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.
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) billionaires 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.