How would you hande it?

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Craigmandu's picture
Craigmandu
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How would you hande it?

Ok.  I've watched the crash course, and am a very open-minded kind of person.

 I really liked it, and have always wanted to build my own "log-home" probably from a kit, since it's the easiest thing to do.  I intend to be as self-sufficient as possible in this Log Home, like solar/wind power, hot water, in ground heat-exchangers, well, etc...

 Now where I have my issues, isn't necessarily with me, but rather with my wife.  She gets eyes glazed over whenever I talk about the real possibiltiy of economic collapse and she won't even watch more than a little of the crash course, or even other movies/documentaries that are similar in nature.

 We also have very different opinions on storage of food, whether or not we should stockpile anything etc..

The issue is I know how I feel, and if it were totally up to me, I'd have taken action already to start doing these sort of things.  We have 3 kids, 2 in college, we live in a suburban neighborhood, and she won't even consider the log home and land purchase until the third kid (11 right now) is out of school due to not wanting his social structure being impacted (she is a high school teacher).

 I really don't know how to convince her to do something that she feels is just being overly critical and more of a militant approach to preparing for possible problems.

How would you handle this?

capesurvivor's picture
capesurvivor
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Re: How would you hande it?

Welcome to the club, Craig. There is a thread here for interpersonal problems around triple E; I'm afraid I'm a charter member. You're lucky your wife's eyes just glaze over, my wife gets angry. I returned from the Rowe conference for a pretty bad time. I don't even want to make significant changes such as moving, etc. It was the idea of storing food and "doom and gloom mentality" (her words) that makes it impossible for me. 

I have started making a list of people in town to give a copy of the CC DVD and will try to form a group here and see what happens. I can just see the reason for divorce: refuses to recycle.

 

SG

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Re: How would you hande it?

craig

the way i would handle this is i would do my research and include the whole family in it.

personally i would not build a log cabin. log cabins are the romantic expression of an old failed paradigm. it is a tremendous waste of a precious natural resource. the lesson of the crash course is to me we have to be wiser in our uses of our resources. my guiding light in this journey has been bucky fuller who i saw in 1975. his mantra was to do more with less. there have been great strides in building technology which will be less impactful and more energy efficient. i would start looking at recycled materials. find people in your area that are building green.

engage the family in exploring all the options. make it fun make it an adventure. i would drop the talk of economic collapse............doesnt sound like much fun ya know. i would frame it in terms of how we can make our lives better, more resilient, more flexible, more enjoyable. how can we enrich our lives and make the world a better place at the same time and what is it that is important to us.

"be the change you wish to see in the world"

gandhi

look into finding people who are like minded and talk about community. there are many options in intentional community. eco-villages, co housing, etc.

"love does not dominate it cultivates "

goethe

om shanti

joe

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Re: How would you hande it?

I have to start out by saying thank god I have been blessed with a spouse who embraced the crash course.  I see so many people on this site say that a resistant spouse is their biggest obstacle to change.

You should take a look at Chris's analysis of the 6 stages of Awareness

http://www.peakprosperity.com/martensonreport/six-stages-awareness

Sounds like you have a spouse in Stage 1 - denial

I think people in denial will hold out as long as they see no direct evidence in their lives to the contrary.  Has your life been directly affected thus far by the recession?  Are your jobs at risk?  Is your house losing value?  Is your 401K shot?  If she doesn't have the patience for the Crash Course, you'll need to introduce this information yourself.  Make the connections between real life and what's happening in the economy.  Bring it on slowly and in a logical way.  If you start out by saying "Honey, the world is coming to an end.  I'm going to start building a log cabin out in the boonies and you should probably learn to churn butter.  I'll also need help planting the wheat in a few weeks"  it's not going to go over well.  People need to be eased into the idea that their lives may require change. 

There's a good chance that you found the Crash Course because you already knew that the world was changing and you were searching for answers.  I found it on my own while I was researching info on the Fed back in September.  I sensed that something in my real life wasn't right, and I went looking for answers.  If your wife believes that nothing in her life seems out of the ordinary, she has no reason to believe that life can't keep going on as usual.  Truth is, sooner or later we will all soon face events in our lives that make us question what we thought we always knew about our economy.  Make the connections easy for her. 

When she does eventually come out of denial, be prepared for Stage 2 - anger.

 

Amanda

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Re: How would you hande it?

My wife used to get angry as well. I decided that trying to dump everything I had learned on her at the same time was a mistake - it's overwhelming for people who are unprepared. You have to remember that most of us have come to this over a period of months or years, researching and talking and reading as much as possible.

You can't expect (I discovered) someone to respond well to, "Hi, honey, guess what? The world as we know it is ending soon and we need to stockpile food and guns," without doing a little prep work.

I revised my approach, reading articles to her occasionally, pointing out things I saw online, etc. Gradually she started to see what I was seeing. I was rewarded when, one day, she arrived home with 50 pound sacks of flour, rice and beans and storage containers for all of it.

I'm still further along the path than she is, but she is now a willing partner in our ongoing learning and preparation process. We're planting a garden together and even getting the boy (10) involved. It's a process. She'll come around.

Arthur 

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Re: How would you hande it?

You're fortunate, Arthur.

I am actually hoping for a crisis leading to empty supermarket shelves, no oil, or no electricity for a fair amount of time. I suspect that will happen as my own thought is that things rarely fall off a cliff, but more often saw tooth down, if that's where they're headed. Sure, it would be better to begin some type of preparation now (I have, a bit, on my own) but there will be time after the minicrises. I'm sure various items will be more expensive butstill obtainable.

Sometimes you do what is possible, not what is optimal.

 

SG

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Re: How would you hande it?

Amanda,

 Let me put it to you this way.....  My wife is one that takes a great offense when I criticize anything that is said on the news or reported in a congressional hearing etc..  It's as if she just can't fathom that what gets spread to the majority of people in the country may not be correct.

 I have at times seen some light in her bravado in these regards, but it is always short lived and she always returns to her view that our way of life is so set in stone that it won't change.  I don't barrage her with information either, I've tried at times to approach it differently, but she's a teacher and is actually really good at detecting an alternate maneuver from me.

I have to admit, if you aren't open to the idea, then it is hard to swallow.  I just don't know exactly how I relate things to her in a way that will "bring her around".  It may be a mountain I just can't climb.  It's the same with firearms for her.  I've wanted some firearms for a long time, nothing major, just one handgun and one rifle.  She always insisted on not having any because of threat to children.  Well our kids are 22,20,11 now and my youngest is a smart boy and knows the difference between right and wrong.  So when I tried to talk to her about some recent things that happened relatively close to us, and slipped in a comment about perhaps we should think of a firearm, she simply dismissed it with "I don't believe in guns". 

I don't know how to handle that type of thing, when it seems no argument or proposal I can make makes any difference.

Craig

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Re: How would you hande it?

Are you sure your wife isn't my wife's sister?

 

SG

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Re: How would you hande it?
Craigmandu wrote:

Ok.  I've watched the crash course, and am a very open-minded kind of person.

 I really liked it, and have always wanted to build my own "log-home" probably from a kit, since it's the easiest thing to do.  I intend to be as self-sufficient as possible in this Log Home, like solar/wind power, hot water, in ground heat-exchangers, well, etc...

 Now where I have my issues, isn't necessarily with me, but rather with my wife.  She gets eyes glazed over whenever I talk about the real possibiltiy of economic collapse and she won't even watch more than a little of the crash course, or even other movies/documentaries that are similar in nature.

 We also have very different opinions on storage of food, whether or not we should stockpile anything etc..

The issue is I know how I feel, and if it were totally up to me, I'd have taken action already to start doing these sort of things.  We have 3 kids, 2 in college, we live in a suburban neighborhood, and she won't even consider the log home and land purchase until the third kid (11 right now) is out of school due to not wanting his social structure being impacted (she is a high school teacher).

 I really don't know how to convince her to do something that she feels is just being overly critical and more of a militant approach to preparing for possible problems.

How would you handle this?

Both my mother and my husband are this way, but I see their eyes opening up.  Opening their eyes still doesn't mean they are open-minded about this issue, and I think you should be careful about how you approach the subject with her.  Ask her what her opinions are and listen to what does and does not concern her.  You might learn a little from her as well.  Then only after she starts talking about it you might want to argue (very passively) about the issue and give her correct information about what she is speculating about.  You don't need to give her information about what she doesn't care about, though, because... she doesn't care.  The biggest hurdle is getting them to care.

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Re: How would you hande it?

Good topic.  I think most of us have gone through variations of this.  My wife at first did not want to hear it, and used to get very angry.  I did not push it, just reminding her that my concern was not for myself but for both our futures, and our future children.  Well, she has finally come around, pretty much after Iceland collapsed, and each new headline makes it clear that I (and the entire Martenson gang), Schiff, Ron Paul, were not so crazy after all.  Her eyes still glaze over when I get too technical, so I distill it down to the most pertinent facts for her.  My siblings are all starting to come around as well, kind of.

My advice would be not to push it. Try to avoid talk that sounds overly radical- guns, log cabins, heading for the hills.  Focus on the tactics that make sense under any context- reducing debt, getting in shape, educating yourselves.  Be prepared to shoulder the burden all by yourself- it is good practice for extreme conditions.  As long as she isn't spending your savings on absolute frivolity, this may be the best you can hope for- fighting does not do anyone any good.  Setting a strong example speaks louder than anything.

capesurvivor's picture
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Re: How would you hande it?

"Be prepared to shoulder the burden all by yourself- it is good practice for extreme conditions. "

That is where I am, yosh. My wife will never change. There are any number of people who will find themselves in immediate dire circumstances and say "this can't be happening". If alone, whatever happens to them, happens.

 

SG

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Re: How would you hande it?

Well, it may be the case that she simply will not accept the Crash Course ideas no matter what you do. 

Have you tried appealing to her in other ways?

Does she care about the environment?  Put an emphasis on buying reusable items.  For every reusable item in your household, you won't have to worry about the availability of disposable ones in the future. Example = reusable cloth napkins and towels instead of paper.  Dish cloths instead of sponges.  Tupperware instead of ziplock baggies.  Maybe it's a small step, but at least you'll have these things on hand.  I think there's a lot of overlap between the environmentally friendly movement and making your life more resilient in a recession.  You can use this argument to push for some solar pannels on the roof and a victory garden, too.  What's the very worst that can happen?  You have a more self suficient life and you probably saved some money.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is - encourage small changes that would be beneficial in life even if no crisis happens.

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Serious marital problems re: debt

Unfortunately, Craig, I am in a similar boat.  Our problems have been a long time coming.  Since my income was cut in half in 1995, I have been trying to get my wife to agree to sell our expensive 100-year-old house and move into something more affordable.  She seems to see it as a blow to her self-esteem if we are forced to downsize.  She's good about not blowing money on credit cards, but she gives things to our adult children who are in better financial shape than we are, and she has serious costly medical problems for which we are barely insured.  Unfortunately, during the past year alone, we have increased our home equity debt by $50,000 because we can't keep up with our mortgage, cost of living, and her medical problems.  Still my wife refuses to downsize.  My depression about our financial condition contributed to the $ problem this year; I have been less productive in my business because I have become so depressed.  Vicious cycle.

We have found an urban community 100 miles north of here where there are beautiful old houses that we could buy for cash if we were to sell our house now.  My wife refuses to consider it.  She wants to turn our house into a B&B.  Imagine that: a B&B in this economy!

I have busted my behind helping with my wife's church, so I was able to get my wife to watch the CC as a quid pro quo.  It didn't matter.  She believes that Obama will save us, as if he was pursuing drastically different policies.

Every month, we go deeper and deeper into debt, and I am scared.  I don't know what to do.  I will take small steps: try to recover from my depression, reduce costs in my business, pick up my marketing, and show the DVD to network with others.  However, the best that these steps will do is slow down our deficit spending; we still will be living above our means, and increasing our debt every month. 

As much as I love my wife, I hate to think that divorce might be in our future.  God bless.

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Re: How would you hande it?

there are numerous ways to respond to the Crash Course (which I really like and think is accurate and well presented)...but my reaction isn't to start stockpiling food and move per se.

 Seeing CC makes me want to work more deepy for systemic political and economic change locallym statewide and nationally...no small thing or course, but it doesnt stop me from considering a matrix of alternatives

 If you cant do what you wish you could because of your commitment to your spouse then do what you can where you are andperhaps do a flame out run fro mayor or congress to getthe issue out. lobby for the political change you want.

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I'm making progress...

...with my wife.  I've been learning about this subject since I read The Long Emergency about 4 years ago (and PowerDown, Deep Economy, What to Do When All He!! Breaks Loose, and numerous other books/blogs).  For years she adamantly shut down any attempt on my part to discuss.  But...

 With the meltdown last Fall, she'd discuss it a bit (until she'd get scared and then shut down [I've been learning ways to discuss the whole dilly w/out freaking her out {difficult but not impossible}]).  I've used that opening to create further discussion.  She's at least at the point of realizing things are going to change, but doesn't accept that it's likely to be epochal.  

 As of yesterday I ordered some survival food supplies (which are, of course, backordered at least a month!).  Pitiful small amount, but what we can afford for now.  I presented it to her as a fait accompli;  she didn't flip.  I take this as a good sign.  To a certain extent, my willingness to spend my portion of our free cash on dehydrated food is helping the idea sink in -- I'm not just tripping on the apocalypse;  I'm serious.

And for the first time I floated the idea that if TSHTF, our best option would be to skedaddle to my grandparents' farm in Iowa.  She doesn't like the idea (I don't want to move either [from the Hudson Valley of NY]) -- but planting that seed now will make it easier if push comes to shove to leave 95% of our Stuff, load up the pickup, and getouttadodge.  At least that's my thinking in planting that idea in her head.  But we all know about "best plans" don't we.  [grin]

The next big hurdle will be the Gun Discussion. 

By the by, this is my first post.  This place (and about 98% of ya'lls) is a totally rockin' spot.  Pardon my vernacular/let me re-phrase:  it (and you guys) are an indispensable resource for me...a verititable cornucopia of thoughtful analysis and advice.

 Viva! 

 

 

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Re: How would you hande it?

here's a crazy idea:

I wonder how the spouses would feel about a thread made just for them?  I think the core problem is that conventional mentality is to "stay the course", and when we start talking about inconvenient truths, they tend to feel isolated, that they must be the only person married to a freak, all doom and gloom and radical ideas, etc.

If the spouses could see that THEY ARE NOT ALONE, they may take comfort in talking about it, and in doing so, they might also see what a diverse, intelligent and growing group we are.  True, they might just take joy in making fun of us, but hey, whatever gets them onto the site, right?

Even though my wife is now one of the converted (gleeful grin), I think she would be happy to see how many we/they are. 

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Re: Serious marital problems re: debt

1440,

Forget the CC; go see a marriage counselor. I'm not kidding. You're in a terrible spot and you need to see if you and your wife can hear each other again and be a couple.  Ask if she'll see a counselor together and don't imply she's the "bad guy." This is my profession.

Propa, my wife doesn't care about recycling, does not think about anything outside of  her work and our 27 y.o. son. I look at the top of the garbage and pull out the metals and plastic and bring them to the garage bins to be recycled every week. She does not care about global warming, oil, you name it. We agree on many issues but she does not have an activist bone in her body. If a freeway were planned to run through main street of our small town, I'd be out there with picket sign blocking the street and she would say "it'll never happen, don't worry about it." Even my neighbors think she is unreachable.

 

SG

 

 

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Re: How would you hande it?

Just a couple of suggestions, take it for what it's worth since I don't have a spouse!

 
 Though I am fully on board with the CC concepts, I'm not ready to pack up everything and move. Even in chapter 20 of CC, the suggestion is to do simple, less dramatic things first. 
 
I'm a big believer in baby steps. How many Americans can face even a short term power interruption due to ice storm, hurricane, and other things that happen fairly commonly? Not many! I would think that a great starting point would be to take steps to be better prepared to deal with that sort of thing first. You can use another newsworthy item, such as the recent ice storms in KY, as a springboard for putting together some kind of emergency kit. The FEMA web site has recommendations for a basic disaster kit, and gives info on how to prepare for various events. (earthquake, tornado, etc). For those who think Obama is the Messiah, FEMA seems like a good portal for information...it falls in line with "the government will save us" belief. I think most reluctant spouses would agree that it's a good idea to be better prepared for short term local disasters, in the same way it's wise to keep your credit card numbers in a safe place and have a will. Take the steps in that context without mentioning CC.
 
1440 minutes, I feel for you. But fights over money is one of the most common reasons that couples break up. I enjoy gathering information from a variety of financial advisors, and I don't think any one person has all the answers. Very recently I caught an episode of Suze Orman on which she featured a couple who found themselves something like $9000 a month less income than expenses due to living a lavish lifestyle and pay cutbacks. The woman absolutely refused to acknowlege that selling the big extravagant house was necessary. People get really attached to their stuff. Another financial advisor I like is Dave Ramsey - especially his approach to getting out of debt. He has a radio program and is on Fox Business Network, as well as having several books. I think he's especially good at giving advice for getting a spendthrift spouse on board with a debt reduction plan. Clearly your situation is unsustainable, regardless of whether any of the info in CC is true. Perhaps you might try getting a book from one of these more mainstream financial advisors and using that to help address your finanical situation. Leave CC out of it for now. On the other hand, I don't think you should reject the B&B idea out of hand....depends on your local area. People still want to travel, will take shorter, local trips, B&B might be better than hotel...I bet you'd win some points with your wife if you at least were willing to research if a B&B is feasable business plan in your area. Or perhaps she'd be open to moving to a nearby community if you did a B&B there?
 
I think my point is, that once someone close to you has decided that CC concepts are kooky, there are other ways to incorporate the same ideas without appearing to be a kook. And I think that's key to gaining some acceptance.
 
Good luck!
Dara 
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Re: How would you hande it?

Dara,

Good suggestion about Dave Ramsey.  We read his first book years ago, and it might be time to look at it again.  However, she usually doesn't go out and blow a lot of money.  She spends on the kids, but not to an extreme extent; it is a problem mainly because of our $ situation.  Mostly, she clings to the expensive house.  Honestly, if Dave Ramsey worked with us day and night, I cannot imagine any way that we could break even on monthly expenses, much less pay down debt, without getting rid of the house. 

I talk to my wife for hours on end about renovations and figures for the B&B.  I am not the least bit handy, but I have signed up for classes on renovations for this purpose.  She does extensive research on B&Bs, and I listen to her ideas.  I keep pushing for more figures.  Even if occupancy rates never decline, which I think they will, we would not start paying down debt for years; it takes that long to turn a proft.  I think that the SWHTF before then.  Even if the economy was great, she has too many medical problems and too little time, considering her many other commitments with work, adult kids, church, etc.  I tell her that I would be happy to try a B&B if we didn't have a mortgage and fast-growing home equity hanging over our heads; we could try a debt-free B&B if we moved 100 miles north of here.  However, her main motivation for the B&B is to hang onto this house.  She refuses to consider moving 100 miles away because our adult kids might rarely visit us there (possibly true).  Her friends encourage her to do a B&B because her personality is a perfect fit (true) and she loves and knows a lot about history (also true).  I could maybe see a B&B working in a destination area for the super rich; they will keep playing after the SHTF.  However, our B&B would not attract billionaires, and I think that middle class tourism will be wiped out if the SHTF.

Thank you so much for your input.

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Re: How would you hande it?
Craigmandu wrote:

I don't know how to handle that type of thing, when it seems no argument or proposal I can make makes any difference.

Craig

My DH is kind of the same way as your wife, although he is at least a little more open to watching the CC with me. When it comes to making any kind of life changes, though, he is enormously resistant.

I believe they are simply in the denial stage, or they need to get a little bit closer to having their lives directly impacted before they can begin to act. People are just different this way. Some plan years ahead; others grab clothes and the photo albums only after the house is actually on fire. Its okay to be different and have different ways of dealing with this issue.

Do as much as you can that she feels comfortable with to begin preparing for your family. My DH does not want guns in the house, and he is dead-set against getting a dog, for example. I will have to put those things on hold for now. Perhaps if crime increases in our neighborhood he will be willing to budge on one or the other. Its okay. Instead, I am focusing my energy on planting fruit and nut trees, making sure we have a system for potable water, making rain barrels, building a food dehydrator, getting rid of debt.

Denial serves a protective purpose. They used to believe that a person in denial needed to have that denial crushed with a sledgehammer and forced to face reality. That turns out to cause more harm than good to their mental health... so, be supportive, listen to her, be open and approachable, wait for your opening, back off when she shows stress, and work on building trust between you. You guys will be okay, you really will.  

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Re: Serious marital problems re: debt
capesurvivor wrote:

1440,

Forget the CC; go see a marriage counselor. I'm not kidding. You're in a terrible spot and you need to see if you and your wife can hear each other again and be a couple.  Ask if she'll see a counselor together and don't imply she's the "bad guy." This is my profession.

SG

SG,

Ironically, it's my profession, too.  (Well not exactly.  I do child psych; not marital.)  Four problems:

1.  Been there, done that with counseling.  Somewhere in the range of 50-100 sessions over the course of 31 years of marriage.  Always at my request.  Nothing in the past 13 years after income plummeted due to managed care.  (We have never talked about $ in marital sessions, so I guess you never know...)

2.  Of course, it costs $ to try it again, which in our case requires more debt.  Of course, it obviously would be well worth it if results can be reasonably anticipated.  See #1 above.

3.  My wife would resent being dragged into counseling again.  When I recently brought up the idea of a financial mediator, she told me that I like "to spend money on" those types of things, and I just need to continue doing it her way.

4.  My wife would tell a counselor that she can fix our finances with a B&B, and what am I going to say?  She's already overextended with time commitments, she has major medical problems, and I don't believe that tourism will do well during the next decade or so.  Counselors would understand the first two points, but my wife would make sure that we loop on the third one.  In my experience, most counselors would roll their eyes about CC beliefs.  (Try some meds.)

If history is any guide, I anticipate that my wife would not hear feedback about sustainability.  (Everything will be okay.)  And I already understand how humiliated she would feel if we downsized in the same community after more than a decade of declining standard of living.  So I have offered to downsize here or to move somewhere else.

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Re: Serious marital problems re: debt

   I was just put in touch with Crash Course  a few days ago and it was very de je vue for me.  Over a year ago  I became concerned about the future and felt the time might be coming to need to be self-sufficent.  I began to make an outline of what would be needed.  A very valuable resource was the Mormons. www.providentliving.org   I am not Morman but know people who are and part of their faith is to have things put aside for emergencies and quite honestly they have it together in that regard.  They not only have resources available to their members but are very open to sharing them with non-members.  They have Bishop's Storehouses all over the country where you can go and can(metal cans) food stuffs that can last 20-30 years in storage.  They have the foods stuffs there and everything you need at very low cost.  I did this and have a stockpile of food that is growing in by basement. 

Another resource is a book by Peggy Layton entitled EMERGENCY FOOD STORAGE AND SURVIVIAL HANDBOOK, put out by 3 Rivers Press.  I bought it on Amazon.  It gives you everything you need .

As a former wilderness hiker I learned the basic 3 items one needs to survive: Shelter, water, food.  I have a home but one never knows when you might be forced to leave it in an emergency, so I bought a tent and sleeping bags.  I had a water purifier from camping days and also learned survival techniques from some survivial books like  Survive by Les Stroud and SAS Survival Guide by John Wiseman. 

 This year I am putting in a large garden, fruit trees and berry bushes so that I can practice my gardening.  In earlier years I grew vegetables for a years' needs but have not done it for a very long time.  If there is a disruption in the economy, food will be substantially effected that is why food storage is essential and being able to grow food is a must. 

I have cash and a gun in my safe just in case.  I don't know if I could use the gun against a person but animals can be a source of food too.

I am an investment professional but as Chris said in CC, if you plan for the best and worse then at least you are prepared.

Energy is a problem I have not effectively dealt with.  I have 2 Cord of wood for my fireplace and a small hiker stove with 4 cans of fuel but after that I have a problem and I live in a cold climate.  I would like ideas of how to deal with this other than moving to a warmer climate.

capesurvivor's picture
capesurvivor
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 12 2008
Posts: 963
Re: Serious marital problems re: debt

Hi 1440,

Sorry to hear your past attempts weren't helpful; I did not mean to sound glib about counselling. Some situations are just pretty tough to deal with. You have probably thought through aspects of your relationship in ways that a website thread reader can only speculate about, with no real benefit to you. I guess you can only try to keep other supports around yourself as you try to make tough decisions in a difficult situation. I hope it turns out as well as it can for you all.

 

SG

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Re: Serious marital problems re: debt

Welcome Traveler -

It looks like you are off to a pretty good start with your garden.  And don't underestimate what your high adventure experiences have taught you.

We are also experienced campers and hikers and I have reinventoried all of our gear and have it staged for when we need it.  Nothing like pork tenderloin in a dutch oven.

We are expanding our garden this year and will be canning and preserving throughout this upcoming growing season.

We are also starting out an indoor "garden" of edible plants.  My wife (Cat233) just started a new thread on indoor edible plants with some good links on how to get started and what grows well.  The list is surprisingly extensive.  Here's the link:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/how-grow-edible-houseplants/13384

There are several forum threads on the site about preparations and what to stockpile - food, toiletries, equipment, etc..  I have a list that I carry with me and every time we go to the grocery store, we pick up and additional item or two.  Sometimes it's hand sanitizer, sometimes it's a few bottles of Coleman fuel or another 20 pound bag of rice or beans.

stpaulmercantile posted this link that is very helpful:  http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/interesting-article-what-some-people-are-doing-prepare/13312

Not sure what to tell you about energy - two cords won't get you through a winter.  Several years ago there was a series on PBS about real life people taking part in a year long "Frontier Life" reality show/experience.  The show began in the spring and the participants had to build shelter, grow, preserve and stockpile food, make their own clothing and prepare to go through the winter - all using period accurate tools and techniques.  The show had expert consultants checking on the progress of them throughout the spring, summer and fall and before they were allowed to go through the winter, they had to be inspected to make sure they were prepared.  I distinctly remember one of the experts stating that they would need one cord, per person, per month to get through Montana winter.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/project/index.html

 Good luck and welcome to the site.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: How would you hande it?

1440 minutes, you are on a one-way street to bankruptcy and financial ruin.

I am not in the habit of quoting Warren Buffet, but he says, "In the financial world, leverage [credit] is really the only way that an intelligent person can get into serious trouble." 

1440 minutes wrote:

Every month, we go deeper and deeper into debt, and I am scared.  I don't know what to do.  I will take small steps . . . However, the best that these steps will do is slow down our deficit spending; we still will be living above our means, and increasing our debt every month.

  Do you mean to say that you are borrowing money to fund your regular operating expenses?  In business that's called the "Death Spiral."  When a company starts doing this, it's future is sealed. 

You are in serious trouble.  You must stop spending money which you do not have!

The idea of using debt to finance regular and recurring expenses should be taken off the table immediately.  It is not a viable option; it never is.  If you can't meet expenses using your regular income, then it means you can't afford them.  If you must use credit to meet occasional, unforeseen expenses, then you are still living above your means.  Good financial management means covering your expenses with a modest surplus left over to be saved for unexpected emergencies.  Insurance should cover all catastrophic events which exceed your ability to cover with savings.  That's what insurance is for.  "Non-self liquidating debt" should not enter into the equation.  Move into a one-room shack if you need to, but do not live above your means. 

It seems to me that your problem is characterized not so much by financial ignorance, but rather by the lack of a financial model in dealing with your wife.  Who is rational and who is irrational, who is right and who is wrong, is completely beside the point.  In the end, you must make financial decisions together.

May I suggest that love and money are two separate things.  I loathe the tradition of expensive wedding rings, because it implies that money (gold in particular) is part of the bond of marriage.  This is hogwash, and dates from the days when the wife was the financial ward of the husband, unable to own or dispose of property on her own.  Today, marriage is a union of financial equals.  Hence, the arguments about money which follow: each spouse feels that they are entitled to an equal say in the finances.  This leads to trouble, since one person must always yield.  If the irrational person happens to be more stubborn, then their wishes become reality.  This is hardly a logical way of making financial decisions.

Love and money are separate.  Love should be pursued with all tenderness, care, and affection.  Money, on the other hand, should be handled with all the precision and business-like attitude of an accountant or banker.  Love has one formula for success; money has another.  You could not expect success in love if you treat it as a business, and you cannot expect financial success if you treat money as love.

If your views on money, or how to spend it, are significantly different from those of your wife, then ideally your finances should be completely separate.  Two people cannot steer the same boat in different directions at the same time.  It is not possible.

Separate finances eliminate angry disagreements over how to use funds.  If I want something and can afford it on my own, I buy it.  But if the purchase is too large for me to afford, then instead of arguing endlessly over what we will do with "our" money, separate finances promotes an attitude of negotiation and persuasion, since I must convince you to use "your" money, over which I have no sense of entitlement or ownership. 

I can attest that the system works very well.  My significant other is very stubborn -- almost as stubborn as me.  But would-be arguments on the subject of money are replaced by one of us attempting to lure the other into various "joint ventures."  If she cannot convince me to support her venture, then the venture fails -- or she pursues the "venture" (i.e., a new car) on her own.  Of course each person is bound by their obligation to support shared expenses.  But there is diplomacy instead of argument.  I might postulate that a marriage in the modern American sense is not really a marriage at all -- it is a joint venture, since neither the husband nor the wife is prepared to sacrifice their right to make financial decisions.  If we would recognize things for what they are, everything would go far more smoothly.

Might I suggest at least a partial separation of finances, at least in practice.  Clearly, since you are married, your debts are shared, but since your wife has severe medical problems, any probate court would likely make you assume virtually all of the debts in the event of a divorce.  She claims that a B&B would solve your financial problems.  That may be true.  But at the same time it is a large risk.  You are completely within your rights to say that you are not comfortable assuming that risk, especially given your existing debt burden. 

Take your own paycheck and put it toward expenses. She should take her paycheck and do the same. (If she has no paycheck, then she should get a fixed percentage of yours.)  No additional debt.  This should force rational decisions very quickly.  You must have an agreement that neither one of you can assume debt without the other's consent.  If your wife insists that a B&B would solve your problems, then draw up a post-marital agreement making it clear that any further debts  along these lines are entirely her responsibility.  Post-martial agreements are less enforceable than pre-marital agreements, but they carry significant weight.  If your wife refuses to enter into an agreement, and assumes additional debt against your wishes, then you must ask yourself serious questions about the basis of your relationship.  Force a decision on this matter now, rather than later. 

Your debts are only a means of deferring important decisions between you are your wife.  Debt is a tool of procrastination, delay, and denial.  The longer your defer the decisions, the worse the outcome will be.

ceci1ia's picture
ceci1ia
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2009
Posts: 79
Re: How would you hande it?

Oh 1440, my heart goes out to you. I'm puzzled that you've been
through marriage counseling but communication is still so sparse. From
couples counseling we went through, here is how I would respond:

"Sweetheart,
I would love to have an adventure with you like having a B&B. Let's
seriously look into this after we get debt-free."

"My dear, a
B&B would be very interesting to explore. Let's do it after you get
your health issues handled. I worry about your energy level and I also
worry about handling the B&B alone if you go to a hospital or can't
work at the B&B."

"Darling, I am stressed out about our
finances. I drew up a spreadsheet of income and outgo. Please look at
this with me. I need some good ideas from someone about how to bring
the outgo below the income. Would you please help me?"

1440,
that's really how I talk to my partner and I realize that probably
makes other people throw up, but there it is. I am also capable of
yelling at him, by the way.

The main thing I learned from couples counseling is this: say
something positive or encouraging whenever I say something that could
be taken in a negative way. I will totally ask for help, help me with
this problem; I will be vulnerable and honest.

And who wouldn't just melt to have their partner ask for help? I would do ANYTHING to help my husband.

"Tender
mittens,"--OK I would never say that--"I am in a big mental mess here.
I am really worried about the economy and the world situation. Would
you please view this CC with me and tell me where you think it's wrong?"

Notice!
General statements like "it'll work out" will not do. You are actually
asking her to research and back up all her assertions that there's
nothing to worry about. Chris just gave a graph on why the next 20
years will not be the same as the past 20 years. Can she prove that it
will?

I have great empathy for all of us with reluctant partners.
I am blessed, in a way, because my husband knows I am a delightful kook
and I am always getting into things that are just different. Also, my
husband is an economist by training, so I don't have to convince him of
anything.

I hope I don't sound preachy. Please know that I am sympathetic and I am rooting for you all.

By
the way 1440, your classes in renovation will be very useful when
TSHTF. You are doing good things by becoming more self-sustaining.

ceci1ia's picture
ceci1ia
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 7 2009
Posts: 79
Re: How would you hande it?

Further note, Jim Kunstler wrote over at kunstler.com:

"I
suspect that in a few weeks, or possibly even a few days, Mr. Obama
will have to start announcing all kinds of new and more drastic
measures that will shock the stunned American public--things like bank
holidays, nationalizations, etc."

Imagine that happens, and if
your partner really is shocked, you will be there, at least mentally
prepared. You'll be supportive and knowledgeable and able to tell your
partner how and why this happened. 

1440 minutes's picture
1440 minutes
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 51
jrf29: powerful advice

jrf29

Wow.  Very powerful.  By coincidence, I just told her this AM that I am not going to live with this deficit spending any more.  I demanded that we pay off the home equity credit line immediately and refinance the mortgage.  If we have to borrow one more time to make ends meet (we do every month), then it will be on the condition that a For Sale sign immediately goes in front of the house, and at a price designed to sell in 2 months maximum.  She's shocked.  We'll see where this goes.  If she proceeds with the business, then I will look into a post-nuptual agreement as you suggest. 

Thank you.  You said everything that I believe, and in an empowering way.

1440 minutes's picture
1440 minutes
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 51
ceci1ia: covered all that

ceci1ia,

In our case, communication isn't the problem.  We have covered our feelings in exhaustive detail, but it hasn't mattered one bit.  Today, I was stronger and more assertive.  See my previous response to jrf29.  God bless.

caroline_culbert's picture
caroline_culbert
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 624
Re: jrf29: powerful advice
1440 minutes wrote:

jrf29

Wow.  Very powerful.  By coincidence, I just told her this AM that I am not going to live with this deficit spending any more.  I demanded that we pay off the home equity credit line immediately and refinance the mortgage.  If we have to borrow one more time to make ends meet (we do every month), then it will be on the condition that a For Sale sign immediately goes in front of the house, and at a price designed to sell in 2 months maximum.  She's shocked.  We'll see where this goes.  If she proceeds with the business, then I will look into a post-nuptual agreement as you suggest. 

Thank you.  You said everything that I believe, and in an empowering way.

Good for you!  BUT don't make ANY hasty decisions.  Weigh EVERYTHING very carefully!  It is my wisest advice.  Good luck!

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2236
Update re the Wife

Hey gang --

 Just wanted to update -- the wife, who was pretty much not down with the CC scenario, is now at least working w/me on small-scale things (we're buying canned goods/rice/talking about solar-chargeable flashlights, etc.).  

The turning point was when I just started to pitch my ideas about preparing in terms of "whether or not we have collapse, this is a good [or at least harmless {i.e., whether or not we need the canned/stored food during a crisis, we can eventually eat it regardless so it's not a wasted effort}] thing to do."  Buying bogolights is a good idea whether or not we have collapse because every year we have 3-4 major power outages (24+ hours) and therefore flashlights that'll never be out of batteries is a sound idea.

 So, FWIW, that may be a good pitch for other folks' reluctant/too-scared-to-consider-it spouses/SOs.  Still have no clue how to negotiate the firearms thang...

Snowing here in the Hudson Valley, Sager 

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