Many preparedness books (mine included) are full of lists that tell you what supplies you need to survive a coming zombie apocalypse, an epic climate change flash freeze, or a plain old everyday power outage. It’s rare that you find a book that allows you to use things you’d normally throw away for survival purposes.
However, Prepper’s Survival Hacks by Jim Cobb is that rare exception to the preparedness book rule. You won’t find lists of extensive supplies or pricey gear. Loaded with 50 do-it-yourself projects, this book has lists that read more like the contents of your trash can.
Review of Prepper’s Survival Hacks
Broken up into practical categories, the book contains projects relating to the following topics:
The thing I like best about the book isn’t just the projects, though. It’s the whole MacGuyver-style mindset. Jim makes it seem easy to create what you need from what you have. (I’m not the world’s handiest person, but I found the instructions super-easy to follow.)
We did one of the projects
A review of Prepper’s Survival Hacks wouldn’t be complete without trying out one of the projects, so in the spirit of really testing out the book, we made the “Buddy Burner”.
Using a clean, empty cat food can, some old cardboard, some broken chunks of candle, and a couple of bricks that I grabbed from the garden, I made a nifty little stove. If I was doing more than testing how fast it could bring water to a boil, I would have used cookware that is designed to be used over an open fire, but for this quick test, I used my copper-bottomed stainless steel.
Did it work? Well, I timed it, and the Buddy Burner brought water to a boil on my counter in just over 3 minutes. To be exact:
If you wanted more of a simmer than a boil, you could elevate your pan on another layer of bricks. Pretty awesome, and all made from stuff that folks would normally throw away.
At less than $12, this small book would be an ideal reference to add you your bug-out bag. But more importantly, particularly for those who are new to the survival mindset, use it before disaster strikes and begin to train yourself to think outside the supply list.
I strongly encourage you to order Prepper’s Survival Hacks from Amazon. Jim is a very prolific author, but out of all of his very excellent books, this is my favorite, because it encourages the reader to get his or her hands dirty. With supervision, the projects in it are also great for kids. Not only will it teach them valuable survival skills, but it will help them to develop creative problem-solving skills. (We enjoy adding this kind of stuff to our homeschool curriculum.)
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt arrived at his desk to sign the Social Security Act into law.
It had been a contentious legislative process, something like the Obamacare of its day.
Fiscally conservative politicians derided the program for its obvious long-term costs, the massive bureaucracy that it would create, and the huge tax increase that it represented on workers.
But Roosevelt was able to find support, and the law was passed.
And just before signing it, he proudly proclaimed that the law would go down in history “as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy.”
Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Quite the opposite, actually.
Just like most western governments, the US government has gone deeply into debt to fund its social insurance programs.
Officially, the US government is now $18.5 trillion in debt, and Social Security is the biggest financial sinkhole in America.
Social Security’s various trust funds currently hold about $2.7 trillion in total assets; yet the government itself estimates the program’s liabilities to exceed $40 trillion.
And Social Security’s second biggest trust fund, the Disability Insurance fund, will be fully depleted in a matter of weeks.
The trustees who manage these massive funds on behalf of the current and future retirees of America are clearly concerned.
In the 2015 report of the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees they state very plainly:
“Social Security as a whole as well as Medicare cannot sustain projected long-run program costs…”, and that the government should be “giving the public adequate time to prepare.”
Now, we always hear politicians say that ‘Social Security is going to be just fine’. So this Board of Trustees must be a bunch of wackos. Who are these guys anyhow?
The Treasury Secretary of the United States of America, as it turns out. Along with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of Labor. Etc.
These are the folks who sign their name to the report saying that Social Security is going bust, and that Congress needs to give people time to prepare.
And prepare they should.
The US Government Accountability Office recently released a report showing that tens of millions of Americans haven’t saved a penny for retirement; and roughly half of Baby Boomers have zero retirement savings.
This means that there’s an overwhelming number of Americans pinning all of their retirement hopes on Social Security.
Bad idea. In a recently proposed resolution, H. Res 488, Congress states point blank that Social Security “was never intended by Congress to be the sole source of retirement income for families.”
Apparently they got the message from the Social Security Trustees and they want to start preparing people for the inevitable truth.
This is no longer some wild conspiracy theory.
The Treasury Secretary is saying it. Congress is saying it. The numbers are screaming it: Social Security is going to fail.
Ultimately this is a just another chapter in the same story– that government cannot be relied on to provide or produce, only to squander and fail.
Sure, their intentions may be noble. But this level of serial incompetence can no longer be trusted, nor should we be foolish enough to believe that some new candidate can fix it.
If you’re in your fifties and beyond, you’re probably going to be OK and at least get 10-15 years of benefits.
If you’re in your 40s and below, you have to be 100% prepared to fend for yourself.
Fortunately you have time to recover. Time to build. And time to learn.
Financial literacy is absolutely critical here, which includes the ability to both generate income and manage money, two things that aren’t taught in the government controlled education system.
You might also consider some lifestyle adjustments, which may include moving abroad where your money can go much, much further.
Ultimately, learning to rely on yourself is no easy task, but it is an incredible opportunity to become more free.
And in doing so, one day you will no longer panic about the decisions being made by incompetent bureaucrats, because you will be the one in control of your own fate.