On second thought …

Time to ponder, look around and consider.

Perhaps another sermon for the choir might be appropriate now and then, because as the world around us changes, our plans may have to change to better meet new challenges. The past weeks since college students left campus have given me time for reflection. Combined with a couple of interstate road trips, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder, look around, and consider how my ever-shifting family might face these future changes.

Firstly, I applaud the prepper movement and heartily joined in back in 2009. Buckets of stored food still fill our pantry, though we are trying to consume and replenish.

And as I have come to understand the financial crisis that ensued back then I have concluded the following:

  • The central banks did NOT fix our monetary & banking systems.
  • The banking and political realms are riddled with corrupt individuals as well as entire organizations, who continue to violate US, international and God’s laws.
  • The orchestrated effort to remove the POTUS from office has clearly revealed the nature and reach of this “deep state.” All hope from Q aside, the world is in an epic struggle over power. I suspect it will not end nicely and the Deep State may well prevail.
  • Recessions & depressions are cyclical and the next one will hit with an already broken money system that serves indebted individuals, corporations and nations. Perhaps only the debt-free will survive.

The world will change.

Perhaps I have been convinced that the future is approaching much more quickly than it did in 2009 by gold’s all-time high, war drums, and the recession predictions that now are being confirmed by nearly every data point. Perhaps action, if one has not done so already, has become not just prudent, but essential. But when it comes to one’s home location, decisions are complicated and change can be expensive.

During my aforementioned recent travels, my wife and I observed with great interest some different rural areas, discussing the pros and cons of each. We drove through an area called “Golden Valley,” about 30 miles north of Kingman AZ. The area was developed some years ago as a developer sold 2.5 acre parcels for $700. The area is very attractive for retirees on a budget, and, given its remote desert situation (not that far from Death Valley) has shown surprising population growth and signs of a local economy.

Most of the homes in that area could be called “places” rather than brick or framed homes—You have seen “places” – 1-5 acre parcels with mobile homes and collections of storage sheds & broken down cars. It’s an inexpensive way to live, especially if you dislike pressure from neighbors to keep up with the Jones’s down the road.

As you might guess, Golden Valley is popular for preppers. In fact, much of northern AZ is popular for people who set up bug-out bunkers and second homes. Our family has 40 acres in the remote high elevation forest that we have never developed, with neighbors over the hill that want to be far away from it all. And I’d think twice about sneaking onto one of these properties to steal zucchinis from their greenhouse. Probably not worth an ass full of buckshot or losing a race with big dogs. Due to the remoteness and thin rocky soil, that acreage is now for sale, cheap, and I would not sell it to a friend.

I have to question the wisdom of the decision to invest in a bug-out property, or even a second home so remote from civilization. Arizona, and much of the western US, has scant rain, deep groundwater, thin soil, and severe weather. Such places may keep one alive (a bit longer) but a family would not likely enjoy living there. Your stored goods eventually run out and you have to be able to provide a steady source without Sam’s Club bulk foods. This is NOT good farmland. And, not without precedent, our fine government may to military rule, and then round up “anarchists” (AKA preppers) and relocate them to prison camps. Worse yet (here comes the fear mongering on my part) when our fine leaders engage in the kinds of atrocities that sociopathic governments are prone to do, I really don’t want to live in a neighborhood of preppers that advertises itself as a destination and makes it all too easy to be found.

Especially troubling is the “business” of prepping. Here in AZ, I see overt advertising of prepper properties, prepper conventions, gun shows, with dealers selling equipment and supplies to would-be self-sufficient city folk. These sellers use fear appeals to persuade: tales of societal collapse, zombie hordes roaming the streets, failure of food distribution networks, power and communication failures, and even nuclear holocaust. I need not mention the firearms dealers who insist that we all need copious means of self-protection. Here in AZ we have even have real estate brokerages specializing in bug-out properties.

What does one gain by being so remote and fleeing to a neighborhood of strangers? What does one lose if you cannot be part of a social community where people have one another’s backs? Wouldn’t you value a deep rooted trust that can actually develop quickly between neighbors? And what is gained if the corrupt government you just fled knows where you live and has you outgunned? What if you give up a good job because you think the end is finally here, but you were wrong?

Woe to the family with teenagers who drag their kids, kicking and screaming, into the boondocks.

When I set reasons on the scales, mine tips toward preparing for the next economy in a very different way than buying remote acreage with self-sustaining greenhouses and even an underground bunker with lots and lots of firepower.

There gotta be a better way, even a less expensive way, than “bugging out” to a remote place. In fact, many of you here at TFMR have described some very sensible actions you have implemented for life in the new economy. Prepping and bugging out can still be seen as an emergency measure, but long-term plans must go deeper. Changing the way you live, not just where you live, should be your aim.

In much of the US, that sort of property is available just beyond the suburbs of the large cities. I lived about 30 miles from Dayton Ohio in 2009, and we felt at home, part of a community and somewhat distant from city crime. Presuming that desperation and crime will be centered in our cities, the question I struggle to answer is, “How far ought one to live from a city to avoid the crime, theft, and other dangers that desperate people will provide.

Image: Dr Jerome

Today we live in northern AZ, close to my job, but we purchased the two acre remains of an old ranch with four buildings about an hour away in a valley filled with farms and retirees. My current location is a bit too near a large city (70 miles) for complete comfort. It’s not perfect, but provides a place for us. We have rented two of the buildings and make a small profit each month that pays for the renovation of another building into our future home.

If the “impending economic doom” continues to be pushed into the future through MMT or some other gimmick, we may look for a better property in a rural town about 4 hours north where the agricultural industry is more robust. We’ll make that decision later. For now we have the back-up home. And it’s not so remote that family cannot visit. We are getting to know people in the town.

So why not re-define “bugging out” as simply moving to an established rural community (or purchasing a 2nd home) and becoming part of their “law-abiding” economy. We are even finding that we trust the renters who now live there with us, getting to know them over the past three years.

This past month I have driven through northern CA east of the mountains, from Redding to Reno to Las Vegas, and throughout northern AZ and western Colorado. I saw many properties where one can have a pleasant lifestyle, beautiful views, far from the large population centers, but with a fairly healthy local economy. In fact, most of this nation provides a rural-town life that our ancestors enjoyed and prospered in. and if you want a property that has room for extended family, many farms have a 2nd (original) home and plenty of room for travel trailers.

You realize that those country farmers think like we do here, and many are stackers. In fact I’ve met a longtime TFMR member who has a small farm about two hours distant. But most of all, farmers know how to grow food—and that is golden indeed. The farmers I meet are happy to share their trade secrets and give advice. And in a rural community, one can specialize in growing food, tending vineyards, animal husbandry, breweries, or producing other items. No need to do it all! Purchase the goods you need from others who specialize. Limit your radicalism to simply boycotting Wal-Mart and other corporate behemoths. It will probably have more effect that way.

Construction, maintenance, mechanic skills will also remain in demand—keeping wells and pumps running, setting up solar electric systems, or offering other services. We even need singers at the local restaurant/bar to keep a community healthy. The key is to produce something others want or need and participate in the community.

And if your community remains mostly self-sufficient and is able to keep its radicals working instead of practicing military skills in the forest, if your local sheriff can report up the chain that all is peaceful and crime is low, then an oppressive state or federal government will turn its attention elsewhere—to places like Golden Valley.

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Key Economic Events Week of 7/22

7/23 10:00 ET Existing Home Sales
7/24 9:45 ET S&P July flash PMIs
7/24 10:00 ET New Home Sales
7/25 8:30 ET Q2 GDP first guess
7/25 8:30 ET Durable Goods
7/25 1:30 ET Comex option expiry
7/26 8:30 ET PCE and Core PCE
7/26 8:30 ET Personal Inc and Spend

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