Saturday, December 20, 2008

The News Is Bad All Over, So What Now?

First off, I want to say how much I appreciate your comments on my blog. At least there are a few people in this world who recognize the way things REALLY are. And because they do, they're doing what they can to prepare for the coming harder times, times worse than they are today.

I suspect most of you have tried to talk to others about what's coming and how to prepare. You all know the drill: pay down debt, stock a pantry, grow a garden, make repairs around your home, stop buying useless crap, learn some new skills, and move your money (if you have any) out of the ponzi scheme called stocks, bonds, hedge funds, etc.

Well, you know me, I can't keep my mouth shut for long. So once again, I've dared to reach out to family and friends via my annual emailed Christmas/New Year letter. Instead of the usual blather about how wonderful the grandkids are doing and the high points of our year, I basically shared a few ideas/practices that have helped us live debt free and be less affected by the current downturn in the economy.

This list of family and friends amounts to about a dozen people, none of whom are acquaintances, though an acquaintance may be willing to consider the merits of my advice!

Most of my email went to one geographic location which - according to what I read in the local paper - has finally been affected by store closings, layoffs, etc. What many thought was a well-insulated community has now found itself in need of another sweater or two, if you get my drift. People are mad; they're confused, and they're shocked.

So little ol' prepper me thought this was an opertune time to speak up. How wrong!

Responses to my email have left me feeling like a small voice in a deep, dark forest. Couldn't I "just keep things positive" and "cheerful" and "focus on silly, funny things because I don't want to think of bad times?"

And then my children, three people who still spend like there's no consequences, all got together at one of their homes and called me. "Mom, we're wondering if you're okay. You sound so gloomy. Why don't you come home for Christmas? We know you're broke so it's okay if you don't buy anything for us." And then they asked to speak with Sweetie: "Do you think maybe she should go on an anti-depressant?"

Thank God, Sweetie just laughed into the phone. Maybe it was better that he spoke to them anyway. They don't know him well and when he speaks they tend to listen. So he says, "You mother and I are just concerned enough to try to help you the only way we can. If we had loads of money we'd still be advising each of you to stock up, stop spending and consider making some other changes."

After a few ah-ha, ah-ha's from him listening to them, he handed the phone back to me. "So you're serious about this stuff?" my oldest son asks.

By then I'd built up enough frustration to melt the snow around here. So...I calmly said, "You know what? Forget about everything I've said. I'm gonna email each of you a list of links that I hope you'll take the time to read."

Oldest son and my daughter say, "Okay."
Youngest son says, "I don't have time to do much reading."

I say, "None of you bother to pay attention to anything outside your navel but maybe, for your Blessed Christmas, which to each of you is all about GETTING, you'd consider GIVING your attention to something outside your anatomy!"

They had me on speaker phone by then by the way.

So, after a long silence, my youngest son says, "This reminds me of how serious you were when Rosie died. I guess we'd better listen up!"

I tell you, I don't know if anything positive will develop from my advice but, I just can't seem to stop trying.

EACH of them knows the economy is sliding downhill but their solutions are kinda like Bernanke and Paulson: more of the same. One has taken on a third job, one has tapped into his father's credit cards to stay afloat, and one has decided to open a second business to make up for the loss in his first business.

There are days when I absolutely dread 2009. Not because I fear we won't survive. Because I fear the ones I love won't.


Levy Goddess said...

Treesong, I feel your pain. Talking to my friends and family are the same. My husband is on disability and I told him the other day that we need to think about not having that income and he about had a fit! He started yelling that cant happen, old people will die, people that are disabled will not be able to buy food! point exactly. I told him that while I hope the worst scenario wasnt true we still needed to prepare in case it is. Im so sick of hearing people say "that cant happen, the govt will not let that happen", I want to scream, there is nothing they can do about it people!!! I just keep pressing on, but you can sure bet on one thing, when it gets real rough, they will be there for a hand out.

Ken said...

...i feel ya Treesong,it's heartbreaking when yer kids look at ya like a freak(my oldest is 17,one soon to be 15,youngest is 7)...when all yer trying to do is look after them...

Mayberry said...

Ah yes, sheeple do not like to have their shiny, happy bubble burst, and they get most upset when folks try..... It's the whole "you can lead a horse to water" thing. Brainwashing is VERY hard to undo.... Hang in there.

HermitJim said...

I can so relate to this situation. Everyone in my family thinks I'm crazy, but my nephew is smart enough to see what's going on and has started to join me in our quest to get ready.

Glad to know that part of the family "gets it"...

Keep on plugging, Treesong!

Staying Alive said...

Sounds like the fears of a mother. I think I will be sorrowful after next year too. And I think my wife and I can make it just fine. We will just have to see.

Stay the course.


Mrs Mills said...

I'ts sad when saving money, getting out of debt and not spending thousands of dollars on one day is considered "crazy" or a sign of depression.

I think you're very brave to try and straighten out your kids financial thinking. I've found talking to spendthrifts about cutting back is a lot like confronting an alcoholic about his/her drinking, you get the same kind of reaction/denial.

I hope your kids come around soon. I was a spendthrift in my 20's, had huge student loans, credit cards went bad etc. The experience of having nasty people call me at all hours of the day demanding money was my wakeup call. Now my husband and I are debt free, saving towards buying a house and we did another debt free Christmas this year (yay!). There are people in our family that think we're odd/crazy/cheap, but I wouldn't trade places (or Visa bills in Jan) with them:) Merry Christmas:)

molly said...

I face tthe same with my parents and siblings, doesn't appear to register with any of them. Thankfully we are in the position for now to be able to store enough for all, although having said that I am fast running out of storage room so seeds are being put away like crazy each year!

Preparedwarrior said...

While I do not discuss my specific preparations, I frequently pose questions about the economy to my co-workers. "What would you do if our company starts a furlough? "Did you know that you could pick any major city and there is only 15 to 30 days worth of food in the pipeline? It's like talking to a brick wall. They know absolutely nothing about what is going on in the economy, housing meltdown, or that they can expect more taxes to be taken out of their pay. They are clueless. Still on the same track of tanning beds, pedicures, and Coach purses. I fear for some of these people who will be eaten alive by what is coming. Too young, no experience, no skills, and the list goes on. Heaven help them.

Patricia said...

It is very hard with family and friends. They think you're depressing, crazy, etc. I have gotten so sick and tired of all the idiots, even the ones I love, that I can't really take talking to them anymore. I tell them a bit about how we prepare, but not the specifics. I usually say something like "Well, there was that guy named Noah and his family. And then there were the nameless millions who will always BE nameless because they didn't prepare or listen. Guess you all will be nameless." Ah, that touch of bitterness in my voice.

Anyway, it is surely one of the most thankless tasks, talking to those who just don't care, or are too brainwashed with their endless TV.

It must be much harder when you are their mother.