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As he read the newspaper in the morning, my father used to say, “The world is going to hell in a handbag.” It has taken a little longer than he expected, but I believe his statement rings true today. From terrible government policies to terrible presidents’ decisions, our country is falling apart quickly now.
So how do we fix it? Is it too late? I have always been an optimistic person, but even for me it’s becoming very difficult to envision a better world without a drastic change. This change seems inevitable, and I believe we will hit the bottom, collectively, before we can rebuild. In the mean time, how do we prepare for this?
History has proven that tucking every penny into the bank could be disastrous when the banks collapse. Years ago my wife and I made a few decisions that are really paying off now. Below are three basic rules we put in place to help us get ready to weather the storm.
1. Get out of debt as quickly as we could.
We paid off our home, cars, and any other debts we had using savings from our 401ks. This made my wife nervous, because this was money we had been saving for retirement, and we were abandoning traditional thoughts of saving for our future. But I can tell you, in ten years, this decision freed us up to make our lives better in so many ways. We no longer worry about losing our home, and we now take the money we were spending on house payments to bring us closer to being self-supporting.
2. Grow our own food.
We found an old greenhouse down the road, bought it cheap, and assembled it in our yard. We did our homework, and soon we had fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and more from March until November. We put in raised beds and grew everything we could, including broccoli, onions, carrots, potatoes, radishes, beans, and peas. We planted apple trees, pear trees, plum trees, and cherry trees. We grew blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, melons, and pumpkins in the far corners of our farmette. We learned how to can fruits and veggies, how to cure meat, and how to fill a cellar with food for the winter. This took a few years, but we are certainly reaping the fruits of our labor.
3. Start teaching our kids how to survive in any situation.
I began this by including my kids in all home and vehicle upkeep. I put a wrench in their hands as we changed oil and put a hammer in their hands as we built our chicken shed and greenhouse. The kids eventually took over chores like caring for the animals and plants on our property. Instead of cooking for them, we put the spatula in their hands. They learned how to make bread from scratch, and within one season, they knew how to grow and prepare every herb, fruit, and vegetable we grew. This proved to bring our family very close, as we spent time together every day, and now our kids are armed with everything they need to survive in a world gone wrong.
These three simple rules changed our lives dramatically. They made us better parents, better prepared, and happier. It’s hard to believe these simple rules changed our lives so much. At fifty-two, my wife and I are truly self-supporting. I retired last year from newspaper production, and my wife will be retiring within two years. We have a small stand out front, and we sell everything we can’t eat or put away. Our lives are so much simpler now, and we are truly prepared for anything this crazy world sends at us.