climbing trip, chances are you won't have one handy. However, it is possible to tie a harness with some webbing or spare para cord. It's fairly simple, so try it at home and memorize it. Learn your knots. They are a priceless skill.

These photos have been provided by Animated Knots by Gorg.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

What is Retirement to You?

Because of relatively recent financial events, there are an incredible amount of middle aged Americans who are no longer sure when or if they will be able to retire. I fear that by the time I reach "retirement age" retirement as we know it may no longer be a likelihood.

Our financial world is changing rapidly and doing so in stealth. Most people don't realize the significance of the current financial events or their long term concequences. Financial rules are being rewritten, and my children will learn a difference set of rules than I.

Luckily my definition of retirement is different than most people's. For most people retirement means you work until you have enough money to do what you really want to do. However, my definition of retirement is financial independence; when your passive income surpasses all your living expenses. This means your financial situation is such that you don't have to work if you don't want to.

Do What you Love

The first and most important step of a smart retirement strategy is never planning to retire. "If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life." I don't think that's true, because even if you love it you often must work very hard in order to be successful. However, the point is that if you are happy and enjoy what you are doing, then in a worse case scenario, it won't be so tragic if you cannot retire.

One of the sadest retirement strategies is working a job you hate hoping that one day you won't have to, and THEN you can enjoy life. Life is too short to spend it doing something you hate. I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

Earn Passive Income

The whole goal of retirement is reaching a financial point in which your passive income surpasses your living expenses allowing you to no longer work. Most strategies are saving as much as you can until you have enough money to live off the interest. This strategy seldom works the way people hope, and even when it does it takes most of a person's life to save enough money.

This strategy is also designed around the financial industry. Most people in the financial industry are not paid by how well they invest money, in fact almost no one is. Most financial professionals are paid based on "assets under management," that is the ammount of money you have invested. They get a percentage of this amount every year no matter how much money they make or lose for you. It is in their best interest to convince you to invest all the money you can, and even when you are retired to keep it invested.

My strategy is to create passive income through cash flow. It doesn't matter if my net worth is $10 million or $0; if my passive income is more than my living expenses I have reached that "retirement goal." I have become financially independant.

My preferred way of creating passive income is real estate. Real estate is unique in that it uses other people's money to create passive income. There are plenty of hoops to jump through, and it is difficult to make it happen, but if you are successful it is worth it. Real estate also has many other financial advantages including tax advantages and inflation protection. My goal is to do this by the end of 2012, and significantly pass it by my 30th birthday (two years).

Invest in Yourself

"When it comes to economics, the majority is wrong 99% of the time." Rather than buy into the hype and follow the croud into a failing system, educate yourself. It is well worth it to take the time to financially educate yourself. Make yourself a better steward of your finances than some guy with a fancy title and an expensive conflict of interest. There are numerous places to put your money other than an IRA. Read Alternatives To Traditional Retirement Accounts. Be Smart and Thrive.

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