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Surviving Economic Stress

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by melbo, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Job markets are bleak
    Unemployment on the rise
    Layoffs, downsizing and terminations are commonplace
    Hordes of wide eyed college grads wondering how they were duped into thinking that degree = job
    Gas, food, electric prices rising
    Medical costs rising
    Out of control debt
    Many folks have lost nearly everything, including their homes
    The Slow Burn cranks up a notch (or 2)

    As many of you know, prior to 2008, I made my living in construction and real estate development. From ~2000 to late 2007, my wife and I bought land, built vacation homes, placed them on overnight rental programs and then sold them. We had 10 homes under construction at one time during the peak of the log cabin rush in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In late 2006, we saw the beginnings of the cracks in the economic structure (with a lot of help from my daily consultations with @Bear ;) ) and began to downsize. In 2007, we built only one home while most of my Contractor/builder colleagues were still plunging blindly ahead. Most of them went broke and lost everything they had by late 2008.

    The continued economic stress in that area has taken it's toll over the past 4 years and has actually claimed the lives of 3 of the top Real Estate Brokers from stress. One whom my wife used to work for, one whom my wife used to work with and the last a good friend of my brother (also a General Contractor).

    We managed to get out after living on savings for 7+ months without income. We also managed to sell our home and acreage at a profit (which may have been the last profitable sale in the Region as the home is on the market again at ~35% less than we sold for). I have to thank @Quigley_Sharps for this as he was persistent in his ideas for my new career. @phishi and @Clyde also had positive feedback that ultimately helped us make a decision to recreate ourselves 2600 miles and 3 timezones away from friends and family. Our @Moderators were also wonderfully supportive of my plight. I know he doesn't want this mentioned but Bear also helped me with a small bridge loan at the very end which was critical to our seamless transition and move. I have had 8 addresses over the past 4.5 years if I count hotel stays of greater than 30 days. I've worked for 2 companies and switched from self employment to the corporate world. Today, I'm as happy as I've ever been. My income equalized with where it was in my old business and the position I've secured is about as secure as it gets.

    Not boasting, just illustrating that it can be done.

    I know that things are tough for many of our members right now. I want to encourage any of you who are feeling the screws tighten to seriously consider your needs and if your current locale can support those needs. I did not want to move so far for a new career but I think that I'd still be in trouble if I stayed in my old AO. Remember the rule of 3s. Remember what's important and don't listen to the TV for advice on happiness. Don't even listen to most of your friends, neighbors and family. It's not really their fault as most are just following the programming for how they are supposed to think and what they're supposed to believe. Don't trust investment advice from anyone who is selling you something.

    Consider your skills and assets. Look around you and see if you can continue to survive in your area. Moving from that family home you've been in all your life is tough but now is the time to make some tough decisions. I see the look on peoples faces while checking out at the grocery store. I see the stress on people with obvious fixed incomes when they see the price for their meager bag of food. I watch families leave the gas pump after pumping $10 worth of gas. I see children who are quite likely hungry and watch their stressed out parents scowl and yell at them with agitation.

    Everyone want to know when the S will HTF. I contend that it began in 2006 and I believe that things are going to get much worse before they get better. I don't want any of our Monkeys to continue to believe that recovery is right around the corner and face the ill and often fatal effects of stress. Now is the time for action and those who continue to wait could be left behind.

    I'm not sure what prompted all of this but I had some dreams last night and much of this has been bouncing around in my head all morning.

    Survivors look ahead at the big picture. Survivors make decisions before they are necessary. Survivors aren't afraid to go against the grain to better themselves. Good Survivors plan to survive and thrive.

    Stay safe and God Bless.
    tulianr, tacmotusn, Catullus and 14 others like this.
  2. at99sy

    at99sy Monkey

    melbo- I am new to the monkey and I appreciate your words greatly. I too was in construction for almost 20 years, and 6 years ago I went back to school and got a teaching certificate. I have been teaching for 5 years now and it was the best thing I ever did. The pay is not as good as I was used to but I am so happy teaching high school kids. TO have a15 year old kid come up to me and thank me for pushing him to ask questions instead of looking for the answers, or a graduate coming back to tell me how much money he has saved thanks to my econ course he took, means more to me than all the attaboys I got from project managers and architects. Just now getting back on our feet financially and I feel that anyone who thinks a recovery is coming is
    completely delusional. It has only begun to turn ugly. I have been reading report after report about the effects obamacare is already having and how it is going to radically alter the financial security of this nation. This is going to become the greatest wealth grab in the history of the world. Stalin and Mao are looking down, or would it be up?, and saying "why didn't we think of this?" Not a shot fired and the utter destruction of a wealth producing nation is being brought to its knees by an oligarchy made up of cartels. Victims will be victims, let us not be them.
    Mountainman and melbo like this.
  3. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    In a state as massive as Pennsylvania, with it's bulging government and steady parasitic employment base, a lot of folks just won't see the changes until it all comes crashing down hard. The people outside this circle of complacency will work where they can, accepting lower paying jobs and tougher work just to keep the bills paid, or they will continue to syphon off of the nearly eternal unemployment scheme. Not everything necessarily becomes "worse", but the gradual yet steady slide toward collapse is a certainty. I do not have a success story, but I can definitely appreciate hearing them --it gives me satisfaction knowing some of us can still make it without too much trouble.

    Just do the best you can and prepare for the worst.
    melbo likes this.
  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Thanks for the input.

    I guess my point to all of this was to encourage those who may be feeling hopeless to make some changes now before things get even hopless-er. We didn't want to move across country. I didn't want to start a new career. I certainly didn't want to go to work for someone else. We didn't want to leave our local network and family. etc.

    We were able to completely re-invent ourselves. We have done well and I wouldn't have been able to imagine my current life 5 years ago.

    If you can't or won't make drastic changes up to and including your locale, at least find some ways to avoid the life stealing stress that comes with the slow burn. It may be tough to swallow but this whole thing's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. We can save whether or not this implosion is by design for another thread.
    tulianr, Tracy, Bear and 1 other person like this.
  5. hedger

    hedger Monkey+


    Well done on your shift to a new career in a new time zone. That is not easily done.

    I agree with your assessment that worse times are still ahead. I know that some may think that once we have put a few years pad between ourselves and the economic downturn on 2008 that things may be on a mending track. I really do not think so.

    This is definitely a time to firm up your SHTF plans and you want to keep your powder dry.

    I believe we are going to have a wild ride through a deliberately planned and managed time of upheaval. The crew in charge in Washington, D.C. are not our friends.
  6. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Having something put away for bad times is one of the most important things that I have learned from my parents, grandparents, and reaffirmed through my friendships with those on this board, especially Melbo. Who knew the things we discussed years ago would come to fruition so quickly. While my wife and I are getting ready to put our house on the market, downsize and pay cash for a place I have so many friends that are telling me "money is so cheap to loan right now, go bigger!" I don't agree with this belief, sooner or later the note comes due. I am working on being debt free, and I am not far away. The thought of freeing up enough capital each month to make yourself independent from any bank is as huge a stress reduction as there is. It is a good time to make changes, reinvent yourself, and take the power away from the moneylenders.
    Melbo you are much appreciated.
    tacmotusn and Tracy like this.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I, for one, can endorse the idea of Debt Free Living, dramatically reduces Life Stress.... Momma and I have lived Debt Free for many years, however with some Medical Expenses we incurred this last spring, we have once again had to finance $1KUS of that, on a Line of Credit for one Month. Total Cost... $11.34US interest. We will be totally in the Black, again on Dec 20th, just in time for Solstice, AND the Mayan Apocalypse. Not going to our Maker, owing the Banksters a dime, should any of that BS come to pass..... .... YMMV... Live Stress Free, or DIE....
    tulianr and tacmotusn like this.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I can't see "going bigger" just because the money will do it. Think maintenance and upkeep as physical things to do in place of doing something interesting. Time is a better asset than can be quantified against a fluctuating FRN. Get what fits.
    tacmotusn and Tracy like this.
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