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Friday, December 30, 2016

opportunity cost 2 of 2


What have you given up to be a prepper?  Don’t count your buckets of wheat or rounds of ammunition and come up with a dollar figure.  That makes this question moot because all of us have hobbies or allowed luxuries that are probably in the same percentage of spending in relation to income.  If you CAN answer this question by performing the above, you have no opportunity costs.  You are just a Prepper Lite, one of the posers that has a few weeks camping gear/food and some extra ammunition.  A Survivalist, on the other hand, has quite a list of things he’ll never achieve because he chose to look through decades of spending choices lenses as someone trying to survive actual civilization collapse ( as opposed to mere disaster survival ).  A prepper lite lives in the big city to work at a well paying job and puts aside a few tools, a few cases of MRE’s and has a potted tomato plant.  The survivalist has decades of lost income from moving away from the city.  As an example of an opportunity cost. 


Another example would be a food stockpile and arsenal taking the place of a college education.  You gave up the chance to earn more, since your cost/benefits analyses judged that a room full of tangibles beat the probability of a job being available or money retaining value.  Not staying in the military because you view an overseas station too high of a risk given the possibility of imperial blowback, with the no longer realized pension, is an opportunity cost for a survivalist ( I refused to stay in the military because I don’t take direction well from morons-but that indirectly benefited me as I would have seen Panama, then the Gulf War I with its troop poisoning, then a stop loss extension in Iraq just as I was about to retire ).  Leaving a less-stressful job and an affordable housing area because crime might increase ( in Florida, it isn’t very fun living next to a ghetto, but at the time they were one of the better states to carry concealed and protect your castle in ), you’ve given up a better job and the chance to retire in a nice climate.   I moved to a higher cost of living area to get away from such high population densities, but the 50% wage hike didn’t make the 5x housing cost a very good trade off.


 As a matter of fact, if I had stayed in Florida after taking on a VA mortgage, I could have cashed out during the bubble and had a much nicer retreat here paid for in cash.  That was an opportunity cost ( although I did move out just in time to avoid the record breaking hurricanes, so I call it a wash, financially.  I have great luck deciding to do something for another reason and then being rewarded for it in other ways.  Avoiding war because I hate being micro-managed.  Avoiding the housing crash because I was moving every few years from multiple marriages and with wanderlust.  Avoiding the new harder to qualify for bankruptcy because the ex had my tax return seized for arrears [ that I had never missed a payment on ] and in desperation I filed a year prior to the law changing.  Avoiding the financial collapse as a renter because I finally decided to move after rent kept going up 10% a year and I didn’t have much time before I couldn’t afford it anymore.  Avoiding price increases not because I had foreseen inflation due to resource depletion but because I’ve thought the world would end for decades now-in other words I was paranoid about the wrong thing but still benefited  ). 


But some things are a lot harder to justify away as the smarter move.  I’ve always thought the perfect investment would have been a travel trailer park.  Minimal investment or maintenance, or liability, with rents as your income and a free place to live for yourself.  I had that plan in the mid ‘80’s after living in my first park in an RV.  Did I do anything about it?  Of course not.  I was too busy trying to get laid and worrying about the end of the world ( and worrying about not getting laid enough ).  Now, I look at my age and the job market and can’t help but wonder if I made a mistake.  I mean, obviously I’m beyond certain that the End Is Nigh.  I keep doubling down on that.  I just look at the opportunity costs sometimes and ponder.  Pondering isn’t losing your nerve or changing your mind, it is just mental masturbation.  I can’t help doing that a lot.  I can’t help but wonder what I could have accomplished by saving money rather than buying the wrong pieces of real estate.  Or, rather than double and triple all my minor preps, if I had built a house ( a 400 square foot one, not a McMansion ).  Then I might still be living in the boonies rather than paying rent ( of course, that is still questionable feasibility wise.  The New Old Lady might still have elected to stay in town, even if I had offered all amenities ).


If I was an economic collapse prepper ( as in, New Great Depression ) rather than a civilization collapse survivalist, I could have already been living in east Texas, retired and fishing every day.  Rather than busting my hump working for chump change here.  So, the more paranoid you are, your opportunity costs are far higher.  That is an additional price we pay, above and beyond stockpile equipment costs.  Being extra worried is cheap enough.  Ten years of wheat is only a thousand bucks ( excluding container costs.  But then, your $1,000 semi-auto rifle excludes the cost of mags and ammo, so I can still safely compare a decade of food to one plastic carbine ).  Junk land is a grand or three.  Peanuts compared to rent.  Rather, it is those opportunity costs that can really make things far more expensive.  Most normal people won’t forgo possible lost income-that is why they are normal rather than bat crap crazy survivalists.  And we can all tell ourselves we’ll get the last laugh, but at our age I wonder if that is even true.  The damn collapse really better hurry up and get here!


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  1. Hindsight is always 20/20, BUT you only get to make decisions based on the information you had AT THE TIME.

    1. Of course all that is true, but don't you second guess yourself anyway?

    2. Yes, I can't help but do that. i tend to over-analyze everything. Call it a character flaw, but i think it keeps me alive...
      This is how i look at it:
      Imagine i bought a car in 1985, and purchased lots of Maintenance Equipment for it, and tracked my expenses, Spare Tire, Jumper Cables, Tire Chains, Road Flares, etc. Imagine that the Various Equipment Cost alone amounted to around $1000. Pretend that the car never broke down, ran out of gas, or even had a flat. After owning the car for 10 years, and later selling it, i would be tempted to look at the $1000 +-, and realize that i "would be better off" had i taken the money and just purchased Microsoft or Cisco Stock. Had i done THAT, i would be a Millionaire today!
      Except that is not how life actually works.
      I don't get to know which team is going to win before i "place my bet".
      "Junk Land won't make ME a millionaire, but it might stop me from dying of from a stress-induced heart attack.
      Then again, ANY TYPE OF INSURANCE is no more or less than a BET AGAINST YOURSELF, that only pays if something shitty happens.
      BUT i still beleive in spare tires, and jumper cables...
      Then again, i have NEVER OWNED the above-mentioned car that never broke down...

    3. As a fellow Over-Analyzer, I don't look at it as a character flaw but merely a different mind wiring. Just as different body/metabolism types are hanging around waiting to see who wins the Bottleneck Lottery, so to with different hard wired ways of thinking.

  2. Hmm, opportunity cost have included my moving 4 times in 8 years- always with a job pre-applied for, but always with an eye toward the survivability of the location. I have turned down a large number of better paying jobs because they would have taken me into major metropolis. I have lost jobs because of my unwillingness to stay more than week in a metropolis or sign on with the federal government. I guess you could count those. I am now back to the corner employment wise. If my current employer lets me go I will probably never again have a full time job, much less one at my current wage. With the ND oil boom going oil bust, my back-up to employment that I had has evaporated.

    1. My town of 20k, with a "booming" economy, has close to zero employment opportunities. Of course, the bloom has been coming off the rose for the last year or so-it is pretty obvious except to the "experts". But my bottom line is at most a temp part time fast food job just prior to either the ass falling out of the economy or almost complete automation ( Micky-D's has already announced, the others should follow ). My unemployment options are more like writing income ( $100-$200 a month ) and food stamps.

  3. I guess I'm a Prepper Lite.

    It's certainly not easy being an adult.

    If I had my way I'd be living on some junk land with access to water via push bike (water is close enough to get but not so close that random marauders would find me). I'd be bordering a large farm so that I'd have permission to hunt feral game on for food. Maybe even be a "professional pest controller" so that I could have a semi-auto.

    So yeah, I'd be living on some junk land and have some crappy job that kept me fit and fed and my entertainment would be blasting bunnies and sticking pigs with a bit of fishing thrown in for fun.

    Dang, I'm getting all teary eyed a the dream.

    But alas, I'm mortgaged (repayments are less than rent but I forgoe the ability to be mobile), I'm paying off a car that I rarely drive (it's a 4WD bug out / fun weekender), struggling to run a business that I must confess I'd rather not (family obligations).

    My prep fear? Only Lord Kek knows what's going to happen. Jack Spirko survivalist podcaster says "Prepare for if things go bad but even if they don't"

    So I guess I just finish acquiring Bison Plan Prep's then smash down my debts whilst building a garden, assist the forest gnomes planting edibles where I "explore" when I 4WD and enjoy the occasional range day and start fishing

    Peasant Prepper / Redneck Irregular

    PS - the Missus is on board with stacking food (don't know about 1 years worth of Wheat though) and supports firearm ownership "just in case" (that's saying a lot considering I'm in anti gun Australia)

    1. Prepper Vs. Survivalist is more your outlook, not your results. We are all stuck to some degree or another. I'm "stuck" in a relationship ( and wouldn't trade it for the world-first time in my life with a gal that gives a crap about me ) that precludes my living in the true boonies. Preppers are disaster experts, survivalists are collapse experts. Where you are in your journey isn't that important. As long as you know and strive.

    2. Dingo, buckets of wheat go a long way. Every bucket is worth 2+ weeks for 2 people. I'm single now so don't answer to anyone, offically.

  4. Even I could be considered Prepper Lite, considering we could move out to the swamp. Mama says no to that ! Something about having utilise and working full time. Even though she drives almost twenty miles one way now, and actually the BOL is only fifteen miles from her job.
    We may be Prepper Lite, however we are hard core Survivalist strong !

    How bout the kerfuffle going on with Obama and the
    Rooskies ? My mom is convinced he ain't leaving office, and him agrivating Putin may be a strong tell in that direction.
    Then I listened to a piece put out by The Sargeant Report this morning saying that a military coup is in the works.
    Meanwhile, word has it the Russians hacked into the grid yesterday hmmm gives pause eh ?

    Come on down 2017 ! Looks as though it may well get interesting.
    Maybe all that prepping ain't going to go ta waste eh ?

    If it all bows up when the Ball drops tonight....

    Regards to you and the squeeze,
    Rob & Kathy

    1. I'm convinced Obammy doesn't have one stray thought in his head. No matter what he thinks he can do, or is told to do, Putin isn't as clumsy of an oaf as First Kenyan and won't rise to the bait. I didn't hear about the hacking part, although while on the one hand, "it is all the commies fault" gets old hearing about, and on the other hand, hacking has been going on for a LONG time. All powers foreign and domestic do it. Yep, a VERY interesting 2017, although I'd wager none of us can guess how.

    2. He is just burning down the house, as he leaves. Luckily, the adults can see that, and are just waiting out the clock, hoping that he doesn't find the gas can, before the timer runs out.

    3. I seriously doubt that the Russians hacked the electricity grid. Spirko of The Survivalist Podcast was saying that the grid is decades out of date as in, it was supposed to be replaced decades ago, and it's just a matter of time before it collapses from lack of maintenance

      Re: Coup - I was poo pooed for suggesting that was a possibility. A military Coup in the land of the free? As if Americans would take up arms against the government, well except that one time but that was the British government (sshhhh don't say that the rebels at that time WERE British)

    4. Evil-well, again, stray thoughts in his head? He doesn't have the courage or originality to do anything real. And remember, Trump is 100% an insider despite his campaign lies. He IS the 1%. Nothing is being risked to the Elite with this handover. But I love the analogy.
      Dingo-our complete infrastructure is decades old and due to implode, but I think the issue is that as a stopgap measure long ago we chipped the grid to make it last further without more expensive repairs and therein lies the danger.

  5. Hell no he doesn't have any stray thoughts. All comes from central command direct from England.

  6. As an architect and structural engineer and a real estate broker I have given up $1,000,000+ in earnings over the past 10 years by moving to the dark, scary forest of the unknown. Additionally, it cost me $200k to move here.

    I have been completely debt free for 9 years and have no daily/weekly/monthly/yearly bills, and I earn less than $20k per year and it's all cash.

    I have no broadband, my TV is over the air, my yearly cellphone was purchased with cash for $90, and I have no landline.

    I have a years worth of food and by the end of 2017 will have 2 years worth. I have a small vegetable garden, and several local sources for produce and meats, and catch fresh fishes in local ponds.

    I will never be satisfied with my lot in life thus I am constantly finding more and more ways to become self sufficient. A lifelong apprentice at everything and professional at nothing.

    1. It sounds like an insanely cool set-up/life. Just please do yourself a favor and make it 3-5 years of food using just wheat ( make it regular food storage items after that ). It is too cheap not to, and I can't imagine a good enough scenario where all you need is one years food. It is a dirt cheap insurance policy. Sorry, I get paid to be paranoid. Even if it isn't your thing it is still just a $150 a year per person insurance.

  7. But I have never thought of my decision on a lifestyle change as a sacrifice. Instead, I made a large one time purchase for the most important thing, the thing that is not available at any price in urbania or suburbania.

    Peace of mind.

    In hindsite looking forward, peace of mind became more valuable as I aged. I thought I could purchase it while living in those former places but I was always proved wrong.

    It was only after I broke completely free from the system and left everything behind that peace of mind came into view.

    Rand was right, as usual, when she wrote, "When you leash a dog you leash yourself."

    Or, put another way:

    The more things you own, the more you are owned.
    Yes, really, less is more.

    Most never break free from the early childhood programming that more is more. They have learned to need their chains.

  8. I'm more and more convinced that Prepping is a "second half of life" thing. A young adult can't move out in the boonies unless he plans to be poor all his life, or is somewhat maladapted for mainstream living.

    You can steer your ship in difficult waters only with the help of prior experience. The only real risk is other people, and one needs to accumulate experience on people - and this is something that can only be done by living among them.

    Overconfidence leads to divorce & paying alimony...

    1. I had a sweet first half of life ( age 23 ) set up, living in the boonies in a VERY small town. Then wildfire burned down the marijuana crops and the towns economy went. That was Happy Camp, Cali. Look on the map how isolated it is. Of course, it is California. The only place I regret leaving, really.


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