How to Prepare for a Recession

Are we in a recession? The price of gas and food seem likely to continue spiraling upward. So what happens if we’re smacked with more food shortages or massive unemployment?

Larry Alton offers some excellent advice for keeping ourselves afloat in case of recession—or worse, a severe economic depression, a recent article for American Thinker. Alton advises stockpiling necessities, not just foods like rice and canned goods, but items like toothpaste, soap, medicines, and vitamins. He recommends diversifying our assets and setting aside money, if possible, so that we might survive for several months if we find ourselves without work.

Alton also suggests removing a hefty amount of cash from our bank accounts, if we’re able to do so. He cites Greece’s recent financial collapse, when banks strictly limited the amount of cash customers were permitted to withdraw. In the case of a family living on $5,000 a month, he advises having an identical amount safely stored and hidden in the home.

Aside from cash, Alton recommends making “tradeworthy investments” by stocking up on items like tobacco or liquor that might be used as a means of exchange in lieu of cash.

These ideas may sound impossible or outlandish to some. They may seem like suggestions only for preppers, those people who cache large quantities of foodstuffs and build fortress-like shelters in the event that civilization collapses, yet this is not the case. Alton’s suggestions, like those of many preppers for that matter, are mostly just good old-fashioned common sense which, if followed, can help us keep afloat in rough waters.

I’m not a prepper, at least not by the standards most folks would assign that term, but this past year I have built up a collection of rice, beans, and canned goods. I don’t really own any assets worthy of diversification, but having read Alton’s article, I do intend to heed his advice and withdraw some cash from my bank account. It’s earning no interest there, and I can find a way to stow it safely in my home.

As Alton rightly says, there’s little we as individuals can do to prevent a recession, or worse. But we can do what Americans have so often done before. We can prepare for such emergencies and be ready to face them if they occur.

To Alton’s list, I would add a few other suggestions.

First, buy five gallons of ethanol-free gasoline and safely store it. Ethanol-free gasoline lasts longer than ethanol gasoline and might come in handy in an emergency.

Second, follow the example of millions of other Americans by purchasing a firearm and learning to use it. Given the rising rates of crime in this country, still largely confined to our larger cities, lawlessness will likely continue and may even spread. You might find yourself as the only line of defense in protecting your home and family.

Third, don’t depend on the government for assistance. We should aim for personal independence as much as is feasible. Recently, I attended the Homesteaders of America Conference. While I have no interest in planting a garden or raising chickens, I wanted to see what attracted other people to the homesteading movement. The two main motives? Healthier food and independence.

Fourth, we need to feed our spirits. If a political or economic crisis does knock our culture for a loop, feeding the soul will be as important as feeding the body. Stock a bookcase with works that might inspire through hard times: the Bible, poetry, fiction, books of meditations and quotations, and stories from history.

Finally, but just as importantly, we should try to live in hope rather than in despair. To prepare for hard times is wise, but to allow that preparation to grind down our spirits is both foolish and self-defeating. When I was recently in the dumps, a friend sent me several quotes from her devotional book, Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, including this passage: “Sadness discolors everything; it leaves all objects charmless; it involves future prospects in darkness; it deprives the soul of all its aspirations, enchains all its powers, and produces a mental paralysis!”

So let’s make our preparations. Let’s do what’s necessary with the fervent hope that such preparations will never be needed. And then let’s live our lives as fully and as gloriously as possible.

Image credit: Flickr-Eli Sagor, CC BY-NC 2.0.