The Beginning Of The End
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Prepare For Tough Times If Your Job Has Anything To Do With Real Estate Or Mortgages

Housing Crash 2013If you have a job that involves building homes, buying homes, selling homes or that is in any way related to the mortgage industry, you might want to start searching for alternate employment.  Seriously.  Interest rates are starting to rise dramatically, and mortgage lenders such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are all cutting thousands of mortgage-related jobs.  Last week, mortgage refinance activity plunged to the lowest level that we have seen since June 2009 and total mortgage activity dropped to the lowest level since October 2008.  Unfortunately, this is only the beginning.  Mortgage rates closely mirror the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries, the the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has nearly doubled since early May.  But it is still only sitting at about 3 percent right now.  As I have written about previously, it has a ton of room to go up before it hits “normal” historical levels, and so do mortgage rates.  As I noted the other day, some analysts believe that the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is going to hit 7 percent eventually.  If that happens, mortgage rates will be more than double what they are today.  And we have already seen the average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage go from 3.35 percent in May to 4.57 percent last week.  If interest rates continue to rise we could be heading for a “housing Armageddon” that will make the last housing crash look like a Sunday picnic.

The mini-housing bubble that we have been enjoying for the last couple of years is coming to an abrupt end.  It doesn’t matter what the mainstream media is telling you about a “sustainable” housing recovery.  Just look at how the big mortgage lenders are behaving.  They know the gig is up.  According to Bloomberg, Bank of America has just announced that they will be eliminating 2,100 mortgage-related jobs…

Bank of America Corp., the second-largest U.S. lender, will eliminate about 2,100 jobs and shutter 16 mortgage offices as rising interest rates weaken loan demand, said two people with direct knowledge of the plans.

Would they be doing that if we were really heading into a “sustainable housing recovery”?

And Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are also both eliminating thousands of mortgage-related jobs

Mortgage lenders are paring staff as higher interest rates discourage refinancing and cast doubt on how long the housing market rebound will last. Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. home lender, plans more than 2,300 job cuts, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. may dismiss 15,000.

Would they be doing this if they thought that brighter days were ahead?

Of course not.

In fact, Well Fargo just announced that it expects to make 30 percent fewer home loans this quarter because of rapidly rising interest rates.

It’s over folks.

The mini-housing bubble that the mainstream media has been hyping so much is over.

If your job has anything to do with real estate or mortgages, it is time to start thinking about a career change.

This is especially true if your job is related to refinancing mortgages.  All of the smart people have already refinanced.  As rates continue to rise rapidly, the only ones that will be refinancing are really stupid people.  According to Zero Hedge, mortgage refinance activity has already dropped by a whopping 70 percent since early May…

For the 16th of the last 18 weeks, mortgage refinance activity plunged (dropping 20% this week alone). Since early May, when the dreaded word “Taper” was first uttered, refis have collapsed over 70%. With mortgage servicers and providers large and small laying people off, it seems hard for even the most egregiously biased bull to still suggest that the housing recovery is sustainable.

And this rise in interest rates is just getting started.  The Federal Reserve has not even begun to “taper” yet.  Once that starts happening, the consequences could be quite dramatic

“In early 1994, when the U.S. recovery gained strength, the Fed started a tightening cycle and bond markets crashed not only in the U.S. but also around the world,” European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said on Tuesday.

“If spillovers were large in 1994, we can expect them to be even larger today in an even more deeply interconnected world,” he added in the text of a speech for delivery in Brussels.

Of course when the Federal Reserve “tapers” their quantitative easing it won’t really be “tightening” as much as it will be slowing down the pace at which they are recklessly creating tens of billions of dollars out of thin air.  But the effect will be similar to what we saw back in 1994.

As interest rates rise, it will become much more expensive to buy a home and much more difficult to sell a home.  To give you an idea of how dramatically interest rates can affect housing affordability, I wanted to share some numbers from one of my previous articles

A year ago, the 30 year rate was sitting at 3.66 percent.  The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $1374.07.

If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $2201.29.

Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?

It shouldn’t.  8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000.

Are you starting to get the picture?

As interest rates go up, home prices will have to fall.  Otherwise, nobody will be able to afford them.

In the end, we could end up with tens of millions more homeowners that are substantially “underwater” on their mortgages.

So who is to blame?

The Federal Reserve of course.

They created this bubble by forcing interest rates down to record low levels.

At some point it was inevitable that interest rates would start reverting back to more “normal” levels, and that “adjustment” is going to be immensely painful for the U.S. economy.

As we saw back in 2008 and 2009, when the housing industry suffers the entire economy suffers.

And the higher that interest rates go, the more suffering there will be.

So let us hope and pray that interest rates do not go any higher, but let us also start preparing for the very worst.

Is It “Anti-Faith” To Prepare For The Coming Economic Collapse?

PreppersDoes being a prepper show a lack of faith in God?  Should good Christians reject prepping altogether?  Yesterday, someone actually accused me of being “anti-faith” because I am encouraging people to prepare for the coming economic collapse.  This person believes that if I had faith, then I would make “no provision” for what is ahead and simply trust “in God’s providence alone”.  So is that person right?  Is it really “anti-faith” to prepare for the coming economic collapse?  I spent quite a bit of time thinking about these questions today.

Those that visit my site on a regular basis know that I am a Christian and I am very open about that fact.  I am someone that places a very high value on faith.  The Scriptures tell us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.  Without God, none of us has any hope.  In fact, without God I would probably be dead by now.

But faith is not about sitting on your couch and waiting for God to do everything for you.  Rather, faith is about taking action on what God has directed you to do.

What I don’t understand is why any of these Christians that are 100% against prepping continue to go to work.  If we are to make “no provision” for ourselves and simply trust “in God’s providence alone”, then why do they need to earn a paycheck?  Why can’t they just sit home and wait for God to fill up their bank accounts?

Yes, God can do mind blowing supernatural things that require absolutely no participation on our part.  I know, because it has happened to me.  But the vast majority of the time, God works with us.  He requires us to take steps of faith and obedience, and in the process He leads us, He guides us, He blesses us and He opens doors for us.

The story of Noah is a perfect example of this.  He was perhaps the very first “prepper”.  God could have kept Noah and his family safe from the flood by transporting them to some sort of very comfortable “heavenly waiting area” and brought them back when everything was dry, but He didn’t do that.  Instead, God warned Noah about what was coming and ordered him to build a boat.

So did Noah just sit back and wait for God to do everything for Him?  No, he exercised his faith by taking action.  He believed the warning and he built a giant boat.  In Hebrews 11:7, Noah is commended for his radical faith which produced radical action…

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Faith almost always involves action.  God wants to see if we are going to believe Him and do what He has instructed us to do.

And the amount of faith that Noah exhibited was staggering.  The boat that he and his family built was approximately the size of a World War II aircraft carrier.  It took a very, very long time to build that boat and collect all of the food and supplies for his family and for all of the animals.

And surely Noah must have gotten very tired of all of the mocking as he warned everyone else about what was coming for decades.

But in the end, Noah’s prepping paid off.  He and his family were saved, and everyone else drowned.

Unfortunately, there are lots of Christians out there today that are 100% against preparing for what is ahead, even though they will admit that an economic collapse is coming.

The individual that accused me of being “anti-faith” is an example of this.  The following is an excerpt from the message that this person wrote to me…

Now, although I agree with you about the things you write about the corruption of the financial system, and that there will be a collapse, yet I do not agree with you in promoting people to be self-sufficient contrary to the Lord’s teaching. If you truly have God then no provision needs to be made at all for yourself, just trust in God’s providence alone.

This individual agrees that a collapse is coming, but insists that we should do absolutely nothing to prepare for it.

Is that really what God would have us do?

In Genesis 41, God revealed to Joseph that there would be seven good years followed by seven lean years.  So did Joseph party for seven years and “trust in God’s providence alone” for the lean years?

No, Joseph engaged in an “emergency food storage project” unlike anything that the world had ever seen up until that point.  By heeding God’s warning and taking action, he ended up saving the nation of Egypt and his entire family.

Some people believe that preparing for hard times means that you are “fearful”, but I don’t see it that way at all.

Rather, I believe that there is hope in understanding what is happening and that there is hope in getting prepared.

The people that stick their heads in the sand right now are going to get blindsided by what is coming.  Many of them will totally give in to despair when they realize that they have lost everything.

I think that we would all benefit greatly by taking advantage of the wisdom found in Proverbs 6:6-11…

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

You don’t prepare when the storm hits.  Rather, you prepare while the storm is still off in the distance.

Throughout the Scriptures, those that “prepare” are commended.

For example, just check out the following parable of Jesus that we find in Matthew 25

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Do we want to be like the wise virgins or the foolish virgins?

Yes, we never want to become obsessed with material things.  We need to keep our priorities in order and focus on the things that are really important.

But that doesn’t mean that we can all just sit on our couches, eat chips, and wait for God to do everything for us.

In my opinion, we have been warned about the coming economic collapse in a multitude of different ways.  At this point, what is coming should be glaringly obvious to anyone with half a brain.

On my site, I have shared thousands upon thousands of facts and statistics that show that a horrific economic collapse is coming.  If you are new to all of this, the following are just a couple of articles that can get you started…

-“40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

-“Show This To Anyone That Believes That Things Are Getting Better In America

I am trying to do my best to warn people about what is coming from my little spot on the wall.  In the Scriptures, those that are aware that a threat is coming are responsible for warning others about it.  The following is a short excerpt from Ezekiel 33

Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

Are you a watchman on the wall?

Are you blowing your trumpet?

That is one of the reasons why I work so hard on my articles.  I hope that people will use them as a tool to help warn others about what is coming.

My goal is never to create fear.  Rather, my goal is to wake people up and give them hope.

Yes, very, very painful economic times are coming.

Those that heed the warnings and diligently prepare will have a good chance of weathering the coming storm.

I honestly don’t know what those that have made absolutely no preparations are going to do.

The Dow Hits An All-Time High! Translation: A Bubble Is Always Biggest Right Before It Bursts

The Dow Hits An All-Time High! Translation: A Bubble Is Always Biggest Right Before It Bursts - Photo by KazekiReckless money printing by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has pumped up the Dow to a brand new all-time high.  So what comes next?  Will the Dow go even higher?  Hopefully it will.  In fact, it would be great if the Dow was able to hit 15,000 before it finally came crashing down.  That would give all of us some more time to prepare for the nightmarish economic crisis that is rapidly approaching.  As you will see below, the U.S. economy is in far, far worse shape than it was the last time the Dow reached a record high back in 2007.  In addition, all of the long-term trends that are ripping our economy to shreds just continue to get even worse and our debt just continues to explode.  Unfortunately, the Dow has become completely divorced from economic reality in recent years because of Fed manipulation.  All of this funny money that the Federal Reserve has been cranking out has made the wealthy even wealthier, but this bubble will not last for too much longer.  What goes up must come down.  And remember, a bubble is always biggest right before it bursts.

Fortunately, it looks like an increasing number of people out there are starting to recognize that the primary reason why stocks have been going up is because of the Fed.  Just check out this excerpt from a recent article by the USA Today editorial board

The Federal Reserve’s purchases have driven interest rates to near zero. This has stimulated the economy but not without cost. Savers, particularly older ones trying to live on income from their investments, are starved for safe options. They’ve been forced into stocks, which is one reason the market has been acting as if it’s on steroids. Further, with borrowing costs low, Congress and the White House have less incentive to rein in the national debt. Rock-bottom interest rates have also distorted markets.

The best indication that the Fed’s bond-buying purchases are pushing stocks up artificially is that investors run for cover whenever there is a hint that the Fed might change course, as happened recently. On Monday, billionaire superinvestor Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett told CNBC that markets are on a “hair trigger” waiting for signs of change from the Fed. The market is “hooked on the drug” of easy money, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told Reuters.

Fisher’s comparison of Fed policies to a drug is apt. Markets might not like the idea of the drug being withdrawn now, when the Fed holds a portfolio of $3 trillion. But the withdrawal symptoms will be a lot worse once the portfolio grows to $4 trillion, or more.

Those sentiments were echoed by Gordon Charlop, a trader at Rosenblatt Securities, during a recent appearance on CNBC…

“The Wizard of the Fed, Ben [Bernanke], has done a great job propping up the market, but the question is how does the wizard move the pin from the balloon without blowing the whole thing up?” said Charlop. “This is getting out of balance and he’s got to figure out a way to justify the levels that we’ve gotten to and draw back on some of the stimulus.”

Of course, in the end, the bursting of this bubble is going to be very messy.

The Fed has dramatically distorted the market in an attempt to make things look good, but now the financial markets are completely and totally addicted to easy money.  Is there any chance that the Fed will be able to take away that easy money without causing disaster?

There are only a few ways that this current scenario can play out.  The following is what Stanley Druckenmiller recently told CNBC

I don’t know when it’s going to end, but my guess is, it’s going to end very badly; and it’s going to end very badly because, again, when you get the biggest price in the world, interest rates, being manipulated you get a misallocation of resources and this is going to end in one of two ways – with a malinvestment bust which we got in ’07-’08 (we didn’t get inflation). We got a malinvestment bust because of the bubble that was created in housing. Or it could end with just monetizing the debt and off we go in inflation. So that’s a very binary outcome – they’re both bad.”

What the Fed has done to the money supply in recent years has been absolutely unprecedented.  Just check out how our money supply has skyrocketed since the last financial crisis…

M1 Money Supply

So what happens when the amount of money in an economy rises rapidly?

Well, if I remember Econ 101 correctly, that would mean that prices should go up.

And that is exactly what has happened.  And since most of the money that the Fed has created has gone into the financial system first, it should not be a surprise that we have seen a bubble in financial assets.

In a previous article that I wrote last September, I warned that QE3 would cause stocks to go up…

So what have the previous rounds of quantitative easing accomplished?  Well, they have driven up the prices of financial assets.  Those that own stocks have done very well the past couple of years.  So who owns stocks?  The wealthy do.  In fact, 82 percent of all individually held stocks are owned by the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans.  Those that have invested in commodities have also done very nicely in recent years.  We have seen gold, silver, oil and agricultural commodities all do very well.  But that also means that average Americans are paying more for basic necessities such as food and gasoline.  So the first two rounds of quantitative easing made the wealthy even wealthier while causing living standards to fall for all the rest of us.  Is there any reason to believe that QE3 will be any different?

Of course not.

So will stocks continue to go up indefinitely?

No way.

As I have also written about previously, the money printing that the Fed is doing right now is not nearly enough to stop the mammoth derivatives crisis that is coming.

A derivatives crisis was one of the primary reasons for the financial crash of 2008, but most Americans still have no idea what derivatives are.

They can be very complex, but I think that it is easiest just to think of them as side bets.

When someone buys a derivative, they are not buying anything real.  They are simply betting that something will or will not happen.

For example, if you bet $100 that the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series this year, would you be “investing” in anything real?

Of course not.

Well, it is the same with most derivatives.

Today, Wall Street has become the biggest casino in the entire world and trillions of dollars of very reckless bets have been made.

In fact, most Americans would be absolutely shocked to learn how exposed to derivatives some of our largest financial institutions are.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles entitled “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“…

It would be hard to overstate the recklessness of these banks.  The numbers that you are about to see are absolutely jaw-dropping.  According to the Comptroller of the Currency, four of the largest U.S. banks are walking a tightrope of risk, leverage and debt when it comes to derivatives.  Just check out how exposed they are…

JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $1,812,837,000,000 (just over 1.8 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $69,238,349,000,000 (more than 69 trillion dollars)

Citibank

Total Assets: $1,347,841,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $52,150,970,000,000 (more than 52 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $1,445,093,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,405,372,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $114,693,000,000 (a bit more than 114 billion dollars – yes, you read that correctly)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,580,395,000,000 (more than 41 trillion dollars)

That means that the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 362 times greater than their total assets.

When the derivatives crash happens, there won’t be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

So enjoy this little stock market bubble while you can.

It will end soon enough.

And of course stocks should not be this high in the first place.  The underlying economic fundamentals do not justify these kinds of stock prices whatsoever.

A recent CNN article noted that the last time the Dow hit a record high that unemployment in the U.S. was much lower…

Consider this. When the Dow hit its now old record high back in October 2007, the economy was still in good shape — although it was just a few months away from the beginning of the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate in October 2007 was 4.7%. In January of this year, the unemployment rate was 7.9%.

And that same article also pointed out that GDP growth and housing prices were also much stronger back in 2007…

Gross domestic product grew 3% in the third quarter of 2007. Revised figures from the government last week showed that GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012 rose a scant 0.1%. But I guess that’s good news considering the first estimate showed a 0.1% decline.

And despite all the hoopla about the steady recovery in the housing market over the past year, real estate is still in a bear market. The most recent level of the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, one of the most widely watched gauges of the health of housing, is still 24% below where it was in October 2007.

We have never even come close to recovering from the last economic crisis.  Most Americans seem to have forgotten how good things were back then, but a recent Zero Hedge article included some more points of comparison between October 2007 and today…

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Then 14164.5; Now 14164.5
  • Regular Gas Price: Then $2.75; Now $3.73
  • GDP Growth: Then +2.5%; Now +1.6%
  • Americans Unemployed (in Labor Force): Then 6.7 million; Now 13.2 million
  • Americans On Food Stamps: Then 26.9 million; Now 47.69 million
  • Size of Fed’s Balance Sheet: Then $0.89 trillion; Now $3.01 trillion
  • US Debt as a Percentage of GDP: Then ~38%; Now 74.2%
  • US Deficit (LTM): Then $97 billion; Now $975.6 billion
  • Total US Debt Oustanding: Then $9.008 trillion; Now $16.43 trillion
  • US Household Debt: Then $13.5 trillion; Now 12.87 trillion
  • Labor Force Particpation Rate: Then 65.8%; Now 63.6%
  • Consumer Confidence: Then 99.5; Now 69.6

And of course anyone that reads my site regularly knows that the U.S. economy has been in a state of persistent decline over the past several years.

Just consider the following data points…

-The percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is actually employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.

-In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

-According to one study, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

-Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 during that time span.

-At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

That is the other side of the Fed’s insidious money printing.  Incomes in the United States are going down, but the cost of living is skyrocketing.  This is squeezing millions of Americans out of the middle class

When Debbie Bruister buys a gallon of milk at her local Kroger supermarket, she pays $3.69, up 70 cents from what she paid last year.

Getting to the store costs more, too. Gas in Corinth, Miss., her hometown, costs $3.51 a gallon now, compared to less than three bucks in 2012. That really hurts, considering her husband’s 112-mile daily round-trip commute to his job as a pharmacist.

Perhaps you can identify with this.  Perhaps your paychecks are about the same as they used to be back in 2007 but the cost of living has gone up dramatically since then.

I wish I could tell you that things were going to get better, but unfortunately there are all kinds of indications that things are about to get even worse for the U.S. economy.  If you doubt this, just read this article and this article.

Yes, the Dow is at an all-time high.  But do you want to know what else has hit an all-time high up in New York?

Homelessness.

The following is from a recent report in the New York Times

An average of more than 50,000 people slept each night in New York City’s homeless shelters for the first time in January, a record that underscores an unsettling national trend: a rising number of families without permanent housing.

And apparently families and children have been hit particularly hard over the past year…

More than 21,000 children—an unprecedented 1% of the city’s youth—slept each night in a city shelter in January, an increase of 22% in the past year, the report said, while homeless families now spend more than a year in a shelter, on average, for the first time since 1987. In January, an average of 11,984 homeless families slept in shelters each night, a rise of 18% from a year earlier.

Of course New York is far from alone.  There has been a surge in homelessness all over the United States.  In fact, at this point more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in U.S. history.

But the Dow just hit a record high so we should all be wildly happy, right?

Hopefully we can get more Americans to understand that the “prosperity” that we are enjoying right now is just an illusion.  It isn’t real.  It is a bubble created by reckless money printing by the Fed and reckless borrowing by the U.S. government.  If you can believe it, the U.S. government borrowed another 253 billion dollars during the month of February alone.

The Fed and the U.S. government will continue to engage in this kind of reckless behavior until the bubble eventually bursts.

So what should all the rest of us do?

We should be feverishly preparing for the hard times that are coming.  As Daisy Luther recently wrote about, one of the most important things to do is to create an emergency fund.  Instead of going out and blowing your money on the latest toys and gadgets, set some money aside so that you will have something to live on if the economy crashes and you suddenly lose your income.

Just remember what happened back in 2008.  Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them had no financial reserves, a lot of Americans suddenly could not pay their mortgages and they lost their homes.

So put some money away in a place where it will be safe – and that does not mean the stock market.

Jim Cramer of CNBC and a lot of the other talking heads on the financial news channels are trying to encourage ordinary Americans to jump into “the bull market” right now and make some money, and many people will take their advice.

But the truth is that a bubble is always biggest right before it bursts.

This bubble is awfully big right now, and I don’t know how much larger it can possibly get.

Stock Market Bubble

Lock Your Doors And Prepare To Defend Your Family

Do you think that is an alarmist headline?  Well, I am not the one saying this.  Law enforcement authorities all over the country are telling citizens that they can no longer deal with all the crime and that people need to lock their doors and prepare to defend their families.  Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.  The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year, but the city is dealing with bankruptcy and has been forced to lay off 80 police officers.  But San Bernardino is not the only city dealing with this kind of a thing.  In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year, and to say that there is a “crime wave” going on in Oakland would be a massive understatement.  If you can believe it, in Oakland “more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day.”  Sadly, there simply are not enough police to keep up with it all.  Due to budget cuts, it is being projected that by February the size of the police force in Oakland will be about 25 percent smaller than it was back in 2008.  But what is happening in Detroit is perhaps even more frightening.  Today there are about 1,000 fewer police officers in Detroit than there was a decade ago.  But crime just continues to rise.  So now even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  With very little police protection, an increasing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands.  As I noted in a previous article, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit increased by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is approximately 2200 percent above the national average.  But don’t laugh at what is happening in cities like San Bernardino, Oakland and Detroit.  What is happening in those cities will be coming to your community soon enough.

From coast to coast, criminals are becoming increasingly bold and increasingly desperate.  My sister lives near a large city in the middle part of the country, and a house across the street from the one her family just moved into was recently vandalized.  The criminals took all of the exposed copper pipe and copper wire that could be accessed easily.

Other criminals have become very focused on gold because it has soared in value and it is easy to resell.  For example, there have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.  According to the CBS News affiliate in Sacramento, criminals are just ripping these chains right off of the necks of unsuspecting citizens, and many of the victims that have tried to resist have ended up getting hurt.  Normally the criminals sell off the jewelry within 24 hours, so solving these crimes is a real challenge…

Most victims of the robberies are female (65 percent), and 44 percent of victims are age 50 or older, the data showed. The most common time of day for the crimes were between 12 and 5 p.m., though this only accounts for about a third of the crime.

Parino said robbers took even police by surprise initially.

“When [criminals] do these crimes, they normally get rid of the items within 24 hours,” he said.

That’s why police are now checking up on secondhand stores and pawn shops on a weekly basis.

Many dismiss reports such as these as “anomalies”, but how many “anomalies” do we need before we finally admit that we have a widespread problem in our society?

Personally, there are many major U.S. cities that I would not want to be living right in the middle of right now.

Just take a look at Chicago.  It has become one of the deadliest major cities on the entire globe.  In recent years we have seen massive cuts to the police budget coupled with a dramatic increase in gang activity in Chicago.

The murder rate in Chicago is way up this year and the police force is massively outnumbered.

As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit.  It is their job to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

How would you like to be outnumbered 100,000 to 200?

When things really hit the fan, Chicago is going to be a complete and utter nightmare.

And sometimes we get a peek into how people will behave when things break down.  Just look at what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

If you can believe it, some criminals actually took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to loot homes in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens.  That was the neighborhood where approximately 100 homes burned down.  The suffering of the residents of that neighborhood made headlines all over the nation.  But that has not stopped criminals from moving in and taking advantage of their vulnerability…

Cops told the victims burglaries are on the rise in Breezy Point.

There were 14 home break-ins from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18, compared with none a year before.

And in the 28 days before that, there were 48 burglaries. Only four break-ins were reported in that time period the year before.

In the days after Sandy, some of the hardest-hit areas were plagued with store looting, home burglaries, street muggings and other crimes.

There are some very sick people out there.  These days you simply do not know who you can trust.  The person you meet on the street may be perfectly fine or they may be a total sicko.  It is so hard to tell.  But without a doubt there are a lot of sickos out there.  Just check out what authorities in Pennsylvania found recently

Animal welfare workers say 11 puppies were found dead and skinned near an eastern Pennsylvania park.

Sadly, authorities in that area had come across another similar incident recently…

The discovery is second disturbing incident in the county in less than a week. About 20 miles away in Lynn Township police say a dog was discovered skinned and cooked.

Who would do such things?

What in the world is happening to this country?

Things are changing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  As conditions shift, we are all going to have to carefully evaluate what is necessary to protect our families.  Don’t ignore all of the warning signs.  Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be okay is not going to help anything.

So what do all of you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below…

14 Questions People Ask About How To Prepare For The Collapse Of The Economy

How in the world is someone supposed to actually prepare for an economic collapse?  What should you do with your money?  How can you make sure that your family is going to be okay?  How can you prepare if your resources are extremely limited?  These are the kinds of questions people ask me all the time.  Once people understand that the economy has been collapsing and will continue to collapse, then the next step for most of them is that they want to get prepared for the storm that is coming.  So where should someone get started?  Well, the truth is that no two people are facing the exact same set of circumstances, so preparation is going to look different for each individual.  But there are certain core principles that we can all benefit from.  For example, when a financial storm is coming that is not the time to be blowing thousands of dollars on vacations and new toys.  You would be surprised at how many people there are that claim that they have no extra money in their budgets and yet somehow have plenty of money to run down to Wal-Mart and buy a big stack of DVDs.  When times are difficult, each hard-earned dollar becomes much more precious, and we all need to start getting into the habit of making the most out of our limited resources.  The seemingly endless prosperity that we have all been enjoying for decades is coming to an end, and most of us have absolutely no experience on how to deal with truly hard times.  If you are under the age of 60, it might be a really good idea to read a book or two on what conditions were like during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  There is a lot that we can learn from our own history.

Another key characteristic that we will all need in the years ahead is flexibility.  Anyone that has spent any time in the military knows that very few plans ever work out perfectly.  As the global economy breaks down and the world becomes increasingly unstable, conditions are going to change rapidly.  What might work really well in one situation might be the exact wrong thing to do 6 months later.  If you are not willing or able to adapt to dramatic change then you are going to have a lot of difficulty in the years ahead.

Many people refer to me as a “doom and gloomer” because I run a website called “The Economic Collapse” and I am constantly pointing out that the entire world is heading for a complete and total financial nightmare.

But I don’t think that it does any good to stick your head in the sand.  I believe that there is hope in understanding what is happening and I believe that there is hope in getting prepared.

It is those that are completely oblivious to what is really going on that will be totally blindsided by the coming crisis.  When they finally realize what has come upon them many of them will totally lose it.

From my little spot on the wall I am trying my best to warn people so that they can have a chance to be prepared for what is coming.

I am not spreading doom and gloom.

I am spreading hope.

And I want to make another point.  Generally, things are going to be getting progressively worse as the years roll along.  As I have written about before, I believe that the economic collapse is not a single event.  Rather, I see it as a series of waves that will be punctuated by moments of great crisis.

So advice about preparation is going to be different depending on whether you are talking about the short-term or the mid-term or the long-term.  Hopefully you will keep that in mind as you read my answers to the questions below.

The following are common questions that people ask about how to prepare for the collapse of the economy….

#1 How Do I Get Started?

When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, what was the biggest danger for most Americans?

The biggest danger was that they would lose their jobs and not be able to pay their bills.

During the last recession, millions and millions of Americans did end up losing their jobs.

And because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck many of them also ended up losing their homes.

You do not want that to happen to you.

So what I am about to say next is not considered to be very “sexy” in prepper circles, but it is absolutely crucial advice.

You need to have an emergency fund saved up that can cover your expenses for at least six months.

That way if you lose your job or your business goes under you will be able to keep going for a while as you figure out what your next move will be.

These days it takes the average unemployed American nearly 40 weeks to find a new job, and it will likely be even worse in the next major economic downturn.

So make sure that you have plenty of cash saved up just in case.  If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck you are extremely vulnerable.

#2 What Should I Do With My Money?

I get this question a lot.

People always want to know where they should put their money.

Well, my first piece of advice is always to build an emergency fund.  See #1 above.  Most people do not have one.

After that is done, I am a big believer in not putting all of my eggs into one basket.

Sometimes people will tell me that they are going to take all of their money out of the banks because they don’t feel safe having their money in them.

Well, if you stick all of your money in your mattress, what happens if there is a fire or what happens if someone robs you?

That is why I believe in spreading your risk around.  Having money a bunch of different places is a good thing.

But one place I would not put it is in the stock market.  If you were fortunate enough to catch the recent rally you should get out while the getting is good.

If you have blind faith in the stock market you are going to be deeply disappointed eventually.  I do not have a single penny in the stock market, and a couple of years from now that is going to look like a very wise move.

#3 Should I Invest In Precious Metals?

A lot of people that write about the economic crisis in this country really advocate investing in precious metals because they tend to hold value over time (unlike fiat currencies).

I like precious metals myself, but if you are going to invest you need to get educated so that you know what you are doing.  If you go in blindly you are likely to get burned at some point.

In addition, you need to be prepared for wild fluctuations in price over the coming years.  There will be times when gold and silver absolutely soar and there will be times when they drop like a rock.

So if you are going to play the game you need to be able to handle the ride.

#4 Should I Get Out Of Debt?

Many that write about the coming economic collapse say that you shouldn’t even bother to pay off your debts because the financial system is going to collapse anyway.

I don’t see it that way.

I don’t believe that our banks are going to totally collapse and suddenly go out of existence.

Not in the short-term anyway.

So I believe that it is actually a good idea to get out of debt.  When financial troubles hit you don’t want a horde of bill collectors coming after you.

There is a lot of freedom that comes with getting out of debt, and in this environment it is wise to become as independent of the system as possible.

#5 What If I Don’t Have Any Money To Prepare?

In this kind of economic environment it is no surprise that I get this question a lot.

Many families are just barely scraping by each month and they do not have much money to put into anything.

And I can definitely sympathize with that.

However, I would say that there are very, very few families out there that do not have anything that can be cut out of the budget.

The truth is that American families are experts at blowing money on really stupid stuff.

In general, I recommend that all families do what they can to reduce their expenses.

The smaller of a financial footprint you have, the better off you will be and the more resources you will have to help you get prepared.

Also, now is the time to be looking for ways that you can increase your income.

For many Americans, starting a side business is a way to bring in some extra cash.  Yes, this will cut into your television watching time, but now is not the time to be lazy.

The time you spend working hard now while the sun is still shining will pay off later.

Don’t be afraid to work harder than you ever have before.

#6 Should I Rent Or Buy?

This is a question that I also get a lot, and it really depends on your situation.

If you rent, that gives you a lot more flexibility.  You can move for a new job or a new opportunity without having to sell a house.  And you get to avoid a lot of the expenses and hassles that come with being a homeowner.

If you buy, you get to “lock in” your housing expenses for many years.  In a highly inflationary environment this would potentially be very beneficial.  And interest rates are very low right now.

In addition, it is going to be really hard to rent a really good “prepper” property.  If you are looking for a property that is away from the big cities where you can grow your own food and become more independent of the system, then in most cases you are going to have to buy such a property.

But if you do buy, it is going to be much harder to move if something does happen and you need to go somewhere else.

#7 What About My Health Condition?

Over the next few years, our health care system should continue operating at least somewhat normally.  But the truth is that our health care system is in horrible shape and it is not a good thing to be totally dependent on pills and doctors.

Even if economic conditions were perfect it would be a good idea to learn what you can do on your own to improve your health.  But this is especially true as we move into a time of great economic instability.

#8 Should I Be Storing Food?

Yes.

However, even though the United States is experiencing a historic drought right now, I do not believe that there will be major food shortages in America this year or next year.

Down the road, however, is a different story.

And your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.  As I wrote about the other day, this drought is likely to cause food prices to go up substantially, and so the food you store now might end up being twice as valuable a few years from now.

In addition, you never know when a major disaster or emergency is going to strike so it is always good to become more independent of the system.

I encourage everyone to learn how to grow a garden.  Yes, your space may be limited, but there is actually one family that produces 6000 pounds of produce every year on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.

If they can do such extraordinary things with their little plot of land, why can’t you try to do what you can with what you have?

#9 Should I Be Storing Water?

It is always good to have some water on hand in case disaster or emergency strikes.

And you should be rotating whatever water you currently have on hand because you don’t want water sitting around indefinitely.

But what is much more important is to make sure that you and your family have access to a source of water that you can depend on if disaster strikes and the grid goes down.

In a previous article I discussed a report put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops” that detailed just how incredibly vulnerable our water supply really is….

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.

So yes, water is definitely something you should be accounting for in your preparations.

#10 Other Than Food And Water What Other Supplies Will I Need?

Anything that you use on a regular basis or that you would use in an emergency situation is something that you should consider storing up.

For example, if you could not buy any more toilet paper from the stores, what would you do?

Basic things like that are often overlooked by many preppers.

In a previous article, I listed dozens of things you may want to consider storing.  Preparation is going to look different for every family, but hopefully that list will give you some ideas.

#11 What Happens If The Power Grid Goes Down?

This is a very important consideration – especially if you live in a colder climate.

Some people have a backup generator for such circumstances.

Others have set up wind and/or solar systems for their homes.

Alternative energy solutions are great if you can afford them, and they will enable you to become much more independent of the system.

But not everyone can afford to put in solar panels or a big wind turbine.

So do what you can with what you have.

#12 Should I Leave The Big Cities?

A lot of people ask me this, but there is no easy answer.

In this day and age, a good job is like gold.  It can be really, really tough to give up a good job and move to the middle of nowhere.

But without a doubt, society is starting to come apart at the seams and I do expect rioting and major civil unrest in our major cities at some point in the future.

In the end, you need to do what is right for you and your own family.  Nobody else can make this decision for you.

#13 Should I Get Some Self-Defense Training?

America seems to be overrun by psychopaths and sociopaths these days, and in such an environment being able to defend yourself becomes more important.

When criminals come to your home, they are not going to sit down and have a debate with you.  They are not going to care what your political outlook is or if you sympathize with their plight.

The criminals are simply going to do what they came there to do unless someone stops them.

So yes, some self-defense training may come in very handy in the years ahead.

#14 What Should I Do If My Family And Friends Won’t Listen To Me?

This is another very common question that I get.

What should people do if nobody will listen to them?

Well, you just have to do the best that you can.  If they won’t listen now, just keep planting seeds.  Keep sending them articles that are packed with statistics and information that show why an economic collapse is going to happen.

In the years ahead we are all going to need our families and our friends because communities will endure what is coming much better than “lone wolf” individuals will be able to.

No matter how hard you prepare, at some point you are going to need the help of someone else.

So don’t be afraid to reach out to others.

If nobody among your family or friends will listen to you at the moment, you may have to prepare on your own right now.

In fact, you may have to do extra preparation because at some point it is probably inevitable that your family and friends will come to you for help.

That is the perspective that my wife and I take.  We are not only preparing for ourselves.  We are also preparing for the family members that may have to depend on us someday.

Nobody said that preparing was going to be easy.

But beyond any physical preparations, I also believe that it is absolutely crucial to prepare mentally and spiritually.

The times that are coming are going to be incredibly challenging.  They are going to require a great deal of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength.

If you are a “lone wolf” that believes that you don’t need anyone or anything, then I feel sorry for you and I honestly don’t know how you are going to make it.

None of us have all the answers.

I know that I certainly do not.

I have just written nearly 3000 words, but after I post this article I know that some of the great visitors to my site will post ideas that I never even considered for this article.

We can all learn from each other.  Most of the people that I have met that think “they know it all” are some of the most clueless people that I have ever come across.

I never want to stop learning, and hopefully that is the case for you as well.

If we work together, perhaps we can all make it through the horrible, horrible times that are coming.

10 Things That We Can Learn About Shortages And Preparation From The Economic Collapse In Greece

When the economy of a nation collapses, almost everything changes.  Unfortunately, most people have never been through anything like that, so it can be difficult to know how to prepare.  For those that are busy preparing for the coming global financial collapse, there is a lot to be learned from the economic depression that is happening right now in Greece.  Essentially, what Greece is experiencing is a low level economic collapse.  Unemployment is absolutely rampant and poverty is rapidly spreading, but the good news for Greece is that the global financial system is still operating somewhat normally and they are getting some financial assistance from the outside.  Things in Greece could be a whole lot worse, and they will probably get a whole lot worse before it is all said and done.  But already things have gotten bad enough in Greece that it gives us an idea of what a full-blown economic collapse in the 21st century may look like.  There are reports of food and medicine shortages in Greece, crime and suicides are on the rise and people have been rapidly pulling their money out of the banks.  Hopefully this article will give you some ideas that you can use as you prepare for the economic chaos that will soon be unfolding all over the globe.

The following are 10 things that we can learn about shortages and preparation from the economic collapse in Greece….

#1 Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or to Wal-Mart and get all of the supplies they need.

Unfortunately, that is a false assumption.  The truth is that our food distribution system is extremely vulnerable.

In Greece, many people are starting to totally run out of food.  Even some government institutions (such as prisons) are now reporting food shortages.  The following was originally from a Greek news source….

The financing for many prisons has decreased to a minimum for some months now, resulting in hundreds of detainees being malnourished and surviving on the charity of local communities.

The latest example is the prison in Corinth where after the supply stoppage from the nearby military camp, the prisoners are at the mercy of God because, as reported by prison staff, not even one grain of rice has been left in their warehouses. When a few days earlier the commander of the camp announced to the prison management the transportation stoppage, citing lack of food supplies even for the soldiers, he shut down the last source of supply for 84 prisoners. The response of some Corinth citizens was immediate as they took it upon themselves to support the prisoners, since all protests to the Justice ministry were fruitless.

#2 Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

If you are dependent on medicine in order to survive, you might want to figure out how you are going to get by if your supply of medicine is totally cut off someday.

In Greece, medicine shortages have become a massive problem.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article….

Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need.

“When we see red, we want to cry,” Mavrou said. “The situation is worsening day by day.”

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.

#3 When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

Try this some time – turn off all power to your home for 24 hours and try to live normally.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand just how dependent we are on the power grid.  Without power, all of our lives would change dramatically.

In Greece, authorities are warning of an impending “collapse” of the power grid.  If it goes down for an extended period of time in Greece, the consequences would be catastrophic….

Greece’s power regulator RAE told Reuters on Friday it was calling an emergency meeting next week to avert a collapse of the debt-stricken country’s electricity and natural gas system.

“RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system,” the regulator’s chief Nikos Vasilakos told Reuters.

RAE took the decision after receiving a letter from Greece’s natural gas company DEPA, which threatened to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.

#4 During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

If the power grid goes down, you will soon no longer have clean water coming out of your faucets.  That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely imperative that the power grid stay operable in Greece.

Sadly, most people don’t understand just how vulnerable our water system is.  In a previous article, I quoted from a report that discussed how rapidly our water supply would be in jeopardy in the event of a major transportation disruption….

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.

What will you do when clean water stops coming out of your faucets?

You might want to start thinking about that.

#5 During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Most people have become very accustomed to using either debit cards or credit cards for almost everything.

But what would happen if the financial system locked up for a period of time and you were not able to use them?

This is something that the citizens of Greece are potentially facing in the coming months, and this is something that all of us need to start thinking about.

#6 Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

Big corporations are already making extensive plans for how to protect their stores in the event that Greece switches from the euro to the drachma.

The following is from a recent Reuters article….

British electrical retailer Dixons has spent the last few weeks stockpiling security shutters to protect its nearly 100 stores across Greece in case of riot.

The planning, says Dixons chief Sebastian James, may look alarmist but it’s good to be prepared.

Company bosses around Europe agree. As the financial crisis in Greece worsens, companies are getting ready for everything from social unrest to a complete meltdown of the financial system.

#7 During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

During this economic depression, alternative currencies have already been popping up in Greece.

When things fall apart on a global scale, will you have things to barter for the things that you need?

#8 Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

When you think of the Great Depression of the 1930s, what do you think of?

Many people think of images of people jumping out of buildings.

Well, something similar has been happening in Greece.  Suicide statistics in Greece have been absolutely soaring during the last couple of years.

Once prosperity disappears, many people feel as though life is not worth living anymore.

#9 Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Just remember what happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and what has happened recently in places like Zimbabwe.

The truth is that it can happen anywhere.

Right now, Greeks are pulling their money out of the banks because they are worried that their euros will be turned into drachmas which would rapidly lose value.

If I was living in Greece I would definitely be concerned about that.  The return of the drachma seems to get closer with each passing day.  Just check out these screenshots.

#10 When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

Has the government of Greece come to the rescue of all of those that are deeply suffering right now?

Of course not.  The truth is that the Greek government can barely take care of itself at the moment.

History has shown us that governments simply cannot be counted on when things hit the fan.

Just remember what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In the end, the only one that can be counted on to take care of you and your family is you.

So you better start preparing.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about the other day, time is rapidly running out for the global financial system.

Even some of the top economic officials in the world are warning that another major crisis could be on the way.

Just check out what World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the other day….

“Events in Greece could trigger financial fright in Spain, Italy and across the eurozone. The summer of 2012 offers an eerie echo of 2008.”

He also compared a potential exit of Greece from the eurozone to the collapse of Lehman Brothers back during the last financial crisis….

“If Greece leaves the eurozone, the contagion is impossible to predict, just as Lehman had unexpected consequences.”

So what are some things that the average person can do to get prepared?

Well, a recent article on SHTFplan.com entitled “The List: A to Z Survival for the Abysmal Times Ahead” contains hundreds of ideas for preparing for the chaotic economic environment that we are heading into.

Preparation is going to look different for every family.  No two situations are exactly the same.

But there are some practical steps that nearly all of us can take to better position ourselves for what is coming.  Now is the time to get educated and now is the time to take action.

Or you could be like all of those that laughed at Noah while he was building that big boat.

In the end, things did not work out too well for those folks.


Read This First Before You Decide That Preppers Are Crazy

Do you believe that preppers are a few cards short of a full deck?  Do you assume that anyone that is “preparing for doomsday” does not have their elevator going all the way to the top floor?  Well, you might want to read this first before you make a final decision that all preppers are crazy.  The information that you are about to read shook me up a bit when I first looked it over.  To be honest, I had no idea how incredibly vulnerable our economic system is to a transportation disruption.  I am continually getting emails and comments on my websites asking “how to prepare” for what is coming, so when I came across this information I knew that I had to share it with all of you.  Hopefully what you are about to read will motivate you to prepare like never before, and hopefully you will share this information with others.

Originally, I was going to write an article about the rising unemployment in Europe today.  Did you know that unemployment in the eurozone is now at a 15 year high?  It has risen for 10 months in a row with no end in sight.

But I have written dozens of articles about the economic crisis in Europe already.  So before starting on that article I started thinking of all the “preparation” questions I have been getting lately and I went over and checked out one of my favorite preparation websites: shtfplan.com.

Well, an article had just been posted over there about a report put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops“.

I went and found that original report and I was stunned as I read it.

The truth is that our “just in time” inventory and delivery systems leave us incredibly vulnerable to a nationwide disaster.

You see, it is very expensive to hold and store inventory, so most manufacturers and retailers rely on a continual flow of deliveries that are scheduled to arrive “just in time”, and this significantly reduces their operating expenses.

This is considered to be good business practice for manufacturers and retailers, but it also means that if there was a major nationwide transportation disruption that our economic system would grind to a halt almost immediately.

Once store shelves are picked clean, they would not be able to be replenished until trucks could get back on the road.  In the event of a major nationwide disaster, that could be quite a while.

So what could potentially cause a nationwide transportation shutdown?

Well, it is easy to imagine a lot of potential scenarios – a volcanic eruption, a historic earthquake, an EMP attack, a solar megastorm, a war, a major terror attack, an asteroid strike, a killer pandemic, mass rioting in U.S. cities, or even martial law.

If something caused the trucks to stop running, life in America would immediately start changing.

So exactly what would that look like?

The following is an excerpt from the report mentioned above put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops“….

*****

A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours

• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day

• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days

• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
transactions.
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week

• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks

• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks

• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.

This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.

*****

Earlier in the report, the reasons why America’s water supply would be in such jeopardy are described in greater detail….

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.

Can you see why I always recommend that you make sure that you and your family have access to fresh water and a way to purify it?

This report should be very sobering for all of us.

What would you and your family do if you had no food, no clean water and the stores were shut down because their supplies were gone?

An article by Tess Pennington entitled “Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First” contains a list of 100 things that are likely to disappear from store shelves first.  The following are the first 10 things on her list….

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of
thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home
uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile
ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat

You can find the rest of the list right here.

Most Americans just assume that they will always be able to run out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart and buy anything that they need.

But if the trucks stop running that will change almost overnight.

After reading the information above, does anyone out there still believe that preppers are crazy?

The truth is that there are good, solid reasons why millions of Americans have been storing up food, water filters and other supplies.

Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and all of us need to get educated about how to prepare for the difficult years that are coming.

One nightmarish event can change everything that we take for granted in a single moment.

Just remember what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  Even though that was only a regional disaster, millions of people had their lives completely turned upside down by that tragedy.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because the U.S. has always known tremendous peace and prosperity since World War II that things will always be that way.

Our lives will only continue to be “normal” as long as the trucks continue running.

When the trucks stop running in America, there will be mass chaos.

Are you prepared for that?

Yes, It Is Halftime In America – So Now Is The Time To Get Your Financial Priorities In Order

Did you see the Chrysler commercial featuring Clint Eastwood that aired during the Super Bowl the other night?  It was entitled “It’s Halftime In America”, and it was truly a great ad.  To me, it was the most memorable Super Bowl ad this year by far.  It conjured up images of the America that so many of us remember so fondly.  It reminded us of how life in this country used to be.  Unfortunately, America is currently headed down a road that is taking us in the opposite direction.  Yes, it is halftime in America, but there is no guarantee that what is ahead is going to be great.  In fact, if we continue to make the same choices that we have been making, a national nightmare is inevitable.  Let us hope and pray for a fundamental change of direction for America, but let us also prepare for what is going to happen if that does not take place.  There is a “pause in the action” at the moment, so now is the time to get your financial priorities in order.  Now is the time to prepare for the storm that is coming.  If you wait until the storm is right on top of you it will probably be too late.

But I must admit that I really loved that ad.  First of all, any Super Bowl ad that includes Clint Eastwood is almost automatically going to be a great ad.  Secondly, it was very refreshing to see a commercial address some of the very serious problems that this country is facing.

The ad ended with Eastwood making the following statement….

“This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Ya, it’s halftime in America, and our second half is about to begin”

A video of the complete ad is posted below….

Kudos to Chrysler for producing such an extraordinary ad.  I have to admit that I actually prefer Chrysler to Ford and GM.  I like their style and I think they make some very nice vehicles.

But Chrysler is far from out of the woods.  They almost went under during the last recession, and if the U.S. economy experiences another major recession they might not survive it.

Yes, Chrysler did earn $183 million in 2011.

But in 2010, Chrysler lost $652 million.

Hopefully Chrysler can string a few more profitable years together, but there is certainly no guarantee that is going to happen.

As I have written about previously, the U.S. auto industry is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.

The combined U.S. market share of the “Big Three” U.S. automakers fell from 70% in 1998 to 53% in 2008.

When you examine the numbers over a longer time frame, they are even more striking.

For example, in 1970 General Motors had about a 60 percent share of the U.S. automobile market, but today that figure is down to about 20 percent.

In an effort to cut costs, U.S. automakers have been eliminating jobs and sending jobs out of the country.

In the year 2000, the U.S. auto industry employed more than 1.3 million Americans.  Today, the U.S. auto industry employs about 698,000 people.

So the U.S. auto industry has not exactly bounced back.

They have survived for now, but there is no guarantee that this is going to be permanent.

Many considered the Chrysler Super Bowl ad to be an endorsement of the auto bailouts and of the economic policies of the Obama administration.

But that wasn’t the case at all.  In fact, it turns out that Clint Eastwood was actually a harsh critic of the auto bailouts as Reuters recently noted….

“We shouldn’t be bailing out the banks and car companies,” actor, director and Academy Award winner Eastwood told the Los Angeles Times in November 2011. “If a CEO can’t figure out how to make his company profitable, then he shouldn’t be the CEO.”

And Clint Eastwood certainly did not mean to endorse Obama during the commercial.  The following is what Eastwood told Fox News about the ad….

“I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys, and there is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain.

l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.”

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that America has not “bounced back” since 2008.  Sadly, the truth is that we are even in worse condition than we were back then….

-Our national debt has risen by about 50 percent since 2008.

-Our states are in more debt than ever.

-Our local governments are in more debt than ever.

-The U.S. economy has lost about 6 million jobs since 2008.

-Approximately 14 million more Americans have gone on food stamps since Barack Obama became president.

-More Americans are living in poverty than ever before.

-New home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011.

-The number of “long-term unemployed workers” has more than doubled since Barack Obama entered the White House.

-The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

-Despite claims that things are “getting better”, the truth is that the percentage of Americans that actually have jobs is almost exactly the same as it was two years ago.

Amazingly, Barack Obama seems to think that he has done a good job and that he deserves a second term.  On Sunday, Obama told NBC’s Matt Lauer the following….

“I deserve a second term, but we’re not done”

Many Americans are buying into the hype.  A new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found that Barack Obama’s approval rating is actually rising.

But it won’t last long.  As the economy crumbles his approval rating will start going down once again.

The sad truth is that America is in the middle of a long-term economic decline because our economy is not built on a solid foundation.

The false prosperity that we are enjoying now is being fueled by the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  We consume far more wealth than we produce, and we pay for it by constantly going into more debt.

At some point the merry-go-round is going to stop and when it does it is going to be incredibly painful.

An increasing number of Americans are waking up to this reality.  One recent survey found that 61 percent of all Americans believe that there will be “a major catastrophic event” in the United States within the next 20 years.  A significant portion of them believe that the “catastrophic event” will be economic in nature.

That same survey found that only 15 percent of all Americans feel as though they are completely prepared for the coming catastrophic event.

Remember what happened back in 2008.  When the financial crisis struck, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly.  Since many of them did not have any money stored up, a lot of them lost their homes as well.

Since it is “halftime in America”, now is the time to get prepared for the next great financial crisis.

Now is the time to reduce your expenses.

Now is the time to get out of debt.

Now is the time to set aside some money so that you will have something to live on if you do happen to lose your job.  I typically recommend that you have at least 6 months of living expenses stored up.

Now is the time to start a side business.  Even if you are broke, there are some businesses out there that you can start up for no money.  It isn’t easy to start a business with no money, but it can be done.

Now is the time to grow a garden.  Fruits and vegetables are often some of the most expensive items at the grocery store, and by growing them yourself you become less dependent on the system.

And that is the key.  We all want to try to become less dependent on the system.

There is no guarantee that your job will always be there.

There is no guarantee that your insurance company or the financial institutions that you are working with today will always be there.

There is no guarantee that the government will be there “to save you” when you really need it.

Yes, it is halftime in America.

So get ready for the second half, because it is going to be a real nightmare.

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