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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What is the best way to store "wealth" that has the greatest shelf life and value under the widest range of US catastrophes? I'm not talking about normal-day "wealth", I'm talking prepper "wealth" Keep in mind the need to travel with your "wealth" vehicle at least, on body as last resort.

Let me clarify. This is about "wealth" for trade, barter or purchase, not personal use. In today's world, "wealth" is stored in investments, cash, and other material goods that are useless when SHTF. What "wealth" is still of value when it's not today...but tomorrow.

1) Cash? (Would that be worthless in an economic collapse.)
2) Precious metals? (What the heck does that do for anyone. Understanding it's "value" is not so easy or universal.)
3) Food? (Rotation sucks...takes up a lot of space. What particular food item would be a good choice?)
4) Ammo? (Good shelf life...but will it be of universal interest for trade? Weighs a lot.)
5) Drugs? (prescription and/or recreational.)
6) Alcohol?
7) Fuel?
8) Firearms?
9) Land? (will it matter after SHTF if you actually have the land title...probably not)
10) Tobacco? (probably only good for prisoners)

Intangible wealth?
1) Having lots of friends or folks that owe you a favor?
2) Survival knowledge?
3) Medical knowledge? (everyone wants a doctor/nurse on their side)

These are just some thoughts that come to my mind. I realize there may not be "one" best way, and a variety is important...none-the-less... What are your opinions/ideas? What would be your top 3 ways for storing "wealth".

PS. Happy New Year!

21,643 Posts
If your traveling you in trouble from the start you are a target. Barter is overrated, most likely any effort to barter will end up in a shoot out.
Ammo sores very well if kept dry and away from oil I have stuff that was boxed in the 1950's still prefect
Food just depends can good need to be dry others a root cellar
Land fire arms and everything you have must be secured or your just holding for the ones that will take it. We have our spot and are holding it now.
We have copied volumes to CD and hard drives and will have a few good laptops in storage and power to run them when we need information.
Our groups has a few with Combat life saver training at high levels and some EMT back round
And a good old school blacksmith with tools.
Our view is security is number one with out it and the numbers to support it the rest in gone anyway.
Because we are staying here food is stored all ready we also have the knowledge and resources to begin growing our own first spring if it hits in winter.
We looked for a long time at all the option ,it became clear for us that staying on land we hold away from the city was the best option and the most secure. Once we made that call we focus our efforts on making it work.

634 Posts
I think true wealth is knowing that you have done everything in your power to prepare with the knowledge and necessities to take care of your family when it comes to times of distress, no matter is some kind of disaster or every day living. Also sharing that information with your family and knowing that you are teaching them the tools and values to lead a good and honest life.

Having a strong family value and knowing that you can count on each other is worth more than anything that one could own.

243 Posts
Very thought provoking question, 5runner, and welcome to the forum… If/when in a SHTF situation, my thoughts are your true wealth will be in your group, and its ability to acquire and furnish “stuff”. Wealth today is not mobile. Wealth as a rule is not mobile. It is measured in “stuff”… Homes, paintings, gold, silver, cars, etc… Sure, you have your gold card, and you can get more “stuff”, but you bring that “home” and put it in your pile with your other “stuff”…
Even if you have an M35 to haul your prepping “stuff” around, IF YOU ARE ON THE MOVE, it will be noisy, alerting folks to your arrival, subject to theft or confiscation by others. Best bet, IMHO, is going to be a defendable “home”, or BOL, and a good group, like Smitty has with the ability to “acquire”, … be it from abandoned sites, roaming groups/individuals, other stationary groups… and get it back to “home”. Your guns and ammo aren’t wealth, just like today, they are tools. (Although all tools are worth SOMETHING.) There will always be someone that can take your tools and other “stuff” away from you. You must make the cost of that venture very high for them…
So, I guess my short answer will be your wealth will be in your training, and willingness to use that training and your tools to your benefit.
Damn, that is the most I have said in a long time… I need to catch my breath… These thoughts are subject to change…

2,123 Posts
I thought I posted this thought here before but a quick search shows that possibly not so I'll post it up again.

I'm going to say this with a disclaimer ahead of my comments. I am a married man (happily, thank you very much) and do not engage in, support, or in any way condone the sex trade in America or abroad. That being said...

Wealth on the shelf. Sure there is gold that no one will understand. Cash will be useless. You want to know what is worth anything, look at basic human psychology. Maslow has organized our needs into a triangle - similar to the food pyramid we all grew up with.

Triangle Slope Organism Rectangle Font

If we look at the foundation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs we see: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. These are the basic physiological needs of man. Once these have been achieved, man then fills needs from the next layer - safety. And then on to the others: belonging, esteem, self actualization.

In today's environment, we operate at the self-esteem level, but when the SHTF, you will see an erosion of fulfillment starting at the bottom and working its way up. Soon people are a shell of their former selves. Those that can't hold it together through this time will become mental and emotional zombies. Much like the vagrants you see today with no home or food, the S has already HTF for them and most of them have deep mental scars from it.

Lets look at how SHTF competes with Maslow and his hierarchy:

First are the physiological needs. These are actually biological in nature.
Breathing - As long as there isn't a toxic chemical cloud or nuclear mushroom in your neighborhood, this problem will resolve itself shortly. You either breathe and live or you die.
Food / Water - This will be your first commodity in the disaster zone and it will be the #1 thing that people fight for. Any food you can store long term that has a high energy value will be more valuable. Honey is a good example. Pack with nutrients and calories and it keeps forever.
Homeostasis - This means equilibrium and balance. You can find some consistency in your existence, regular food, sustinance, rest. Along with food, some of the other needs higher up in the hierarchy feed into this as well. We will cover their value then.
Excretion - Your body needs to be able to eliminate waste. Nothing to barter here.

Next we have safety:
This is perhaps the part of prepping that we spend the most time on, and it is more complicated.
Security of the body and resources, morality and family stability. Your overall health falls in here too. Things that you can barter in this area may be clothing, radios, batteries, flashlights, or a bible (if you are so inclined) or other books. All of these feed into safety of body and the family unit. Here we also see medecine, alcohol, cigarettes, ammo, and other gear as a valuable barter.

Third in Maslow's hierarchy is Love / Belonging:
Sometimes the best barter you have is friendship - IF THE OTHER PARTY IS TRUSTWORTHY!!! Bringing people into your tribe may add a strain on the food situation, but may help round out skills. There is an additional currency at play here besides the food for skills - that is acceptance, belonging, and friendship. It helps to build these bonds way before the SHTF.

Now to my original point... Sex. It shows up in Maslow's foundation layer and in the love / belonging layer as well. If life has taught me anything, it is that if you put the ugliest man and the bitchiest woman in a dark room for long enough, they will eventually shag. I dunno why, that's just life I guess.

Eventually, in a SHTF scenario, I see people (remember society is already pretty morally defunct as it sits today) offering sex as a barter when many of the other items play out. No more booze is left, the cigs have been smoked, the medicine is locked up and the gas is all burned up. Prostitution has been referred to as the oldest profession for a reason and I think that will come full circle eventually.

I don't like that eventuality. I don't support that eventuality. And I'll not participate in that eventuality. But sooner or later some one will crawl into bed with some one else for food, water, safety, security, and defense. If a little human compassion comes with it, all the better. Don't believe me? Look at every time there is a major blizzard, power outage in New York, Hurricane, Earth Quake, or other disaster. Just 9 months later the hospitals are inundated with new born babies. The S that HTF wasn't even dry yet and these people started doing the forbidden dance. Imagine what life will be like when there is no jobs to go to, no schools, no rigid schedule to adhere to. Someone will get hungry and make a deal for some food to feed their family.

And don't think this is a sexist post. Guys can fall into this trap too and become prostitute for survival just as easily as they can be the John.

Think about it. Keeping wealth on the shelf, wealth that feeds into Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, will keep you from dipping into that oldest of career moves.

4,373 Posts
As I read the original post I think there are two questions. Wealth during an event and after? Am I mistaken about that? During an event it's all about survival, self sustaining, defense, retreat options (bugging out), and being alive and well "post" any event. Then, after an event, how do you restore or fairly develop wealth? To me that is being able to produce a great deal more than your worth in security, food, energy or transportation and maybe communication? What assets will you bug out with that would enable you to produce more than you can use and enable you to sell or barter it?

For me it is land. That is not necessarily by choice but maybe more of a circumstance. I own the land, keep multiple records on the title, and have the weapons and family to keep it. It's best attribute is few would want it except for what it can produce.

24,528 Posts
Store of wealth. This is simple. If it is perishable, you have stored nothing. If it goes out of vogue, you have nothing.

Even before the conductive properties of gold and silver were understood, gold and silver were used for wealth-storing and trade.
As has been covered on this site before, gold is recognized as international money while silver has been long known for domestic trade.

Notice I said money, and not currency. Trade in old Roman coins, if you can. You can't. They are no longer current. Silver and gold, on the other hand, will always be a store of wealth. Bank on it, pardon the pun.

Let's go with the global, total socio/economic calamity scenario. Sure, the first year or two will be spent on immediate needs items, such as ammo, stored food, etc., but do you really think trade will not normalize? Of course.

Everything in balance. Five hundred pounds of silver and absolutely no rifles and ammo means that silver is not yours. Silver, ammo and an arsenal without food means the silver and the arsenal are someone else's stores. But, if you are talking about storing wealth, silver and gold have stood the test of time, and by time I mean thousands of years.

Why in the world do people feel the need to argue against something as tried and true?

Oh, another thing to consider is how silver has become an industrial metal as well as a precious metal. Considering how much unrecoverable silver is used every year, who would you not see it's value?
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