Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.

Back in the heady days of  2011, when I thought I knew everything about metals markets and the impending collapse and the silver moon-shot that would make me a very rich man, I decided to start “prepping” because a collapse would surely make life hard on all of us. I knew just what to do: 1) build a fence around my 5 acres, 2) begin some serious gardening and chicken ranching, 3) become buddies with all my neighbors, 4) store food and seeds, and 5)cautiously take profits from the moonshot and pay off all my debt.

I am still waiting.

I have been “damned,” metaphorically, financially, by investing in metal and other prepping needs while the economy has kept limping into a new bubble. My God! What if I had stayed in mutual funds until last fall, then, cashed out and bought metals with sub 1100 gold?  I could have made a lot of fiat had I not been convinced that each month was the last one. But I might have been “damned” without metals or preparing for hard times.

I should have listened to Darth Vader, “You don’t know the power of the dark side!

The past five years feels  like the opening scene in Indiana Jones where he is running out of the cave, and the large round boulder is following him, getting closer and closer, and when you thought he was about to get crushed, it just gets even closer, but doesn’t quite get him because it seems to be a bit farther away now, then it gets  closer but still doesn’t quite get him, then he leaps to safety, so he thinks, holding the golden idol, only to face spears, arrows and a gun.

We are here:   

Now, I am kind of  hopin’ that when I dive out of that cave entrance and roll to my feet that there is not a sociopath with a gun, and a dozen armed savages waiting to take my gold. I have to have hope, or else I’ll sink into the mire of depression about all this.

To resolve my cognitive dissonance over the entire maddening situation, I have advocated that we all keep prepping AND make fiat in this economy as long as it lasts. And I hope that is what my family has  been doing. I ended up selling my 5 acres, moving out west (USA) and purchasing a two acre property. But the end didn’t come yet, so we rented it out to make some fiat.  We currently live in a condo near the university where I work..

Lately, we have decided , while still waiting for the end, that the land up around Cortez, Colorado, near home, where I have many relatives, has better farmland, dependable wells and a large reservoir—not to mention more distance from large cities, nuclear power plants, military bases and, well, everything—we decided that this land would be a better place to put down some long term roots.

And here we are facing a critical election that probably does not matter, with Jim Willie quoting his mysterious sources, citing seven bank failures and overnight bailouts--sources who are surprised we made it this far and don’t expect us to make it until January.

It is driving me crazy!

I cannot actually go live anywhere else yet, as long as I hold a teaching position. If I do invest in some nice land in Colorado, I may be tying up valuable resources while we wait another few years for a collapse.  

But If I do not, and a collapse arrives in the meantime, we could find our family less prepared than we wanted on that fateful day.

Meanwhile (especially when I read Zerohedge), I look over my shoulder and see that boulder still approaching. My perspective is limited. I cannot tell how close it is, how large how fast it is moving, or even how fast I am running. All I can do is keep running. All I can do is keep doing everything—stacking, preparing, working at my job, planning for a future where life is stable, but also where life becomes a Mad Max world.

That boulder seems to be getting really close.

But then again, collapse seemed immanent nearly every month since 2011…  Is it just an illusion?

It has driven me mad. I can’t take it anymore… but I have to.

So we are still trying to earn some fiat, hold down a career, stack more, pay off all debt, sell our last three rental properties, and find a property where we really would like to live the rest of our lives—whether in a peaceful recovered economy retirement (Ha!) or as a subsistence farmer, enjoying life in southwest Colorado the way my great grandparents did (Aaah!).

So, to earn fiat in the meantime, I am digging in at my employer, and we are buying RV travel trailers, one at a time, and renovating them. We sell and make some fiat and buy another. If things collapse we are stuck with a house on wheels that somebody could live in. Seems like a good middle ground to me.

The entirety of that old saying is this:

You can and you can’t,

    you will and you won’t,

        you’re damned if you do, and

           you’re damned if you don’t.

It was minister Lorenzo Dow’s reply when he was publicly challenged in 1815 to explain what Calvinism was—Calvinism: that predestination theology that offered hope only to the few, the elect--but you could never know if you were one of them. (Alas that I have good friends waiting for me to agree with them on this theology. They will have to wait a while)

I don't accept "either-or" arguments. They are a logical fallacy.

Conversely, I argue that we all have a high degree of choice, reaching far beyond religion. My family can survive; my family will survive. And we are not damned, regardless of how things  unfold. Though we may face hard times either way, we plan to face them on our terms, inasmuch as that is possible.

I went for a long walk in the woods today with my daughter and our feisty dog.

Choose wisely. Above all, choose your future. Stack, prep, trade, start a yogurt shop, and keep living life.


boomer sooner's picture


Wow, just sat down to watch a little football. Pleasant surprise! Thanks Dr Jerome

Add, agree with much of what you wrote.  Cortez, Co.  beautiful area, but may be a bit far to travel in a shtf, IMHO.  I have thought that same, purchasing property in an area that would be the perfect bug out area, but the travel when zombies are cruising the highway maybe a huge issue.  I guess that's what the big 50 on the roof is for, lol.

As for investing in things which don't moonshot after purchasing, I can sympathize.  I have learned to not get involved with any investment unless time is on my side.  I am beginning to believe time is getting shorter.  The snub of Obama by China at the airport, the photo op, the Philippine presidents rant, Syria pivoting to Russia, are things that would not have happened a few short years ago.  The shine (fear) of the US seems to be thinning.

Hopefully you get your properties sold, that would be a pia so far way.

Fred Hayek's picture


typo in first line. Dampness seldom visits.

Ned Braden's picture

Well said, Dr J,

The past 5+ years have taken a tremendous toll on stackers and truth-seekers alike. Ultimately, we need good health as much as honest money. Time for Ned B to strike a balance.....

Dr Jerome's picture


I still cannot see the typo, and that also driving me crazy.

ReachWest's picture

Shared Sentiments

Thanks for this Dr. J .. I believe the sentiments in this piece are shared by many of us here in T-ville. As I read your article, I found myself nodding in agreement, having felt and experienced many of the same things.

Great article - thanks again.

Edit to Add: I see no typo in the first line .. but there is one in the line that begins "So, to earn fiat in the meantime .."

Dr Jerome's picture

I hate typos!

Aaargh! Creativity and perfection do not mix. I'll go with creativity... typos be damned.

I see it now Fred!  Thanks Gray Mare.

Grey Mare's picture

not the first line of the post

But in the intro on the home page:
When the must visits, one must start writing.


The muse is not interested in good spelling...

Dr. P. Metals's picture

Nice Article

I can relate for sure. I'd only like to add:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." - Romans 8:28-29

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." - 1 Peter 3:12

And of course:

Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

You should be memorizing verses like these...

Doople's picture

Waiting for the Apocalypse

This is not a personal shot. I think a certain level of preparation is appropriate for these times but living in constant fear is counter productive. Several years ago I knew that things were breaking down and I told all my friends and I was prepared. That was 1979 or 37 years ago. I eventually figured out that the Banksters had the ability to keep the scam going for many years. Perhaps the time for the system to break down is near but my bet is that we muddle through this for several more years. I am happy yet prepared.

Dr Jerome's picture


I am increasingly leaning your direction in all this.

Dr P--excellent perspective and apropos quotes.

canary's picture

Do you still read the "conspiracy/tin foil hat" Zero Hedge?

This's how my friends greeted me today when we met to walk our doggies.


Dr Jerome....Thanks.

tyberious's picture

This was excellent

Thanks Dr Jerome!

We all anticipated that the system would collapse sooner, rather than later. But those whom stacked, prepped and saved, will only be better off no matter what the future holds.

Armageddon may or may not come, but my family will" Not" be in a bread line or begging for assistance!

That is really why we do what we do!

tonym9's picture

you express this very well. i

you express this very well.

i have lived in the dual world of normalcy and prep for 2-3 years now.

i work and live in suburbia of a city with 5 million people...getting out of here is on my mind every day...i've done the best i can to prep in place but not go overboard losing contact with normalcy. producing pecan, 5 varieties of orange, a lime a lemon, producing banana, and plum. i'm still waiting on the pear trees but they produce good shade so they stay. The 3000 sq foot garden in in place with good dirt and no chems but is weed filled all the time so its labor intensive. i have water, dehyd food, canned food, seeds.... pb/pb dispensers and all in home know how to dispense. compound bow accurate to 50 yards. squirrels a plenty that can be taken down with the 1050 ft pt second air dispenser. no computer transportation old fords and rotating 35 gallon cans not counting whats in the tanks.

i'm about to install catchment tanks hooked to the gutters and want next to work on limited solar power.

i have to balance the 'rush' to prep with the everyday normalcy of work and family life not being eaten up by dad's crazy projects...it's tough

in 2011 i knew too...i have since come to the same opinion...the dance will continue for some time to come. balancing the rush to prep with the rhythm of life...tough.

good luck with finding your personal balance...it is key

Joseph Warren's picture

Great article Dr Jerome

Both great perspective & a wonderful sense of humor.

And I'm sure many of us here groaned in a few places . . . in recognition of thinking similar thoughts & taking similar actions over the last few years. wink

Thank you, - JW

infometron's picture

An American Pragmatist

"I don't accept "either-or" arguments. They are a logical fallacy."

Love it... I gather you've read 'Democracy and Education'?

Or maybe better, American Existentialism ;^)

If it makes you happy, it's okay.

I know, it's cryptic

Gotta love youtube:

Joseph Warren's picture


funny you should mention 1979. Awhile back I was reading a book by a free market economist, Murray Rothbard. Murray was an outstanding writer of a mountain of books covering many topics. He was well versed in world and U.S. history. He knew money, banking, and the political/economic system. He knew about bubbles and their collapse. The man was brilliant, a genius really. I was reading a book on the 1930s Great Depression that he wrote, and each edition over the years had an introduction that discussed then current economic and political conditions. The edition from the 1970s had a very ominous outlook. They were difficult times. As I recall, Rothbard thought there might even be a wide & complete economic break-down then. Of course, that didn't happen. So if someone who is a genius and who has written many books on history and economics can get it wrong, - anyone can get it wrong. No one has a crystal ball. Not us, and not others whose opinions we read and listen to. We all place our bets, and take our chances. And that's the best we can do.

Libero's picture

Dr. Jerome : your best

ever.  Seems like you got your bases covered no matter what happens, (or what doesn't).  You will find that perfect permanent home and debt free, and then you can turn your prepper instincts to building that shelter under ground (ala 10 Cloverfield Lane).

Doople, I think we have taken the road less traveled exactly at the same time.

Maryann's picture

Thanks Dr J...

Enjoyed having something to read this Labor Day.  And yes, we can relate!  I also am fascinated by your idea to rehab rv's...what a great idea! yes

On a sad note, I just read that Phyllis Schlafly passed away today.  I remember hearing about her when I was a teen and thinking she was just a fuddy-duddy.  Now I realize what a strong, courageous, wonderful woman she was and am sorry I didn't appreciate her sooner.  We lost a patriot today.  May others be raised up in her place.

Dr. P.... great verses.  Thank you.


tyberious's picture

Phyllis Schalfly


I listened to her after Bob Chapman for years! But I've gained a family and a business and had to let some things go!

She will be missed!

On a side note, I hate the passing on my heroes, not sports, though Muhammad Ali, I will always admire.

Since I was a teen, growing in the South, I questioned why is everyone a Democrat? I would watch this week with David Brinkley, I was only 16. In the 80's my first job was as a paperboy, I also would help old ladies at the grocery store for tips, I cut grass on weekends, then I got a job a Mckills you! I was a programmed Democrat, but at 16-17  I questioned why the hell was I being "taxed", because I had the luxury of being "American". I rejected that 30 years ago and I still reject the premise that because I'm able bodied, productive and hard working that I owe anyone for my existence! (FRENCH EXPLETIVE)

I will say from the voice of a 16 year old, when I showed my dad my first paycheck, Pops "what is FICA and SSI"? , he replied "that what the government gets", I said "they didn't work with me, so why they get paid with me"? 30 years later, I'm lol telling it to my wife! She's from the Philippines.

We should all started a massive lawsuit, none of us cosigned for government debt, so why am I or any other citizen libel or responsible for odious debt?

Thanks for reading, believe me it helps to keep me sane!

Heart's Yours's picture

A balance

I, for one, have been prepping and stacking since 2008. I try to enjoy each and every day, as ALL days above ground are good days and are a blessing. Did I buy some precious metals at higher prices?.....sure I did. Am I upset that the big crash has not happened?....definitely not. I am glad that the system's game of financial musical chairs continues to churn and the music continues to play. The extra time allows for more prepping and more stacking and more time to enjoy non-apocalyptic "regular", pre-crash days. It also allows me additional time to educate family and close friends on the financial house of cards that their fiat money finances are built on.....so they can prepare and stack.....while they can.....while the music still plays......My prepping and my stacking are like insurance. I hope the world doesn't implode......but if it does, I will be ready......if it does not.....I will enjoy each and every day as all days are blessings.

RickshawETF's picture

Walk the Talk

I began preparing in early 2013, and have paid the price! But, to have not done it then would have been a bigger mistake. Of course, we can't know the timing, but we do know the certainty.  With each passing month, more fiat (from my 401(k)'s) is converted to bullion, and this will continue until I have no more paper investments, but only phyzz.

Within two years, I will have made the full conversion to "real wealth", but at least I'm far enough along that if "it" happens tomorrow, I will come out of this very well on the wealth side.  I can only pray that anarchy and rebellion does not rule the day, and survival becomes the priority.  Short of that, I can take comfort in being prepared. 

tyberious's picture

@ Heart's Yours

I've got a really nice 2010 Platinum Proof that I paid 2100$ for, it's now on sale for 1500-1800, but I've no need to sell it. I haven't lost a dime, because I haven't sold an ounce!

Traders like to use the phrase "realized" gains or losses! I like to use added to my stack! Maybe I'm too much of a PM bug, the wife saves in fiat and "allows" me to save in real money and I'm cool with that.

The funny part is it feels like cheating cause when a new purchase comes in, I open the safe and start fondling all the all girls before I put the new additions in. I know its sick, but man nothing is more real than raising children, gardening and stacking PM's! It's all hard but rewarding :)

tyberious's picture

Phyllis Schalfly

She then went on to get her master’s degree in Government from Harvard University in 1945, and her J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1978.

I had no idea!

Thanks Maryann!

tyberious's picture

2016.09.02 NASDAQ Cycle Model

Monday, September 5, 2016

2016.09.02 NASDAQ Cycle Model Chart

ndq20160902sz.jpg2016.09.02 NASDAQ Cycle Model Chart

I posted this a bit earlier than usual because the NASDAQ cycle model is not experiencing a right phase shift at the moment, but seems to indicate that a major top may be forming given the predictive curve.  If in the next few weeks NASDAQ begins to descend, the model suggests much lower prices going into Spring 2017.  A reminder that all models are wrong but some are useful.  Previous iterations of the model are found below and here and here on the blog.


ndq20160819sz.jpg2016.08.19 NASDAQ Cycle Model Chart



ndq20160729.jpg2016.07.29 NASDAQ Cycle Model Chart

ChaCha Mars's picture

@Dr. J ... Charlotte Iserbyt on Phyllis Schlafly

Great piece, Dr. Jerome -- lots of big ideas, so much heart! After my parents read a book in 1971 on how to profit from the coming Depression, they made radical uprooting changes in their lives. Yes, they were financially secure but never learned gratitude for the gift of life and each new day we're blessed to open our eyes to. This below just came from Charlotte Iserbyt about Phyllis which I forwarded to my children:

SUBJECT: One general describes another

Charlotte Iserbyt was angry at Phyllis Schlafly much of their adult lives because of Phyllis' allegiance to Reagan even though Charlotte blew the whistle on Reagan's having signed education accords with Gorbachev. Below is what Charlotte just sent about Phyllis' passing today. Love, Mom

The end of an era.

Phyllis, right to the end, stood for what made America great, with her knowledge of and ability to write and speak about the U.S. Constitution, geopolitics, defense, education, and of most importance, the fact that without strong family values, nothing else really matters. That means that if civilization is not going to be reduced to barbarism, Moms must be the #1 generals in the world. Their importance exceeds that of Presidents, corporate heads, education gurus, college professors, etc.

Without Moms and grandmas running the show, in the home, during children's most formative years, civilization is doomed.

God bless Phyllis and her very extended family.


Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt
Former Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Department of Education

Dirt_Reynolds's picture

I do not view it as prepping

In 2007 I decided that I wanted dollars to mean less to me. At this point I have no debt, and clear title to all my property. I am 95% hard assets. The remaining 5% I will "realize" before the election.
If the economy takes a shit, I'm set. If the economy muddles along, I'll be just fine.
What is important is operating from a position of confidence, not uncertainty.
FWIW my stack is (at the time of this penning) up 13.39% in dollar terms. My mining shares are up 122.34%.

tyberious's picture


"What is important is operating from a position of confidence, not uncertainty".

Excellent choice of words!

infometron's picture

@Cha Cha

So true, but now, instead of great moms and granmas, we're getting women like this:


I suppose that explains a heck of a lot about what's wrong these days.

ChaCha Mars's picture


Some of us woke up! It's never too late.

ericpro's picture

Acceleration of Triggers

Sure seems like the frequency of de-stabilizing events is increasing geometrically, doesn't it? Very hard to imagine that we have much longer to wait!

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