"You can't eat Gold"

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A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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"You can't eat Gold"

We've probably all heard this tired old cliche - you can't eat Gold.

There are a significant number of opinions out there that cast Gold as both a useless waste of money, and an invaluable method of asset protection. There are anecdotes about trading in metals in SHTF, and there are situations where it's simply made a person a target during periods of lawlessness.

It's my opinion that the truth is somewhere down the middle - it's wise to take care of necessities first, but having some measure of asset protection only makes sense. For those of us who're not wealthy, and can't afford to do both, what's your exposure?
Do you still try and buy Gold, or is it a luxury that is less important than food, or other necessities for survival?
What would you purchase instead of Gold to hold value and perhaps provide utility?
Or is Gold worth the stretch in terms of potential for gains?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and would love to hear the communities opinions on Gold, and it's place in practical preparations.
Cheers,

Aaron

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gold vs other forms of asset protection

 

Aaron,

I'm looking forward to reading the comments of others to your question.  I'm very new here, and in that initial stage of still being quite blown away by all of this, so I have little to offer to the conversation at this point.  I'm thinking, though, that good, rich land and a small home equipped to use a variety of energy sources for heat, etc. within a supportive, transition-type community would be the most valuable asset.  How one would pay taxes, buy necessities, etc. escapes me, though, if the remaining dregs of ones' carefully and painfully-saved 401 K  or bank account becomes worthless.

-Jenny

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Gold: Here's what I think....

 Aaron - You asked for opinions, and mine is worth exactly what you paid for it. I'm probably one of the LEAST investment-savvy guy on the board. But, I do own some physical gold (and silver) so I wanted to chime in. 

I cashed out one of two 401k's a couple of years ago and bought gold at roughly 900-1000/oz. and silver at about 20/oz. I'm glad I did and I don't regret the penalty/tax implications one bit. I'm also glad I didn't cash out BOTH 401K's and buy even more. Since my initial purchase, I have been able to scrounge together enough cash to buy 1-3 oz of silver at a time, but I don't have the resources to buy more gold at this time. 

If gold/silver drops as some say it might before the final run-up, I'm going to buy all I can, which may still be only more silver, no gold. At this time, I'm not buying either. It just seems like I'd like to spend my "prepper money" on tools, skills, garden, etc. 

A couple of things make sense to me. One example I've heard: Is that in 1900, with one ounce of gold, a man could buy a really nice suit and a pair of shoes. Today, in 2011, with one ounce of gold, a man can buy a really nice suit and a pair of shoes. I've heard as an example of why gold is NOT a good investment. But, to me, it seems like the very best reason to own gold. Even if the US dollar does not deteriorate to zero, it's obvious that the US dollar will not hold the same purchasing power that it has today, which is even less than yesterday. Think about the example above with the price of a loaf of bread in dollars. There's only one way it's going to continue to go, as far as I can tell. 

Another thing: I heard this on a podcast I listen to: No matter what the investment is, you HAVE TO KNOW your exit point. I read this little factoid here at cm.com. When the cost of an acre of land is equal to one ounce of gold, I sell and buy land. I've had to have "discussions" with my wife: "No, we're NOT going to sell the gold to take a vacation," "NO, we're NOT going to sell the gold to buy doo-dads and gadgets." We're going to hold the gold until later. Much later. 

So, I've got my few little coins locked in a lock-box, and if we have to bug-out, the little box goes with us. Anyway, that's two cents from the peanut gallery. 

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The Alternative to Gold
Aaron Moyer wrote:

What would you purchase instead of Gold to hold value and perhaps provide utility?

Hey Aaron,

I want to tell you about an alternative investment that has the following benefits:

  1. It is a physical asset that is held in your possession.
  2. It cannot be easily stolen from you.
  3. Depending on several factors, it pays a 4-9% annual return on your investment.
  4. If inflation takes off, your return will automatically adjust itself to outpace inflation.
  5. If a deflationary spiral occurs and you lose your income, this investment will still provide one of the basic neccesities of life.
  6. The government can't tax any profits from this investment.
  7. The investment insulates you from the games of Wall Street, while still allowing you to profit from certain types of speculation on Wall Street.
  8. If the currency fails, this investment continues to produce something that people will want to trade their gold for (but you may not be so willing to make that trade).
  9. And if you ask nicely, the government may even give you a kick-back on your investment.

Would that be something you would be interested in? What do you think it is?

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 Getting out of debt?

 Getting out of debt?

2OLD4OKEYDOKE's picture
2OLD4OKEYDOKE
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silver is da bong

tx_floods, don't apologize for silver! Silver is da bong!

I look at it this way, when the bomb goes up and it's all down to nitty gritty, what do I want with a new Italian suit and pair of shoes? But I'll be able to pay a local clothing-maker and a local boot-maker in silver to make me the work clothes and boots that I will always need.

Silver is much more of a natural currency than gold. Silver is the people's currency, and I plan on living with the people, with the locals ... hell, I already do live with the locals.

I'm old enough to remember when most of the $1 bills that you saw were Silver Ceriticates, meaning you could exchange them for silver dollars if you wanted to. The US monetary system back then was called the Gold Standard, even though you could not hold gold bullion in the USA (until Nixon took the USA off the gold standard), but what people don't remember or know about is how all the Silver Certificates were systematically eliminated ... followed by all Treasury currency bills ... to make Federal Reserve bills into the only currency in use, as it is today, more's the pity.

 

 

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Ao's Puzzle: Cow Or Goat Or Tree?

[Edit: Thanks, Ready. I edited for correct attribution.]

Captain Sheeple:

Is that a cow or a goat or a tree?

If so, it'll require mainteannce, harvesting, and storage.

Poet

JAG wrote:

I want to tell you about an alternative investment that has the following benefits:

  1. It is a physical asset that is held in your possession.
  2. It cannot be easily stolen from you.
  3. Depending on several factors, it pays a 4-9% annual return on your investment.
  4. If inflation takes off, your return will automatically adjust itself to outpace inflation.
  5. If a deflationary spiral occurs and you lose your income, this investment will still provide one of the basic neccesities of life.
  6. The government can't tax any profits from this investment.
  7. The investment insulates you from the games of Wall Street, while still allowing you to profit from certain types of speculation on Wall Street.
  8. If the currency fails, this investment continues to produce something that people will want to trade their gold for (but you may not be so willing to make that trade).
  9. And if you ask nicely, the government may even give you a kick-back on your investment.

Would that be something you would be interested in? What do you think it is?

Ready's picture
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Poet,

That was none other than Captain Sheeple that posed that question, not AO.

 

I think the answer is alterntive energy systems, primarily solar pv.

 

what do I win?

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Bingo...We have a winner.
Ready wrote:

I think the answer is alterntive energy systems, primarily solar pv.

what do I win?

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

(but you have to kill and butcher the chicken)

Though, I think you should be disqualified for profiting from insider information, lol.

You ruin everything Ready. I'm telling Mom!..........MOM....Ready stole my thunder......and he shot a deer with his BB gun!

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gold is a luxury

Aaron asked:

It's my opinion that the truth is somewhere down the middle - it's wise to take care of necessities first, but having some measure of asset protection only makes sense. For those of us who're not wealthy, and can't afford to do both, what's your exposure?
Do you still try and buy Gold, or is it a luxury that is less important than food, or other necessities for survival?
What would you purchase instead of Gold to hold value and perhaps provide utility?
Or is Gold worth the stretch in terms of potential for gains?

Gold is a luxury for us plain folks. We have a little silver, enough to pay property taxes, but the bulk of our preps are water, energy and food related.

I cashed out most of my IRA. With that money and a lot of hard work, we've put in a huge square foot garden, an airtight woodburning stove, and cooling things such as new screens for the windows and a solar powered attic fan. And eco foil inside the attic, which also keeps the house cooler. We put in a pantry and a small larder, and beefed up security by installing steel-framed steel doors and a fence; also for security we now have firearms and know how to use them. For water we put in leaders and gutters conneted to a system of rain barrels. We put in a sand well - only 65 feet deep but tests potable - which is electric but we have materials to build a torpedo bucket and haul water up manually. We bought canning supplies and have been steadily increasing our skill at that; also, we built and use a solar food dehydrator.

Our next projects are two screen doors and non-electric venting to the bathrooms (probably solar tubes with a roof vent as these rooms have no natural light).

Yeah, we plan to tough it out right here if we can. Gold is nowhere near as important as being able to supplement our food, save on untilities (and be ready to live off grid in a worst-case scenario), and have fresh water for us an our neighors.

 

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safewrite makes sense

I agree with safewrite about gold and about other aspects of life, but I would describe gold as 'stuff' rather than as a 'luxury'. Of course, having a lot of stuff is a luxury. Let me explain.

A friend of mine has a walk-in fireproof safe full of collectible cigar bands, including entire proof print sets. That's what I call 'stuff', and stuff, for us plain folks, is a luxury.

I recall when Nelson Rockefeller had to run the Senate gauntlet to become Vice President, he didn't have any monetary assets in his own name, he didn't have any income tax returns for the committee to review, because he never had any income. As governor of New York, he hadn't taken any salary. When becoming VP, he promised, he wouldn't take any salary and he even wouldn't need any security from the Secret Service, since he already had Rockefeller Security -- all paid for by a Rockefeller trust. He did, however, acknowledge that he owned some stuff, namely many hundreds of millions of $$$ worth of rare works of art by great artists of the past (probably would be worth $$$Billions now).

Gold is stuff. Rich people love it.

Gold would make a lousy global or national currency. Stick with silver.

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I'll throw in my two cents.

I'll throw in my two cents. Over the last couple of years I have invested myself very heavily in gold and silver, to the tune of about 90%. I cashed in all of my other investments (which would be worth considerably less today) took the penalties and never looked back. This was part of a long term plan to purchase a sustainable piece of property and then convert back into the dollar and purchase everything needed to bring the place up to my needs. This includes the PV system to get off the grid, all of the livestock, shop, underground fuel tank, orchard, greenhouse and anything else that will make my family self-sustaining. Over the last three years my investments have done very well and I have been able to accelerate my plans by over a year. I just purchased the farm and am about to move there this comming March and  I am about to start converting back into the dollar.

I have heard all the negative things said about gold/silver over the years but they have done very well for me. That being said I would rather have the things that make life easier and self sufficient than the metals. No matter what I will NOT invest in the "system" in any way. I will leave whatever I can in metals with a small ammount of paper on hand.

Rich

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You can't eat FRNs, either.
Aaron Moyer wrote:

We've probably all heard this tired old cliche - you can't eat Gold.

There are a significant number of opinions out there that cast Gold as both a useless waste of money, and an invaluable method of asset protection. There are anecdotes about trading in metals in SHTF, and there are situations where it's simply made a person a target during periods of lawlessness.

It's my opinion that the truth is somewhere down the middle - it's wise to take care of necessities first, but having some measure of asset protection only makes sense. For those of us who're not wealthy, and can't afford to do both, what's your exposure?
Do you still try and buy Gold, or is it a luxury that is less important than food, or other necessities for survival?
What would you purchase instead of Gold to hold value and perhaps provide utility?
Or is Gold worth the stretch in terms of potential for gains?

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and would love to hear the communities opinions on Gold, and it's place in practical preparations.
Cheers,

Aaron

 

You've probably also heard the tired response to "You can't eat gold"...        "You can't eat Federal Reserve Notes, neither"

Gold (and silver) are simply long term stores of wealth protecting against currency devaluation.

Since early civilation to today, man has been able to trade a ounce of a gold for a nice suit and pair of shoes.   Gold holds its' value over time, a long time.

Gold isn't meant for us common folk to be trading it, buying and selling, or buying GLD.

In the past, CM has recommended, if you have cash in the bank, to trade some in for gold (or silver).  I believe he recommends (as most who recommend gold) 10%+ as a percentage of your overall liquid wealth, while he has disclosed his holdings at 50%+.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great post !

The first thing that pulled me to CM and the 3E's was his strategy for hedging strongly with metals (and his take on energy).

I was a financial rep and later a Financial Advisor from 2000 to 2005. I advised on all kinds of plans to save for retirement. When I became aware of the problems that face us my whole philosophy on investing fell apart. I sold off all my long term investments almost straight away. I started looking at the market from a 30 year forward perspective (no need to examine pre 73' as a forward moving indicator).

What I found was that if you could afford to set yourself up with physical property you would be better off. I decided to design my life to require as little inputs (income) as possible. Provide for energy, housing, food, and transportation then focus on long term security. My old philosophy was provide for retirement, then fund your current lifestyle. Now I want to secure my life, and hope for some style with it.

Gold, Silver, antiques, or any other physical item that is planned on holding value is a luxury. I would buy solar panels, property (land),  home improvements to minimize inputs all before I would invest in Gold.

Example: If I had a 401K valued at 100K, was 40 years old, 2 kids, suburban lifestyle, and had an income of 60K. That 100K would turn into roughly 55K after taxes and pay for my solar and extended preps. (or relocate to bigger and better )

Example 2: If I had 500K in savings varied and an income of 100K+. I would make all the physical preps then secure almost 60% of my remaining savings in small amounts of gold and silver. I would proably use an existing model. (I don't have this luxury as a problem :)

Long story more coherent, Gold is an after thought for those that can afford it. "You can't eat it", and like all things it's only worth what others will give for it. If SHTF will it be the most valuable thing? Will you get a equal return on your investment? Will it retain it's value when the cutain is pulled back on the rest of the market?...I don't know. I do know that land, chickens, a cow, a bike, a diesel vehicle, a secure peice of land, a strong community, a weatherized structure, and peace of mind will hold their value.

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JAG wrote: Though, I think
JAG wrote:

Though, I think you should be disqualified for profiting from insider information, lol.

You are right JAG, I had no idea that PV was a good investment until I met you!  What the hel...

<SLAP>

But Ma, he started it!

 

OK, Back on topic. JAG can be such an as...

<SLAP THUD>

 

Aaron, I am seriously thinking about getting rid of some in order to build a new house down at the farm. Something a little bit better thought out, more energy efficent, more secure, etc. It kinda feels like we are reaching a top right now, give or take 10%. I'd be hard pressed to be a buyer right now if the idea was to buy and hold. I know that goes contrary to much of what is said on this site, but we all have to trust ourselves in the end.

If you have everything else covered (knowing you, a tent and a Bowie knife is all you need, actually scratch the tent) gold can absolutely make some sense, easy to carry, hide in a small place, no one else's property, but until you do have everything you need, it is a risk IMHO. If you have dollars today, they easy to trade for what you need directly, unlike gold. Gold is not what you need. Gold is for when you can't figure out what else to spend your dollars on.

You are in a good position in that you have marketable skills, and will likely find good employment regardless of the future events. My advice, for what little it is worth, is plan to be able to make a living when others struggle. That said, what does gold do for you? Is there another option that has less risk?

If you still want to invest in gold, give me a call. Maybe we can make another trade. Or you can buy from JAG becuase he HATES gold and is an ...

<THUNK>

Best,

R

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gold

Hi Aaron,

I have two thoughts. The first is that since my wife is violently anti-prepper, gold and silver coins, oddly enuf, are the easiest, most concealable way for me to pre. ie. to sneak money out of my checking account and buy a coin every once in a while. Stockpiling canned goods in the basement and other prepper stuff has been somewhat harder. The PMs are my secret and as long as I am in positive territory, I have no guilt.

Second, to paraphrase another concept, I actually regard gold as merely part of a well-balanced diet that includes food, firearms and ammo, clothing, meds, etc. My worst fear about gold is that, while confiscation appears unlikely to me, a horrendous surtax on reselling your coins, say, 50%, would be tough to evade and greatly infuriating to the prudent. I do think that is possible.

The only unbelievably wealthy person I know told me that his peers own tons of gold. They also would have little trouble in stuffing it on the Gulfstream and going to a less hassled clime.

JMHO.

SG

 

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Big problem with PV

JAG

I love the idea of putting up some photovoitaics on the house.  I fully agree that this would be a great investment and much better than gold from a financial standpoint.  The problem with PV is it sticks out like a sore thumb.  When times get really tough, it is a big advertisement, "Hey look at me, I've got electricity, and you're shivering in the dark."  I've listened to Ferfal from Argentina several times, and he has indicated that the resentment between the have's and the havenots amplifies during economic turmoil.  He goes so far as to say that the poor despise those who they perceive as having more than them.   

I don't know how bad things will get, but having PV panels on your rooftop will make one look very wealthy relative to others.  Unless your willing to make your home a community center for all to benefit from.  

 

Brian

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You can't eat gold.

It's quite true, you can't eat gold.  Like any other form of money, gold has value only inasmuch as it can be exchanged for things that you can eat (or use).  Gold is a means of carrying surplus wealth through severe market disruptions, so that when you emerge at the other end you still have what you saved.  It's a way of taking your savings account, and preserving it so that it will be available when the market stabilizes.

(1)  But if you don't have surplus wealth that you need to preserve, then it makes little sense to skimp just for the sake of buying gold (unless you are looking for speculative profits).

(2)  While gold is a superior means of carrying wealth through market disruptions, there is no guarantee that gold will be useful during a period of market disruption, simply because there might be no food (say) which is available to buy. 

This is where practical preparations have a place, illustrated by the Russian experience following the collapse of the USSR.  Many Russians kept their wealth in the form of gold and silver, yet during the months of intense market turmoil, the price of gold collapsed relative to necessities like food and firewood simply because there was none to be bought at any price.  You could buy just about anything else at fire-sale prices, but many people lost vast fortunes in gold and other valuables (like gems, houses, and heirlooms) during the period of economic crisis -- NOT because of the currency collapse -- but because they had to spend it to survive.  A month's worth of potatoes cost ten times the price of the land they were grown on.  Clearly in this case, having a small garden was more than worth it's weight in gold.

So, gold cannot replace at least partial self-sufficiency, because money does no good when there is nothing for sale.

But how much practical preparation is enough?  That all depends on an individual's assessment of the risks, I think.  If gold is a savings account, practical preparations might be more like an insurance policy that only pays off in a specific situation.  Unlike gold, most (not all) practical preparations will produce a net loss if the threat they were meant to guard against doesn't materialize, so there is sometimes a trade-off to be made.  Furthermore, there will (for most practical prepatations) reach a time when you simply have enough.

I tend to agree with Chris that practical prepatations tend to follow a line of diminishing returns, with enormous benefits for the first small steps, and slowly diminishing returns for further investment.  As Chris says, there is a tremendous difference between 0% self-sufficient and 10% self sufficient.  Put in a more crass way (credit to Doug Casey), "You don't have to run faster than the bear.  You only have to run faster than the slowest camper." 

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jrf29, But how much

jrf29,

But how much practical preparation is enough?  That all depends on an individual's assessment of the risks, I think.  If gold is a savings account, practical preparations might be more like an insurance policy that only pays off in a specific situation.  Unlike gold, most (not all) practical preparations will produce a net loss if the threat they were meant to guard against doesn't materialize, so there is sometimes a trade-off to be made.  Furthermore, there will (for most practical prepatations) reach a time when you simply have enough.

Exactly. We had to draw a line. Everything we did with my retirement money will help us now, not just later. Screens and screen doors, CFL lights, solar fans and solar hot water plus a clothesline and an efficient wood stove mean we are saving on electricity for heating and cooling and clothes drying right now. Water is very expensive in our subdivision (sadly, we are legally locked into using the worst water utuility in the area) so the well will pay for itself rapidly. Even a pantry saves you money - not just on last minute trips to the store, but stocking up when things are on sale makes sense. And our garden, once the initial investment was made to build the SFG boxes, is really helping put produce bill - and our health as it is all organic and great exercise to weed and turn the compost pile.

The few "only if the SHTF" things we have are also useful in an ice storm or hurricane situation. That's our comfort zone: practicality.

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not just a luxury

Aaron

I have a neighbor who is originally from China.  His family escaped to Hong Kong when the communists took over.  He told me that he knew others who escaped.  what was their ticket out?  payment in gold.  Yes, gold can get confiscated, get you killed, get stolen.  But, in the right situation it can save your life.  My neighbor told me they couldn't sell their farm, their chickens, their livestock... already confiscated by the communists.    Gold may be the only thing one can sneak out.

so a little bit of gold an silver, once other needs are met, imho, is a good idea.  

It's also a possible little inheritance I can leave my children.  Hopefully I wont every have to use it, and I can pass it down to my children.  it's simply one avenue of wealth protection.

No_Fiat's picture
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Simply Put

 You can't eat fiat dollars either! Which one would you rather have useless paper or gold?

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bluestone wrote: When times
bluestone wrote:

When times get really tough, it is a big advertisement, "Hey look at me, I've got electricity, and you're shivering in the dark."  

Hi Brian,

With respect, I don't think this is a viable argument, for a couple of reasons:

  • First, any preperation that you make, whether it's a garden, pv array, water catchment system, livestock, or a cache of gold and silver coins, becomes an advertisement in the worst case scenario that you describe. The only way gold and silver remain hidden from prying eyes is if you don't use them. So what good are they to you if you can't use them to trade for stuff that you need? 
  • Second, the assumption that you will be able to trade your PMs for anything that you need in a worst case scenario is a dangerous one IMO. One must consider who will be on the other side of that trade. Will someone with the means of producing the products or services that you need to survive be willing to trade for gold or silver, or will they be seeking to trade directly for a product or service that they need? It seems more likely that those willing to accept gold and silver in trade, will not be the kind of people that you will want knowing that you have gold and silver. In the best case scenario, you will be losing purchasing power to a middle man in the trade, and in the worst case scenario you will be losing your life over gold and silver coins.
  • Finally, no one can know the future, so it seems prudent to ensure that any preps one undertakes have value in our present world. The only value PMs have in our present, is that we can trade them for FRNs. How many FRNs you get for your PMs for is dictated by Wall Street. Why not eliminate the middle man, and move two steps ahead in this game now, by investing directly in what you, and others, need to survive?

Personally, I have to play the probabilities when making decisions about the future, and I consider the probabilities to be low for the worst case scenario that you mentioned, and even lower that Wall Street will reward me for participating in their golden game. 

In appreciation of the conversation....Jeff

 

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As usual...

Great responses... I'd like to respond to just about every one of them individually, but it'd take a long time, so I want to respond to some of the ideas presented...

Alternative Energy:
I've been thinking about this as a good opportunity, but in my case, the most practical is hydro-electric... The PNW isn't known for it's sunny climate, and to get a good wind generator, you'll have to get above the Doug Fir that surround just about everything - which means you'll need a tower > 50' or so. The good thing about this, is you can double the tower (Maybe?) as a place to mount antenna for a HAM base station, though I think it'd have to sit below the actual fan.

Hydro power would be good for the many streams and creeks in the area, but it's expensive and could be gone in a flash...flood.

Solar would probably okay - even though it's high signature, as mentioned above - and not likely to produce that much power. It's affordable-ish.
I'll put some money into this idea. It makes good sense, regardless of situation.

Ex-Patriation: I've thought strongly on getting out of the country, but my main concern is that right now, American's aren't popular. After we cause a Global Economic Collapse that will rival the Dark Ages, I'm not sure we'll gain popularity... Think I'll stick to home - though it's nice to have the option.

Store of Wealth: I'm fantastically wealthy, so my Gold buying is pretty limited. Because I'm at the level where I have disposible income, but not enough to really incur much debt, I see Gold as a good option. I can't afford land that's productive, or a home because I don't want to incur the debt, but gold's increase in value relative to land and homes is going to swing things in the Gold holder's favor, I think, which brings us to:

...my favorite: Holding as a trade on acreage: I think that getting in to land and gold at the right time, and in the right quantities could really be favorable for me personally - I could buy the land with cash which is rapidly becoming useless, and trade gold for the remaining balance - which is in short supply and should be increasing in value.

Very interesting discussion, I'm interested in hearing more opinions on the matter...

Cheers,

Aaron

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JAG
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Posts: 2492
Aaron Moyer wrote: Solar
Aaron Moyer wrote:

Solar would probably okay - even though it's high signature, as mentioned above - and not likely to produce that much power. It's affordable-ish. I'll put some money into this idea. It makes good sense, regardless of situation.

Hey Aaron,

I can't find the link now (and I really tried), but I recall reading about a guy in the military who bought a house in California and installed a grid-tied PV array. He was stationed overseas for years and didn't get to use the house much, but while he was away it was generating power and selling it to the power company. When he was discharged and returned home he had quite the windfall.

Thought you might appreciate that story....Jeff

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bluestone
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Posts: 263
Jeff With respect, I do

Jeff

With respect, I do believe it is a viable argument.  In my particular area, I can only think of only one home with a solar array, and it is very noticeable.  So I will be very noticeable if I do the same.  As times get tougher and resources are restricted, it will be very difficult  to get a solar array installed on one's home.   No one will have the capital to do so.   Maybe the local police department, which no longer can afford the electricity, will decide to take residence in my home.  Maybe I can cut a deal with them and use it to my advantage.... or maybe they'll just kick me out on the  streets.  Maybe it'll be a local band of thugs who decide to use my solar panels for target practice.  Last time I heard, human beings can be pretty vengefull, spitefull, and destructive, especially when you have something they dont.  If I lived in your neighborhood, I'd say, "hey Jeff, lef me live in your house. It has so many nice amenities."  If you said no, I might decide to do something destructive to your home      

As times get tougher, gardens and small livestock will start popping up everwhere.   In fact they are already quite common in my area.  Water is also plentiful in my area  But the same will not be true of solar panels.  IMHO, it is a potential great asset, but also a liability if it is too desireable and too valuable.   

Believe me Jeff, I've strongly considered putting in solar panels, but this concern has held me back (oh and my wife doesn't want to put in panels ).  Please convince me that my arguments are baseless.

Brian

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Poet
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Posts: 1891
Concealment Solar And Thoughts On Collapse Architecture

Look at homes of the well-to-do in towns and areas that are less secure. Think parts of rural Latin America, classical Greece, medieval Europe or old China or Japan.

Walled on the outside, typically few or no outside-facing windows on the ground floor - to deter thieves. All windows open internally to a courtyard or gardens (and a well if they're lucky). Combined households of extended family and retainers/servants for defense in numbers.

Solar panels may have to be put up unobtrusively: not to maximize sun exposure, but to maximize security and concealment. You may not be able to power a refrigerator - you'll have to rely on other methods ( like an old Persian windcatcher, a cheap Zeer pot-in-pot refrigerator, an ice house or basement, or a root cellar). But you'll be able to charge batteries for a cell phone, a ham radio, LED lights, a ceiling fan or swamp cooler, maybe even a simple computer with black-and-white LCD display, etc.

Side Note: I've long thought that current architecture will have to change drastically. Most homes in America are frickin' tinderboxes. And as the "Box of Truth" points out, paper shacks, really. Thicker walls of brick, stone, concrete, steel reinforcement will be needed. And not just smaller windows or windows with bars on the ground floor, but  metal-reinforced slits for defenders with guns. Higher ground so defenders are pointing down. Higher windows for trench periscopes and trench binoculars. Ceramic or enamel steel roof tiles, reinforced concrete blast walls, front doors that don't open to the outside, but instead open from right or left into a protected alcove with a low wall, so intruders cannot use a ram, etc.

The biggest problem I see is that guns, grenades, and molotove cocktails are mighty powerful weapons against any house - even a reinforced one. And a farmer? She's vulnerable to a handgun or an arrow or crossbow bolt when the chickens need to be fed, the cow milked, or the field tended. Even a trip to town for supplies in a car or wagon is potential for ambush. It seems that being in the middle of a town makes more sense, as there are other homes and other defenders about.

Poet

bluestone wrote:

Last time I heard, human beings can be pretty vengefull, spitefull, and destructive, especially when you have something they dont.  If I lived in your neighborhood, I'd say, "hey Jeff, lef me live in your house. It has so many nice amenities."  If you said no, I might decide to do something destructive to your home     

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Damnthematrix
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Posts: 3998
No problem with PV
bluestone wrote:

JAG

I love the idea of putting up some photovoitaics on the house.  I fully agree that this would be a great investment and much better than gold from a financial standpoint.  The problem with PV is it sticks out like a sore thumb.  When times get really tough, it is a big advertisement, "Hey look at me, I've got electricity, and you're shivering in the dark."

For starters, anyone who does not know what they're doing and try to remove your panels could easily kill themselves......

Secondly, you'd never use PVs to heat your home.

Thirdly, if I had neighbours "shivering in the dark", I'd house them in exchange for labour.....

Mike

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mryuri
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Joined: May 12 2011
Posts: 25
Solar? Pah.

 Won't be able to eat it, ship it, store it, or sell it. Wise up. Who cares if you can recharge your mobile phone or lap top with solar for non existant networks. Or maybe for TV or radio with no channels broadcasting? For heat you need to burn, for light, you need to burn. Wood, would be a much better source or transferable, storable and selabale energy source. Or stock up now on gas canisters, lamp oil, kerosine, candles etc... but electricity? Waste of time. What would the Walton's have done with electricity? Listen to the wireless? 

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mryuri
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Joined: May 12 2011
Posts: 25
solar panels

 solar panels will be readily available even in a shtf situ. you will be able to buy stolen ones no probs. sure, price will be high; two cans of corned beef!?

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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Posts: 3998
Solar? Pah.
mryuri wrote:

 Won't be able to eat it, ship it, store it, or sell it. Wise up. Who cares if you can recharge your mobile phone or lap top with solar for non existant networks. Or maybe for TV or radio with no channels broadcasting? For heat you need to burn, for light, you need to burn. Wood, would be a much better source or transferable, storable and selabale energy source. Or stock up now on gas canisters, lamp oil, kerosine, candles etc... but electricity? Waste of time. What would the Walton's have done with electricity? Listen to the wireless? 

Electricity is still best for lighting, water pumping and refrigeration, all of which can be maintained to last a very long time if you know how (I suggest stocking up on LED light bulbs)

http://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/the-power-of-energy-effici...

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bluestone
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Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 263
yes problem with PV

 your missing the point Mike.  yes I know that PVs dont heat the house.   Sure I'd love to house some people in exchange for labor.   I believe your from Australia.  Maybe the good and honest citizens of Australia will behave in a civil manner when things get desperate.  Exchange their hard work for use of your home.  Im not so sure that a band of well armed and desperate Americans will behave in the same fashion.  I think they may claim the property for themselves.  If I can't defend it, then I can't defend it.  

And Im not talking about others trying to steal solar panels.  They may decide to riddle them with bullets, or burn the house down.  It's just a very destructive part of human nature.  If I can't have it, neither will they.

Brian

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