Real Assets

As a young child the “Jim Dandy” at the local Friendly's Ice Cream store was my favorite treat, a delicious ice cream banana split feast. Now-a-days for economic prophecy I refer to my new Jim Dandy sundae for much of what I need to know. Meaning Jim Grant, Jim Rickards, Jim Rogers, Jim Willie, and of course Jim Sinclair with an extra (chocolate sprinkles) topping of Mark Faber.

Collectively these contrarians continue to spell out that the central banks are recklessly controlling the monetary fiasco and the future of fiat currency is death. In the meantime we are told to consider moving assets abroad or into farm land and the like, to be ready for war, and to buy and take possession of our precious metals. Above all, there is the continuing theme of placing high value in productive tangible assets.

Banana SplitSo we have the Jim Dandy contrarian bad news as well as advice from the mainstream Matrix ice floe, which plays out on millions of little stages every day. Yet somehow we endure. Many day to day ‘events’ are somebody else's train wrecks which we find ourselves unable to look away from, but for the most part our personal lives continue forward as if nothing has happened. Where is that collapse?

I propose that we might consider stepping back a pace or two and take a long look at why we value the things we do. This is not about learning to live with less, or even to accept a lower quality of life. This is about recognizing and understanding our yardsticks and measuring tools to see what prompts us to make decisions and come to conclusions, especially in light of quickly morphing events and changes within the book of rules.

What are the real assets that promote a continuity of wellness and comfort in my own life? I suggest that while the answer to this may vary dramatically from person to person, the overall theme is the same. The assets that are of the most value to you and me are the ones we actually find importance and utility in, rather than those ‘things’ sometimes questionable sources tell us matters.

Much of what we do, and place value in, comes from memes programmed into us by parents, teachers and media throughout our lives. My spouse (Cognitive Dissonance) often challenges me to explain why I think a certain way, or where I acquired a particular view. And at times I am at a loss to explain. This ongoing self examination has progressed to the point where I often stop throughout my day and ask myself why I just came to a given conclusion. Did I really ‘decide’ that, or was I motivated by what someone else might think or told me I should think?

Without becoming too hung up on the definition of 'real', and while I continue to examine my premises, I find myself appreciating the cautionary advice of the Jim Dandies. Collectively the reckless, confiscatory, authoritarian, hyperinflationary, debasing potential state of the world continues to lead me back to one conclusion; that I should ultimately depend only upon myself.

Sometimes I think the subject of evaluating assets has become a creepy Tim Burtonesque movie turned into a nightmare of an old fashioned math class word problem from hell. "You have X amount of savings and retirement funds, Y amount of income to live on and all the rules are about to change. You have 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months to prepare for the most important ways to alter everything in order to become as self reliant as possible. Quick, what do you do?"

soup kitchen

For those who have been following along with the home version of this game at Chez Cog, you already know some of my answers to this simple yet complex word problem. On a larger scale, both Cog and I have already offered that we bit the bullet, paid the harsh penalties and taxes and exited the mainstream approach to life in the 'burbs in order to carve out our future on the edge of a mountain with room for a large garden and the opportunity to work for ourselves.

On a smaller scale, I convert my rapidly diminishing purchasing power into mason jars and lids, extra hand tools for the garden, printed books on information I don't need to know at the moment but could find invaluable down the road, and printer toner and paper for the incredible resources still available on the web that may not be there for long. These are my real assets, emphasis on 'my'. Your list may, and probably will, be different.

I try to look ahead and consider what I will find satisfying and useful down the road. These matters are not just in the area of being frugal and productive, but also what I might value to entertain and amuse. Nothing says relaxed fun like a bottle of pretty bubbles to blow in the breeze and a good game of badminton on the lawn. A small investment now could keep a person in bubbles and birdies for a very long time.

Setting aside the insidious programming of how I should live and what I should desire, I remind myself that reality is perception and I am the creator of my own reality. What is ‘real’ to me can be extended to my 'real assets' based upon where I wish to guide my future ‘me’ and all its corresponding endeavors. I have no intention of descending into the black and white world of how society will define the depths of the upcoming depression. We all have the ability to empower ourselves with choice. This is the path I choose.

pretty bubbles

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2 thoughts on “Real Assets”

  1. I love reading your perspective on planning for the future. Mrs Stengel and I talk about being rich with friends and good neighbors. Having a good garden, healthy chickens, and vigorous queens in our beehives are part of our criteria for preparedness. Our time in China has taught us that we don’t need as much living space in a home as we once thought. We also reflect on the fact that we can never have too many mason jars ;-)

  2. Hi, Mrs. C:

    I heartily second Casey’s comment about friends and good neighbors. As valuable ‘assets’, good relationships with those living around us may well be some of the most valuable ‘things’ we put by for that upcoming rainy day that is heading right for us. There will be a time when being a rugged individual will be . . . simply RUGGED; and having others to turn to may make all the difference.

    I can do a lot of things – but not everything; however, I have neighbors who can do many of the things I can’t do . . . and vice versa. Being on good terms means we’re not alone when we could use a hand, or when there are issues to deal with, properties to keep an eye on, information-sharing, and asset exchanges such as bartering goods and services. So – as the song says, ‘Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver – the other, gold.’ I’d say those lyrics just about fill the bill regarding good friends and neighbors being one’s true ‘Real Assets’.

    I also support his emphasis on ‘small is beautiful’, good gardens, healthy farm stock and busy little bees. I would add in having access to a plentiful source of excellent WATER. We, who are CA drought-ridden at present, are having a lovely little learning session about what happens when water is taken for granted . . . or simply just TAKEN by those with bigger pocketbooks, more political clout – or even hidden agendas.

    Having good water is, of course, an early item on the prep check-list, right up there with workable rural farmland. Many who read here live in areas of H2O plenty; but there are many like us who do not. So – in any equation about ‘Real Assets’ it must be factored in. There’s not much one can do without it: no garden, no crops, no house-building, no livestock, no food prep, no wash water, no fire-fighting ability, no sanitation, etc. etc. etc. When I sat down to ‘do the math’ on water and what depends on it, I was reminded in spades how much the kind of life we see as ‘normal’ depends absolutely on access to clean water.

    Thanks, Mrs. C – for always timely, sensible and entertaining sharings here. You are a fount of useful and thoughtful posts.

    :) LionLady

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