“I believe we live in a great country – a country great enough to help a man when he’s in trouble.” – Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man
Last week I posted on how to invest in volatile times and the markets this week have people even more nervous as the market has lost more than 10% in the past month. With this people are thinking we might be headed for a double dip recession or even worse the “greater depression”. With how things have played out over the past year and a half I can’t help but think of the movie – Cinderella Man. The guy was once a prized fighter and had everything. A nice house. Healthy kids. Nice car and clothes. Most importantly food on the table for his wife and kids. Here is a small clip from the movie to give you a point of reference if you haven’t seen the movie.
In the roaring 20’s people went from living with plenty to breadlines and unemployment of 25% in just a few years. In 2010 I can’t help but wonder if we are going to go through a greater depression. Like many in the 1920’s, people didn’t see the great depression coming and if they had you know they would have been prepared. Here are a few tips on how to prepare if we go through another Great Depression.
- Unemployment – in 1928 people thought that there would always be a steady stream of income and employment. Not many people thought our country could see 15 million people unemployed a few years later. Tip: Create a cushion of at least 3 months cash in a money market account – minimum. If you live in an area that has only one or two major employers then save at least 6 months cash because a recession or depression will hit these areas harder.
- Food shortages – today many people have only enough food for surviving a week. Who would have thought that there would be bread lines and that we’d go through a “dust bowl” in the 1930’s. Hardly any of us have ever seen a food shortage and it’s been forever since we’ve gone through a major drought. Tip: Buy in bulk and large quantities when products are on sale. Store food in hand made storage closets and freeze products that can last one month to twelve months. This will help you save money and not be forced to buy food when it’s at a price peak.
- Skill sets – during the depression people were searching for any kind of work to put food on the table for their wife and kids. Often times they’d be forced to do jobs they had never done before and many people would be forced out if they couldn’t do the job. Tip: Learn new skills and diversify your knowledge. Find skills that are needed in times of plenty and in desperate times. This could include basic skills like lawn care, carpentry, masonry, painting, trucking, digging, or hard physical labor. (As simple the last suggestion is many people today have desk jobs and haven’t ever done physical labor. Be prepared.)
- Spouse – my grandparents who have 69 years of marriage under their belts are the greatest example to me of always sticking behind your spouse. I’m sure by going through the depression together that it only made them stick together more and rely on each other. Tip: Stick behind your spouse in the good times and bad. Working as a team will make survival easier if you’re working together. What husband doesn’t want to hear their spouse say, “I’m always behind you.” – Renee Zellweger in Cinderella Man
We sure do live in a great country where we have lots of opportunities and blessing and so much to be thankful for. Hope these tips help remember the past so we don’t repeat it in the future.