Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shifting Gears After Job Loss

Picture: www.timeshighereducation.co.uk

     I haven't mentioned this, because we have been rather busy in the interim, but several weeks ago, one of my adult children, who works for a technology company, was laid off.  It's always tough to deal with a job lay off and all the implications of such.  The subject employer is restructuring their large technology department and many people who made high salaries there will be out of a job. This will be true across the country for employees and managers of this particular company.

                 When I was young, we were taught that we could make ourselves virtually lay off proof.  Being a valued employee, taking all the certifications and courses offered or possible through an employer, and doing a really good job with whatever the undertaking were just a few of those strategies.  However, there is no such thing now.  Perhaps, rather than making ourselves lay off proof, it probably makes sense to follow some of the strategies that maximize our marketability to other companies. Perhaps, gathering the ability and flexibility to shift gears rapidly is the skill for which we should be working.

1. NEVER live within your means, ALWAYS live below it.  Always save as much money as you can for rainy days.  Where you should put your money can and does change, but that you should save does not. Pay yourself first, preferably directly from the paycheck if possible. Then live on what is left.  Adjust this sum regularly, as needed.

2. Always keep an updated resume.  My kids have ten different versions of current updated resumes.  They do this because one focuses on one aspect of their education and training, and another focuses on others.  My eldest son, for example, doesn't include much detail on his resume concerning his sculpture degree, when applying for a technology job.  However, when applying for a fabrication job, he might go into some detail regarding his welding experience.    My nursing resume wouldn't have too much detail on my writing, although it is mentioned.

3. Keep a hard copy manila file of names and addresses of companies to which you would apply if your job today went South.  When there is a sudden layoff, it can be hard to recall the possibilities if you don't have the prework already done.  If you know the names and contacts of manager and human resources workers, that might help too.

4. Whenever you can, gather the names, addresses, e-mails and phone numbers of the people with whom you work and the managers and bosses that you believe would give you an excellent reference. Jobs and companies change so quickly now that it can be very hard to verify your employment somewhere.  There is absolutely no one left at Lockheed who was there when I was an industrial nurse.  

5. When people leave your present employer, stay in touch with them through Linkedin or via phone etc.   Many times, someone who has left your prior employer has gone to a company that may well be able to hire you too. Sometimes an encouraging word to a prospective employer from a new employee, is all it takes to get you hired too.

6.  This should go without saying but always treat everyone well.  Student nurses who once did clinical under me have later finished advanced degrees and have been my boss in future years.  My treating everyone well is why people know me to have integrity and why it has been rare that I have been treated badly in the workplace.   The other way of looking at this is that the people you treat well on the way up will be there for you on the way down.

7. Network not because you share the same profession, but because you are a human being genuinely interested in the people with whom you have worked.  Spontaneously networking doesn't work well.  Networking in the long term does.

8. Always keep a 3-6 month emergency cash cushion at the place of your choosing.   In Mr. Obama's "improving economy" it can take six months and an awful lot of resumes sent out in order to translate into an actual job offer.  That new job may not offer the salary to which you were accustomed.

9. If you are married, and you can, if both of you work, try to save the equivalent of one salary after taxes.

10. In the good times, try not to invest in really expensive cars that cost a great deal to maintain.  Always research the cost of car parts and routine maintenance of the car before buying it.  I think a BMW is a lot of fun to drive, but I don't like paying for even the oil and air filters on such an expensive car, and I'm not even going to start talking about Mercedes Benz, a Jag,  or a Bentley !  During a job loss a car whose parts can be found at the local Advance Auto will be a great blessing.

11. When you do buy a home, and chances are you will, buy a basic home in a decent area that will be a home for all seasons.   A McMansion might suit you as a young executive, but it won't suit you during hard times, and its maintenance and retrofits may be expensive. A cathedral ceiling could make the home hard to heat and cool.  Consider a home with a bathroom on the main floor in the event that you or someone else breaks a leg and can't navigate stairs for a time. Homes with a full bath and a bedroom on the first floor also make it possible for you and your spouse to "age in place" if you wish.  Since we can't possibly anticipate everything, life becomes about maximizing our choices in the future.

12.  Long term supplies of emergency food is not just for tornadoes, floods, civil unrest, etc.  Sometimes, especially after a job loss, we need the cash we have to pay the mortgage or to make hard copy resumes, our friends might take to work with them.   I know several families who ate out of their emergency pantry while their family was out of work.  It was the first thing they began to restock, once they were employed once again.   Food banks are wonderful, but many of them are stretched beyond capacity, as people like me who used to give regularly to them, can no longer afford to.

              My eldest child was able to find another job within the same company.  Of course, no job is guaranteed, and anything can happen. Entire departments implode sometimes.
 Best wishes to you and your employment, wherever you are.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Obama Compiling Detailed Personal Information on All Citizens


     According to the New York Post. president Barack Hussein Obama has instructed his minions to create a vast database of detailed personal information on all Americans with particular interest in their race and ethnicity.    Mr. Obama seems to believe  that the expensive collection of information on banking, mortgages, ethnicity, neighborhoods, employers, healthcare, education, and how your children are disciplined in school, when married up to data concerning race will underscore a pervasive picture of US institutional racism.  It has been theorized that afterward an internet framework will exist allowing a legal basis for attornies to begin to hammer for reparations to African Americans.

      Here in Virginia the last person to collect detailed racial data for a specific agenda,  and to house birth certificates of the races separately was a physician and  eugenicist  Dr Walter Ashby. Plecker.  Plecker held the role of physician and head of Vital Records in Virginia from 1912 to 1946  He kept records with the agenda of proving that non whites were inferior and he helped to criminalize the marriages of anyone who was not 100% white.  Those with "one drop of black or Indian blood" were forever classified as non-whites and were only permitted to marry someone "just like them" so that "inferior blood and breeding would be prevented from spreading."   His work is broadly regarded to be quite evil today.

       The last person who kept such detailed data on human beings without their knowledge was Hitler.

        For a moment, let me digress.   My ancestors never kept slaves.  On my father's side, they left Scotland for England and when work was thin, my ancestor John Easson, a master builder,  became an indentured servant to the King of England  as one of the first European settlements on Nova Scotia.   If I recall correctly, in the 1730s,  after four years of indentured servitude to the project for the King, my ancestor was to have received forty acres via land grant and then be free to start his own business.  Sadly, things did not go well with the original settlement of Nova Scotia, and my great great great etc. grandfather remained an indentured servant quite a few more years than he originally intended.  The family had not recovered by the following generation.  Things were so tough that one of his sons spent some time in the Poor House in Annapolis Royal.    There is no doubt that my ancestors, who were lilly white, by the way, were treated as slaves and that the deals they were given were broadly unfair and favored the king.  This was true of many people of the era.  We all worked like dogs and many of us died early.   What am I to do ?  Shall I petition Queen Elizabeth for at least one of the bracelets from the crown jewels as restitution for the behavior of her ancestor the king ?   Of course not, because that would be ridiculous.  Queen Elizabeth can't be held responsible for the actions of her ancestor, just as I can't claim the laurels for the achievements of my own ancestors.  Arguments concerning restitution are equally as tenuous.

          On the other side of my family, my ancestors were Mayflower travelers who ultimately moved across the country settled in California as ranchers.  They also did not keep slaves.  They did employ some Chinese workers and they and their children worked right beside them because to do anything else would not have ensured anyone's survival in such a barren and difficult land.  In fact, in my ancestry, there are also American Indian ancestors and a solitary Chinese woman.

        I am fortunate in that I have grown up knowing a great deal about my ancestry, and also knowing that my successes and my failures are my own. My successes have been achieved by the grace of God and by hard work. Almost everyone knows poverty at some time.  Everyone has it tough at one time or another, and life is never fair.

       I grew up, as did most of the people with whom I went to school, believing that God created all of the races and that God loves us all.  No race is superior to another.   I have friends of different races and ethnicities.  I don't like everyone, just as I don't profess to like everyone who is white ! Nice people come in all colors.

          The establishment of a database with racial information such as the New York Post says exists is proof of a couple of very concerning things.  One, it shows that Barack Hussein Obama is not thinking about the repair and rehabilitation of our crashing economy or about jobs for all races, colors, sexes,  and creeds.  Prior to his presidency, there was not racial perfection in the US, but as each generation of young people move through schools which are more or less racially integrated and more and more African Americans attain university educations and professional positions, the segregation of the races seemed more and more ridiculous.  Mr. Obama has done more to derail racial integration and to underscore racial slights that may have been imaginary, than anyone.   A racial database makes it seem as if Obama's entire presidency was about revenge against caucasians for slights real or imagined.    At the very least,  Obama's edict for the creation of such a database places him squarely in the category with Plecker, and at worst, may place him in a category with Hitler.   What is next Mr. Obama ?  Will we seize the assets of caucasians or simply  sterilize them ?

           This needs to be an immediate focus of Congress and of the American people.  Your private identifying information is your own. It should not belong to any government, particularly to an administration which has continually proven its general ineptitude if not outright dishonesty.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thoughts on the Chattanooga Shooter

This is the alleged Chattanooga shooter

     Yesterday, a devout Muslim young man used a rifle to kill four marines at a military recruiting office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  In the US, even soldiers are not permitted to bring weapons to work, when work is a facility, even rented by the federal government.   The devout Muslim young man actually attacked two facilities yesterday, but was killed by police before he was able to take additional lives.  There are other individuals this man injured and at least one of their lives still hangs in the balance.  Because they were not permitted to be armed while at work, the soldiers in the recruiting station were sitting ducks.

             The shooter is said to be a very pious Muslim young man who was raised in Tennessee. I will not dignify him or his actions by even stating his name.  He was born in Kuwait, had Jordanian citizenship and had been a naturalized American citizen. He held an electrical engineering degree from a Tennessee university. He was given all the opportunities we have available here. He is said to have belonged to a good family who are "good people".   Classmates in high school remembered him to be "very bright".   He squandered all the chances given to him by this nation, and he squandered his own life as well, and dishonored his family here.

           A few weeks ago I posted an entry where I explained that ISIS had hacked US military information and was publishing the names of military officers and their families. They actually created a "Hit List/Wish List" just in the event that anyone who was already in the US and wished to do them a favor would have a place to start.   If I knew this, then the US military certainly did, as did the FBI.  Were additional security measures taken in view of the ISIS hit list ?  Doesn't an attack on a recruiting station does sound like a likely progression from such a list ?    Will the federal government revisit their policy concerning no firearms in federal facilities, even in the hands of soldiers ?

             Americans are not at war with Muslims.  However, radical Islamists have made it very clear that they are indeed at war with Americans and particularly with anyone who has ties to our military.  They are determined to bring the war home to us, and to our doorsteps.

              Americans need to remain watchful.   Anyone who is legally able to obtain a concealed weapons permit, should do so.  A gun is not a charm, however.  Simply owning one and carrying one does not protect you, in itself.  In fact, owning one without proficiency may actually place you at more risk as the weapon can be taken from you and used on you and your family.  A weapon is a serious responsibility.    One must allocate time and money to practice regularly and to become safe and proficient. Once one is safe and proficient, then time and funds must still be allocated for practice ammo to retain that level of proficiency.

                        Remember that in study after study, active shooters who encounter armed resistance tend to take their own lives, and this ends the incident.  Perhaps we should all be ready to be that resistance to an armed shooter.

  When ISIS fighters realize that at every turn, their band of operatives will encounter competent armed resistance 24/7 perhaps attacks on the United States homeland will become less appealing.

The prior post mentioned:


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taking Prepping From the Top: The Prepping Reboot

These are just some of the medical supplies which are almost always available at the Dollar Tree.  (Picture from: article.wn.com )

         Some of our readers have been interested in preparedness for thirty years. A lot of new readers have been interested in learning about it for only a few months. It can be challenging to have something to say which is relevant to both groups, and those in between.   Periodically, I think it is important to take a couple of weeks away from prepping entirely. It is important to actually live the life and the family you are protecting and not to lose sight of that.  I usually do this when on vacation, but because vacations have become a rarity to so many of us, you may have to self impose a period of two weeks where you cease to prep.  I call this process a prepping reboot   Then, look at prepping with new eyes.   I always break prepping down into two main categories, dealing with the issues that would necessitate sheltering in place, and then dealing with family evacuation (which might also trigger a farm evacuation as well.)    However, my friends in Alaska need to prep differently than I.  Our friends who headed to Belize also will need to plan differently than I.  My friends in Ontario will also need to have different items and amounts than my family might.   Following your break, evaluate once again what the most likely emergencies at your location may be.    I might be looking hard at tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, but some of my friends at 6,000 feet or greater, in Colorado for example, plan most heavily for ice storms and serious snow storms even as late as April.   YOU are the expert of what is most likely to go wrong in your own geographic location.

             After you have dealt with  the most likely natural disasters in your location, and made specific plans for these, then give some thought to the less likely varieties.  In my highly rural location, a spilled hazardous truck is not likely unless the truck decided to take an illegal shortcut through the country.  However, that could happen.  So, look at your second string of man-made potential emergencies, and plan for those as well.  Again, many emergencies neatly fall either into the sheltering in place category or the family evacuation plan.

              When you have considered the first two categories, then consider the financials.  How prepared are you for job loss or some type of financial collapse ?   This can be the most difficult for families to consider.   Still, any amount of preparation is better than no advance thought or preparation whatsoever.  Minimizing debt is probably one of the most valuable financial disaster tools at our disposal.  Living a life in which you earn two incomes but require only one of them is also another useful modality.

               Many people tell me they "can't afford to prep".   The people who need to make advance preparations the most are people who are short of money.   Wealthy people could conceivably take a large amount of cash and simply head out, but if this is not an option for you, then you need to have made plans even more urgently.  Fortunately, this need not be expensive.

               The first place a family new to preparations should go is the Dollar Tree or similar establishment.   In putting together a first aid kit, many things are available there.   These could be bought and stored over several weeks.   These are some of the things available at the Dollar Tree.

    Sterile cloth bandages
    Elastic bandages of several sizes
    sterile gauze in 2x2 and 4x4 sizes
    Small bottle pedialyte (generic) flavored and unflavored
    neosporin generic
    benadryl cream generic
    medical tape
    ice packs    (or skip it, buy sponges,wet them,  put them in baggies,  and freeze them for later use)
     Loperamide  (for diarrhea)   Use for adults.  Use liquid only for children with physicians order)
     Diphenhydramine tablets, capsules, or liquid for children.
     Hydrogen peroxide in bottles.
     Isopropyl alcohol in bottles.
     Witch Hazel in bottles.
     Varietal vitamins including high potency prenatal varieties.
There are a lot of fine values in toiletries in the Dollar Tree.  Of course, read the packages. I always prefer items which are manufactured in the USA or Canada, and many of them are now.

      Toothbrush and toothpaste kits
      a broad range of prepackaged snack foods (From individual servings of peanuts to peanut
       butter crackers, baked chip snacks, 
       Generic six packs of ginger ale

  Of course, you can buy larger amounts of these for just a little more money somewhere like Wal-Mart, however if you need to amass a kit fairly quickly, then Dollar Tree can provide a nice start, especially for an evacuation kit.

          Check your kits regularly as everything does expire eventually.  Also, keep your medical items secure from small children and grandchildren.  Isopropyl alcohol and vitamins should never be within reach of small children.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Friends Thoughts on "Gun Free Zones"


   I have many friends who are writers, but few of them write as well or as clearly as this one.   The post below is a friend of mine who simply crystallizes thought more clearly than I, on this, and on a number of other subjects.  Please check out her blog, and also both of her books.


  This is a post which deals with "Gun Free Zones" in which I am in complete agreement.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Opportunities in the Purchase of Prepper Homes, Farms and Complexes

          This is "Three Bear Holler" which is about a fifty acre N.C. based property which is
          fully self sufficient.  It comes with multiple homes for adult children or extended family and outbuildings.

            I have mentioned before that one of the hottest and most dynamic sectors in real estate right now is the "survival home" or "preparedness compound".    Of course, almost anyone over time, can fashion an excellent family home which lends itself to preparedness.  Buying an expensive prepper complex or survival home simply affords the purchaser a manner of  more rapidly acquiring one that is more fully supplied or ready for immediate use. Such a home may potentially have more self sufficient heating, cooling, water and cooking systems. Such a home may also have  been stocked in advance with supplies prior to the purchase itself.   A lot of these homes list for between 1.2 and 3.3 million US dollars.    However, because some of them are in secluded regions,  some of the smaller homes, that still feature the larger acreage are simply a few hundred thousand US dollars. With the acreage, ponds and systems included, some of them really are an excellent buy.

        This is one of the additional homes which is included in "Three Bear Holler"

                 Having evolved to being a natural cynic, I always wish to know why people would invest in a large piece of secluded  land, spend the money in such a labor of love only to place the compound up for sale a couple of years after completion.  In the last five years or so, I have kept a tally of the reasons people were selling their defensible preparedness compounds.   The most common reason for selling over all,  was a serious health challenge. Building a home in a very secluded place takes your family away from major medical centers and from state-of-the-art or world class medical care.  If someone in your household develops a serious illness or cancer, then many times, the choice to sell is made. The next most common reason for selling such a compound is that a spouse has died.   Sometimes the spouse who has died was the one who knew all about the compounds special systems and its required maintenance.  Other times, simply living there without the spouse fuels a desire to sell and move on to somewhere less isolated.  Financial problems and divorce have also been reasons given for parting with a fully stocked survival home.

       This is a home which is seven thousand square feet on just slightly less than sixty acres.  It is located in Washington State and has a myriad of features including a creek.

                Lately, I have observed that an awful lot of people, in both the US and in foreign lands are selling their preparedness homes or preparedness farms.   The reason given more frequently now is that many of the owners of the American prepper complexes are leaving the United States.  This is particularly interesting.  Why would they heavily invest in a particular region within the US and then change their minds, believing that another place could be safer or at least more beneficial to their families ?  Before you invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a particular property aimed at creating a long term survival home, would you not have explored everything from the health care, defensibility of the location, potential for natural disaster, tax rates, etc ?

  This is a Spanish style home built to American standard in Panama.  It rests on twenty seven acres and the home is 4000 square feet. Is is solar powered with the exception of the washing machine which runs via generator. It has a greenhouse and a chicken coop.

                Sometimes, I suspect that a family who has created an excellent prepper property has simply completed the task over years and just has some ideas about how they might do some things differently.  Perhaps selling and starting over again from scratch is simply a part of the prepper lifestyle, since so many of us descend from those who historically had the pioneer spirit.

  Important Information and Disclaimer:

 I have no financial or personal interests in the properties for sale which I chose to profile here today.  Please do all the research you can and your due diligence prior to investing in any property whatsoever.
     All of the properties profiled were, in fact, available for sale when this post was written.
      Please realize that foreigners are not always permitted to own properties in foreign lands. It's best to do all of your research before visiting a nation for the purpose of acquiring real estate and certainly before committing to any transaction whatsoever.
    Of course, much smaller properties exist also, and are likely best found by establishing a business relationship with a realtor in your desired target area.


Other posts of mine in the same or similar vein:




Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Writing on the Wall....Is That It May Be Disintegrating

(www.essex1.com )

  One of my sons, who shall remain nameless for the purpose of this post, jokingly calls me "Debbie Downer" sometimes.  Although I would very much like my sons and daughter to enjoy the opportunities I did when starting my life independent of my parents in the eighties, 2014/2015 and onward are a very different era.  For one thing, although I graduated from college in the eighties during a recession, I had seven job offers as graduation loomed. (I accepted three and then figured out which one to actually start in when I was able to secure housing at that location.)  Affordable housing at the time was a tougher nut to crack than the job had been.   One of my friends who graduated the same year as I never sent a single resume. In the last year of college as an electrical engineer, he sent out postcards to prospective employers stating his interest and graduation date.  He was hired before graduation and remained at that company in a very good position, for many years.  The people with whom I went to college, have all done well.   When I look back at friends from high school, some of them chose not to go to college at all. They went directly into jobs after high school that would teach them valuable skills while they were being paid.  They took advantage of in house training, and a few of them took college courses paid for by their employers.  They bought homes and had families faster than I did, as I was slowed a bit by college. The recurring theme here is that even the slackers from my youth found their way and became gainfully employed. They all have assets now and many of them have grown families.

(accountantthousandoaks.com )

                Several of my children are now university graduates. They worked hard and have much less student loan debt than many of their contemporaries. Still, one graduated in 2009 with honors and found it took more than a year to find a full time job with benefits.  Not a single one of that child's friend's of the graduating class got a job that they did not already have before completing their degree. (Subway sandwich maker, night grocery stockman, Wal-Mart bathroom cleaner etc.)   Our next to graduate the following year, also with honors has never found an actual full time job.  A third one of our kids stays in university gathering credentials we hope will be useful in obtaining work.  The fact is, that jobs with a future and with potential are extremely hard to find in the US.  A few jobs of the jobs  you might locate may be hire or fire leaving the young person with a year long lease in a new city, and no job to pay for that apartment.   You may also find yourself in a salaried position where you are paid based on a forty hour week, but expected to be available and to work seventy hours. If you won't or can't, you will find yourself replaced by someone hungrier than you, who will.  There has been a dramatic and broad change in the opportunities available to students graduating from high school and also to those graduating from college even in supposedly hot majors.  Even nursing majors upon graduation may find extreme difficulties getting a first job.  Many must relocate in order to start that first job, because hospitals clearly prefer experienced nurses and will not take chances on new graduates.  We've come a long way from hospitals hiring new graduates annually in order to train a crop of loyal long term workers in acceptance of the fact that some would invariably marry and have children and be out of the full time market for a time.

            Those of us with twenty and thirty years experience in the job market are not finding life easy either. People with experience often cannot work for starter wages.  Some employers don't actually want people who have a clear overview of their business. Some prefer to have their staff work only a small section of the business so as not to be able to start their own later.  Sometimes, employers will hire less capable people because they don't want people with will question or understand the big picture.  In nursing, for example, RNs in hospitals may be taking over some of the physical tasks formerly done by physicians..(..for example the adjustment of a Swan-Ganz catheter on a patient in the ICU.)  However, RNs have been replaced by medical assistants in many venues.   This might be appropriate in some specific tasks, but sometimes, these paraprofessionals fashion themselves as nurses, and simply don't know as much as a first semester nursing student might. This is not good for the public, and it's not good for the profession of nursing. However, it is cheaper than hiring nurses.   Additionally, the dumbing down of our schools and programs across the board are creating a public which may not be able to compete with other nations in the world market, just at a time when everyone from Kazakhstan to Brazil are truly gearing up to do business worldwide. The US stood still and slid back, and everyone else surged ahead.  According to television and newspapers which originate there, India is relishing its anticipated takeover of Information Technology jobs in the US. In some cities in the US, this has already happened.

            It's not that I wish to see the deterioration of the US and the dissolution of the opportunities here, because I assure you, I do not.   I had five children.  Four are biological ones and one who blessed us through legal adoption.  I am truly worried about all of their economic futures.   We were strongly middle class in their eighties and nineties but I wonder now, if a middle class will exist in the US for much longer.  Many people with whom I am acquainted now, would be considered "the working poor". We are told that "the rich get richer", but of my friends who were truly wealthy pre 2008, only one of them is now.  Wealthy people have also seen great reversals of fortune.

             The economy in the US is not good, and yet the world faces many fairly ominous challenges.  China has claimed the South China Sea and is spending huge amounts of resources to make islands there and station military bases. There is apparently much oil in the South China Sea.  Japan, Vietnam, and the Koreas are quite concerned, as this territory does not belong to China exclusively.    Russians in Vladivostok, Russia (North of the Korean peninsula) are also concerned and wonder what the impact of a war in the region would have to them.

             Greece may well default and exit the Eurozone.   England is planning a referendum to better define their limited role in the Eurozone. It is possible that following such a referendum that England will exit the Eurozone entirely.  I don't think I have to explain that the Middle East is on fire.    In addition to ignoring the sovereignty of Ukraine, Russia has been pushing the envelope in other parts of the world.   Russian planes have been flying over Canadian airspace and British airspace periodically, without permission.  The present Russian administration has also rented a state of the art military base from Norway (Olavsvern) where it is now felt to be a significant threat to Scandinavia.

Olavsvern is a great place to store your war machines.   

              While Rome burns, the US media distracts everyone with focus on everything else but the economy, potential for world collapse, potential for world war, financial mismanagement, etc. The  focus on racial issues has value, but the singular focus on it serves no one.   An economy which is failing fails for whites, blacks, browns, yellows and reds.   We are all on the blue ball together and we don't have time to exaggerate our racial problems. When the economy improves, it improves for everyone.

            As for gun control........much of the US does not have easy access to law enforcement.  In many places, a police officer cannot come out for a week after a call.   Some municipalities are honest enough to tell you that they are only funded for, and  can therefore only concern themselves with "blood crimes".   Some others actually plan, in emergencies, to deputize their concealed weapons permit holders. Handguns are therefore necessary in the hands of trained civilians, for the protection of families in their homes, and often when they leave their homes and buy food or run errands.  Certainly, there are unbalanced individuals in all societies who would injure or murder, but under present laws in the US, such individuals should not be able to lawfully obtain firearms.  The rest of us need them for defense against such individuals and against those from ISIS who are making their way across the Mexican border into the US in order to perpetrate terror here.

           Without being Debbie Downer, I hope I have conveyed some of the very real threats we have in the world which are emerging.     Certainly, we cannot fix them all, but here are a few of my suggestions for you to consider implementing.

1. Consider a safe on your property.   Perhaps a hidden place in the floor of a garage is ideal.  Don't keep all your money in a bank.  If a collapse occurs, it could be some time before you can access your money.  Having a reasonable amount of cash on hand....large enough to cover some groceries and some medications but not large enough to get confiscated while local government claims to  suspect anyone with cash of drug dealing, might be in order.  Consider your circumstances and what is possible.

2. Stock enough food for emergencies for all of your family members and pets.  Some of this should be freeze dried food with a twenty-five or thirty year lifespan because it is expensive enough that you don't need to be replacing it every few years.    Stock short term emergency food and long term emergency food.  If a terrorist attack limits travel and the movement of trucks carrying  food in our nation, make sure you can shelter-in-place for a reasonable period.

3. Craft a plan for your family to shelter-in-place, as you might for an emergency or collapse where we are told to remain in our homes.  This should be a written plan and it should be known to all of the family members who reside in your home.   Craft a family evacuation plan which spells out similar details.  Where would you meet ?  Where would your family go if you needed to evacuate ?    Craft a separate plan for your pets.  They also deserve your consideration in emergencies.

4. Stock reasonable amounts of OTC  medications (over-the-counter non-prescription for those of you reading from nations other than the US) and reasonable amounts of prescription medications you use long term.  Remember that on 9-11 when all the planes were down, most pharmacies were out of insulin, blood pressure,  and cardiac meds very very quickly as they depend on having many things overnighted from a pharmacy warehouse.   As much as you are able to stock and lock up buys you time in such an emergency.   Sometimes, spending your own cash and sidestepping insurance allows you to buy ahead more than using your prescription would.  Each family and individual must assess how important a particular medication is, and how far ahead they need to be.
 Remember that such meds need to be locked up to avoid theft and also the tragedy of child poisoning.

5. If possible, we should try to diversify our family's employment.   If Dad works in construction, then Mom should work elsewhere.  If Mom works in banking, then perhaps adult children should work in other industries, if possible.  We should avoid entire families working in the same company or business because when a business collapses or lays off due to economic conditions, all of them are not out of work.  When the Soviet Union collapsed, many families survived because someone in the family was working while others were not. When someone from the family got a job often the person who had been working before was laid off.   Diversify your employment, just as you would investments.

    6. Pay down whatever debt you have.  Fewer debts translate into more choices.  Think carefully before taking on new debt.  A needed septic tank revision may be worth a short term debt because it improves the safety of your home, especially with more people living there.  However, a debt for a new car that you could actually avoid buying by having some work done on the one you have, may not be.

7.  Keeping a mortgage may be the conventional wisdom because it allows mortgage interest to be deducted on annual taxes, however, not everyone has enough interest to make such a deduction worthwhile.  Would you be better off taking cash and paying off your mortgage ?  Seek intelligent counsel before taking such steps. We all should do this because we may not always be permitted to take the interest deduction on a home loan anyway.

8. How much are you spending on insurance ?    One by one, get quotes on your life insurance, your homeowners insurance and your car insurance.   It's possible that there are better buys out there and that a new provider might free up more monthly cash for other things.   When comparing insurance, bring your insurance paperwork from your present provider.  Make sure that you are comparing the same level of coverage. Don't simply seek a cheaper premium at the expense of your coverage.

             Your family can't anticipate everything that may occur, however most families can do a better job of anticipating the negative potentials that so clearly exist.   Remember that children need not be frightened by discussions of weather or economic emergencies.  In fact, they gain confidence that their parents are looking ahead and making plans to keep the family secure, in addition to gathering self confidence and important preparedness learning which could safe their own lives and their own young families someday.

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