I hope everyone had a great Christmas!
I cooked a turkey that we brought over to my sister-in-law's house, and I made sure I grabbed the carcass. After roasting the bones, they're in the pot turning into a couple gallons of turkey stock. Half will be Turkey and Rice soup for dinner tonight, and the rest of the plain stock will be canned and put up.
Prepping is a process, not a destination. Always take advantage of excess "stuff" and put some away for later.
I'm a planner. Always have been. Like many folks, I use the end of the year to see how my actions of the past year have matched my planning - and my predictions. I then judge my past performance, see what's out there in the future, and plan for the coming year(s). It is critically important to adjust your planning as events around you change. Keep your goals, adjust your tactics.
I'm not going to disclose my personal goals. Quite honestly, there's nothing in it for me to do so. In fact, doing so could potentially negatively affect my goals. I will disclose some of the planning process and tactics I will be using.
It starts with asking, What do you think will happen in 2012, and more importantly, WHY? How have things changed, and which of these changes can you use to your advantage?
It's easy to say the world will come to an end, or that daisy's will be sprouting up all over town. But without some sort of logical or fact-based reasoning, you're just making a wild-ass guess.
It will be akin to Obama's "Hope" campaign gig. Hope takes no effort. You just click your ruby-slippered heels, and everything magically falls into place.
I think of the economy as a general ledger - you've got debits and credits, pluses and minuses. The most difficult part is factoring in items that go against our individual pre-conceived notions. I try very hard to really look at those things - giving them more time consideration than most other items.
For instance, I think that Bush's and Obama's various "stimulus" cash-injections into the economy have had, and will have, negligible positive effect on the economy. Why? Because they gave the money to the wrong groups.
They gave it to the banks and their ilk, who used the money to keep their companies afloat. There were no strings attached that required the banks to lend the money. In fact, new regulations prohibit the banks from lending to those other than high-FICO/D & B score customers.
Now, if they had taken that (plus or minus) $2 trillion, and literally cut checks to all Americans with a home mortgage, you could have killed two birds with one stone. If the money could only be used to pay down their mortgage, the homeowners would have gotten a significant debt relief, the banks would have gotten their cash infusion, plus the "toxic assets" would have been significantly paid down, so that the asset value would more likely cover the outstanding loan balance.
Yes, it would have been an obscene redistribution of income, and it would have been a horrible idea. But, it would have done more good that the option chosen by Bush and Obama.
That's past history, but I think it's indicative of how the government will proceed in the future. They'll bail out the big banks, big continents, big businesses, big states. The national debt will soar to pay for domestic programs, and Uncle Ben will simply print up extra dollars to buy US treasuries, and to give to Europe (via IMF or ECB).
In the short term, I think this debasing of the dollar will be offset by the crash of the euro. The result will be a marginally stronger dollar, and lower priced commodities - gold, silver, oil, grains, sugar, etc.
What's important here, IMO, is that the national debt is long-term. The stronger dollar - boosted not by positive actions in America, but by crappy things happening in Europe - is temporary.
For me, this is a "Buy Opportunity". I'm running out of space for bulky food commodities, although some will still be purchased. Mostly, it will be gold, silver and ammo.
The Feds are getting more bold in asserting their supremacy, and this trend will continue. 2011 saw the reaffirmation of the Patriot Act, and the Congressional passage of the NDAA - in which the federal government granted itself super-constitutional powers to essentially negate the Fifth amendment and the habeas corpus clause.
We've already seen their actions regarding food regulations. Expect more "progress" on global warming and carbon taxing. Ditto with oil exploration and other natural resources. Their goal is to control all aspects of the economy.
They're usurping states powers, and this will also continue. Things like regulating marijuana. California and 16 other states allow citizens to get pot cards for medical purposes (wink wink). Regardless of your feelings on pot, it IS a state issue as long as sales don't cross state lines.
No matter. The feds are clamped down on this like a pitbull on a ham bone, and they ain't lettin' go.
The shooting will start. Now, I've been saying this for the past 3 or 4 years, and I've not seen the kind of violence I had expected. I am surprised that more political shooting haven't taken place, like the representative that was shot in Arizona.
That was done by a certifiable nut. I think more "mainstream" folks might be nearing the edge, feeling they have nothing left to lose and will start shooting.
Hint: Don't keep all of your guns and ammo in one spot. 'Nuff said.
The level of tension is clearly up, most recently with the appearance of the Occupy movement. Maybe there won't be shooting just yet, but there will be increased violence.
BTW, we've been using this belief - that people are getting closer to the, "I've got nothing left to lose" outlook - to bolster security in our PM store. Employee safety training, and an increase in firearms training will continue throughout the year.
The states and the feds have been using this, "lull in the action" to prepare. The aforementioned changes in federal "law", the arming of local police departments with military-grade armored personnel carriers, pilot-less drones and tactical squads so heavily armed they could be deployed to Afghanistan.
They see an insurrection coming, and are getting ready. You should, too.
I will continue to stay away from paper assets. Stocks, bonds, etc., and continue holding and acquiring tangible assets - PMs, food, ammo and (an outside chance of) real property. With the latter, I'm not sure the bottom has yet been hit, and I won't buy an asset in which I believe I'll take a loss. I also haven't finalized a state in which to live. I only know the states where I won't be living!
I'll be opening another business this coming year as well. It will actually be a spin-off of my gun training/preparation business, but it will be portable. Its success will not be dependent upon where I live. Hopefully, it will be a source of supplemental income over the next few years, and morph into a substantial source in 5 years or so. That's the plan!
As I alluded to earlier, I think the fed will keep printing up money. This isn't all bad news to preppers. It will have the effect of putting a band-aid on the economy, and will help keep it afloat for a little longer.
We'll see tax cuts - without spending cuts. Continuation and expansion of social welfare programs. Subsidies galore. These will help keep some cash in people's hands, and keep the lid from blowing off in a mushroom cloud explosion. As a nation, we'll, "get along," but we won't grow.
Use this lull to fortify your stores. It's a window of opportunity that WILL close.
I'll be expanding my "getting back to basics" knowledge. Particularly in the repair of equipment and in the medical realm. My medical knowledge is barely a hair above first aid. That needs to change. I'll also have a renewed push toward preventative measures. Better overall healthy living and regular check-ups while they're still readily available.
I want to increase my knowledge of tinctures and lotions made from readily available items you can find in nature.
I'm also working on my bartering/negotiating skills. A while back, I told the story of getting a bunch of honey for silver dollars. I've been negotiating some great deals on gold jewelry via Craigslist. So far, all of the pieces I've bought have been for values well below spot prices.
It's more risky than how we buy jewelry in our store - using magnets, loupes and acids - but the experience I've gained over the last 14 months gives me a bit of an edge in identifying costume/fake jewelry. I can't verify the purchase until I get home and test the jewelry, so the ride home is always a bit tense!
I want to expand this to garage sales. We've got an employee who makes a killing buying stuff - from PMs to equipment - by hitting garage sales. I just have to work it into my schedule as a "working day".
Accept The Challenge
Take what I've offered here. Reject, modify or accept it. Do more research. Your OWN research.
State your goals - in writing. Develop your plan and strategy, and execute it with your various tactics. Remember: a goal without action is nothing more than a wish.
Preppers don't wish, they DO!
Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com