Showing posts with label Bison Risk Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bison Risk Management. Show all posts

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Roll Up

This video is kind of scary

Hat tip to Chief Instructor for the find.

FerFal did an interesting video on big knives. It is pretty long at a bit more than a half hour but if you have the time consider checking it out. His point that large knives are far more useful for fighting is valid but pretty much a given. Really you want the closest thing to a sword you can get if a gun is not an option. Something like a Bowie/ Arkansas Toothpick/ Dirk/ Falcon/ Kukuri/ etc would be the way to go.

I wouldn't say that I agree with the whole thing. He sort of combines the roles of knives and bigger tools like machete's or hatchets. In my mind they are distinctly separate categories for distinctly different tools which may admittedly be arbitrary. A machete is pretty much an essential in the Jungle or dense warm enviornments like the Deep South or the sort of Swamps you find in LA and FL. Conversely a hatchet or small ax is probably more useful in the sort of forests found in the Northern parts of the US. For whatever it is worth my experiences in the PNW tell me that a decent medium sized knife (say 3.5-5inches) and a hatchet or small ax are a darn good combination.

Some folks seem to use a tomahawk for this role. I can't speak to that at all because I have never tried it. The bigger more functional tomohawk's like those made by Cold Steel may be a viable option. The Trail Hawk is a beefy and substantial tool.  I like that it has some heft and a hammer head (though probably better for tent pegs than framing a house). I have handled one of them but never actually used it.

However it sort of depends on what you plan to do. If you are going to clear a little bit of brush to make a campsite, cut some sticks to cook marshmellows and trim up a few small pieces of firewood a machete would work. If you plan to cut enough firewood to warm and cook for a dozen people for a week then you want a hatchet or ax. If you want to go into the woods and pull a Dick Proenneke an ax and a saw would be a decent start. Anyway enough on that topic.

That whole foot in mouth from some random Democrat recently was big fun. Recap “Guess what?” asked Rosen. “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why we worry about their future.” Patrice wrote about it here. I definitely wanted to say something but didn't really have a full post worth of content. Obviously that she never had a job has far less to do with her arguably not "dealing with economic reality" than marrying a rich guy who became a lot more rich.

Anyway I think that having a parent stay with the kids and not earn any (or any meaningful) income is sort of a luxury. If the family can't keep a roof over their heads, food in the cupboard and generally meet basic life expenses then both adults need to be doing their best to earn as much money as humanly possible until things get better. If one or both parents insist that (typically) momma stays at home while they go hungry or become homeless there are some serious issues. Having beliefs and ideals is fine but sometimes practical concerns have to trump them, at least in the short term. In fairness also on a comparable level of luxury are beer/ wine/ alcohol, tobacco, soda, coffee and tea, prepared foods, eating out, entertainment other than the library or other free stuff, cable or satelite tv, having the internet at home, eating out, toys like jet ski's/ dirtbikes/ snow mobiles/ travel trailers and if we are really being honest owning personal vehicles. As we can see pretty much all middle class and most supposedly poor people consume or own some of these "luxuries." You certainly don't need Romney money to pull off having the wife at home, coffee in the cupboard, beer in the fridge, a few toys and the internet.

As Patrice noted often if you really look at the income vs necesssary costs (reliable second vehicle, fuel/ insurance/ maintenance for said vehicle, child care, professional clothing, more eating out/ prepared food, the list could go on) women who work often take home a lot less than you would really think. This is especially true with low skill women who will need to pay for childcare. In many cases the income difference if expenses are subtracted is just a few hundred dollars.

Obviously if the potential single wage earner works part time for minimum wage this is probably not viable unless you want to go full on so far out of the box that you can't see it anymore James Dakin, Off The Grid: Life on the Mesa style. However assuming the potential single income is some sort of adult job that is close to full time money isn't the biggest obstacle. I hesitate to say a specific dollar amount because cost of living varies by region. For example 40k is doing pretty decent in Idaho or Alabama but definitely is not in LA or NYC. That being said when people talk about how "they can't afford to have a parent stay home" what they really mean is that they are unwilling to give up some stuff to make it happen and or have a pretty high debt load. I wrote more about this here.

Anyway that is about all the stuff I can think of right now and I am about bored of writing.

Hope you had a good weekend,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Caching Assets

Our friend Bison Risk Management wrote a great post about caching assets. I strongly suggest you read it and think. I also have some thoughts.

First I think it is important to consider that kind of scenario is making you want to cache assets. Mostly we are talking about physical cash or precious metals though I guess the same stuff pretty much applies to bearer bonds and bags of diamonds for the super rich. Maybe you are worried about a banking holiday or shenanigans with the dollar or other economic/ government issues. While of questionable legality maybe you want to maintain a low profile so keeping cash in the bank is out or you need to hide assets from somebody. Maybe you're just a shady guy and might need to leave town for a few weeks. While I obviously do not condone hiding money from the government, dodging court settlements, and such I will talk about them in a judgment neutral fashion.

If you are trying to hide 50 thousand dollars from your ex business partners lawyer you just need to keep it off the radar. Nobody is going to break into your house looking for it. If you are into something shady and occasionally need to take off for awhile unexpectedly then you probably want your running money stored someplace discrete. If you hear Big Lou is looking for you then going home to get into the wall safe would probably not be very smart. However it is unlikely that Big Lou knows anybody at the bank in another city 100 miles away where you keep a few thousand dollars.

Broadly speaking there is a compromise of security versus access. For example if you keep a big stack of money on the living room table it is very accessible but not very safe. Conversely anyone with modest handyman skills can hide compact items in such a manner that you would have to destroy the house apart to find it. That same stack of cash would be very safe but not very accessible. This theme of access versus security as well as security from different threats will drive your decision making.

Some smart people suggest that if you are going to keep cash of precious metals in your home or office you have two safes/ locations. The first is obvious and easily accessible. This is your 'diversion' safe. I also think this is a good place to keep stuff you want to access more than once in a blue moon. Your other location is well hidden maybe in a wall or floor type cache. So lets say you keep ten grand and some precious metals at home. I would keep a couple grand in the diversion safe. First to get someone to stop looking and not find the real stash. Secondly there are some times you want to get to some cash in a reasonably convenient way. Don't want to need to take a hammer to the wall to buy a gun, at a very good price, for cash on the weekend. Same deal if your neighbors house burns down and you want to give them some cash to help them out.

I think it is really important not to put all your eggs in one basket here. Of course every method of caching discussed has weak points. I would say that as a general approach using different methods to limit your overall risk is a sound idea. Your goal is to mitigate risk and preserve at least some of your wealth. If your home burns down the safety deposit box at the bank is still fine. If your home is broken into it is doubtful they will search the nearby park. Especially the nasty spot away from the trail with the prickly bushes with a metal detector.

How many baskets to have is an interesting question. The amount of assets you are looking to cache is a big factor. Common sense dictates some kind of threshold what amount of assets is worth establishing a cache.

It would be worthwhile for a rich guy trying to stash a few million dollars worth of assets to have a half dozen or more separate caches of different types. He might have a diversion safe, wall cache, safety deposit box, buried cache, safety deposit box in countries B and C, wall cache in your vacation home in country B and on his boat. He would need to balance the upper limit of size/ value he wants in any one cache with being overwhelmed by trying to set up too many caches. Really the only upper limit on the total number of caches would be the amount that you could realistically establish and keep track of. If you have far more modest means and want to cache a few ounces of junk silver and a couple hundred bucks in small bills then it probably isn't worth a second cache let alone a half dozen. For most normal folks who are somewhere in the middle three or four caches is probably a reasonable number.

As a final thought I just want to remind you that caching assets is a very personal decision. It is based upon your financial situation, what you are concerned about, your lifestyle and goals. You might want more eggs in one basket for a particular reason. However the concept of having multiple diverse baskets should probably be followed none the less. There is of course risk to all the methods we have discussed. If you can't sleep well at night with a bunch of cash in the house then don't keep a bunch of cash in the house. The goal of this is to be and feel more secure, not the opposite.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Paying Yourself First, Diversification and Such

Every once in awhile I read something that just makes my head spin. A few days ago Chief Instructor wrote one of those posts and I just got around to reading it today. I commented on it but it it has stuck in my head. I was trying to go to sleep today at about 2 pm [Kiddo is kinda all over the place in terms of sleep schedule. We're kinda sleeping when we can.] and the wheels were just spinning. I should probably mention that I spent all of last night watching the BBC news and reading various financial stuff online. This post is brought to you by the above two influences plus a bit of narcolepsy.

The concept of paying yourself first came to mind. Basically the concept goes like this. Before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to save. Put the money into your 401(k), your Roth IRA, or your savings account. The first bill you pay each month should be to yourself.   It is just so easy to say that you will save later when you make a bit more money or just vaguely in the future. Especially when we talk about far off concepts like retirement it is easy to say you will start saving next year.

I don't think it is entirely accurate to say that even practitioners of this idea truly pay themselves first. The reason I say that is when push comes to shove few people will make their 401k/ Roth IRA/etc contributions before say paying the electric bill and buying groceries. It would probably be more accurate to say that after you pay basic operating costs (housing, energy, food, fuel, etc) you make that contribution before the discretionary stuff. In any case the key is that you are putting a regular amount into whatever investment vehicles you choose on a regular fixed basis.

I was thinking that it might be prudent to use the same sort of spirit when it comes to preparedness. So often people really want to do great things but money or a lack thereof holds them back. Putting a regular fixed amount into whatever kind of preparedness goals you have on a regular set basis can go a long way towards solving that problem. It won't be a cure all but it will probably help. Maybe it is food storage or gear or water filtration or who knows what but this should allow you to meet reasonable goals over time.

I was listening to this video by these financial management people (they didn't mention till halfway through the presentation that they only talk to people with TONS of money, grrrr) and they did a lot of talking about asset classes. Stuff like specific types of stocks, bonds and the like. The smart people will say that to meet certain goals you will want certain amounts of different stuff.

For awhile I have applied the same kind of thinking to preparedness but without such an articulate explanation. Stuff like food storage, medical, firearms, ammo, alternative energy, spare clothing, gear, etc. I don't know exactly what the right percentages are but it is smart to balance between these different classes. A bunch of one doesn't make up for not having any of another.

The topic of precious metals is interesting these days. I think it depends so much on where you are at and what you want the money to do. Precious metals are a good non dollar denominated liquid asset. However they do not earn interest or benefit from compound growth. I have some real reservations about going big into PM's all at once (versus dollar cost averaging) especially when the market is high. The time when one might reasonable want to shift their liquid assets to 30% metals by buying a some silver and a couple rolls of one ounce rounds is probably a year or two past. Some folks say gold and silver will go way higher. I don't know if we are at the absolute top but I do know it is bad to be the last one to buy into a commodity upswing. Personally I'm buying silver right now and won't purchase any more gold until it corrects significantly.

I suppose that just like anything else you're open to make your own decisions. If you are absolutely positive that anything in stocks or dollar denominated will go into the can then betting heavy on precious metals makes sense. I do think however that hedging your bets is a sound idea. Some classes of assets like stocks tend to run hot while bonds run cold and visa versa. Sort of like dollars and euro's or dollars and gold.

One trend I see in survivalists is to just go all in. Folks get an idea that this or the other thing might happen then bet everything on it. I don't really understand this. To me a huge part of survivalism is managing risk. I want to be able to do OK if the economy tanks and also do OK if it does well. Managing your risk by having plans to succeed if our economy goes up, down or sideways just makes good sense.

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