Emergency Preparedness for Economic Crisises


Average Joe
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Several weeks ago I was called as our Stakes Emergency Preparedness Specialist and in the discussion about what was expected of me I asked what the stake leadership felt our greatest challenge was. I then heard the usual litany of disasters - last summers great flood in S.C., winter ice storms, tornado season was coming up, etc...etc...

 

After listening politely I asked if they were ready for an economic crisis. While acknowledging the possibility the conversation soon shifted back to chainsaws and mud outs.

 

That was early in December. Now that the New Year has arrived there has been an almost daily drop in oil prices and drop in the stock markets.

 

Tomorrow I'll meet with the stake leadership to discuss emergency preparedness  and I'll ask again if they're preparing for an economic crisis or just natural disasters.

 

I hope for a more substantive discussion of the economic issue...we'll see.

 

I just wondered if any other Stakes/Wards have been discussing getting our financial houses in order?   

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Our bishop asked us all as home teachers to meet with our families and ask "On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate yourselves:

 

1) Financial preparedness

2) Spiritual preparedness

3) Emergency preparedness

 

When this was disseminated in priesthood the discussion immediately went to financial woes.

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You mean you don't have a bunker in your basement with three years of MREs and freeze dried food with an NBC filter and enough marine batteries to last a lifetime?

 

Pfpfpfttt... amateurs.

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Our bishop asked us all as home teachers to meet with our families and ask "On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate yourselves:

 

1) Financial preparedness

2) Spiritual preparedness

3) Emergency preparedness

 

When this was disseminated in priesthood the discussion immediately went to financial woes.

 

too bad these discussions aren't taking place within the family in far too many instances

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I took a survey in one ward that was extremely wealthy.  I was not the EP rep, but they usually came to me for information.  A little over 10% had at least one month's supply of food and necessities + at least one 72 hr kit.

 

A friend in Utah did a survey about two years earlier in his ward and a couple of other wards (he was the stake preparedness guy).  In each of the wards the numbers were right around 10%.  I based my survey questionnaire off of his to be consistent.

 

Well, I guess we tithed our obedience to that commandment.

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Has anyone else noticed that at the rate food prices are increasing, food storage has become an investment that is on par with the best mutual funds?

 

Not really.  Mutual funds gain compounding interest with an infinite shelf-life - or at least, until the zombie apocalypse.  Not so much food storage.

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Not really.  Mutual funds gain compounding interest with an infinite shelf-life - or at least, until the zombie apocalypse.  Not so much food storage.

That's only true if inflation doesn't eat that interest. In our environment, that's the case. "Official" inflation is negligible, but real inflation (the prices we actually pay at the checkout) is much higher. Energy is temporarily lower than it "should" be, so the government says we're not spending as much as were. But I've been to Kroger, and the prices may be the same, but the portions are smaller.

Food storage is very much like an investment for another reason. In the future, when Kroger does not have full shelves, when people are starving because there's nothing to buy, the food in one's basement will be worth its weight in gold. No amount of money, be it paper or metal, will buy a loaf of non-existent bread. All the interest in the world ain't gonna grind it, knead it, bake it, or sell it.

It's the Law of Supply'n'Demand, and it works in catastrophes, too.

Lehi

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Not really.  Mutual funds gain compounding interest with an infinite shelf-life - or at least, until the zombie apocalypse.  Not so much food storage.

I will admit it depends on what you buy.

 

We used to get an average steak for $3.99/lb three years ago.  Now that same steak is $6.99/lb.  Granted, part of that is because we're in a different state.  But Texas should have it cheaper than Colorado.  So, WTH.

 

Rice was 35c/lb four years ago.  Today it's 60c/lb.  

 

Check your compounding interest rates on these over the time frames involved, and you'll find a higher rate of return than mutual funds.

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I will admit it depends on what you buy.

 

We used to get an average steak for $3.99/lb three years ago.  Now that same steak is $6.99/lb.  Granted, part of that is because we're in a different state.  But Texas should have it cheaper than Colorado.  So, WTH.

 

Rice was 35c/lb four years ago.  Today it's 60c/lb.  

 

Check your compounding interest rates on these over the time frames involved, and you'll find a higher rate of return than mutual funds.

 

Also depends on the mutual fund.  Tech ones have been pretty good in the long-term.

 

But the price of steak rises and falls according to market conditions.  It fluctuates a lot.  For example - the $ of beef today is still a reactionary response to the 2013 Midwestern drought.  Beef prices, like gasoline, are priced as futures so it rises quickly in reaction to production conditions and falls slowly in reaction to consumer conditions.  Interestingly, this ethanol noise in the political arena is also going to affect beef prices... a subsidized ethanol industry will compete with the livestock industry for corn consumption, raising the prices of feed, and raising the prices at the grocery.  When the subsidy evaporates, corn prices will drop also dropping grocery meat prices.  Mutual funds - because it's a big basket of products - is a lot less sensitive to fluctuating market conditions changes, especially in the long-term.

 

But yeah, of course, as LeSellers said, you can't eat mutual funds.  But at the same time, you can't eat Steaks you bought 10 years ago (or maybe you can?).

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But yeah, of course, as LeSellers said, you can't eat mutual funds.  But at the same time, you can't eat Steaks you bought 10 years ago (or maybe you can?).

Yes, you can eat steak from 10 years ago. That's what canning and dehydration (not to mention the new freeze drying technology) are all about.

Further, we don't store steak much. We store those things that store well: wheat, rice, canned vegetables, etc. Steak would be a rarity, but, as noted above, not impossible.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers
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Those were just off the top of my head.  I'm sure I could find more examples.  But the numbers are a lot better than you'd think.  And I'm not aware of any mutual funds that have been as good in the past three years.

 

So, keep in mind that my overall point was two-fold.

 

1) I don't see the overall market performing very well over the last few years.

2) I've seen food prices going up faster than inflation to the point where it appears to be higher than the market's rate of return.

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  • 6 months later...

So if your talking about active Mormons, 10% being prepared, I really would like to know why is the statistic so low. I think Mirkwood stated it was a little lower. Why? 1. Do the saints believe this won't happen in there lifetime.  2. X amount of dollars only go so far, and the lifestyle comes first. 3. To many bills.  I would like to know so I can assist in building my fellow saints testimony of this along with other principles of the gospel.  If you have a problem with tithing, I have stories to tell that the spirit will whisper the truth there of , if you have problems baring trials maybe I can share that which will strengthen a soul.  I can tell you that preparing for a different less prosperous day, really has less to do with food and more to do with gaining faith to survive the coming day. I don't believe in fear mongering  To get anyone to prepare. I can tell you if this is difficult for you to do then do it. Calling down the powers of Heaven will at some point in your life be necessary. Notice you don't have faith in a principle  until you live it.  Sacrifice for it.  I never say you will eat it or use it,  but when we live a principle to the best of our ability the power you have in asking for a blessing knowing the course you pursued was in accordance with His will, the Heavens are opened and there in lies power. I certainly don't mean to preach to the choir, on second thought I hope I am.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Older/Wiser? said:

1. Do the saints believe this won't happen in there lifetime.  2. X amount of dollars only go so far, and the lifestyle comes first. 3. To many bills.

Yes to all three. But, I believe it's primarily a lack of faith (or too much faith in the wrong things).

1 hour ago, Older/Wiser? said:

1. Do the saints believe this won't happen in there lifetime?

This is true. We all suffer from "normalcy bias"*, the idea that everything will continue as it has in the past. (Well, the recent past. Somehow people just don't look very far back. The "Great Depression" wasn't all that long ago, really.)
* Some more than others, but no one is wholly immune.

We also imagine the government will provide. It may, for a while, but it comes with hooks, large and barbed, and potentially lethal. More concerning, however, is the fact that there is no way this "largess" can possibly do what the state "promises" (but cannot deliver) without stealing from taxpayers today and from the future (our grandchildren and great grandchildren). Even then, it won't last too long. Not even the federal reserve and the government can print money fast enough to "pay" for all of it.

1 hour ago, Older/Wiser? said:

 2. X amount of dollars only go so far, and the lifestyle comes first?

"Lifestyle" is a big problem. A boat is a hole in the water one pours money into. Trucks and many other toys focus people on the wrong things, particularly things of no long-term value, things they could do without entirely or put off, or for which substitutes could easily be found.

The problem is, one cannot eat "lifestyle".

1 hour ago, Older/Wiser? said:

3. Too many bills?

I worked for a man who could tell how much debt a family had just by knowing their income. He'd be right 95% of the time (within about 5%). Most USAans have about four times more debt than income. Mortgages are a large part of it, but car loans, student debt, medical bills, and general debt for refrigerators, carpet, and "home improvements", among a thousand other non-necessities.

That's why I worked for this guy. He had a program that could eliminate debt for the average family in 6~7 years. It's not too difficult a process, but it does take mental and spiritual strength; strength that many seem unable to muster.

Student loans are now greater than consumer debt in USA (and the bankruptcy law doesn't allow writing them off).

May I add a fourth?

There are people who think the Church will bail us out. Jess ain't agonna happen, folks. This is one of those things in which we may be placing too much faith. The Church's storage wouldn't last five days, and that only for the people within a dozen or so miles from a storehouse. We have 240,000 bushels of wheat in the Denver storehouse. Cracked and cooked into gruel, not its most appetizing form, to stretch it as far as it would go, three days, tops.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers
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Not sure how I missed this thread.

 

Here is a link to the lesson I taught for years in my ward:  preppercop.blogspot.com (blog format). 

 

I am now the stake preparedness specialist.  I'm trying to get the ward specialists motivated and teaching food storage in our stake.  While all aspects of self reliance are important, my prompting in this calling is to have them teach food storage for our stake/wards.

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