Friday, September 26, 2008

Helpful handful: Smart investment in hard times

In the past few months some of our blogger buddies have warned us about coming hard times and have suggested some safe investments. I thought to offer my own handful of suggestions now. It may be late but its not too late.
  • Pay off or pay down your home and your credit cards ASAP
  • Invest in handgun and tactical knife training and consider purchasing a handgun and folding knife.
  • Find about ¼ acre that you can plant and invest in a tiller. Don’t let the hardware store guys talk you into getting a rear-tine tiller. The front tine tiller is half the price and perfectly fine for a garden of ¼ acre (plus it is more exercise, which will make you more fit to survive hard times). Talk to the county agent, university extension, or co-op guys about what staple crops to plant for your area. Don’t forget fruit and nut trees. Learn how to preserve.
  • Invest in martial arts lessons – something street combat practical but still useful for more than just combat – something like aikido or perhaps judo.
  • Invest in your neighbors and your community. Join a church and get deeply involved with the members. You remember when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast? Let me tell you from firsthand experience - FEMA was useless, state emergency folks were useless, Red Cross was useless, and National guard and city officials had their hands full. The first responders and the best, most effective disaster relief responders were local churches caring for their own congregants and then extending that caring into the community.


  1. Patrick, I am in complete agreement with your post. Poor, rural people faired much better in the 1930's Depression than big city folk. This is largely because they canned food, killed chickens and grew fruit and vegetables.
    I also agree about front tine tillers. They are fine for small gardens. I have seen gardens that also use the no-till method, layering straw mulch, alfalfa, and other nutriants. plant seed in the mulch and continue mulching. Easy.
    I tend to be a doom-and-gloomer, but we've been expecting "hard times" for a while now. Thirty years of the wealth of the nation being transfered upwards to the richest people in the world. Bridges, and levee's and water systems collapsing around us.
    We need a new "New Deal".

  2. Pay off or pay down your home and your credit cards ASAP

    Generally this might be a good idea, but isn't now the worst possible time to do it?

  3. I dunno. Splain why this would be the worst time to own your property and not have to pay the bank for it every month?

  4. I am not an intelligent investor, and this should not be mistaken for advice. But I am willing to share a theory, and if my thinking is in error then I hope someone will correct me.

    This bailout is advertised as a move to restore confidence. The government cannot or will not disclose how truly dire our circumstances are, because that would erode confidence.

    Congress knows far more than we do, I am sure. At the same time, those millionaires are arguably in less danger than we are.

    Putting 700 billion additional dollars in circulation would certainly lower the value of a dollar--which suggests we should NOT hold dollars in savings. But are depreciating assets preferable to illiquid assets?

    For the next few months, or longer, it may be difficult to secure a home equity loan. Likewise, it may be difficult to sell a home if cash is needed.

    In these times, who can guess the likelihood of a near-term personal emergency? Job loss, for example?

    So, in the absence of extortionary interest rates, I would pay off outstanding loans no faster than necessary, and keep that cash in hand just in case. Or maybe invest it in commodities?

    Again, this is just a theory. I know less about economics than martial arts, and I don't know much about martial arts.

  5. My take on it is that if things go bad (very bad) I'd rather have a place to sleep and land to grow a garden than a fistful of dollars.

    But, like you, I'm no financial guru.

  6. I thought the question was, if you've paid the bills and have a few dollars left over, how should they be used? And I say that paying down loans early may be a mistake. I do not say that anyone should default on their financial and ethical obligations. I may be a townie but I'm not a cheat. :)

  7. If everyone is just going to get bailed out, then I wish I had maxed my credit to the gills buying a McMansion and a new Dodge Ram 4X4 like everyone else I knew back home.

    What the heck are we teaching people these days? Make incredibly stupid financial choices and you don't have to pay the price?


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