Archive for January, 2016

Buying Gold and Silver

Posted: January 14, 2016 in Finance
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Should I buy gold and silver?  This is a common question preppers have.  Readers have been asking me for some insight on this topic.  Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.

Preppers and gold seem to go hand in hand.  People often add it to the Three Military Bs – Beans, Bullets, Bandaids… Buillion.  Is having gold and silver as important as the other three?  Probably not, but it is something you may want to consider adding to your preparations.

My short answer to the question is… maybe.  When and why should you stockpile precious metals?  Precious metals are fairly stable and tend to hold their value well.  They really shine (nice pun) during rapid inflation or economic collapse.  When paper money becomes useless your gold and silver still have intrinsic value.  Throughout history there has always been demand for gold and silver for these reasons.

Precious metals are portable and dense.  Throw a silver dollar in a bugout bag and you have something that is worth roughly $15 at today prices.  Throw a 1 ounce gold coin in your BOB and it is worth about $1000.  As you can see gold is much more valuable than silver.  This is good and bad.  That 1 ounce gold coin can be very hard to spend.  If you need a $2 loaf of bread how are you going to split that $1000 coin?  Having some of both in different weights is a good idea.  Just like you would carry around paper money in different amounts -$5, $10, $20, $100 bills.

Rules of Thumb

  1. Food storage comes first – if you don’t have 6 months of food and water stored up don’t even think about acquiring gold or silver.  You can’t eat gold.  You will just find yourself trying to barter your metals for the food you don’t have.  Get the food first.
  2. Make sure you have the other basics covered as well before you buy buillion.  Guns, ammo, first aid, energy.  Otherwise you’ll just need to barter your buillion for the things you need.
  3. Buy and hold physical precious metals.IMG_4565  You can buys stocks, ETFs, certificates of precious metals.  This might be okay for investment sake but not terribly useful in an emergency.  I recommend having your own metals on hand.
    1. This requires some way to store and keep these precious metals safe.  You will want to invest in a safe.  The more money you have to protect the more money you have to spend to protect it.  Diversion safes are designed to hide things in plain site.  A coke can with a screw off bottom hiding in your fridge would work pretty well for a few hundred dollars of silver.  Maybe a fake book on your bookshelf.  There are lots of options.
  4. Start with silver because it is just cheaper and easier.  Junk silver coins are a great place to start. IMG_4561 They are called “junk” because they have no collecting value.  They are actually quite valuable for their silver content though.  Quarters, half dollars, and dimes before 1965 are 90% silver.  This tends to be one of the cheapest ways to buy silver.  You can also consider American Silver Eagles, silver rounds, and silver bars. IMG_4563 American Silver Eagles (and similar) will always cost a bit more because they are official currency from a government mint.  You pay a premium for this.  The nice thing about this is that they are easily recognizable and universally trusted for their silver content.  This may make them a bit easier to trade.  In addition actual currency may be safer from a government confiscation of gold or silver.  Our government has done this in the past.
  5. Buy from a reputable source.  There are many online retailers of precious metals.  Some are super shady and dishonest.  There is a whole industry just trying to scare you into buying precious metals.  Be wary.  I have used a few different companies and can recommend them.  You can buy local, but again be careful.  Find someone you trust.  I have never found the prices to be competitive with the online retailers.  Below are two I use.  Over many orders I have never had any problems.
    1. Provident Metals
    2. JM Buillion
  6. Look at gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and economic collapse not as an investment.  Investing in precious metals is an entirely different ballgame.  We are not talking about that here.  I simply look at it as putting some value away now in case of emergency later.  I don’t really care what it costs now or what it is worth in 10 years.  I feel good any time I can trade my worthless paper fiat money for silver or gold that has real value.
  7. Avoid numismatic coins.  These are rare coins that are collectible.  Their value is often many times higher than the worth of the precious metal they contain.  You aren’t interested in this for prepping.  This is collecting or investing in collectables.  You need skill and experience for this.  The unitiated will most likely get taken advantage of and end up losing money.  You just want the metal in the coins so don’t overpay for collectability.
  8. Do your due diligence.  This is a very superficial summary.  I would recommend reading some other sources and viewpoints on this.  There are a lot of good articles out there on this very topic.  Here are a couple other articles worth reviewing.  These are both very good blogs in general.
    1. The Great Northern Prepper – Precious Metals Investing
    2. Graywolf Survival – Will gold and silver be… when SHTF?

Summary

I do believe that gold and silver have a place in your preparations.  They can be very useful items to have stockpiled.  If you are just getting started put this on the back burner.  This is not a top priority.  Food and water are top priorities.  If you are a more experienced prepper looking to diversify then this may be a good direction to go.

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Learn Something Dumby!

Posted: January 5, 2016 in Education
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You should always be learning.  Try and learn at least one new thing everyday.  It is very easy to get into a routine and become complacent.  Below are just a few free resources to stimulate your brain and expand your mind.  There is a lot of knowledge out there in the world that is free for the taking.  Take advantage of this glorious information age!

Khan Academy – started by Sal Khan as a series of instructional youtube videos that he created to tutor some of his family members.  Now a huge free collection of courses on anything from art history to multivariable calculus to computer programming.  All free and very user friendly.  Get badges for completing courses and tasks.  I took a class on Intro to Art History and I am currently taking a course on Macroeconomics.

edX – Collaboration of Harvard and MIT to “increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere”.  These are actual Harvard/MIT courses by actual professors.  Most classes are free.  You can pay a small fee and get an official certificate of completion.

Duolingo – great little website and app for learning languages- completely free.  Spanish, German, French, Italian and many more.  I am currently at Spanish level 4 which apparently equates to 8% fluency.  You can test out of portions of languages that you already know and jump to a higher difficulty.  Also great for brushing off the rust of a language you already know.

Netflix

  • Documentaries
    • Lots of great stuff that changes from time to time.  Find something interesting to you.  Then watch something that doesn’t sound very interesting to you.  Better yet let your spouse pick – guaranteed to sound awful at first but may surprise you!

TV Shows – Avoid the TV in general but if you must sit in front of it you might as well at least try to learn something.

  • Survivorman – probably the most legit of the survivor shows.  Les is a genuine survivalist.  He does his own filming and has no support.  This adds to the authenticity but makes the cinematography a bit rougher.
  • Fat Guys in the Woods – Creek Stewart is well known in the survival world.  He makes a good host for a show that drags overweight guys into the woods to survive for a week.  Entertaining and educational.
  • Man vs Wild – Bear Grylls is probably the most dynamic survivalist in front of a camera.  He has received a lot of flak for the authenticity of the show, but I enjoy it.
  • Doomsday Preppers – people like to make fun of this show and it isn’t seriously received among most preppers.  I have to admit that I have learned some pretty cool stuff on this show.  I am not ashamed to say that it does have some value.

YouTube – really the options are just endless.  Here are a few proven winners to get you started.

What are your favorites?  I am always looking for great resources, please share!