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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Ways To Lose At Life

1. Make Excuses: The number one reason how some one fails at life is they make and accept excuses instead of accepting responsibility. Are you an object to be acted on or are you the one to act?

2. Be Negative: There are things all around to to be happy about, to be grateful for. However, there are also things that suck. You choose which ones you want to focus on. I can tell you which ones will make you happier.

3. Be Lazy: Yes, you can work 16 hours a day. Maybe you don't want to work that much, but don't be afraid to work hard. I don't know anyone that is successful that didn't work hard to get there.

4. Have No Direction: The world will stop and stand aside for a man who knows where he is going.

5. Have No Motivation: If you don't know why you are doing something, you will get distracted and discouraged. Your "WHY" is what get's you through the tough long days.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Nye Epic Fail: Creationism

I use to like Bill Nye. In fact in 6th grade they called me Ben Nye the Science Guy. Well Bill provided me with an EPIC FAIL by saying Creationism is not appropriate for children. And evolution is?

Creationism and Evolution should be taught side by side as two different guesses to a question for which we have no answer.

Can we evolve from bacteria? Sure. That isn't a big leap. However, going from nothing to a single cell organism is an incomprehensible leap. A single cell is an extremely complex thing compared to nothing. To say an amino acid can randomly turn into an organism is like saying you can solve a Rubix cube by closing your eyes and randomly turning pieces.

4,325,200,327,448,985,600! That's how many possible positions of a Rubix Cube. The record for fewest moves to solve a Rubix Cube is 20. That means that the probability of randomly solving a Rubix Cube is less than 1/325200327448985600^20. I couldn't find a calculator to compute that. I realize the actual equation for this probability is a little more complex, but you get my point.

If someone closed their eyes and randomly solved a Rubix Cube, wouldn't it be more likely that they had some kind of help? Likewise, isn't it more likely that something helped evolution along than it is that a cell magically appeared?

I'm not saying either is right or wrong. I'm saying that WE DON'T KNOW and therefore should teach that there are questions to which we have not yet found the answer. Bill Nye. Sorry bud, but even you don't have all the answers.

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Creationist Response

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dave Ramsey Epic Fail: IRA Tax Savings!

This morning I heard a Dave Ramsey moment on the radio. Dave said that a fully funded IRA, after 20 some odd years would amount to some $9 million. Ok, that's fine. We can assume the stock market never crashes and you earn Dave's token 10% rate for enough years to accumulate $9 million. That's not what I had a problem with. Every finance guy likes to tout his latest variable as if it is a fixed number.

Dave then went on to tell us that if it was a normal IRA it would all be taxable, but if it was a Roth it would be tax free! What a miracle! WHAT A LIE!

Let's compare the two. I'll make it super simple. Let's assume we invest $100 for one year and it earns Dave's famous 10%. That means at the end of the year we'd have $110. What Dave said was that if it was a traditional IRA we would owe taxes. Assuming 30% tax rate, that means $77 would be ours. However, if we had used a roth IRA it would be $110 tax free.

Where Dave EPICLY FAILS, is the assumption that we would have the same amount of money to invest in a Roth and as a Traditional IRA. Truthfully, if we had invested the $100 in a Roth IRA, that means we paid taxes on the money in the year that we contributed it. Essentially, we would have contributed $70 and paid $30 in taxes, assuming our 30% tax rate. After our year of magic 10% Dave earnings, we would have... *drum roll please* $77.

Just to recap: Traditional IRA $77, Roth IRA $77. Uh, Dave? Roth and traditional IRA are NET TAX NEUTRAL!!! Even if we still contributed the max to either account they have different maximum allowed contributions to accommodate this. Uncle Sam has to get his and ROTH vs TRADITION ARE NET TAX NEUTRAL!!!

The real questions for Roth vs Traditional are; will you be in a higher tax bracket now or later? Do you expect tax rates to be higher now or later? Do you want to owe taxes to the government or pay your tax debt now?

I'm a fan of the Roth IRA, but as I've said many times before; the real problem Dave has is that there is no one size fit's all answer.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

When Good Deals Go Bad: Meth

Some people think buying a house is easy as buying milk. It is possible. However, there are an endless number of things that can go wrong. The following is one of my experiences and how it went wrong. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

Property A started out as a multiple offer situation on a bank owned property. This is annoying, but often unavoidable when it's a really good deal. Nevertheless, we got it under contract. When doing the inspection, the property tested positive for meth. We told the bank to do remediation or cancel our contract. They canceled our contract.

Note: there are different levels of meth contamination. If someone is cooking than the house is wasted. If someone is smoking it, then the levels may still pass legal levels. This contamination is not as serious and can be solved by simple remediation. The levels on this property were barely past legal.

A week later the property was back on the market with no mention of meth in the listing. So we called the city and gave them the results of our meth test. The property was suddenly back off the market and listed as one of the cities "meth" houses. Essentially, the bank had tried to list it knowing it was uninhabitable. We got a call the next week from the listing agent wondering if we wanted to submit another offer. We submitted the offer requiring the bank to do the meth remediation and it was accepted.

I'd like to tell you we closed and everyone lived happily ever after, but not true. In fact the underwriter for our loan went out of town and the lender would not transfer the file. We couldn't close on time because we couldn't secure financing. At the last minute we switched loan officers and the new one was able to close the loan in a week.

Unfortunately we were past the contract deadline requiring us to pay $1,000 per day we went over. On the day of closing the listing agent wanted another $1,000 even though he was the one that held us up the last additional day. We threatened to sue for non-performance (failure to close). He allowed us to close.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Economic Truths of Human Behavior

A lot of people base economic opinions on mathematical equations (2-1=1). For example, tax the rich. If we tax the rich more it will give us the money the government needs for it's budget. The problem is that economics is a social science. It envolves psychology of large groups of people and how they react to economic decisions. For example, if you tax the rich too much, they move and take their money somewhere else that doesn't tax them as much. So in this case, an increase of taxes would result in a loss of tax revenue (see Laffer Curve).

The following are Natural Laws of Human Behavior in Economics originally created by G. Edward Griffin, author of Creature From Jekyll Isle.
  1. Long-term price stability is possible only when the money supply is based upon the gold (or silver) supply without government interference.
  2. For a nation to enjoy economic prosperity and political tranquility, the monetary power of its politicians must be limited solely to the maintenance of honest weights and measures of precious metals.
  3. A nation that resorts to the use of fiat money has doomed itself to economic hardship and political disunity.
  4. Fractional money will always degenerate into fiat money. It is but fiat money in transition.
  5. When men are entrusted with the power to control the money supply, they will eventually use that power to confiscate the wealth of their neighbors.
Most of these laws are referring the monetary policy, which is one of the most prominent methods for economic interference. These laws are not all inclusive, but they are a good start. It makes the point that economic decisions cannot be made by equations and people cannot be expected to act like numerals.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How To Buy a House

When I first purchased a piece of real estate, I was surprised to find out how little I knew. However, purchasing your first home is a lot easier than most people think. For anyone that might be thinking about purchasing their first property, I have put together a very brief list of the steps to owning real estate.

1. Find An Agent: A good agent is very important. There are an endless number of things that can go wrong in a transaction, some of which could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is worth it to find someone you trust. I always recommend someone that has owned real estate.

2. Get Pre-Qualified: You can't look at homes until you know how much you can afford. A good loan officer is just as important as a good real estate agent. Any good agent will have a team of professionals    to which he can refer you.

3. Shop: This is the fun part. Get to know the neighborhoods. Decide if you want a fixer upper or a new home.  Your agent can help narrow the search and show you what is on the market. A good agent will also look for properties that are not on the market yet.

4. Put In An Offer: Don't be afraid to put in multiple offers, especially with short sales. Not all offers are accepted and once an offer is accepted you still have many ways to get out of the contract.

5. Due Diligence: There are several deadlines in the Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC). The most important in my opinion is the Due Diligence deadline. Essentially, if you find something about the property that you don't like, you can cancel the contract and get your earnest money back. Your agent can help you know what due diligence you should do.

6. Close & Move In: Closing is exciting. You sign a million papers and when you're done, you own a house! Don't forget to wire the rest of the down payment!

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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Best Thing About Civilization!

This weekend I went backpacking. I was gone for four days, did about 32 miles and climbed Utah's highest peak, Kings Peak (13,527). The entire time I was gone I had no cell reception. That means no news and no internet. It was nice being disconnected for a while.

When getting back to civilization I was excited to hear some news. The first thing I found out is that I hadn't gotten a new niece yet. Something unexpected was that Mitt Romney had chosen his running mate! PAUL RYAN!

I remember when Paul Ryan gave the official Republican response to Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address. Right then and there I knew he was an excellent politician. Since I have learned much more about the House Budget Committee Chairman. He also has his own budget plan to get us on track.

Besides his excellent plan to get the country fiscally on track, my favorite thing about Paul Ryan is his ability to articulate conservative values. He understands where our rights come from and how to preserve them. I would rather have him for President, but VP is a good consolation.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki

I cannot believe I haven't done a review on this book earlier! Rich Dad Poor Dad is a Financial Survivalist classic. Not only is it a must read, but it is a must read again.

The book is the story of Robert (the author) learning about the different attitudes of money. He has a "Rich Dad" (friend's father) and a "Poor Dad" (his father). In the book he compares the two different attitudes about money that his two dads have.

Some of the topics are:

  • the difference between assets and liabilities
  • what the rich teach their kids that the poor do not
  • you house is NOT an asset
  • financial intelligence
  • corporations spend first and then pay taxes
  • the importance of investing and entrepreneurship
Poverty is a cycle of ignorance. This book is probably my favorite first step out of the rate race!

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Water Harvesting Legal In Utah!

I've been doing a lot of planing and research for my Urban Homestead Project, and one of those topics is rain catchment. I have thought for some time that rain catchment is illegal in the state of Utah. They have some pretty funky water rights laws.
For those of you who read the comments on this video, no this is not because of mormon's or because of republicans. It is because Utah is a very dry state and the water rights are based on highest priority (ie farmers and city water).

However, while studying for my Real Estate License I learned where one can look up water rights. I went to the water rights web page and found under FAQs that water catchment is legal in the state of Utah as of May 11, 2010! I can use the rain that falls from the sky! I would have any way, but it's nice to know that it is officially allowed. The details on the law are below.

  • Is the practice of harvesting rainwater legal in Utah?

  • Rainwater harvesting is now legal in the state of Utah, starting May 11 2010. Senate Bill 32 was approved in the 2010 session that provides for the collection and use of precipitation without obtaining a water right after registering on the Division of Water Rights web page ( There is no charge for registration.Storage is limited to one underground 2500 gallon container or two above ground 100 gallon containers. Collection and use are limited to the same parcel of land owned or leased by the rainwater collector.
    To read SB 32 in its entirety click here.
    To register to harvest rainwater click here.
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    Monday, August 6, 2012

    You CAN Dig a Hole and Call it a Pool!

    I've been doing some research on building a pond in my back yard. I wanted something that I could raise fish in. Because of the small size of my yard, I will most likely use Koi or Bluegill. However, I also wanted something I could cool off in. I started searching for swimming pond and found this.

    Natural Swimming pools are an ever more popular permaculture trend in Europe. I had never heard of nor seen them in the United States. I plan to bring it to my back yard... eventually.

    I think it is an excellent alternative for someone considering a pool. You can plant edible pond plants, grow edible fish, and use natural biofiltration to keep it clean. Not to mention the potential water storage. You might not save a ton on the construction, but maintenance is sure to save you an arm and a leg.

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    Friday, August 3, 2012

    How To Eliminate the Fed

    I have to admit that this is not my plan. In fact, I'm not even sure ending the Federal Reserve would be a good idea. This plan is outlined in the book "The Creature From Jekyll Island." The point is that you can't just make the fed disappear overnight, because that means our currency, literally the blood of the economy, would disappear as well. There has to be a systematic plan to break our dependence of the fed, and replace our currency with something better. Although, some of the steps are simply summarized, this is the path. This is how it could be done.

    Step 1: Repeal Legal-Tender Laws: Right now the Fed note is legal tender for all debts, public and private. By repealing legal-tender laws Fed notes will still be accepted to pay your taxes, but private individuals will be free to reject or discount them as they see fit. It will also no longer be the "official" currency of the United States, freeing it up for Step 6.
    Step 2: Freeze the Fed: Freeze the amount of Reserve Notes except for what is needed in Step 6 & 10.
    Step 3: Restore Silver Dollar: Define the "real" dollar in terms of precious-metal content (ie silver dollar). Silver is a classic and historical success. It is by far the most successful currency of the past and hopefully the future.
    Step 4: Establish Gold Back Up: Establish Gold as an auxiliary monetary reserve which can be substituted for silver when necessary; not at a fixed ratio, but whatever ratio the free market allows.
    Step 5: Restore Free Coinage: Allow anyone to bring in precious metals and have the mint turn them into gold/silver coins. This allows for the market to adjust the money supply as required to avoid inflation and deflation due to money supply constraints.
    Step 6: Pay Off National Debt: Pay off the national debt with Fed notes. Yes, this will cause Fed notes to inflate, but the deed has already been done. Congress decided long ago that we would use Fed notes to pay off the national debt. It's the only thing we have available to do so, but by doing Steps 1-5 we can free the economy from some of the consequences so it can live to thrive another day.
    Step 7: Pledge the Fed's PM Reserves: The Federal Reserve claims to have a horde of gold. That gold should belong to the citizens and needs to be used to back currency like it was originally intended.
    Step 8: Determine Real Value of Fed Notes: Determine the weight of the Fed's Gold and Silver reserves. Determine the number of Fed Notes in circulation. By knowing the number of notes and the amount of reserves, determine the actually value of Fed notes in real silver dollars.
    Step 9: Retire Fed Notes: Now we know what they are worth, offer silver and gold reserves in exchange for Fed Notes. This will retire the Fed notes from circulation and add Silver Dollars into circulation in equal numbers.
    Step 10: Issue Silver Certificates: When retiring Fed Notes, give the option to take the coinage or notes that are 100% backed by silver. Silver certificates will become the new paper currency.
    Step 11: Abolish the Fed: We have basically eliminated all that the Fed did and therefore all reason to have the Fed. It's time to abolish the Fed.
    Step 12: Re-Itroduce Free Banking: NO MORE BAILOUTS! Cut them loose from all protection at tax-payer expense. Replace FDIC with private insurance. Require banks to keep 100% reserves for all demand deposits.
    Step 13: Reduce the Size of Gov't: The scope of government should be limited to the protection of life, liberty and property. NOTHING MORE! When the government tries to do too much, it does nothing well. It becomes a strain on the people and the economy. The Fed is our 3rd national bank. BIG GOVERNMENT = NEW FED. There is no point in eliminated the Fed without decreasing the size and scope of the government's power. Otherwise, we will just get a "new" Fed in a few years.
    Step 14: Restore National Independence: Big Government and Tyranny is a threat on the domestic and international level. The only way to protect ourselves from global tyranny is by limiting our interdependance with foreign governments.

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    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Chick-Fil-A! Enough Already!

    Ask a conservative Christian, owner of a restaurant chain that is closed on the Sabbath, how they stand on gay marriage, and still act surprised!? What did you expect!?!?!?!? How can you be surprised that they support traditional marriage?

    It's ok to have a parade to celebrate your right to be gay, but the moment someone celebrates their right to be straight everyone cries intolerance! WTF?

    It's not like Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-a, said anything against a persons right to practice homosexuality. It's not like they refuse to serve people that are homosexual. All he did was exercise his right of free speech to state his position on gay marriage.

    “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," (Blaze).

    So, in support of Dan Cathy's freedom of speech, and his courage to stand up for what he believes in this world of hating hypocrites (ie liberals), Rick Santorum spoke out in support of Chick-fil-a and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee delclared August 1st Chick-fil-a appreciation day.

    This is how supporters reacted.

    This is how liberals reacted.

    Wait? Who is Intolerant Again?

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    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Urban Homestead Project

    I've taken the step of seeking out and entering into a buying agreement (REPC) to purchase a property that I will call the Urban Homestead Project! I will be sharing this project with you step by step; everything I learn.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional. I have never done this before. I have read A LOT, which might help.

    The property is approximately 280' by 80' (.5 acres). It includes two houses, a tool shed and a barn. It is fairly wooded and backed by a canal on one short side. It is located in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley.

    The main house has a 2200 sqft main house with 3 beds and 2 bath. It also includes an 800 sqft basement apartment with 2 beds and 1 bath.

    The 2nd house known as the cottage is 800 sqft with 1 bed and 1 bath. The tool shed is about 200 sqft and has power. The barn is about 160 sqft.

    The property needs A LOT of work. I will be dividing the work into different projects and will be sharing what I learn with you all. I also plan on using my recently acquired youtube account.

    My buddy Dan at made a video as well.

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