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New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Sunday, December 26, 2010, 6:52 PM

Our What Should I Do? blog series was launched in early November, and the community response so far has been encouragingly positive. The model of having CM.com readers share their practical expertise with this site's material seems to be as useful as we'd hoped.

As I plan out the content calendar for 2011, I'd like to get a sense for what you'd like this series focus on next year:

  • What new topics would you like to see addressed?
  • Are there any CM.com readers who you'd particularly like to see share their knowledge (perhaps based on your appreciation for the quality of their forum and comment contributions)?
  • Are there any subjects you yourself are interested in contributing a post on?
  • Do you have any other ideas for improving the series?

Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments section below (or send me a PM if you prefer discretion)

I appreciate the input & hope you're all enjoying the holidays!

cheers,

Adam


This new What Should I Do? blog series is intended to surface knowledge and perspective useful to preparing for a future defined by Peak Oil.  The content is written by CM.com readers and is based in their own experiences in putting into practice many of the ideas exchanged on this site.  If there are topics you'd like to see featured here, or if you have interest in contributing a post in a relevant area of your expertise, please indicate so in our Input on the What Should I Do? Series feedback forum.

If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series, you can find them here:

This series is a companion to this site's free What Should I Do? Guide, which provides guidance from Chris and the CM.com staff on specific strategies, products, and services that individuals should consider in their preparations.  

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37 Comments

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3107
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Sorry folks - comments were disabled there for a while. That's now been fixed.

Several folks have already sent me suggestions via PM. Here's what I've received so far:

  • home & personal security (including introductory firearm advice)
  • lessons learned from economic collapse in places like Russia & Argentina
  • barnyard 101
  • animal husbandry
  • hyperinflation investment strategies
  • home additions/construction
  • storage of valuables
  • how not to come off as a crazy peson
  • auto maintenance
  • cloth/clothesmaking/knitting
  • necessary tools (home & auto)
  • butchering
  • woodworking
  • ham radio/alternate communications
  • recycling/reusing
  • sourcing food locally
  • apartment/rental prepping
  • cooking without gas/electricity
  • product/vendor recommendations for UK residents
  • alternative entertainment

Feel free to voice your support for one of these or add to the list (perhaps you're interested in authoring one?).

maceves's picture
maceves
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Posts: 281
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Here are some more--

family dairy, 

permaculture tips for setting up a homestead,

setting  up an energy efficient kitchen,

labor saving ideas post carbon for house and farm

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Posts: 2247
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Hey Adam-

   Here's a great suggestion from Aaron, from the "Social Breakdown" thread, at http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/97731#comment-97731\

Aaron wrote:

Pinecarr,

I've got a general outline in my head about risk management and how it relates to stochastic emergencies. 
Basically, we can categorize all emergencies into a few "blocks" that represent things like duration and intensity.

All emergencies have one thing in common - they represent shortages. With that in mind, the skill to procure or develop is more important than simply "preparing" by possession.

Maybe we can start a new thread in the "what should I do" portion regarding planning for emergencies.

Cheers,

Aaron 

I think something like that would be very useful!

joemanc's picture
joemanc
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Posts: 834
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series
Adam wrote:

Several folks have already sent me suggestions via PM. Here's what I've received so far:

  • home additions/construction

Feel free to voice your support for one of these or add to the list (perhaps you're interested in authoring one?).

How about greenhouses? Or cold frames?

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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Posts: 2369
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Adam/Pinecarr,

I'll accept the nomination if no one else wants it. 
It'll be a few extra weeks, but the rest of my series on practical survival skills should be done by the end of January, and after that I can start a composite on how to assess emergencies.

The impetus will basically be a composite of:
1. Assessing situations (Observing)
2. Prioritizing (Orienting)
3. Addressing deficiency (the element that creates emergency ;0)) (Deciding)
4. Planning (Action)

If anyone has any other suggestions, LMK and I'll include as much as I can.
Sadly, this is just the method I use and hasn't really been tested by a large scale tragedy, so I'll try and "Monday Morning Quarterback" existing situations.

Cheers,

Aaron

MrEnergyCzar's picture
MrEnergyCzar
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I think a great idea for a series is to talk about the many things I've done to prepare my family for Peak Oil that others can also do.   I attached one of my videos here regarding powering down the home.

MrEnergyCzar

 

 

TimesAwasting's picture
TimesAwasting
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

How about opening off shore bank accounts... transporting, transferring excess wealth off shore... moving precious metals across borders and internationally... obtaining dual citizenship?

helenarmstrong's picture
helenarmstrong
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I can't write it, but would suggest: 

How to establish an independent, licensed community taxi service so not everyone needs a car.  Elders can more readily give up the keys when the time comes, knowing that they can call the taxi for a lift anywhere.  No need for a fleet or a dispatcher, now that every driver has a cell phone.

Woodman's picture
Woodman
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series
joemanc wrote:

[How about greenhouses? Or cold frames?

I've committed to do something on my brief experience with cold frames and extended season harvests.

I'd like to hear more on preparing for transportation needs post peak oil.  I spend more on gasoline than all other energy use in my home combined.

 

tonepoem's picture
tonepoem
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Hi. I'd like to piggyback on the suggestion of apartment/rental prepping and ask can it be expanded to address those of us that live in major cities?  I'm in NYC and for various reasons I can't realistically expect to leave anytime soon.  I think that for all of us (rural and urban) the basic concerns are the same, but there are challenges unique to living in a metropolis.  I'm more than willing to discuss and/or brainstorm with someone about this.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

 

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Here is something cheap that anyone can do.

http://www.khanacademy.org/video/banking-3--fractional-reserve-banking?p...

and then the next video

http://www.khanacademy.org/video/banking-4--multiplier-effect-and-the-mo...

Which will bring me to : "A house is no more a creater of wealth than a pair of trousers. " (or words to that effect) Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations. And we have been borrowing heavily for housing.

 

EndGamePlayer's picture
EndGamePlayer
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Did you ever hink so many ideas would come up?

I'll add to that- We make a large portion of our money online and have had many family discussions about what we would do to barter for the things we need "after". So not to be competivie with other people who barter food, we've have been listing all the things we could recycle into "goods" from the area.

So I'm suggesting a "Total Recycle Society" List.

Is there money in trash? EGP

Robinson's picture
Robinson
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I will like a review of the book,

 BAIL YOURSELF OUT: How You Can Emerge Strong from the World Crisis by Michael Laitman PhD

 http://www.kabbalahbooks.info/product-p/bail-yourself-out.htm

 “Everything that exists is an outcome of interaction between two forces—giving and receiving. When they work in harmony, life flows peacefully in its course. When they collide, we must deal with calamities and crises of great magnitude,” says Prof. Michael Laitman. These forces are at work in every aspect of life: family, economy, politics, ecology, and health. Bail Yourself Out: How You Can Emerge Strong from the World Crisis is a guide to mastering these forces on the personal, national, and global levels. With this knowledge, we hold the key to success by harnessing them to our benefit.

 A book for our time for anyone   August 16, 2009 Reviewer: sally stroud from klamth falls, OR United States               

Bail Youreself Out showed me what is required to come through a crisis - any crisis - and that is unity and collaboration. Delving into the deeper meaning of give and take as a way of life and showing that nature uses this method to achieve balance puts emphasis on the very real need our society has for this same balance. When viewed through the perspective of friends caught in a difficult situation, unity and working together to the goal beomes less an individual task and evolves into a team of like-minded friends. Only together, I think, is the true meaning of unity that leads to success. Bail Yourself Out taught me the lessons essential for survival that have been true down through ages and clearly for our time. It becomes very apparent we must achieve this balance in order to make it through the crisis.

 A practical guide toward a more evolved society           April 21, 2010Reviewer: Annabelle from Seattle , WA United States    

Bail Yourself Out describes how our current global situation is rooted in the evolution of the entire universe. This book explains, in simple terms, that our world functions through the interaction of two universal forces: giving and receiving. Nature is in perfect balance with these forces while Humanity is not, and it shows how this imbalance has created the entire disharmony in our world. Bail Yourself Out illustrates how to bring every aspect of human society, from media to education, into balance with these forces. By creating this balance, we will emerge from our current global crisis into a safer, healthier, and more beautiful world. This book is a practical guide toward a more evolved society and a must read for anyone who is concerned about our future.

No More Excuses       September 23, 2010   Reviewer: Patty Breton from Edmonton, AB Canada    

This tiny book packs a big wallop!  Waking up to the reality of our individual and personal responsibility to find creative and sustainable ways of working, living, and loving together is the NOW imperative for all of humanity.  Five key areas - visual arts, music, economics, education, and health care - are laid out in practical and succinct terms for immediate implementation.  No more excuses - we're all in this together!

                    ____________________________________________________

 Hello, dear friends. I am a constant reader of this site, and congratulations for the excellent information there, all of very good quality, both the contributions of Chris Martenson and those of all here.

 You are very good to describe what is happening in the world from the financial point of view, and I continued reading for a better appreciation of how it unfolds or, rather, collapsing the economy.

 But one thing that here lack, missing a solid solution, so I propose to do an article about this book, he will get a really solid solution. I would write an article, but as my mother tongue is Spanish and I live inVenezuela, it would be better than a friend of us in USA will write an article, if you please I can contact someone in USA that will write a article for this site.

 We are already 1.6 million people worldwide involved in creating a new society, we are growing rapidly. The profile of our people is similar to yours, professional people, well educated, we've launched the TV out our lives, we work to have strong communities, we develop content for the proper education of children. But we need more people, and that the more we are, the faster and easier to go through the transition to the new society.

bbroadhead's picture
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Here is a quite specific question that may be relevant to many.

My wife and I have enough money in IRA's that we don't want to take it all out at once and take a big tax hit on it.  We've been looking into converting some of this into a self directed IRA - perhaps purchasing some woodlot acreage as per Chris's post awhile ago.  Does anyone have experience with self directed IRA's and want to share the benefits or problems?

BBroadhead

bbroadhead's picture
bbroadhead
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Thanks for the detail on using foam board to insulate attic access stairs or holes.

cdfairchild's picture
cdfairchild
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I'd be interested in articles on how to "earn a living" in a post-peak world.

Keep up the great work!

maceves's picture
maceves
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series
MrEnergyCzar wrote:

I think a great idea for a series is to talk about the many things I've done to prepare my family for Peak Oil that others can also do.   I attached one of my videos here regarding powering down the home.

MrEnergyCzar

 I was really impressed, especially by the kitchen and the hidden switches. 

shudock's picture
shudock
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

In addition to the above, how about masonry heaters? (and oven/cooking/water heat incorporated into said masonry heater)?

Tim_P's picture
Tim_P
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

An aritcle on getting started in reloading ammunition might be helpful to those that are interested in doing so.  Reloading is a great hobby and has practical uses going forward.  The cost of entry is not too steep and the ability to stockpile components as opposed to finished cartridges is beneficial too.  Having a good rifle and pistol is great for hunting or self defense only if you have ammunition available.  In 5 to 10 years, reloading could make the difference between having that ammunition or not having it.

Tim

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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I would like to read your thoughts about how to handle the threat of massive municipal bond defaults.  If the 60 Minutes piece of last week is at all accurate, none of us will escape the reverberations from such a failure in our financial system.

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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I would like to hear from those who have started their own alternative currencies and how to make them stable over time. Time Banks are incredibly popular in Europe and becoming moreso here in the states- yet the interactions I've had with those who run Time Banks in the US have been incredibly disappointing in terms of an understanding of the importance of how the currency is created (or even that it IS a form of currency!) One Time Dollar always and forever will equal One Hour of Work seems pretty stable on the surface, yet more often than not, the Time Bank ends up acting as a central bank to create currency. This becomes potentially incredibly inflationary if those who have the power to issue the currency put out far more than the members can conceivably use. So I am interested to hear more from those who run Time Banks and open up a discussion of the benifits and drawbacks of that particular system. And I would also like to hear from others who have started other kinds of systems like Local Exchange Trade Systems or LETS, credit clearing, or others. To be clear, I'm not asking to hear the details of how they started their systems, which can be found in a multitude of books. What I want is an analysis and critique of these systems using the CM lens and a discussion about how to make these systems better and more stable for the future.

citizenman's picture
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I have been in control of my own finances but I also participate in a retirement plan that I cannot get out of through my work.  It is matched by the government.  I am in a position to influence some of the decisions but I am not sure on what would be good direction for investments for a work plan.  Are there ideas out there of what other work retirement plans are doing in order to prepare for the future?  So far the idea is that markets always go up in the long term.

Thank you for the consideration!

Wybo

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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series - Local Currency

I'm curious about the possibilities for using a local currency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_currency).  What are your thoughts on its future usefullness?  When, where, and how can it be used?

Thanks.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Hygiene - How to Make Soap, Toothpaste, etc.

 

Maybe we can ask Maceves (or someone) to do a write-up on how to make the most basic of soap, skin-protecting lotions and cleansing shampoo with readily available inputs. For those of us who want to learn or want to get into being self-reliant, it would be a fun project. Proper hygiene is a lifesaver and part of the first line of defense against disease and infection. A bacterial infection can kill in a MRSA (multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) world without effective antibiotics.

Also, I don't know who would be the go-to expert at this, but it'd be great to read about alternatives to toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash - because dental health is an important life-extender (and helps with sociability).

Poet

 

Woodman's picture
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I would like to hear from someone with practical experience with catching, conserving, and using water efficiently for backyard gardening.  I have a bunch of juice barrels out back to be set up next year for rainwater collection.  Also I'm reading about permaculture methods for water holding.  My goals are to save time watering and save money and resiliency from depending on my municipal supply.

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phecksel
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

I would love to learn more about gun ownership, what kinds, how to store, protect, and use.

We started canning our own food last year and man oh man, it's actually hard to eat commercially canned food now.  I know there's a canning section, but it doesn't seem to have a lot of popularity.  For example, we took our turkey carcass and simmered it for three days making an awesome turkey vegtable soup that she calculated cost $0.25 per quart!

Maybe a series on lifestyle changes people have made that have been forced to make?

featherjack's picture
featherjack
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

What a great idea! I'd love to see such a thing. Have there been any other bites?

featherjack's picture
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series
shudock wrote:

In addition to the above, how about masonry heaters? (and oven/cooking/water heat incorporated into said masonry heater)?

An excellent resource on this topic is Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build.

A lot of the material mentioned on the "wish list" is available from your local Extension Service. Most have excellent websites, from what I've seen. Google "cooperative extension service [yourstate]".

Eliot Coleman's books have great ideas for using greenhouses and cold frames.

www.permies.com is an excellent site with lots of ideas. And you might see if there are any Permaculture groups near you.

HTH,

featherjack in Maine

featherjack's picture
featherjack
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series
Woodman wrote:

I'd like to hear more on preparing for transportation needs post peak oil.  I spend more on gasoline than all other energy use in my home combined.

Indeed, me too! That's going to be a bitch. Our circles will constrict dramatically. Think local, like how far you can walk or bike in a day (and back).

Some resources for those Big Trips (like your once-a-month trip "to town for supplies"), check out Alcohol Can Be A Gas!. Google for biogas digester or methane digester. You don't HAVE to use manure, any biodegradable matter will do.

And of course, you'll want to learn how to make a standard vehicle RUN on alcohol: Google "gas alcohol conversion".

davidsnieckus's picture
davidsnieckus
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Re: New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series

Adam

this is what I did the other day

david

 

David Snieckus

99 Crescent Street

Newton, Ma 02466

December 25, 2010

 

 

 

Massachusetts’s Budget Chief, Jay Gonzalez sends press releases about budget chops and budget deficits. And all the media picks up on the “poor me”,  “poor me” mentality. We need to cut this and we need to cut that! In a December 14, 2010 article by Kyle Cheney of the State House News Service, http://www.statehousenews.com/cgi/as_web.exe?rev2010+D+15078760

Budget Chief Gonzalez says that there is a need for a $1.5 BILLION cut! Sounds like we have no money! Imagine for a minute an airplane company saying we have lots of empty seats but no tickets! Sorry you can’t fly.

 

In the same article, Governor Deval Patrick sighs, “There are lot of very, very painful choices that will have to be made and one thing that is clear is that the overall state budget will be smaller than it is this year.” Even CBS’s 60 Minutes, State Budgets: Day of Reckoning, December 19, 2010, did a segment on various states of the Union having to cut, cut, cut various services from their budgets.

 

Spare me the unrepresentative rhetoric!  IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) the above is something called, “selective presentation.”.  It doesn’t tell the whole story and is disingenuous and very misleading!

 

I call it a swindle! Smoke and mirrors folks! Some truth...but not all! Because what these reports are actually doing is informing the public about a crisis or fear that does not exist!

Let me repeat that….There is no money shortage in the State of Massachusetts!

 

What I know about money and credit comes from studying and researching over the last eight years. I was an ASA (Army Security Agency) Traffic Analyst in Vietnam with a Top Secret Clearance and worked within the NSA (National Security Agency) Headquarters, in Fort Meade, MD. I learned how to “read” enemy radio traffic to find out exactly where they were and gave that information to U.S. Air Force pilots.

 

Today I’m putting out a short synopsis of my findings of reading what is reported and written in the media and what is actually in the Massachusetts Financial Reports. (Side note; Please prove me wrong!)

 

The Statutory Annual Financial Report (SAFR) for 2009 is an annual statutory accounting and yes there are deficits because the annual revenue is less than the annual expenditures. This gives Mr. Gonzalez the “right” to say the State of Massachusetts needs to make this statement, “we are currently projecting that state spending next fiscal year will need to be one and one and a half billion dollars below estimated spending this fiscal year.”  True but not the whole truth! It’s like your annual salary reported every year. There is a yearly total of revenue and expenses! It is not a “TRUE” picture of your wealth. Many of us have skills, savings plans or investments including the State of Massachusetts!

 

In the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 2009 there is a different picture. The CAFR shows the total accumulation of wealth in the Commonwealth over years! That is the real picture!    And not much is going to the common people.,…most of it going to Wall Street investment gambling. You see friends…the Massachusetts Legislation Pension Fund has had nearly BILLIONS in assets for years! Annually only a small percent of that is paid out as retirement benefits. The rest is held tighter than Scrooge held his money in the Christmas Carol. And its restrictions can be released with a little ink on paper.

 

The Massachusetts Government is awash in wealth obtained by the Commonwealth and by my reasoning should be shared with ALL the people of the Commonwealth!  A small Four Percent (4%) contribution from these assets (page 56-57 CAFR 2009) can easily cover the $1.5 Billion deficit the Budget Chief is concerned about and the media is buzzing about.

 

And ONE more thing, the debt service of over $2 billion can be self-funded. The State of Massachusetts can start their own bank and pay the interest to us (the owners of the Bank of Massachusetts) instead of to Wall Street.  Am I making sense?

 

Let’s start the bank of Massachusetts for more honest money, for more transparency and for NO MORE TAXES! It is possible: Check out the booklet, MA PUBLIC BANK…available electronically or a signed copy by calling me at 617-964-2951

 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 

Need more information?

 

 

 

David Snieckus

617-964-2951

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tomwil
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What should I do with my 401K

What should I do with my 401K?  I'm nearly certain the current financial crisis is not going to end well.  Taxes are the lowest they have been in decades and probably only go up from here if they have ANY intent on paying off the debt/deficit.  So I see my 401K money in jeopardy and I’m wondering what is the best (most efficient) way to play this.

 1.) Should I just cash it out and pay the taxes and penalties

2.) Reduce contributions to matching minimum 6% (already done)

3.) Take a loan from my 401K (on 50% max and must be paid back)

4.) Can I just cash out part of it? (should be able to?) 

 Thanks much

--TW

Poet's picture
Poet
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To Tomwil
tomwil wrote:

What should I do with my 401K?  I'm nearly certain the current financial crisis is not going to end well.  Taxes are the lowest they have been in decades and probably only go up from here if they have ANY intent on paying off the debt/deficit.  So I see my 401K money in jeopardy and I’m wondering what is the best (most efficient) way to play this.

 1.) Should I just cash it out and pay the taxes and penalties

2.) Reduce contributions to matching minimum 6% (already done)

3.) Take a loan from my 401K (on 50% max and must be paid back)

4.) Can I just cash out part of it? (should be able to?) 

 Thanks much

--TW

TW

I'm not sure if you are asking for a "What Should I Do?" topic, and therefore we should ignore your questions for now...

Or whether this is a personal matter requesting feedback, that really should have been posted elsewhere such as in an existing Forum Topic. (Your questions or those like it have been discussed at various times before, elsewhere on this site.)

If this is a request for suggestions/comments to your questions, please instead create a new Forum Topic for it, or post a comment to an existing Forum Topic on your issue - so that this Forum Topic we're on, which is about requesting "New Topics for the What Should I Do? Series," is not hijacked.

I have some comments/answers to your questions I would be happy to share in that separate area. Thank you.

Poet

 

yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
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Posts: 271
how to build a generator

I would really, really like to learn how to build a generator from scratch.  With all the amazing resources available online, there seems to be none in all the world (I'm not exaggerating, just try to google it) which explain it from a truly beginner's point of learning.  except one:

http://www.amasci.com/amateur/coilgen.html

Unfortunately, it does not progress to the next level (how to scale it up, explaining what features result in higher production) and the guy who posted it is too busy to coach people.  There is a discussion group dedicated to such things, but even they can't be bothered to explain what they probably think is too simple a dilemma:

http://fieldlines.com/board/index.php/topic,144615.0.html

I think it's great that we can just buy generators/windmills, etc, (and I guess all the world but me is content with that) but they will eventually break or need servicing- then what?  I think this would be one of the most valuable skill  to have after food/shelter.

Even if not a full out tutorial, would anyone out there care to answer some questions for me?  I'm getting really frustrated, it's been a quest that started about 5 years ago- starting to feel quite stupid.

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maxwellbach
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Re: New Topics for the WSID? Series - Ethics - the 4th E

Ethics - the 4th E

I’ve been a paid up CM.com subscriber for over a year now. Recently I logged onto this site from a friend’s computer without using my enrolled member ID. I was surprised by the advertising and the range of “fee based” services available from Chris and co which I'd not really noticed before. It occurred to me that Chris was probably making more money from this site now than he ever made as a corporate VP, likely substantially more. Followers of “The Secret” and similar such works would no doubt laud this circumstance as Chris’s rightful reward for following his path. I agree, all power to him.

Of course CM.com is an avowedly financial site. As stated in the Crash Course the economy is the lens thru which Chris views the crisis of the 3 E’s and it seems this site is becoming ever more financially oriented as its profile, traffic and income increase. Clearly there is a self-reinforcing cycle in play. As Chris’s mastery of economics improves so does the site’s income; he’s on a roll, using the language and conceptual framework of an expiring paradigm to profitably forecast its doom.

I guess this should come as no surprise. We are living at the end of the financial age. Money and finance are the dominant paradigm through which all phenomena are conceptualised. Such a world view is the necessary corollary of a consumer society. Every aspect of the world has been financialised. Think of climate change; for years scientists warned of perils of environmental degradation but it wasn’t until the Stern Report framed the problem in explicitly economic terms that the mainstream media took any real notice. Once the problem was defined in terms that people were familiar with, we all paid attention.

It’s the same with CM.com. It was the economic perspective that initially attracted me to CM.com and it’s this perspective that’s responsible for the site’s success but all of us contributing to this site need to be mindful of the limitations of this way of thinking. By clinging to old ways of thinking we can end up preserving the very conditions which have led to our current crisis. Recall how the tyranny of Tsarist Russia was replaced by the tyranny of the Bolsheviks and how the imperial rule of Emperor Pu Yi and his decaying court was seamlessly replaced by the imperial rule of Chairman Mao and his communist apparatchiks. The thinking of the old regime was carried fwd into the new regime and nothing changed.

For those of us who want to make a better future, its time we start using alternative intellectual models to interpret and understand the world. By interpreting current phenomena and imagining a future world in non-economic terms we can create viable intellectual alternatives to growth-based consumer society. To do this we will need to imagine value systems, social models and conceptual frameworks which can function successfully in a post-peak world, a world where the precepts and rules of growth-based economics no longer apply. Fortunately we’ve managed to do this for most of human history so it shouldn’t be too hard. There are any number of different intellectual models available. We just need to think for ourselves about what these might be.

For my part I like to think in traditional ethical terms. I think the ethical dimension could comprise a 4th pillar in Chris’s analytical framework. I say this because I believe we are in the midst of a profound moral crisis just as much as we are in the midst of an energy, environmental and financial crisis. The financial and environmental predicament of developed societies is symptomatic of a much deeper malaise, i.e. our Raison d’etre as consumers. The morality of our time can be encapsulated in two words: ‘me’ and ‘more’; more of it, and more of it for me. Most of us are simply blind to the moral bankruptcy of this situation and we console ourselves with comforting self-deceptions but the reality is different. If you’ve ever visited the apartment of a serious drug addict, you would have been shocked by the squalor in which they lived. Yet while they were high, they didn’t notice their wretchedness. I think it’s the same for us and our addiction to our consumerism. I worry that much of the thinking of consumerism is embedded in the “What Should I Do” section of this site. In response to Adam’s question about what additional topics could be included in this section, I suggest some space could be dedicated to developing whole new conceptual frameworks outside of the prevailing economic/financial ones.

 

Maxwell Bach

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featherjack
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Posts: 51
Re: New Topics for the WSID? Series - Ethics - the 4th E
maxwellbach wrote:

Ethics - the 4th E

<snip>

For those of us who want to make a better future, its time we start using alternative intellectual models to interpret and understand the world. By interpreting current phenomena and imagining a future world in non-economic terms we can create viable intellectual alternatives to growth-based consumer society. To do this we will need to imagine value systems, social models and conceptual frameworks which can function successfully in a post-peak world, a world where the precepts and rules of growth-based economics no longer apply....

For my part I like to think in traditional ethical terms. I think the ethical dimension could comprise a 4th pillar in Chris’s analytical framework. I say this because I believe we are in the midst of a profound moral crisis just as much as we are in the midst of an energy, environmental and financial crisis. The financial and environmental predicament of developed societies is symptomatic of a much deeper malaise, i.e. our Raison d’etre as consumers. The morality of our time can be encapsulated in two words: ‘me’ and ‘more’; more of it, and more of it for me. Most of us are simply blind to the moral bankruptcy of this situation and we console ourselves with comforting self-deceptions but the reality is different. If you’ve ever visited the apartment of a serious drug addict, you would have been shocked by the squalor in which they lived. Yet while they were high, they didn’t notice their wretchedness. I think it’s the same for us and our addiction to our consumerism. I worry that much of the thinking of consumerism is embedded in the “What Should I Do” section of this site. In response to Adam’s question about what additional topics could be included in this section, I suggest some space could be dedicated to developing whole new conceptual frameworks outside of the prevailing economic/financial ones.

 

Maxwell Bach

Sir!

May I congratulate you on a superb and much-needed post. Bravo!

Jackson W Barnett, Maine

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jpitre
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Posts: 366
Re: New Topics for the WSID? Series - Ethics - the 4th E

Maxwell

Excellent post !

Words fail to describe how much I agree with your clearheaded thinking and understandable writing

Thank you.

Jim

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Poet
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Posts: 1891
How To Brew Beer (And Make Wine) Articles Needed

I can't believe we forgot these.

But I think it's important to be able to make beer (ale, lager) and wine (including mead).

TEOTWAWKI - and life in general - would be a lot more bearable with alcoholic beverages to enjoy.

But beyond that, distilled alcohol can be useful for sterilization, as a poor man's anaesthetic, even as fuel.

So, how-tos, tips, and tricks for at-home brewing and distillation with simple parts and ingredients would be very useful, in my opinion.

Poet

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