So, I’ve been debating whether to address the Greek financial crisis here on the blog. I mean, sure, it is a fairly important event and one that bears discussion from the prepper perspective. On the other hand, just about every other prepper on the web has posted about it already. Never let a crisis go to waste, right?
Here are a couple of observations regarding the situation over in Greece and how it might relate to future events here in the United States. First, this didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like everyone went to bed Sunday night, looking forward to a great week and woke up the next morning baffled by what had happened while they slept.
No, this was a fairly gradual decline over a lengthy period of time. There were tons of warning signs that things were getting worse and worse. Unfortunately, a whole ton of people there ignored all those red flags and are now in a world of hurt. Shelves are bare, cash access is severely limited, and many people are now finding out they don’t have jobs. It is rather difficult to run a business when you can’t get products shipped or pay your employees. So, not only are people running out of cash they had in the house, they aren’t going to be able to earn any more.
At the time of this writing, the ATM limit in Greece is roughly $75 per day. That’s actually a good-sized amount of cash. I mean, if your typical day-to-day living expenses exceed $75 each day, you might want to take a good, hard look at your budget. That said, there’s more going on here than just pulling out money to hopefully pick up some groceries.
See, the thing about an economic collapse is, well, your bills don’t just disappear. It isn’t like you can call your mortgage company and say, “Dude, you realize everyone is broke, right? Howzabout just leaving us alone for a while?” Nope, they want their money and they won’t take late payments lightly. Same goes for utility companies. You don’t pay your light bill, you lose those lights, pure and simple. Sure, there have been instances where the country’s government stepped in and basically placed a short-term moratorium on foreclosures and such. But, those measures were always very short-lived and rarely affected the majority of people in trouble.
Naturally, because I wrote a book on financial preparedness, I’ve have a few people ask me for my input or advice. Here goes, take this for what it might be worth. As I’ve said countless times, everyone is different, every situation is unique. Take what works for you and leave the rest. No one has all of the answers.
First, try to set aside as much money as humanly possible so you have a cushion later. A good initial goal is to have enough cash on hand to pay all of your bare minimum living expenses for 2-3 months. This would include your mortgage/rent, utility bills, groceries, gas for the car, all that good stuff. This should be kept in cash, not just sitting in the bank. As many Greeks have found out, money is no good if you can’t access it. This isn’t easy, I know, nor will it happen quickly for most folks (myself included). But, commit to saving as much cash as you can each time you get paid and set it aside.
Where should you store the cash? Well, a good quality safe is a wise investment. If you can’t find one for cheap on Craigslist or perhaps Freecycle, invest in the best quality one you can afford. You could always go with the old fashioned backyard bank approach and bury it in mason jars or something. But, you best be sure you’ll never forget where to find it.
Next, work on building up your supply of food, water, and other necessities. Again, shoot for enough to last 2-3 months. Do this slowly and build it up over time. A couple of cans of soup here, some home canned veggies there. Don’t forget things like pet food, toiletries, and paper goods (toilet paper, paper towel, etc.).
As I wrote in Prepper’s Financial Guide, an economic collapse is a disaster without all of the death and destruction. That, however, doesn’t make it a cake walk to endure and overcome. Many experts say the United States is headed toward its own financial collapse in the near future. Personally, my crystal ball has been in the shop for some time now and so I can’t make any reliable predictions. But, I can say this – we’re in for a world of hurt if it does happen in this country.