My journey down the road to preparedness - by Jeff Fitchett

If you have had a chance to read my about page you will notice my background is in finance.  The financial crisis in 2008 triggered me to dive deep into what was going on.  I have always been an introspective person and quite analytical.  As I started connecting the dots it became extremely apparent to me that our way of life was like a castle made of sand; just waiting to break apart as soon as the next wave comes crashing down.  The water is looking very troublesome in our world today.

I am not a wealthy person.  I'm like the majority of people with bills to pay and a family to support.  I have two daughters that live with me 50% of the time.  I have a girlfriend, but we do not yet live together. I'm telling you this to help you get an idea of my personal situation.  Everyone has a different set of circumstances and how they prepare will be slightly different.  

For me, the most obvious areas of immediate concern dealt with covering off the basics: home, heat, water and food.  Back when I started prepping I did not have the knowledge I do now and I had not found the treasure chest of resources available via the internet, DVD's and books.  I'm highlighting these facts because looking back I see how I could have saved myself time and money.  The financial system was in free fall in 2008 and QE (money printing) programs had not been announced yet.  I saw serious problems that made me conclude that the global financial system was on the very brink of collapse.  Hence, came my recognition that I needed to plan with a sense of urgency.  A collapsed financial system would immediately disrupt all aspects of our life.  The problems we face now are systemically dangerous and magnitudes larger than in 2008.  

Like most people who prepare, I filled my pantry.  Initially I purchased some prepackaged longterm store foods, but learned quickly that it is quite easy and inexpensive to grow food, buy in bulk and preserve foods using specific techniques depending on the type of food.  I think pinterest.com is awesome because you can find many how-to links in seconds.  I went out and bought a Berkey Water Filter.  It's a good product, but I soon found cheaper ways to deal with water.  There are so many creative people out there who come up with great ideas and share them on youtube and on other sites.  I had purchased a used wood stove and cook stove that was listed on kijiji.  I then came across rocket mass heaters and realized that the wood stove and cookstove are less efficient and more costly in money and personal effort as it pertains to chopping wood.  You can see that I initially spent money on quick-fix items that could be put into use immediately, but over time I have learned to be more self-reliant by learning new skills such as learning to make and build things.  

Housing is a tough issue for most people because it is a burdensome priority to deal with.  Property is expensive, not very liquid if you wanted to sell and in many cases people are renting.  Often finding a better housing alternative is too costly or not practical.  My main concern relates more to income than anything.  We are going to continue to see mounting job losses and this will create a negative feedback loop that will perpetuate the downward economic trajectory.  As the depression builds debt defaults will intensify greatly.  I think income disruptions will happen to everyone.  Having a mortgage will be problematic when my income drops.  Many people will be in the same predicament.  

The past and future do not exist.  We only have the now to work with.  With that said I focus my efforts on the areas I can control and work within the situation I find myself.  We are in a deflationary depression currently.  Everything besides food is dropping in price.  Most currencies are depreciating.  Stocks and bonds are dropping.  Housing prices are trending down.  Incomes are declining.  Precious metals and food are not dropping in value or price.  For anyone who follows the precious metals sector understands that the story is one with two tales.  Demand for physical bullion is outstripping the physical supply and the cost to purchase bullion is more than the spot price.  However, the spot price is being controlled by a fraudulent paper derivatives market.  I don't need to say much on this given how much it is already covered in the news.  Food is becoming an issue globally as our distribution systems and factory style farming methods are extremely vulnerable to disruption and collapse.  Central banks will likely launch massive printing programs in an effort to combat deflation, but that will more than likely cause hyperinflation.  Hyperinflation is quite common and the general public needs to eliminate the dogma that states; this time is different.  Whether we have deflation or inflation the average person's living standards will be negatively impacted

Ideally, I would love a few acres of land to build a house on and design a food system based on the layout of the land.  I am planning to build a cordwood home in the not so distant future.  I am gathering tools and specific material for this goal.  I took Geoff Lawton's online permaculture design course and I enjoyed it immensely.  I got more out of that course than I did in university, college or through other courses I have taken.  I did a permaculture plan for my existing home and have worked on implementing it over the last number of years.  I have chickens, bees, fruit & nut trees and I have a large vegetable garden area.  I also have a massive garden at a local farm (350ft x 50ft).  I'm learning through trial and error, but the journey is enjoyable.  Seeds are so cheap for what you get in return food wise.  Anyone can grow some food.  

There is so much information available online to teach us new skills.  I believe that education is the single most important thing to focus on from a prepping standpoint.  As Chris Duane often says; "If you are aware you can prepare".   I have a strong desire to help people.  I found it extremely demoralizing working within the financial sector.  The psychology of people is naturally to assimilate with others.  My clients trusted me profusely, but many struggled and fought in the tug-of-war between the harsh reality I was explaining versus the mainstream point of view that "all is good".  

I hope missives like this will help you in some way.  Many people are now realizing that there is significant change in the air.  We do not have the luxury of time on our hands.  If you lost your income source what would your immediate concern be?   The problems we face as a global population are monumental in size.  I have a hard time seeing how banks will be able to foreclose on the millions and millions of houses that have mortgages.  The Great Depression offers us some clues as to what we can expect.  However,  more recent examples of economic collapse in Argentina, Venezuela, Ukraine, Brazil, Zimbabwe to name a few will give us a better indication of what we can expect.  Again, you can spend endless hours watching documentaries and reading books and articles to get a sense of what happens.  The outcome may be a bit different once the US bites the dust.  At that point we could very well push forward into a world made by hand.  James Howard Kunstler wrote a four book series that I really enjoyed and his view is that we will devolve into a fiefdom type scenario where local towns will become the economy and micro society.  It is quite romantic in some ways, but for most people it is unimaginable. Who knows what will happen exactly, but one thing is for sure and that is that our current way of life is coming to an end.  Endless growth in a finite world of resources is not possible.  

As I previously stated, my focus has been to reduce my dependency on our existing system.   If the lights were ever to go out I would just build upon the foundation I have created over the past 8 years. I have a library of books, tools and knowledge that will keep me content and chugging along in the years ahead.  I know that with all the geopolitical and social issues bombarding us it can be a tad overwhelming, but it need not be.  I have peace of mind now.  It was a bumpy road on my path towards some tranquility, but I wouldn't change it.  Adversity brings out character in a person.  Years ago I decided that each day I would do a minimum of one thing that will better my future.  Somedays that one thing is a simple stretch or learning something new on youtube or buying a tool or making hard cider, wine & beer.  You get the picture.   If you are just coming to the realization now that the outlook for humanity is about to change drastically I encourage you to embrace this change and look for new opportunities to better your life.  There are so many amazing people doing incredible things and it gives me optimism for my future.  

If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading.

Lao Tzu

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