Wealth and Survival

Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101

It is amazing to me how we allow ourselves to be manipulated by the concept of money.  People kill or die for pieces of paper that lost all of its intrinsic value when the government dumped green ink on it.


By Captain Bart, contributing author SurvivalCache.com

It had value for sending messages, writing down thoughts, saving receipts, jogging our memory or any of a hosts of other uses.  Now, after being covered with ink, it is good only to record the way we spend the hours of our lives at work.  It is only good for keeping score.

Rich vs Poor

We judge a person’s worth by how many of these essentially useless pieces of paper they control. Having more makes me wealthy, less makes me poor.  We consider anyone with more money than we have as wealthy; anyone with less as poor.  It is interesting that those who have a LOT more than we have many of the same problems as we do. The question is why?

The answer is our expectations.  The quote from scripture that we often hear as “Money is the root of all evil” is a misquote. The Douay-Rheims version of Tim 6:10 says “For the desire of money is the root of all evils” and the King James version reads “For the love of money is the root of all evil”.  Often enough it is how we spend our money, not how much we have that matters.

For the very wealthy, survival may well mean keeping their financial assets intact. If I had a spare $500,000 I’d consider myself well off indeed.  If Bill Gates “ONLY” had a spare $500,000 he’d consider himself in bankruptcy.  In order to break it into doable size bites let us consider the various ranges of wealth.

The very wealthy most likely prepare in a different way than the rest of us.  I have known a few (well, two, actually) Doomsday Preppers Apocalypse 101billionaires in my time.  Their concept of survival is to be somewhere else.  A dozen homes on 4 continents and highly trained armed guards gives one a sense of immunity.  Their money is in many nations, in many forms as are their corporations.  The idea that they might have to exist by themselves for an extended period of time is simply not a consideration.  Their idea of preparation is to protect their assets so that they are never put into a survival situation.  It seems like making a lot of money is so time consuming that preparing for serious black swan events is not possible.  The concept of ‘enough’ money seems to be missing.  These same people will get on their private jet or yacht and head out without considering what the result of a mishap might be.  Enough wealth seems to engender a feeling of invincibility.

Those who have wealth that is not quite so overwhelming are much like the rest of us.  I have a multimillionaire friend who has a year’s supply of food, medicine, hand tools, and defensive provisions in a hidden basement under a shed.  He keeps a low profile about his preparations and his wealth.  Of course, he met me before he was a millionaire so I may have tainted his view of life.  His preparations were based on bulk purchases after much though and preparation.  Money is valuable but only so far as it enables him to provide for his family.  He used part of his wealth to acquire in a couple of months what took me years to build up.  He continues to improve as he learns – a true survivalist.

Trust the System

I know others who are much like the banker in ‘Alas, Babylon‘.  Money is THE answer and the financial institutions will always provide.  Since it is the system that provides for their well being, it won’t (in fact CANNOT) fail. Very much the “Visualize World Peace” attitude.  If I ‘see’ it and want it badly enough it will happen this way.  These are the people who jump out of tall buildings when their net worth drops to ONLY $500,000.  They have learned to function, survive and prosper in the economic jungle and mistake that for real, physical survival in the world.  Their TEOTWAWKI event is loss of wealth without which they do not see a way to survive.

The important thing about wealth is to not allow it to control you.  I own my money and things, they do not own me. Ownership is the key to using wealth.  There are wealthy people who have little ‘love’ for their money.  Money is a tool to do the important things in life.  Then there are people of modest means who are totally consumed with money; acquiring it and being seen to have it.  A great many people see money as power.  Actually, money is time.  I can trade an hour of my life for a $20 bill but I can also trade a $20 bill to get an hour of free time.

It is a matter of perspective.  From experience I know it is much easier to go to a higher paying job than it is to a lower paying job.  I’ve done it both ways and I always liked going to the higher paying job better.  What I learned from experience is to recognize that anything more than the necessities is simply ‘more’.  There is nothing wrong with more, as long as we don’t begin to think it is required.  We allow ourselves to think of our wants as needs.  That trap leads to financial problems for the rich and poor alike.  If I mistake a want for a need I am tempted to use credit to get the thing I want.  That credit induced debt then uses resources I should have for more important things and I start into a credit-debt cycle that is ruinous.  That trap is easy to get into and incredibly hard to get out of.  Living within our means is critical.  We of more modest means must prepare more slowly.  If you are blessed with wealth, use it wisely.  In any case, prepare for SHTF events.  Showing off wealth is a waste and just makes one a target.  Moderation is the key for survival preparation as well as in living.  Never let money make you think you don’t need to prepare.  Just as importantly, don’t let a lack of funds make you think that you can not prepare.  Neither is true and either can get you killed.

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Alas, Babylon

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

bob January 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Money is a tool to get me to the place in life where I will feel most secure. That place will be a small homestead outside of a smaller town at least 100 miles away from any major city. I will be able to be self sufficent in that I will provide for most all I need with what I have and can make on my own land,. I will have a few small businesses on the side to meet any financial obligations I incur . I will have enough "money" tucked away for any emergency that comes along be that health, mechanical etc. After that my true "WEALTH" will be measured in how free I am from any of the systems of Govt etc that could cause me greif and how many friends and neighbors I have that I can depend on and will depend on me in any other events.


Robert January 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm

The best things in life aren't things!


Kiljoy616 January 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Tell that to the guy with the bullets when you run out of bullets.


Krzysztof January 10, 2013 at 1:19 am

Money is something that ties you to the system (if you have to get it, to pay for something), but on the other hand it might give you independence or self reliance (if you have enough to go by for a period of time).


CaptBart April 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

True, sir, as long as money still has value. The problem hits hardest when inflation rates hit the thousands of percent point. Then, unless your wealth is in something other than paper money, you have only the things you previously used your money to buy.


exit January 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Couldn't agree more. I'm against the whole idea of going into debt, unless of course its a house or property.


theguy January 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

To quote fight club…"The Things you own end up owning you."


bob January 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm

i trust in jesus, god, gold and silver..and thats why i hunt for all..


Kiljoy616 January 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I trust in non of those to feed and keep my family alive in a SHTF situation. Can't eat gold or silver and most people will hot give up their water for trinkets found all over the landscape of the dead.

Believing in something more than you is a fine as long as you realize its a another person squeezing the trigger that took your head off. I believe in cold hard reality in a SHTF situation. So I fall back on my Psychology, Medical Training, Antibiotics, Hunting and Military experience, as well as Barrett Rec7 and MRAD for taking care of the rest, Cross wielding or not.

Money is a tool I use for a purpose, when that tool is useless, then Food, Water, Ammo, and yes Force will dictate my currency. No real capital well then your up a creak with no paddle hope you brought the lotion because nature is a cruel mistress.


Chris January 31, 2013 at 8:18 am

Well said. In a SHTF situation knowledge, skills, food, water and resources will be the real currency.


Ranger Todd February 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Knowledge and skills are King, It weighs nothing, it often costs nothing but a little time, and a thief can't steal it, but you can sell it or share it. If you have to run for your life you don't have to leave it behind. When tshtf thats your best wealth.


KansasScout January 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Sadly today's wealth is actually mostly stored in digital media thus the wealth is mostly zeroes and ones. So in a complete collapse the ones with truly valuable commodities such as spare food or spare ammunition. The gold and silver won't have a real value until an economy is reestablished. In the mean time the gold and silver if taken in could be molded into bullets for muzzle loading firearms or non-semiautomatic repeaters. Cash until a more modern market economy is reestablished will make good TP if a bit rough.


AnD January 13, 2013 at 3:48 am

Great post! I have two comments, though:

- People adjust to improved financial conditions with the greatest of ease – then the new living style becomes the standard. Reverting to old living style is much harder. Often they get into debt to maintain their increased standard of living.

- Money can convert many, although not all, problems to expenses.



T.R. January 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Who is to say that all those well armed , well trained folks they depend on to protect them , wont decide to just take what they have and kill them , because they are in a position to do so as they will no longer need their masters/employers anymore . Happens all the time in a crisis …….your guards turn on you and take what they want .


Kiljoy616 January 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Psychology of groups do. Plenty of research and documentation showing people don't turn on their employers in bad times actually they tend to look for directions from them even more.

Monkey brain does not change. Weeding out the troublemakers should be something anyone with true wealth should do at every turn. No different from your own family and friends. The ideal that in a SHTF situation your biggest assess are your friends or family shows the lack of understanding of human dynamics.


CaptBart January 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Yep, the 'ride for the brand' or feudal loyalty or tribal cohesion; what ever you call it, it is a truth that members of a group stick together even past what makes sense from a personal survival point of view.

A good point and making sure of the group's loyalty before it is required is a prudent move. Those who depend on loyalty and don't ensure it do so at their peril.


Stealth Spaniel January 31, 2013 at 11:18 am

Bravo Captain Bart! An excellent post all around. Haven't all of us played the rich man/poor man game in one way or another? Where everyone gets lost, is wants versus needs; bigger and better versus paid for and comfortable; or accumulating stuff versus storing wisely. I have an elderly neighbor that complains how poor she is all of the time. She even had to declare bankruptcy (but kept her house). Yet, she has 10 cats, 3 dogs, 10-20 house bunnies (depending), and a house packed with stuff. I suggested a garage sale. She has an old Westmore enamel stove that is a lovely behemoth -8 burners, built in grill, 3 ovens, etc. I had a stove restorer offer her $12,000 for it-knowing that he could flip that stove for $25,000 in nothing flat. You know the answer: "Oh no! I can't sell it! My children (39 to 58) may want it some day!" So, it continues to take up a space in her garage, and her married children have no need of this stove. People are incredibly stupid. And you cannot fix stupid. As for me, I have found that I store what I need, enjoy what I have, and I am done with the hamster wheel. I have downsized from 2800 sft and have found I enjoy 1400 sft just as much-especially the cheaper utility bills. I would rather have my weekend to walk trails or have some fun instead of working my 9th weekend for the overtime $$$.


jshicke January 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm

If you should find yourself in a situation where you simply cannot be happy because you have too much money, I am here for you. Send me a check, cash, gold bars or coins. Nothing is to inconvenient, no amount too much. I am here for YOU, because I care.


Joad_Bowie May 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

Wait… are you a prince in Nigeria?


bob February 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

im often reminded of the television show gilligans island, and the millionaire had all that money , but it did him no good at all on the island. no one cared how much he had . in a real life situation, money wouldnt matter to most folks, beans, bullets, and safe drinking water , shelter and warmth will be the deciding factors. you see, zombies dont care how rich you are….


California Bob February 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Money is the report card of life.


prepperscanyon February 27, 2013 at 6:35 am

Lets face it…in the end there is no difference between the rich man and poor man other then their personal preparations. How long will the rich man have armed guards if and when things get bad and they have no reason to stay anymore. The motivation for any armed guards staying at this point and time is as has been stated in the article "MONEY". If it all goes away then there is of course no reason to guard someone who cannot benefit you.

If I had the money that a billionaire had I am sure I would have many things I want and probably didn't need, but then many of us would. However, my mindset since I joined the military in the 80's was one of being prepared for whatever might happen.

This goes without saying that there are rich people who prepare well and poor people who are oblivious, but that is just human nature.


The Strongest Karate March 15, 2013 at 6:42 am

This is a damn fine article and your concept of money and wealth rings true with my own experience as well.

I've always seen money as a lever over time. I can buy a house with cash that I have saved over 30 years by living like a pauper. Or I can get a mortgage and own some property right now.

You said it right – when it comes to money, it is important to OWN it and not let it OWN you.



Smitty March 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

The best form of wealth you can attain is by leading a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of the world condition, if you don't have your health, it doesn't matter how much money you have. Quit smoking and work out regularly. If the SHTF you are going to need a healthy body!


CaptBart April 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

no disagreement, sir, but remember, perfect health means dying as slowly as possible. As I have aged, my health has deteriorated. There will come a time, when survival is no longer possible. That is not a pleasant thought but it is reality. You can delay that reality by prudent prepping of body and gear but you can not permanently postpone it.


blind_redneck March 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

My wife and I live off of two disability checks, but because of our health, our three girls, and the fact that we will servive when teotwawki happens, we are some of the riches familys in the world. Money is very helpful, but be careful it can truck your life up.


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Guest September 29, 2013 at 5:53 am

Thank you, financial guru! You're the real expert here!

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Aston December 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Then there are people of modest means who are totally consumed with money; acquiring it and being seen to have it. A great many people see money as power. Actually, money is time. I can trade an hour of my life for a $20 bill but I can also trade a $20 bill to get an hour of free time.


Roger February 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

The fact that there are such vast differences in wealth/poverty in this world is one of the major causes of strife. Every since man became 'civilized' some have considered themselves better because they had more possessions; (they usually 'took' them) but we all are born the same and we all push up daises in the end! If we could built a society (loners die alone) based not on wealth but on common factors; such as we must all eat, but not all eat lobster! We all need shelter but not mansions! Our greed as a species is changing (not destroying) the world we all live on to our detriment and perhaps extinction! If we are the only "intelligent" life in the Cosmos, then we must begin to act like it or go ahead and write our wills that no one may survive to read. Life on Earth will probably continue without humans just fine! 10,000-10K for the future of man! Good Luck!


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