By Ray Gano
Hmmm, I am ready for earthquakes, tornadoes and floods. I even have NBC gear, KI Pills and my trusty radiation meter just in case of a nuke.
What can hit me now that I am not ready for?
Can you say Pink Slip?
I have been writing now about preparedness and stewardship for close to 6 years now and this is the weak link I see in most people’s preparedness plans. They have not prepared for being fired, laid-off, or unemployed for long periods of time.
Except for suffering serious illness like cancer, that and unemployment for a long period of time seems to be never thought about.
Even most folks who are preparedness minded say “it can’t happen to me.”
See many folks out there have been watching way too many “Mad Max” or “I am Legend” movies and think that when “the schumar hits the fan” the world will melt down and turn into” apocalypse now.”
Folks, history as well as what is going on currently in the world show it in a completely different picture.
Just look at the war in Iraq. People are going about their day to day business, kids going to school ect. But there is also high unemployment, high crime, terrorism, sickness, and in spite of all of this, life goes on.
The key question that you need to ask is what level of quality of life will you have if you get the pink slip?
Can earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and even nukes happen? Sure, they can, but the odds of them effecting you are actually pretty slim. But the odds of you getting a pink slip are very good. In fact, in today’s economy, the odds are against you.
Person 1 or Person 2 – Which One Are You?
There are two types of employee. Ask yourself, which one of these people are you?
One has a good idea of what they do, who they are and what position they play in the company. They are alert to their environment, their position, their subordinates and supervisors. When they see the beginnings of the ship starting to go down, they are under no delusions, and will no doubt have already had other irons in the fire; jumping ship for another job long before they are ever considered for the pink slip.
And then there’s the other kind people out there. You know who I am talking about. What about that person who lives to text, chatting on the phone to friends all the while surfing the web doing online shopping?
Or what about this scenario, you got Joe down in sales who is completely oblivious that the recent merger means his job is now obsolete.
How about the person who thinks they are the only one who can perform their job, therefore making them irreplaceable?
Is this you?
All these folks have what I call Ostrich Syndrome. They couldn’t see a pink slip coming if it was as big as the broad side of a barn screaming “you’re fired!”
Here is a little hint, you want to avoid being in that 2nd category at all costs.
To really be prepared, you have to keep an eye on the horizon. In the military there was an old saying that I still use today. “Stay Alert – Stay Alive”
One of the first things you can do is to is pay attention to your environment and watch for tell tale signs of a possible job loss.
Here are some things you need to personally look out for…
- Are you no longer in the loop about, well, anything?
- Did you recently screw up big-time?
- Are people avoiding you at all costs?
- Did your last performance review read like a train wreck?
- Has your company recently been sold or merged?
- Are you being given impossible jobs with no chance of success?
- Do you now have less responsibility than the intern?
- Has your office, cubicle or working space recently been down-sized?
- Do people whisper more, or does the conversation change as you approach?
- Did your recently receive a pay freeze or, worse still, a pay cut?
- Have you seen a job posting for your company that matches your job description?
- Does everyone hate you? I mean really dislike you with a passion?
And sometimes there is no warning at all!
Folks, if you can answer “YES” to three or more, you may want to drag out the resume and start bookmarking those job websites like Monster.com or Dice.com. Why, because the odds are that you are on the way out.
Something that you need to realize is that this has happened to the best of us and there are times that the odds are just against you, things happen that you have no control over. It is what you do about it that matters.
Or better yet, what contingency plans did you have in place knowing that sooner or later this would happen to you.
What you need to do is take control over those things that benefit you and your family now before you see that pink slip. Thing is that if you have said yes to at least three of those things above, you don’t have much time and should have been prepping for this when times were “good.”
What you need to do now is address the coming problems that will be coming no matter what.
Problem #1 – Food & Water
If you are reading this, then you are probably a “prepper” like me.
With that said, the odds are good that you have already started your food storage.
Folks, this is called “insurance.”
We have car insurance, home insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, but it amazes me how many people have all these different insurances, and yet refuse to insure that their family can eat three square meals a day if the store shelves went empty after three days.
If you lose your job and you have no more money, what will you eat?
When money is short, 6-12 months’ worth of food is a wise idea. Is it too much to insure that your family has enough to eat?
It is hard, especially for a man to get fired or laid off. The stress is up there, add to that the problem of not having enough food for your family and having the problem of finding another job and the stress levels have reached stratospheric levels.
On the flip side of that, if you have 6 – 12 months of food stores laid up, that means you have at least that amount of “breathing room” time and that is less money going out that you can retain in your pocket.
Think that you could sleep a little easier at night knowing that you have this sort of “insurance / safety net” already in place? Would having the knowledge that your family will not go hungry help in lowering that stress level instead of it going through the roof?
The answer is clearly “YES.”
Using the rule of 80-20-10-2, I can bet that 80% of you reading this do not even have a single months’ worth of food stored up.
20% have at least a month to three months…
10% have 6 months …
and 2% have 12 months’ worth of food stored up.
Let me spell this out for you.
For 80 % of you, the dreaded PINK SLIP equals NO MONEY which equals NO FOOD, which means you and your family will be standing in the soup kitchen lines, begging for food or eating out of a dumpster in less than a week.
This is not the movies, Mad Max or make believe. In today’s world, this is reality and with the economy going south in the good ol’ US of A, odds are very good that things are going to get worse and take you right along with it for the ride.
Solution… start today in creating that food insurance plan. You don’t have to go out right now and buy 6 months. Start out small with getting the basics.
- Buy 5-6 boxes of oatmeal and 5-6 boxes of Cream of Wheat – there… 30 days of breakfast
- 6 – 7 cases of assorted Rami-noodles – there, 30 days of lunch
- 20 boxes of Mac & Cheese
- 10 lbs of pasta
- 10-20 cans of spaghetti sauce
- 2-3 spiral sliced Hams
- 2-3 cooked Turkeys
- Couple cases each of canned green beans, corn, peas
- Get 20-30 boxes each of instant pudding and instant jello
- 10 cans of Instant drink mix in different flavors
- 10-20 boxes of instant milk
This is just an example, but you see what I mean. Here is a rough menu that you could feed a family of four on for almost 30 days.
Now is it the greatest meal plan and menu? No, it isn’t, but it is a start and the total cost is about $200 – $300.00. The Ham, Turkey and Instant Milk will be the costliest. If you replaced that with other alternatives, you could probably get away with 30 days of food for around $100 – $150.00. If you used coupons and shopped the sales, you would save even more.
Now if you cannot purchase this all right now, then purchase a little every week. Plan it out and then work your plan.
Next, clean out that closet that every home has and that no one really uses except to store junk in. Add some shelving to it and that will be your food storage pantry. Once you have place to store your food, and you keep adding to it every time you go to the grocery store, you will be amazed how fast you can then fill it up.
The key is taking concerted steps forward and buying at least one item for your food storage every time you go to the grocery store.
Problem #2 – No Place To Live
This is already happening at an alarming rate. In Southern California, tent cities are popping up all over the place. Why? Loss of income / unemployment.
Because of very unwise lending practices coupled with personal greed and the need to keep up with the Jones’s; people got in over their heads with huge mortgages that they could not afford.
Do you realize that most Americans today are one flat tire away from bankruptcy?
People have stretched their financial budget so thin that just about any unexpected event will cause a major cascade of financial loss. In other words, people are simply losing their homes because they can’t keep up with the payments. This is happening right here right now…today.
Local authorities say the number of families seeking help has risen in Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Washington.
USA TODAY found:
In New York City, 2,747 families applied for shelter in September 2008, up from 2,087 in September 2007.
In Hennepin County, including Minneapolis, 880 families were in shelters from January through August 2008, up from 698 in that period last year. At least 10% this year came from foreclosed properties where most had been renters, says Cathy ten Broeke, county coordinator to end homelessness.
Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor of social policy, expects foreclosures to cause a “big increase” in homeless families.
Mangano says a new federal law gives communities $3.9 billion to buy foreclosed properties or provide services to the homeless.
What is happening today? We are beginning to see multi-family homes come together. In other words kids and their families are moving back in with “Mom & Dad.” And that is normal, family needs to help and work together. Times are getting tough and it is a strong family unit that will survive. Everyone brings their assets together for the good of the family. It is what our great grand parents did during the depression, we can do it also.
Now the real problems happen when you don’t have that family safety net and the need for some sort of shelter becomes more primal.
A tent isn’t much of a home, but it is better than nothing for a couple days or even a couple of weeks. It is wise for every family to have several tents for “just in case.” If you have a camper or motor home, then you are living in luxury.
Here in the Texas Hill country we have what we refer to as “snow birds.” These are retired folk who come down from the north during the winter and leave back home in the spring. We see trailers, campers and RVs of all sorts and sizes.
So in a survival situation a family can get by for several weeks and even longer periods of time in an RV, trailer or camper. Living in one of these also are a lot more safer and solid than that of a tent. Living in one of these will also boost your moral verses having to crawl in and out of a small camping tent.
Bottom line is when you have no job, you have no funds; no funds mean no roof over your head. Go out and at least get a 7-man multi-room dome tent. Spend the money now for something with lots of room, compact and easy to set up. During the spring you will see camping gear start to go on sale, that is a great time to purchase a good dome tent for around $150 plus.
Becoming homeless is a real issue and it can happen to you if you got the pink slip. Is a $150.00 tent too much to spend for this type of “insurance” for you and your family?
Don’t believe it can happen to you?
Look at all the people who lost their homes due to foreclosures and living in tent cities all over the US.
Problem #3 – No Jobs To Be Found
The job just doesn’t appear. You pour over the daily newspaper, search all your on-line job websites, but there’s just no job to be found.
In the corporate world when there are more workers than there are jobs, it goes in the favor of the company. In fact during hard times it works greatly in favor for the company.
They can pay you want they want, not what you are worth
They can make higher demands upon you for less
They can cut back on benefits or have no benefits what so ever
And the list goes on …
Basically they can turn you into a company slave and if you need the money, there is nothing that you can do about it either because there is a line a mile long of people who will be more than happy to do what you are doing and agree to do more of it for less.
So what do you do?
If you are one of those people who are proactive and alert to your environment, the best thing to do is create a home-based business now.
Like food storage and having that “just in case” roof over your head, these are things that you do not need “right now” but need to put in place for “insurance” sake.
If you have not figured it out by now, self-sustainability is what you need to work towards. You need to build a means of cash flow coming into your home right now.
What is the old saying? The best time to look for a job is when you have a job. Well, the best time to create a home-based business is when you have a job already that can “subsidize” you while you are building this secondary form of cash flow.
This in and of itself is a whole article, which I will write at a later time because it is needed. But the key point of having a successful home-based business is that you have got to truly love what it is you are doing.
For example, my primary source of income is writing about Bible Prophecy and World Events. I have a website that I started back in 1991 called Prophezine. I send out a 30-40 page newsletter, daily news and commentary, produce a weekly podcast and even produce videos I post on You Tube, I do all of this for a subscription of only $20.00 a month. Now I have only about 120 monthly subscribers and it is slowly growing.
In doing the math, you can see that I bring in about $1200.00 a month from subscriptions.
Does this cover our family expenses? No, it does not, so I create more streams of cash flow.
For example, I try to produce a book, audio CD or video DVD once a month and then sell it to my website members and visitors.
Now, I love what I do and it is what God has called me to do, that is what is commonly referred to as a “watchman on the wall.”
Because I love what I do, it is that love that pushes me to get up every day, commute to the computer, answer hundreds of emails, search the news, research the bible, pray for people, update my website, mail out products, write articles, blog, produce podcasts, produce you tube videos, ect, ect, ect.
On average, I spend from 7:00 AM to about 9:00PM working at my home-based business. That is 6 days and almost 7 days a week.
Now, here is where the rubber meets the road.
As I stated I earn about $1200 in monthly subscriptions and about another $300.00 in product sales. That is about $1500.00 a month.
Let’s just average and say I work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. That is 27 days in a month, 12 hours a day. That comes to be about $55.00 a day or roughly $4.62 an hour.
This is why you have got to love what you do with great passion, because otherwise, you will not work yourself hard for $4.62 an hour. But it is the passion that you have that will get you through the hard times and it is your passion that will help you grow your home-based cash flow.
Add more forms of cash flow into your home and you can see that you can create a home-based business that you can live off of.
Another thing that you can do is get the whole family involved and create a family run home based business. Invest in your kids and help them create a home-based business.
For example my son enjoys the outdoors and is considering going into business with our other son and do a pool cleaning business. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
The Catch – Lowering Your Expenses… A LOT!
I need to caveat all of this by saying that one of the primary things that you need to do is also cut way back on your family expenses. You need to go through your budget and really ask yourself do you really need 250 cable channels or will 150 do just as well for half the price. Or better yet, do you need cable at all?
Do you need a land line phone as well as cell phones? Can you get rid of one over the other? Can you sell that car you still are making payments on and go out and get a “cash car” for a couple thousand dollars that you then own outright?
These are just some of the things and there are even more that you need to start doing now while you have a job that can “subsidize” your home-based business.
You need to also realize that it takes years to grow a solid cash flow home based business. That is why you need to start now instead of being behind the “8-ball” and trying to start one when you are out of work.
Finally, you need to have patients and allow your efforts to compound.
Often, I tell people I advise that you cannot go out into the yard this week and plant tomatoes and expect next week to go out and harvest tomatoes.
It takes time and patients. You have got to nurture your cash flow and allow it to grow. You will have set backs, obstacles and even lose money. But it is the love of what you do that will help you push through a lot of this and keep going on growing your home-based cash flow.
In summary, if you have been prudent and you have created these multiple “insurance” plans such as food storage, a “just in case” roof over your head, and home-based cash flow. You are well prepared for that one emergency that about 95% of the population says “can’t happen to them.”
When you boil all this down, it is just practical and biblical stewardship put into action.
Do the right thing, hold a family meeting and put goals in place and then start taking baby steps to achieve those goals. It is amazing how far you can go when just taking baby steps forward and not look back.
Please start today.