Your Survival Guy loves the holidays. But let’s get something out of the way. Your survival food prep should not be considered “free game” for one and all. You’re not running a convenience store; you’re trying to plan for the unexpected. But that’s what it feels like sometimes, like I’m a stock boy.
Case in point. Before heading out for a small family celebration on Saturday night, someone asked if “we” have any peanuts, knowing I have a stack of ‘em in the basement. “Do I look like Mr. Peanut?” I thought to myself. “I don’t have any that are easy to get to,” I said, thinking that they were sealed away in my stacks of containers. “No,” she said. “They’re right there on the shelves when you open the door.” “But they’re for an emergency,” I said. “Just get them out. You can buy more next week,” she said.
Now preparing for the worst is hard enough as it is without being looked at as a “bad guy” or selfish. I, too, have been eyeing those canisters of peanuts for months and was dying to try them. And yes, they were good. But I’m a little uneasy thinking about the strain on my supply chain.
Like investing, where it can be better not to look at your portfolio daily, it’s better to hide stuff from yourself, like peanuts in this case, so you’re not tempted to eat them or be looked upon as a vending machine. Tuck your valuables away to protect yourself from yourself and other prying eyes.
Surviving to Climb New Hampshire’s 4,000 Footers and More
In my conversations with you, you’re telling me how life throws you curveballs. Who would have thought you’d be navigating pre-retirement as a cancer survivor with one lung? But, you tell me, “that’s life.” What’s been on your mind is what you can do with it. Can you, for example, still hike like you used to? Can you still summit a 4,000-foot mountain?
And so, that’s what we talked about earlier this fall as you planned your trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where 48 of the 4,000 footers reside, many in the Presidential range.
If you’re familiar with the White Mountains, you know the most famous dead president—Mount Washington. When you summit that mountain, you feel as if you can see as far as Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Mount Washington literally is home to the worst weather on earth, holding the record for strongest wind gust of 221 mph. There’s a museum in North Conway with an exhibit resembling the little wood shack at the summit. You close the doors, and it simulates what it feels like inside when it’s blowing 221 mph outside. Your Survival Guy is here to report, it’s a bit shaky.
Now, for those of you in the mountain west, you may think, eh, 6,288 ft. elevation, that’s no big deal, my ski resort is 8,000 feet. But here in New England, we’re like sea creatures crawling from the shores to the head of the trail.
This is where my valued clients, we’ll call them Jack and Jill, found themselves this fall at the base of a 4,000 footer Mount Moosilauke (Correction) in New Hampshire. Weeks before their trip, Jack and I spoke about some of my favorite places to eat, and our talk made me feel like I was part of the expedition.
About a month later, we spoke about their trip. As Jack describes it, it’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish just putting one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you’re at the top of a 4,000 footer. The problem is, once you climb one 4,000 footer, you want to start checking off names and bagging more of them. And they did. They climbed five over six days. Jack told me they tackled both Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln. There was zero visibility at the top of Lafayette. I can relate.
Years ago, my dad and I hiked Lafayette on a picture-perfect fall morning only to get socked in by a snowstorm near the summit. Like smart hikers, we turned around and headed back to the car. Kidding! We decided to “go for it,” lost the trail on the way down, and luckily didn’t walk off the side of the mountain. It was a quiet car ride back to Woodstock, NH. Hiking isn’t always like the brochure at the visitor’s center. But some days it is.
One of the more memorable summits for my clients was the big one: Mount Washington. It was touch and go near the summit, and it basically came down to reaching one cairn, then the other, and the other, and all of a sudden, they were surrounded by planes, trains, and automobiles. Not exactly. There weren’t any planes. But because you can take a train or car up Mount Washington and go to the gift shop and snack bar, it can feel a little defeating when you climb on foot to the top and find everyone else there has taken the easy way up. But if you hiked in from ground level, the reward is better than anything you can buy at a gift shop.
There’s a picture in our cabin in New Hampshire of the day my kids hiked Mt. Washington. Every time I pass it, it brings me back to that experience. I can almost feel the tiredness and the satisfaction of accomplishment. And yet, when you hike a mountain, it’s such an individual thing, like a round of golf. A lot of it comes down to you and the conversations you have with yourself. You’re by yourself a lot. And that’s OK.
One step after the other isn’t rocket science. But after a while, you look back upon all those steps, and you’re atop a 4,000-footer—or a pile of savings—with spectacular views, wondering how you even did it. The reality is, yes, you just did it. And I’d love to hear how.
P.S. Five 4,000 footers, 18,000 feet elevation, 47 miles hiked over six days looks like this:
Happy Days: How’s Your Survival Prep Situation?
How you doing? Isn’t it crazy how we’re still not back to normal? You have a government that continues to stuff you with Covid crap, and you can’t wait until the elections in ‘22 and ‘24. They can’t come fast enough. But let’s not wish time away. Let’s get down to some basics. How’s your survival prep situation? Because doing just a little bit now can put you on terra firma in times like these. Let’s go.
First up, the big three: Food, water, and shelter. Let’s get the hard one out of the way: food. Your way of eating is your way of eating. Plain and simple. I get it. I can tell you what I like to eat, but that’s me. Let’s think about food in stages. Stage one is when you lose power and are temporarily inconvenienced. In this case, a can of chopped white clams over linguine sprinkled with parsley and a glass of Meursault by candlelight is heaven on earth to Your Survival Guy. But you may think that’s nuts. But, I think we can both agree that living out of your pantry is something you can get by on for a week or two. Done.
Stage two food prep for Your Survival Guy involves my freezer. Now, this can get tricky as I’ve found pieces of meat hidden away like a Navy SEAL sniper, camouflaged in frost as if it has a second lease on life, thinking I’ll never find it. And that happens. I know we have meat stored that will never find the back of my mouth. What we try to do is stick to a rotation of what we’ll eat during a three-month period. Look, I have friends who harvest deer meat for the season with the expertise of Sam the butcher from The Brady Bunch. I want to be like Sam too, but it’s just not in my wheelhouse. Moving on.
Stage three is when you roll out your buckets of 25-year shelf-life food. Who knew it could last that long? Get as much as you’d like. Companies like Wise will make more. And as a side note, there are some members of my family who would prefer to starve than survive on it. Make sure you have plenty of water to unstick your tongue from the roof of your mouth. This crap is loaded with sodium. Food prep is where my island life thinking comes into play. When the hordes come a knockin’, you want to live in an area where you can keep ‘em out, and lock it down. Sorry, it’s just the way it is.
Where you live is a huge factor in your survivability. Is drinking water plentiful? Can you fish it? Does the sun shine enough that you can use solar to recharge devices or run hot water? In the northeast, for example, it’s dark by five and cloudy half the time. Make sure you have a backup plan if you lose power or natural gas on the coldest days of the year.
Next, is water. Let there be water. You can read all about how to store water here. My garage is loaded with blue 50-gallon containers, making it look like the lab in Breaking Bad.
Then you have shelter. Here’s my take on shelter. Own your house. Get out of debt. Because when interest rates are lower than your doormat and inflation is running hot, the money you spend on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt adds up. Period.
Guns? Get your guns and your training now. I’ve spent days training at Sig Sauer Academy in Epping, New Hampshire. I suggest you get trained up too. I’ve also been trained in concealed carry and will tell you this is a personal decision. Because once you go down the road of everyday carry, you bring upon yourself the same type of responsibilities you face with a newborn. There are no breaks. You’re always on. There are no days off.
Need ammo? Go local or go online. And if you can’t find what you need in either place, go to your club and ask around. I get regular emails from my rifle club from members selling ammo. It’s out there if you want it. But be prepared to pay. With that in mind, you can do your wallet a lot of good by practicing using dry fire drills.
How about communication? In our latest power outage, we lost WiFi, but my cell service was fine. I’m not going down the rabbit hole of the pros and cons of 5G, but the fact of the matter is, the cell network is getting harder/stronger. And then you have the billionaires, Musk and Bezos, duking it out over satellite/internet coverage which will make the days of “no service” a thing of the past. But before that happens, you might want to buy a satellite phone like I have, and remember, this isn’t a cost-saving endeavor.
There are GPS devices out there that seem like they work great. But do your own research and think about what will work best for you. There are some that will send a message every two minutes to a loved one to let them know “I’m OK.” If I’m fishing with friends 100 miles offshore and sending “I’m OK” every couple minutes like messages in a bottle, I can assure you that the recipient will hope I’m lost at sea. And at up to $0.50 a message, that adds up. But if you insist on getting a device, pay off your mortgage, and with the savings, you can buy the nicest satellite phone on the planet.
You don’t need to save the world in a weekend. Go about your survival prep in a methodical, timely manner, and you’ll feel like a million bucks. Then, you can focus on your pets because they don’t do well drinking out of a survival straw. And remember, survival prep is an every day, Sunday, Monday, Happy Days type of mindset.
Timeless Investment Advice and Venison for the Winter
In my conversations with you, you’re telling me about your bow hunting expeditions this season. Yesterday I spoke with two of you about your recent hunts, and you told me you’re good to go for the winter. The freezer’s packed with meat. I guess it should be no surprise the large number of hunters in Your Survival Guy’s network.
Like fishing, sometimes getting your catch home can be like The Old Man and the Sea, where one client found himself a long way from his ATV with a Pope and Young size buck. “I’m gonna need some help here,” he thought. Luckily his buddy was there. Mission accomplished.
In my second conversation, my client Scott told me he’s carved out a nice Survival Guy lifestyle for his family with the purchase of a farm and the acreage to boot. Scott’s a tech guy by trade, and in our talks, he explains to Your Survival Guy what he does, and I try to keep up with him.
You know I’m asked all the time about bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and other high-flying corners of the market. And I’ve told you I’m a fan of the tech behind a lot of them, like blockchain, but I’m not always a buyer. The way I like to think about technology is to look at a company that pays dividends and utilizes tech. A great example is Home Depot. Its supply chain management is a miracle of modern business, and to top it off, it has a ten-year dividend growth rate of 20.30%.
Yesterday morning, in speaking with my father-in-law Richard Young he said, “Listen, Survival Guy, investing is about quantitative math. You know, dividends, interest, compounding, time. Speculation concerns qualitative themes, often abstract and or debatable. It’s unwise to mix the two. Comprende?”
“Yes,” I said.
“When considering any type of investing, one of the key ingredients in the recipe to achieving good returns is time. It is fundamental to determining the rate of return. The longer you compound anything, the greater your returns can augment,” from The Handbook of Dividend Achievers.
With the help of technology, Scott and his son turned his property into a virtual grid tracking seasonal deer movement patterns like rush hour traffic in New York City. They developed a to-do list and a model, and together they were able to determine the best place to set up. The result is worth a thousand words. Click here to see the kill. But only if you’re serious.
Survive and Thrive this Month.
“Your Survival Guy”
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P.S. One of the saddest songs you’ll ever hear is “Jacob’s Dream” by Alison Krauss, a song I was reminded of recently while reading the chapter “Bending the Map” in Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. In it, you meet Ken Killip, who, with a friend, sets out on Milner Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park for a weekend excursion to Rock Lake. Early in the trip, Killup, moving at a slower pace, is separated from his friend. Not a good sign. And not a good friend.
Rather than retrace his steps and head back to his truck, Killip, a skilled outdoorsman, and firefighter, continues hiking up what he believes is the correct mountain. It is not. And he’s lost. And what we learn about “bending the map” is that as soon as we start making assumptions about “where” we are, it’s probably a good idea to stop moving or consider turning back home (if you can).
What you don’t want to do is make assumptions. What you don’t want to do is make your situation worse. Fortunately, it turns out for Killip, he takes a bad fall, is forced to stay in place, makes a fire, is sighted by a helicopter, and is saved by boots on the ground.
I remember as a kid, my family and I were sailing home after a week on the boat and suddenly were engulfed by fog. My parents, fearful for the safety of their family, anchored thinking we were just outside of the harbor and could just wait until it lifted. The next morning, with the fog clear, we realized we weren’t even close to the harbor. It happens that fast. And staying in place and waiting for the fog to lift kept us off the rocks.
Similarly, when you fall overboard, the initial jolt makes you want to thrash about, and it’s easy to panic. But the best chance for survival is to simply be calm and float. Sure, it’s easier said than done. But guess what? Guess who has the highest percentage rate for surviving when lost in the woods? Survivalists, mountaineers, ultra-marathoners? No. It’s children under the age of six. Why? Scientists believe it’s because they don’t yet have a mental map of where they are, or what one’s “supposed” to do. They seek shelter, burrowing in the trunk of a tree to stay warm, for example. Unfortunately, it’s children ages seven to twelve with the worst percentage of survival. Why? Because they have some adult characteristics such as mental mapping.
For investors, these scenarios are relevant in times like these. When it comes to investing, “bending the map” is an everyday occurrence. Investors believe they know what they’re doing or that “it’s different this time.” I’ve told you how I feel about artificial intelligence and robo-investing, for example, and how I’m sticking with the four-year-olds. Why? Because in 2012, supercomputers made headlines scanning 10 million thumbnails of YouTube videos learning to identify a cat with 75% accuracy—impressive until you realize an average four-year-old can do it flawlessly.
Are you feeling like you’re “bending the map” with your retirement savings? It’s not a great feeling. If you’d like some help navigating markets or becoming a Liberty Retiree, I’d love to talk with you. But only if you’re serious.
P.P.S. Remember when Joe Biden praised Beto O’Rourke as someone who could lead his efforts on gun control? Remember Beto O’Rourke’s signature line about guns in the Democratic debates? “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Remember when Biden wanted to appoint avowed gun-grabber David Chipman as head of the BATFE?
Now, out of the darkness, Biden’s backdoor gun registry scheme has been revealed. Documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that the Biden administration has been building a backdoor gun registry with its collection of records on millions of Americans. Adam Kredo reports:
The Biden administration in just the past year alone stockpiled the records of more than 54 million U.S. gun owners and is poised to drastically alter gun regulations to ensure that information on Americans who own firearms ultimately ends up in the federal government’s hands, according to internal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The ATF in fiscal year 2021 processed 54.7 million out-of-business records, according to an internal ATF document obtained by the Gun Owners of America, a firearms advocacy group, and provided exclusively to the Free Beacon. When a licensed gun store goes out of business, its private records detailing gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia. This practice allows the federal government to stockpile scores of gun records and has drawn outrage from gun advocacy groups that say the government is using this information to create a national database of gun owners—which has long been prohibited under U.S. law.
The ATF obtained 53.8 million paper records and another 887,000 electronic records, according to the internal document that outlines ATF actions in fiscal year 2021. Gun activists described this figure as worryingly high and said it contributes to fears that the Biden administration is trying to keep track of all Americans who own firearms, in violation of federal statutes. The procurement of these records by the ATF comes as the Biden administration moves to alter current laws to ensure that gun records are stored in perpetuity. Currently, gun shops can destroy their records after 20 years, thereby preventing the ATF from accessing the information in the future.
“As if the addition of over 50 million records to an ATF gun registry wasn’t unconstitutional or illegal enough, the Biden administration’s misuse of ‘out-of-business’ records doesn’t end there,” Aidan Johnston, the Gun Owners of America’s director of federal affairs, told the Free Beacon. “Instead of maintaining the right of [licensed firearm dealers] to destroy Firearm Transaction Records after 20 years, buried within Biden’s proposed regulations is a provision that would mean every single Firearm Transaction Record going forward would eventually be sent to ATF’s registry in West Virginia.”
The days when a Democrat president could be a life member of the NRA, like John F. Kennedy, are over. Now, all they know is to attempt to disarm the American people. Get your guns and your training now.
P.P.P.S. If you live in snow country, and you’re not prepared to spend winter hunkered down in your cabin eating jarred meat and vegetables from your pantry, you need access to the roads. How will you get to the store, the bank, or the post office in town if you can’t even get to the end of your driveway? That snow needs to be shoveled or plowed so you can get out.
Unless you have the strong back of youth, you’re going to want to either get some plowing equipment yourself, or hire a reliable plow company to do the work for you. As you can see in the video, the cost for that might be higher in this year of “Biden-flation.” Look at what some towns are spending to keep the roads clear.
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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