SHTF isn’t an Event: Everyone has their own SHTF Moment

A Personal SHTF Disaster

When it comes to survival information, far too many of the so-called experts focus on events that quite honestly probably don’t even come close to having a one in a billion chance of happening. While talking about asteroids slamming into the earth or some dystopian vision of the apocalypse might be a good way to get attention, the reality of those events happening isn’t very likely. I didn’t say they can’t happen, I’m just not that worried about it.

The truth is a SHTF disaster could be as simple as losing your job or a summer storm causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home when you’re already strapped for cash. In all likelihood, those are the types of crisis situations that are most likely to happen. Unfortunately, these are also the types of situations that receive the least amount of attention on prepping websites. Not many people share articles about the dangers of losing your job!

Are you prepping for Personal and Localized Disasters?

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from prepping; hell, even the people who are prepping for events like the zombie apocalypse are probably going to be better off during a small-scale event than their unprepared neighbors. That being said, as someone who regularly talks about preparedness, I think it’s important to really think about what you’re actually preparing for.

How realistic are your preparedness plans?

The reality of prepping is that when you reach that metaphorical SHTF moment, there is a very high chance that the event will be either hyper-personal or extremely localized in nature. A job loss, a freak winter storm that shuts down your city, or even an event like Hurricane Katrina are all examples of localized or personal disasters. While they aren’t the Walking Dead, they are things that can feel like an end of the world event when you’re living through the situation firsthand.

If you’re not prepared financially then you’re not prepared.

Payday Loan Store

Another aspect of prepping that is sadly often ignored is the area of personal financial security. It’s certainly not as exciting as the Doomsday Preppers Crap that a lot of people try selling, but the reality of the situation is that if you are not prepared financially then you’re not prepared for anything.

The odds of losing your job or being hit with a major personal financial crisis are much higher than an asteroid slamming into your local Costco. Hey, if the Asteroid keeps you up at night then have at it, but I’m telling you that if you’re not preparing for these mundane small-scale events, you’re not preparing for the reality of the world we live in.

What can you do to Prepare for the Personal SHTF Moments?

Truck Stuck in a Flood

The reality is that most Americans are already living from paycheck to paycheck, and according to most studies well over 50% of the country doesn’t have enough emergency savings to deal with an emergency event where they would need to come up with $500.

Think about that; that means that for many Americans a refrigerator breaking down could be their SHTF moment. While romanticizing preparedness might be a good time for some, logically thinking about the reality of your situation is the only way to truly solve your preparedness equation.

Figure out how long you can actually last without an income.

If you lost your job today, how long could you go before you hit that SHTF moment?

Start taking a personal inventory of what you have, how long it will last, and how much money you have in reserves. Next, start thinking of ways to build up your stockpiles of food, water, emergency supplies, and all of the other essential necessities of life – that includes the boring things that nobody ever writes about like socks, toilet paper, bath soaps, and the things you know you will use on a daily basis.

  • Can you have a garage sale and sell your old junk?
  • What can you cut back on? Those $5 Lattes might be a good start!
  • Can you downgrade services like your cable or cellphones to a cheaper plan?

Supplement your income, Now!

Handyman Working

One of the best ways to secure your future is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have a job that you consider secure, it’s still a good idea to have a backup plan.

  • What skills do you have?
  • Are you good at fixing things?
  • Can you sew or do some other sort of craft?

Chances are you have at least a couple of skills that can be used to start a small side business. It doesn’t have to be big, but it will give you a fallback plan should something go bad – and hey, you never know you could find out you make a lot more money working for yourself!

Worst case scenario: you have a little extra cash to throw at that emergency savings fund. Yes, you do need one of those!

Get out of Debt!

Guy Holding Money

Living debt free is an extremely important part of any well-rounded preparedness plan. It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, but it is essential to your long-term survival. It’s about thriving, living a comfortable existence, and having peace of mind while everyone else is living amid the chaos.

Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Next Steps that you should take…

Now that you’ve started thinking about the most likely threats that you will face, you need to really dig down and do a little work.

  • Take the Time to Understand What you Could Lose During a Disaster: By understanding what you stand to lose, you will have a better idea of what you need to prepare for now!
  • Perform a Realistic Threat Assessment: This guide will help you understand what threats are most likely based on your unique situation. It gives you the tools you need to prepare for those threats and the ability to identify problem now before they become a deadly hazard.
  • Perform a SWOT Analysis: Once you’ve identified the threats, you need to determine your level of preparedness and your ability to face those threats. The best way to do that is to perform a survival SWOT Analysis

6 Comments

  1. B from CA
    September 1, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Start a College Fund when your baby is born. Don’t be shy about letting people know you are raising money for baby’s education. Put a jar for change where it can easily be seen. Put paper and elastic band around jar saying So&so’s College Fund.

    When your salary goes up, hold on to the higher amount. Put it into your savings.

    Women, more than men, spend a great deal of money on their appearance. Some of this is necessary. But, a lot is just a waste of time and money. Most face and body creams are loaded with nasty chemicals. The need to be beautiful and stay young will give you wrinkles and age you before your time. Unless you are seriously deformed, pass on cosmetic surgery. Instead, focus on giving love and creating a healthy environment for yourself and your family. Take a look at the beautiful faces of women and men who live a life in balance with nature. These women and men go to Natures Pharmacy. They grow their own herbs for food and medicine. They aren’t ever lonely surrounded by butterflies and bees. The birds visit their gardens.

    I know a man who is thrifty. His girlfriend dyed her hair. He tried to get her to go natural to no avail. Her monthly visit to the beauty parlor was insanely expensive. Finally, she agreed to let him dye her hair at home. And she looked better than before. They both were happier and since she started using natural skin conditioners like olive oil and coconut oil, she is looking radiant. Also eating Sea Vegtables which took a while to adjust to. She planted a black walnut tree and she claims the walnuts are keeping her brain sharp, which is probably true because they have healthy fats.

    Many people can avoid costly medical expenses by simply taking better care of themselves and their families. The number of people abusing drugs and alcohol is staggering. The financial costs are astronomical. Besides the initial money wasted on this poison, the failure in jobs and business is incalculable. But what is perhaps the worst of all, is the accumulative effects resulting in shorter lifespan and medical conditions which were totally avoidable, with redicilouslrediculously expensive medical care prior to a long painful decline followed by death.

    So go with nature. Live drug free. And enjoy freedom from the side effects of drugs.

    That’s my main approach to financial and spiritual well being. And martial arts training. Because you never know when you might have to defend yourself or your loved ones. Guns have a place, but you don’t need to use maximum force in most situations. This is particularly helpful for diminutive females, children, and even elderly.

  2. JJ
    September 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Great article and thank you for talking the time to talk about this, you are right far too many people ignore the subject all together and focus on worst case scenario stuff that will probably never happen.

  3. RR
    September 2, 2016 at 6:52 am

    As you say, it’s not that the big nation-destroying events will *never* happen, it’s just that smaller individual-destroying events are far more common. Also, those big SHTF events rarely take the form of a big announcement: just take a look at some of the actual disasters people have suffered over the years, like Hurricane Katrina and Venezuela’s economic collapse. It’s not as if people couldn’t see them coming, but it’s also not as if they all happened in one day and were announced in a special news bulletin the way you typically see such events occur in disaster movies.

    With Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophe actually took several weeks to unfold; Katrina began as just one more of a number of tropical storms, most of which never amounted to anything serious. As this particular storm grew and moved into the Gulf of Mexico, anyone with half a brain could see this was as good a time as any for people on the shorelines to bug out and head inland. In short, Hurricane Katrina was hardly an unexpected disaster, though some could certainly fault the local leadership of the affected areas for not having acted more effectively to evacuate their people and fix the damage afterward.

    As for Venezuela, anyone with a grasp of history could have foreseen that electing a power-hungry Marxist dictator like Hugo Chavez to office was bound to lead to economic disaster, as Communism *always* has; if anything, the only thing nobody could anticipate was that the economic collapse would take as long to unfold as it did. As late as 2013, fool leftists were praising Venezuela for being a “working” socialist state. Meanwhile, anyone with half a brain had already either fled Venezuela for a country with freer markets and more civil liberties, or was busy storing and hiding supplies for the imminent disaster. Also worth noting is that martial law has never really officially been “declared” there either, just gradually imposed through a series of enabling acts and policing actions. As Venezuela’s collapse ought to demonstrate, you don’t “wake up one morning” (as even some prepper websites like to say) to discover your nation’s economy has collapsed; what actually happens is that you watch the economy slide into ruin day by day, gradually at first, and then more and more rapidly.

    This is not to say that huge nation-destroying SHTF events never begin with a huge announcement either; just that the onset will tend to take longer than a “moment” or a day. If you’re looking for a big announcement that the USA’s political and economic collapse has begun, “Hillary celebrated her historic electoral victory today” should be as effective an announcement as any. By the same token, “President-elect Trump urged the nation to remain calm as angry protests broke out in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Cincinnati, and numerous other cities last night” should pretty effectively clarify to anyone who’s paying attention that we’d better be ready to “bug in” for the next few years.

  4. Cathy Ferguson
    September 2, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I’ve been reading prepper sites for several years now and following the tips that pertain to my family. I don’t know that I have read to much about situations they are more probable to happen so was glad to see you address the issue. I want to share with your readers a personal experience they hopefully will consider.

    My son and his wife met in high school, first date, first love, married fifteen years, no children. Since that time they have both worked hard, saved their money, spent wisely and planned for the future. He spent two years designing their dream home, taking into consideration all the articles written for preppers. Any possible idea that could be included from double walls, alternative electric, water, safe room etc. was built in. Beautiful from the outside and a fortress on the inside. He had prepared for every scenario.

    On Valentines day he and his wife, her brother and his wife went out to dinner. Two of them never made it home. A drunk driver three times the limit and twice the speed crossed the center line killing two family members and permanetly injuring one. As is so often the case nowdays the other driver had no license, no insurance.

    My daughter in law though injured was now faced with having to plan a funeral, deal with insurance and the other aspects of a sudden death. I write this to try to get people to learn from his mistakes. Though he had planned for every scenario possible while alive no one thought about him dying. They both worked from home and seldom left the farm. He took care of all the finances, bills, banking, insurance, everything that a surviving spouse would need to know but did not. First they never talked about their personal wishes for a burial. Do you want to be cremated, buried and if so where. She had never dealt with the banking; was there a lockbox, where’s the key, what do we owe, credit cards, loans, the list goes on and on. The only thing worse than talking with your spouse or a trusted friend about your dying is not talking about it. We can be sure that it WILL happen to all of ue sooner or later.

    Another very important issue was the vehicle insurance. I cringe when the commercials advertise for minimal auto insurance. That all works out for the fender bender in a Walmart parking lot but having a plan that actually covers you is a different story. Although they were passengers in another persons vehicle their uninsured, underinsured and pip insurance has been a financial life saver. This coverage still applied. I did not know that. Be sure you are adequatley covered for the disasters in life that are a real threat. Insurance is extremely cheap considering the financial burdens of not having enough. After reviewing my own policies I wasn’t prepared for a personal disaster either. Yes I’m paying a couple hundred more a year but if needed its there.
    Something we did not know was to immediatley run a credit check on the deceased. This will give you an idea of whats owed and a baseline so when all the crooks read death notices in the paper and start opening accounts and charge cards in your loved ones name. There are other readers who can elaborate on this I’m sure.

    Please consider every detail to the survival of yourself and your family. As a previous reader stated, stay drug free, take care of your physical bodies, Cherish your relationships and enjoy what you have today. Its not all about the zombie apocalypse, guns and bullets, stockpiles of food, offf grid power and gold in your hand. My son planned and prepared for everything; except the man that lived down the street.

  5. Raven
    September 3, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Great article. Financial preparedness is one of the most important things that is overlooked by many preppers today. The important part of preparing financially is that it takes time to build the emergency fund, so the sooner you start the better. Many financial advisors recommend saving a minimum of 6 months living expenses for short term job losses, home SHTF emergencies, etc. Long term emergencies, or for job losses in highly volatile markets, like the oil industry, where it may take a while to find a new job, 12+ months of living expenses is recommended. This can fund some time to build, so start soon. Any emergency fund savings is better than none at all.

  6. J
    January 20, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Just found your site and am liking what I see, so far. I especially appreciate you pointing out personal SHTF situations. Sooner or later, we all go through them. Some common sense steps can go a long way towards making those type of situations much easier to bear.

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