Preparing for Financial Collapse
*Chart above updated October 20, 2020, showing price of gold and Bitcoin over the last two years*
Chapter 1: Introduction
Legally we have to say this information is not financial advice, consult your own financial professional. That being said...
First and foremost, it is important to know your author lives by the advice given in this article. I awoke to the reality of devastating economic cycles after losing half my life savings in the crash of 2008. The most painful part was that the crash was entirely predictable. It didn’t require a degree in economics to look around and see we were in a bubble. In a desperate attempt to save the economy from The Great Recession, the government did the only thing it could - print their way out of it. What most people don’t know is that the money printing never stopped. As a result, you are living in the largest economic bubble in human history. When this bubble bursts, it will have historic magnitude tantamount to the fall of the Roman empire. Think this can’t happen? Look around you, none of the great civilizations from human history are still standing. They are all gone, soon to include the one we live in now.
Crashes are also the greatest opportunity for an individual to gain wealth out of any economic event. Massive amounts of money are transferred. Desperate people behave in predictable ways. You must look at the impending collapse for what it actually is; your once-in-a-lifetime chance to become wealthy. There is no need to guess or speculate on how it’s done, the pattern of collapse has played out many times in human history. The rules for winning never change. It requires timing, preparation, and above all else - the psychological strength to stick to the plan, even when the world around you is in chaos.
This article is written for the average middle-class American with children, credit card debt, and a mortgage. It provides step-by-step instructions rooted in historical economic patterns, data analytics, hundreds of hours of research, and contributions from countless financial experts. It will teach you to not only survive the upcoming crash but thrive.
If you don’t think the crash is coming, read no further. The steps in this article involve dramatic changes to your finances that can only be justified in the face of the collapsing dollar.
Chapter 2: How Do We Know an Economic Collapse is Coming?
There is no question that all civilizations eventually fall - there is no argument for America or Western Civilization being any different. But you need to know when it will fall in order to position yourself correctly. Although the theft of the value of the dollar arguably began with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, proof it has become exponentially worse in recent years can be found in the fact our national debt has gone from a $236 billion surplus in 2000 to $21 trillion behind in 2018. At this pace the national debt will be $1,868 trillion by 2036.Let’s look at what’s happened in recent years.
The relatively minor crash of 2000 was basically only stocks. The market went through a correction that most Americans hardly felt. Fortunes were lost, but these were mostly the fortunes of people who made their money gambling on the stock market in the first place. Most working-class Americans did not feel this crash, except perhaps a dip in the value of their retirement funds.
The crash of 2008 was exponentially worse. Both stocks and real estate fell. Because you still have a job and live in your house and everything seems fine, it’s hard to convey exactly how to close to the brink of a disaster this country actually was. It was the Cuban missile crisis of the economy. In 1962, we were within hours of nuclear war; in the crash of 2008, we were within hours of global financial collapse. At the last minute, the United States government used the only option it had - print and borrow massive amounts of money. This served only to kick the can down the road. What you have to understand is that the real fallout of 2008 has yet to occur.
The next crash will take down the world’s financial systems and collapse the dollar. Because we didn’t resolve the problems that lead to the crash of 2008, the printing and borrowing never stopped. In other words, the upcoming crash will be the devastating effects of 2008 which we are yet to fully experience combined with everything that’s happened since. Stocks, real estate, bonds, and the dollar itself will collapse. It will forever change the life of every American.
Crashes happen in predictable 8-10 year cycles in the United States. The last crash was in 2008. To argue we aren’t due for another crash is to argue with mathematics. To compound the severity further,
we are also due for a change in the monetary system. Historically, monetary systems have changed every 30-40 years. Before WW1, we had the classical gold standard. The gold exchange standard between WW1 and WW2. The Bretton Woods system from 1944 to 1971. In 1971, Nixon took the United States off the gold standard, the system we are still on today. The economic collapse will usher in the next monetary system which will reset the value of the dollar and end its reign as the global currency. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, the world’s economic powers, central banks and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been openly discussing it for years.
Why are you only hearing about this now? If we are on the verge of collapse, why aren’t financial experts around the world sounding the alarm? Hundreds, if not thousands, of them, are; they are screaming and nobody is listening. Others who know the truth stay silent because alerting the public would have the effect of inducing the crash.
If you need further proof, I recommend watching Ron Paul, Bill Holter, or Lynette Zang’s videos widely available on the internet. As this county inches closer to the brink, their forecasts are turning out to be frighteningly accurate. They have been trying to sound the economic alarm for years.
Chapter 3: What the Fall of the Dollar Will Look Like
The crash has already started; it began in 2008. You have been living in financial theater ever since. History will show this to be true.
Most Americans will be unable to recognize or accept the collapse until the stock market crashes. The stock market will certainly crash, but it will be a lagging indicator of the collapse, not the cause. The crash will be
Once the crash is underway, there will brief moments to catch your breath as the economy suffers several false-starts, peaks, and valleys on the way to the bottom. This will be from our government printing money and injecting it into the failing economy, or other nations’ currencies crashing faster, strengthening the dollar on their way down. It will have the cruel psychological effect of temporarily restoring faith in the economy, but by this point, too many frightened people will be hoarding money instead of spending it, which will have the effect of devaluing the dollar further. After several wild swings of inflation and deflation, inflation will win, and the buying power of the average middle-class American’s life savings will be reduced to nearly zero. The bleeding will eventually stop, but the wealth and lifestyle of most Americans will be a shadow of what it has once been, never to return.
Pop culture portrays the post-apocalyptic world like something out of a zombie movie or Mad Max. This is fiction. You only need to look at today’s third-world countries to look into our own future. Take 2018 Venezuela for example. Although there is government and some remaining order of law, it is unable to provide even the most basic services to its citizens. Inflation, expected to reach 1,000,000% in 2019, has destroyed the value of their life savings. Nearly 90% of the population lives under the poverty line. People have jobs, but not the jobs they used to have - selling fruit on the roadside for a few dollars a day has become meaningful employment. Kidnapping is a lucrative industry, and pulling money out of an ATM is risking your life. Life is livable, but not what is used to be.
There are some countries much worse off than Venezuela. There are places in Africa today where the male life expectancy is less than 50 years and the threat of dying by starvation is very real. There is no rule of law, only warring militias, and tribal leaders. Prosperity is not an option, people simply try to stay alive from one day to the next. Fortunately, it is highly unlikely the United States will fall into this level of chaos. The Western world has infrastructure that won’t simply disappear when the economy collapses. Equipment, roads, and power plants will continue to exist and people will find ways to keep them running, albeit unreliably. Farmers will continue bringing crops to market but prices will reflect the $20 per gallon gas it took to get it there. Life will be pegged to the cost of food and energy; the price of gas spikes one day and water will stop flowing from your faucet because government employees cannot afford to get to work. Today’s middle-class Americans will find themselves sharing a home with several families, the entire household surviving on a few dollars a day.
It won’t be better somewhere else. Nobody is coming to the rescue. This is your life, and the life of generations to follow. After the fall of the Roman empire, the world plunged into the dark ages. Expect the same.
Chapter 4: The Greatest Financial Opportunity of your Lifetime
The super-rich have options beyond belief in a collapse scenario. They can do things with their wealth that will raise their status to that of almost feudal lords, untouchable with riches and power beyond imagination. They have long since diversified their wealth in ways that will keep much of it preserved during the collapse. After the collapse, they will buy land, factories, and entire industries for pennies on the dollar. This too is not speculation, look around today at any third-world country, and see a handful of billionaires who own not only a majority of the country’s assets but essentially control a puppet government that ensures it stays that way.
As part of the middle-class, you do not have any significant wealth to diversify. Your options are limited. However, you have access to the most powerful anti-collapse, anti-inflation asset known to man. Its importance and value are deliberately kept secret from you. It would be outlawed and confiscated if not for the fact it would bring unwanted attention. The super-rich have it distributed in vaults around the globe. Economic powerhouses such as China, Russia, and India have begun securing it by the ton. Germany and other countries have recently repatriated what’s held on foreign soil. They know what is coming and starting to prepare. Most people have no concept of the critical role it plays in the global economy today.
Why does gold have so much value? In can be expressed in economic terms by supply and demand; limited supply combined with high demand translates into value. But economic terms do not fully describe the human relationship to gold. We are drawn to it as if it was in our DNA. It is in our jewelry, computers, space stations, and dug up in hordes from ancient times. Unlike various currencies of long-since fallen empires, gold has endured as man’s true store of value through the ages. To a large extent, the world will be put back on a gold standard after the crash. Gold held by anyone, including you, will not only maintain but increase in value dramatically. But in the meantime, gold remains overlooked, misunderstood, and undervalued by the general public. It won’t stay this way for long.
Because gold is not taken seriously by the general public, it is incredibly cheap. The true demand for gold is kept secret in part to keep costs low while governments and the rich acquire it behind your back. The magic of gold is its value fluctuates inversely to the value of the dollar. In other words, as the strength of the dollar increases, the value of gold goes down. As the strength of the dollar decreases, gold goes up. The same will be true during the crash; the closer the dollar gets to being worthless (inflation) the greater gold’s value will increase. Not convinced? Just watch the gold market, you can see gold’s inverse relationship to the value of the dollar, among other factors, every day in real-time.
Typical gold price chart:
During the collapse, people will be desperate to convert what’s left of their money into gold. You’ve likely heard stories of people’s life savings being reduced to the value of a loaf of bread almost overnight due to inflation, or needing a wheelbarrow full of paper money to buy milk. Those stories are true. During times like these, people will be desperate to convert their fiat currency into anything that holds value. The gold you buy today could increase in value 15 times or more during a crash scenario. You are going to buy gold at today’s prices and use it as your bridge over the collapse. We will calculate exactly how much gold you need to buy later in this article.
Bitcoin will hold its value during the crash the same as gold. Bitcoin made a splash in 2017 when its value shot up like a rocket creating millionaires overnight. Unfortunately, it was dismissed by most people as just a fad or scam. Bitcoin no longer makes news headlines but has quietly gained legitimacy.
Every day billions of dollars of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are bought and sold globally by hedge funds, stockbrokers, and other professional traders. You might have cryptocurrency in your retirement fund without knowing it. The cryptocurrency market has matured, it responds rationally to changing financial conditions no different than the stock market. People around the world who do not have access to gold, or for whom gold is not feasible, will transfer their money into Bitcoin to escape their own failing currency. As the Western world buys gold during the collapse, people in the third world are likely to turn to Bitcoin as it is easier to transact in small quantities and easier to keep from getting stolen. Just like gold, Bitcoin cannot be printed out of thin air and will hold its value during inflation, which will make the value skyrocket.
It is important to note that the entire cryptocurrency market is likely to crash along with the rest of the market in the early days of the collapse. This is speculators pulling their money out to avoid risk, no different than the stock market. Once inflation and currency problems set in money will flood back into cryptocurrency.
Why gold and Bitcoin, and not one or the other? The main reason is diversification, you don’t want all your eggs in one basket. The United States government could outlaw private ownership of gold in order to confiscate it for its own purposes. Bitcoin trading could potentially be shut down with internet firewalls. The second reason is gold and Bitcoin will play different roles during your journey; gold is easily bartered with, it will pay your bills and feed your family long after you’ve lost your job and bank account run dry. Bitcoin is your backup plan, with luck you will convert your Bitcoin back to currency after the crash for many times what you paid.
Chapter 5: How Much Gold and Bitcoin to Buy
The big question is how much to buy. The amount you need is based on 4 years of income replacement; buy enough gold at today’s prices to replace your household income for 4 years of crash conditions. Then spend the same amount on Bitcoin.
Start with gold. You must prepare for the worst and assume you and everyone in your household will lose their job. First, you need to determine how much gold would be needed to replace your income for 4 years, the average crash duration according to historical data (the upcoming crash will last much longer, but 4 years is a place to start). Let’s assume you have the average household income in the United States of $60,000. After-tax, your net income is around $45,000. Take a moment to understand that you only need to replace your net income of $45,000 per year, not your gross income of $60,000. Because gold will be worth $20,000 an ounce under severe crash conditions, you need 2.25 ounces of gold to replace your net income for one year. At the time of writing this article, an ounce of gold costs $1,300. To replace your income for one year will cost $2,925 in today’s dollars. Therefore, to replace your income for 4 years will cost $11,700. This is a bridge to your new life on the other side of the collapse. Physical gold, not paper gold - more on this later.
If you have enough money left over after buying gold to spend the same amount on Bitcoin, you are in an excellent position. In the example above, it would be ideal to spend $11,700 on gold and $11,700 in Bitcoin; half gold, half Bitcoin.
Chances are you do not have enough money to buy 4 years of gold, let alone any leftover for Bitcoin. The first action you need to take is to look for money as if the life of your family depended on it because it does. If you have a boat or other luxury item, sell it immediately while the economy is strong and people have money to spend. The project car in your garage? Sell it. Golf clubs? Sell them. 401k or IRA? Own stock? Cash them out, even with tax and other penalties. All of these are going to be unusable, unsellable, and worthless when the crash hits, liquidate them right now. Besides, you can buy it all back at a fraction of the cost during the crash if you set yourself up for success.
Do not sell your home, transportation, or anything else at the core of a comfortable, but not excessive, lifestyle. This includes heirlooms or anything that can never be replaced. It is also important to leave enough money in your bank account after buying gold and Bitcoin to pay your bills between now and the crash. The purpose of this article is to thrive during the crash and create a bridge to the post-collapse world, not ruin your life before getting there.
If you still cannot come up with enough money, you will move forward with whatever amount you have. Same ratio; half gold, half Bitcoin, even if it’s only a few hundred dollars.
Chapter 6: How to Purchase Gold
It is absolutely critical that your gold (and Bitcoin) is purchased the right way. Many people think they own gold, they might have gold in a retirement portfolio or similar, but what they really own is paper. They have paper representing gold, or perhaps mining shares or something else in the precious metals industry. It is very possible precious metal stocks will gain value during the crash, but there are too many degrees of separation between you and the money tied up in them. What you need to survive the economic collapse is physical gold you can hold in your hand, stored at your house. Under normal circumstances, you would never hold gold at home due to theft and security concerns, but these are far from normal circumstances. Gold stored in a safe deposit box or professional vault is vulnerable to employee theft, government seizure, or could get you followed home. Keep your gold at home, hidden in unlikely places, not all in one spot. The least amount of people who know you have gold, the better.
There are limitations on how much gold you can buy before it becomes a reportable transaction. You want to remain unreported because you don’t want anyone, especially the United States government, to know you have gold during the collapse. Buying $10,000 or more from a single vendor within a 24 hour period is a reportable event. If you are buying less than $10,000, the vendor is not required to report the transaction. If you want to purchase $10,000 or more during a 24 hour period, you’ll need to split your purchases between different vendors. The other option is making multiple purchases from the same vendor, but separating them by 24 hours. Regardless of the options available to you, it is best to spread your purchases among different vendors as to not alert anyone of them to the significant amount of gold you are purchasing - a vendor may feel obliged to file a Suspicious Activity Report. It is unlikely the amount of gold you are buying would be a cause for suspicion, but better to play it safe. Most cities have various brick-and-mortar stores that sell gold coins. Buying online creates a digital trail that should be avoided unless there is no other option.
Walk into the store and buy Gold Eagle coins with the money you allocated to gold (4 years income replacement). Avoid showing your ID if possible, but don’t let it stop you from making your purchase if the vendor requires it. Don’t buy bars or collectible coins. Eagle coins are common, recognizable, and easily converted back into currency. Buy a variety of denominations. This means 1 ounce, ½ ounce, ¼ ounce, and 1/10 ounce Gold Eagle coins. The ratio of one denomination to another is not critically important. However, you want to end up with the bulk of your gold in smaller denominations. The reason is simple; trying to buy $50 of food with a $20,000 gold coin has obvious problems. There will also be times you need to convert your gold into currency, and due to inflation, you will never want to convert more than necessary. People with experience in precious metals may argue for a mix of gold and silver. Keep in mind that if the day comes that you need to vacate your house in an emergency, $20,000 of gold will fit in your pocket, the same amount in silver weighs 70lbs.
Regardless of buying online vs. brick-and-mortar, or having to show ID or choice of denomination, the important thing is your money is now in gold where it is safe.
Chapter 7: How to Purchase Bitcoin
First, some additional information on what Bitcoin is.
You have likely heard of Bitcoin, and that’s where your knowledge of cryptocurrency ends. It is often dismissed as an economic experiment; fake money exchanged among a small group of enthusiasts. Yet, others believe it is the global currency of the future. The one thing everyone can agree on is that Bitcoin is new. It is an entirely new way to think about money. It is designed to be resistant to government manipulation and requires no banking system. It has the potential to impact the life of every human on the planet. However, at this point, less than 1% of the world’s population owns Bitcoin. The remaining 99% has either never heard of it or are waiting to see if it has real value, including perhaps you.
At the time of writing this article, a single Bitcoin can be traded for thousands of dollars. If this does not convince you that cryptocurrency has real value, consider the following. Bitcoin’s market cap recently surpassed Paypal. Think about that a moment. The market cap for all cryptocurrency combined has surpassed 800 billion dollars at times. This volume of money means financial institutions have invested and people in positions of tremendous power have a vested interest in its success. There are several Bitcoin ATMs within 20 miles of my house. 150 Bitcoin ATMs are being installed in Ukraine. If you choose to dismiss cryptocurrency, you are doing it in the face of irrefutable data saying otherwise. It is here to stay.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are programming code exchanged over the internet. Right away, this might sound risky, but consider there is hardly a transaction in which you engage that does not traverse the internet and rely on programming code. The banking system operates on programming code, and the vast majority of the money on this planet exists only on electronic ledgers, not hard currency. You are already using digital money.
Cryptocurrency is not yet exchanged in any significant volume for actual goods and services, cryptocurrency itself is what is traded. On any given day, one cryptocurrency goes up in value, and another goes down. This attracts speculators and day traders. If you can predict the spikes and dips ahead of the market, you can buy low and sell high, just like the stock market. Also, just like the stock market, most trades take place on internet trading platforms. But for small transactions, cryptocurrency can be exchanged face-to-face using a smartphone app. You are not going to be a day trader or short-term speculator, you will buy Bitcoin and hold it for several years.
The foundation of cryptocurrency is blockchain technology. In the case of Bitcoin, the blockchain is distributed accounting. The accounting records, or ledger, containing the whereabouts and transaction history of every Bitcoin in existence is held on a collective of thousands of computers across the world, in full public view. There is no single trusted authority or master copy. In simplified terms, when a Bitcoin transaction is requested, these computers must collectively agree the request is valid. If valid, the transaction moves forward and the ledgers are updated. Hacking the collective ledger would require modifying files on thousands of computers and getting past multiple layers of security. If you have ever heard of Bitcoin getting hacked, it was not Bitcoin itself that was compromised; it was people’s trading accounts. Bitcoin’s blockchain is fast, secure, and outside the reach of any single government or entity. Perhaps best of all, the Bitcoin blockchain does not have the ability to collect or store anyone’s identity.
How do you hold a Bitcoin? In simplified terms, you need to create a space on the electronic public ledger and have someone move a Bitcoin from their space into your space. You will use an online tool to generate a public key and a private key, think of them as passwords. The public key is used to transfer money to your space, the private key is used to transfer Bitcoin out of your space. You can share your public key as the only thing anyone can do with it is transfer Bitcoin to you. Your private key is essentially the password to your space on the blockchain. Anyone with your private key can transfer Bitcoin out of your space with or without your permission. Think of it like this; a public key is similar to your email address; it is safe to make your email address public because all anyone can do is send an email to you, but nobody can send an email from your email address without your password or private key. At times, you will need to expose your private key to an app or trading platform in order to sell Bitcoin, but there are ways to do this with minimal risk. Just know your Bitcoin private key is the password to your Bitcoin and should never be shared with any person or device unless you are ready to transfer Bitcoin out of your possession.
Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency available; there are at least 900 at the time this was written. You don’t need to know the technical differences between them in order to make a smart investment, but it does help to learn as much as you can. An internet search for ‘cryptocurrency market cap’, or coinmarketcap.com, will take you to charts showing market data and begin to give you a lay of the land.
What is Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exactly? The short answer is, someone invented an electronic currency outside the reach of governments and banks, and people started using it. It has value simply because people believe it does, which makes it no different from the dollar in your pocket.
Still not sure cryptocurrency is legitimate? At the time I was writing this, over 6 billion dollars in cryptocurrency has been traded back and forth in the last 24 hours.
Buying Bitcoin is the most technically challenging step of this article. It will be like nothing else you have ever done. Trust this article to guide you. The instructions in this section were written by an information technology executive who holds Bitcoin using this very same method. Do your own research, but be aware the internet will return various ways to buy Bitcoin but only one is 100% unhackable and anonymous. Do not buy your Bitcoin through an online exchange, this identifies you as a Bitcoin owner and exposes your private key to theft.
You will generate Bitcoin keys offline and store them in a paper wallet.
You will need:
- A printer
- An internet connection
- Any computer manufactured within the last 10 years
- A hammer
To understand why the following extreme steps are taken requires the assumption that all computers are infected with viruses and spyware. You must assume that every key you press, every movement of the mouse and everything shown on the screen is recorded and sent back to someone who means harm. It is thought that over 30% of the world’s computers are infected. Even if you are running antivirus programs, you must assume every computer you own is infected. Think of it this way, if you buy Bitcoin without taking the security measures outlined in this article, there is a 30% chance the entire process was recorded. You may wake up someday to your entire Bitcoin fortune gone.
Following these instructions, it does not matter if the computer you use is infected with a virus because you are going to disconnect from the internet and generate your Bitcoin keys offline, then physically remove the hard drive and destroy it. If a virus recorded your Bitcoin information, it will be destroyed without ever having the ability to send it anywhere or do anything with it. You can buy a computer at the local thrift store for $20 that will serve this purpose.
- This is the only step that requires an internet connection. Turn on the computer which you will later destroy. Connect to the internet. Go to Bitaddress.org, a free, open-source, random Bitcoin key generator. If this website is not available at the time you are reading this, there are likely other similar tools available online. You are going to save this website to the computer’s hard drive so you can access it offline in a later step. Firefox and Chrome, at the time of writing this, allow you to right-click in white-space on the page and select Save As. Internet Explorer requires clicking the settings icon, File, then Save As. Save the website to any location on the computer you can find later. Close the browser. To verify that this step is complete, navigate to the file you saved to your hard drive and open it. It may ask you to select a program, choose any browser. The file should load in the browser and appear identical to the online version Bitaddress.org, only now it is running offline from your computer, not the internet.
- Now that Bitaddress.org is saved to your computer, disconnect from the internet. Disable the wireless connection and unplug any internet or network cables. Remove all cables not essential to the keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, and power. To verify you are disconnected from the internet, open a browser, and attempt to navigate to several websites. If any load, make sure you are not looking at a cached version from the computer’s memory. Refresh a few times. Clear browser cache and history. If websites continue to load, you need to take further steps to disconnect and repeat these steps. Do not move forward until you are certain this computer is disconnected from the internet.
- Connect the printer if not already connected. If the printer has wireless functionality, disable it. Connect the printer to the computer through a wire only. Make sure the printer is not connected to any other devices or networks except the computer and a power outlet. To verify this step is complete, type something into a text editor and print.
- Open the Bitaddress.org file you saved in the previous step. The computer should be disconnected from the internet, and connected to the printer. Bitaddress.org is now running offline from your computer. Bitaddress.org will ask you to move your mouse and enter characters to help build a random number. A percentage value will display on the page, and when it reaches 100%, the display will change. A Bitcoin address and Private Key will be displayed. There is no action to take on this screen. Click the Paper Wallet link. You will now see printable versions of one or more address and private key Bitcoin “bills.” Checkmark the BIP38 Encrypt box and enter a password you will remember. In the toolbar, change Addresses to generate to 10 (you will need more in the future). Click Generate. Print (preferably glossy photo paper). The prints need only to be large enough for you to read the address and private keys clearly, perhaps 3 bills per sheet of paper. You now have 10 Bitcoin Address and Private Key pairs. You can receive a Bitcoin and enter the blockchain.
If any problems occur during Step 4, repeat from the beginning of the step. This includes accidentally pressing the back button, forgetting the password you entered, or any other deviation from the exact steps outlined above. Verify the prints contain the QR codes, no smudges or blemishes. Failure to generate or print codes properly could result in loading Bitcoin that can never be retrieved.
- Destroy the computer. Once your Bitcoin ‘bills’ have been printed, you must ensure the hard drive never again has access to the internet. If a virus recorded your Bitcoin Private Key, it would require only several seconds to transmit this information over the internet. Get a screwdriver, disassemble the computer, cut wires, and smash important-looking pieces with a hammer. Destroy it.
You now have a paper wallet. It is empty. Let’s put something in it.
Your first Bitcoin.
Acquiring Bitcoin the right way is not easy. There are various trading platforms and exchanges that allow Bitcoin to be purchased with a credit card or wire, and Bitcoin ATMs that accept cash, but they all create a digital trail back to your identity. There is little doubt the IRS will eventually force transaction logs to be handed over, and you don’t want any pointing back to you. This article does not suggest you avoid tax and regulation, but being in the position to volunteer your Bitcoin information is more desirable than the IRS showing up at your front door. The following steps will show you how to acquire Bitcoin with no connection back to your identity.
Start by doing an internet search for Bitcoin or cryptocurrency clubs and user groups in your area. Buying your first Bitcoin could be easy as showing up to one of these events with cash in hand. Let’s explore this option first.
Bitcoin clubs and user groups are usually full of people who have been into cryptocurrency for many years. They are generally welcoming to newcomers and eager to increase Bitcoin adoption. Many of them hold hundreds, even thousands, of Bitcoin purchased years ago for less than $100. For a fee, they will sometimes sell you one, or fraction of one. Use an internet search to find a meeting in your area. If membership or registration is required, provide the least amount of identifiable information possible.
If there are no groups in your area, Localbitcoins.com is a website that connects Bitcoin buyers and sellers. Search for a seller in your area. If there are multiple sellers, look for those with the most trades and highest feedback score. Select a seller. If contact information is included in their public profile, you do not need to create a Localbitcoins.com account as you can get in touch with them directly. Otherwise, you will need to register with the website in order to contact them. Because Localbitcoins.com does not verify your identity, go ahead and register with a fake name. For an additional degree of separation, go to Gmail.com or any other free email provider and create an email account to be used for your Localbitcoins.com registration. Once logged in, navigate to your chosen seller’s profile and follow their contact instructions. If your seller does not accept cash, is not willing to meet in a public place, or requires identity verification - find a different seller.
You might not be able to find a local seller that meets those requirements, or there might not be sellers near you at all. The good news is you are now free to select from nearly any seller on the Localbitcoins.com platform, regardless of location. The bad news is your purchase will likely involve a money transfer that requires identification. You will need to deposit money in the seller’s bank and use Localbitcoins.com’s escrow functionality. Use your own judgment and proceed. You will send them money and your public Bitcoin key, and they will load Bitcoin onto it. Although revealing your identity is not ideal, in this case, there is a healthy degree of separation between showing your ID at the bank and the Bitcoin you will subsequently hold.
If you are able to schedule a face to face transaction, cut one of the bills from the sheet of paper you printed, then cut the bill in half to physically separate the Bitcoin Address and the Private Key, which are clearly indicated in the print. Take a pen and mark each half of the bill you cut so you can match them later when you have multiple cut bills, write a 1 on each half or similar. Bring only the Bitcoin public address, leave the Private Key at home in a secure location. Bring the amount of cash you allocated towards cryptocurrency. Expect to pay the current market value of Bitcoin plus a 3-10% fee from the seller. Bitcoin can be broken down into fractions to match the amount of money you have to spend. Once you and the seller agree on a price, they will scan or enter your Bitcoin Address into a phone app and initiate the transaction. It will take a few minutes for the transfer to appear on the public ledger. While still sitting with the seller, search the internet for any number of websites that display the contents of the Bitcoin blockchain and find your public key. Refresh the page until you see the Bitcoin you purchased appear under your public key. The transaction is now complete, and you can part ways with the seller. You own Bitcoin.
It’s important that you think about how much Bitcoin to put on a single ‘bill’. For the same reason it would be difficult to buy food with a $20,000 gold coin, you don’t want to much Bitcoin on a single bill. Spread your Bitcoin purchase among all your bills, you can print more later if needed. This method will also reduce your exposure to risk when making future Bitcoin transactions and allows you to hide your private keys in multiple locations.
You have reached a critical milestone, you have moved your money out of the financial system and into safe storage. This will prove to be one of the best decisions of your life. If you did nothing further, you would still be among the 1% most prepared Americans for the upcoming collapse.
Chapter 8: Hiding Your Gold and Bitcoin.
The most important thing you can do to keep your gold and Bitcoin safe is not to tell anyone you have any. This cannot be stressed enough. The biggest threat to your supplies are not strangers or the government, it is your friends and family. People will become desperate, homeless, and hungry during the crash. Having gold and Bitcoin on your property will literally put your life in danger. You can expect your best friend to show up at your door with a gun and demand all the gold and Bitcoin you own to feed their starving children. You are now homeless and hungry instead. The way to avoid this is to tell nobody. Don’t tell your children, your friends, relatives, or anyone else. Telling your spouse is unavoidable for most people - just make sure they understand the critical importance of secrecy.
Hiding your Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is easy to conceal as it is nothing more than a series of characters plus the password you created. It does not need to be printed on official-looking bills in order to be transacted. You could write your private and public keys and password on a sticky note and burn your printed bills. You could literally memorize them, leaving no physical evidence behind. Instead, you are going to hide your Bitcoin keys in two different ways; physically hide the paper, and, conceal them in an email to yourself. You need the paper versions in case you cannot access your email. You need the email version in case you cannot access your paper.
Hiding your bills.
If you followed the instructions earlier in this article, you have Bitcoin bills printed on paper. You cut at least one bill from the sheet of paper, then cut that bill in half to separate the private key from the public key. You then found someone to transfer a Bitcoin, or fraction of a Bitcoin, to you using your public key. You also wrote on each half so you can match the halves later. You now hold an assortment of paper. Although someone can only steal your Bitcoin using your private key and password, not your public key, it is important to keep them all hidden. If a thief finds your public key, they will know you also have a private key hidden somewhere. Hide all your printed bills in the most unlikely place you can find. Make sure none of it can be damaged by moisture, rodents, insects, or anything else. Put it in a small waterproof case and bury it, or stuff it in the insulation deep inside your attic, or other clever location.
Emailing your keys.
Each of your printed bills will have a private key, public key, and a password. Compose an email to yourself. Write your own email address into the To field. In the Subject field, write something you will remember later as holding your Bitcoin keys but do not use the word Bitcoin as this would be the first thing a hacker would search your inbox for. In the body of the email, type hundreds of random characters (or search the internet for a random string generator). Use numbers and letters. Use both upper and lower case letters. The body of your email should look something like below:
You are going to hide your public key, private key, and password within these random characters, bookended by something you will recognize.
Your public key is likely to look something like this:
Bookend this string of characters with the year of your birth, or some other letters or characters you will remember. Let’s say you were born in 1975:
Insert this new bookended string into the block or random characters:
Do the same with your private key and password:
Hit send. Your keys and password are now concealed in an email, which you can access anywhere you have an internet connection. Do this every time you cut a new bill from your printed sheet and load Bitcoin onto it.
Why is it OK to send email keys to yourself after going through the trouble of printing your bills offline to avoid getting hacked? The reason in simple; even if a hacker or virus is recording every keystroke you make, they are unlikely to recognize you are concealing Bitcoin keys in this email. Accessing a website called BitAddress.org would raise immediate flags. Writing an email full of random characters would not. However, there is no method for hiding your Bitcoin keys that is 100% theft-proof. Even if you memorized your keys, someone could put a gun to your head until you recalled them.
Hiding your gold.
You are going to bury it. Burying ‘treasure’ might seem antiquated, but it remains the most optimal place to store and hide gold on your property. Put your gold in a durable waterproof case. Find a place in your yard where neighbors cannot see. Pick a day nobody else is home. Start digging. The deeper you go, the less likely it is to be accidentally discovered. It also means if a thief discovers where it’s buried they have the complication of spending an hour digging it back up. Unfortunately this also means it will take you an hour to dig it back up in case of emergency, but theft is the bigger concern. Go down at least 4 feet, 6 is preferred. Drop in your box of gold. Fill the hole. Disturb the surface so it’s not apparent a hole was dug. At some point after the crash begins, you will need to dig it back up. Take out only what you need, then either bury it again. If you think someone knows about your hole, find a new place to hide it. Go one step further and divide your gold into multiple cases and bury them all in different locations. As stated before, the best way to keep your gold from being stolen is if nobody knows you have any.
If you do not have a yard or a spot hidden from neighbors, you will need a different clever spot.
Chapter 9: An Overview of What You’ve Done Thus Far.
While most Americans are busy today trying to make ends meet or celebrating the good times atop a printed bubble, demand for gold and cryptocurrency remain low. This is the time to buy. Right now. You are going to buy a mix of gold and Bitcoin. You are going to buy gold now while it’s cheap and use it as money during the crash. You are going to buy Bitcoin now while it’s cheap and hold it because it will make you wealthy after the world’s economy recovers. In fact, Bitcoin might very well be the world’s post-crash currency, in which case the Bitcoin you hold today could increase in value many thousands of times.
When the collapse happens and inflation eventually takes over, the value of your gold and Bitcoin will skyrocket. You will sell your gold in small increments to pay your bills and feed your family. You will hold your Bitcoin like a savings account and only use it in cases of emergency, such as your gold supply running dry.
Keep your gold and Bitcoin hidden so it’s there when you need it. Tell nobody.
You are now more prepared for the collapse than 99% of the world’s population. This will become evident during the crash when your biggest concern is not how to feed your family, but how to conceal that you have money while everyone around you is destitute.
Chapter 10: In the Eye of the Storm
At some point, you will find the collapse at your front door. It is difficult to predict exactly what the environment outside will look like, we can only look at today’s third world as an example. As Americans, we have never experienced food shortages, bank closures, or commerce coming to a stop. It would only take a short interruption in oil supply to sideline every delivery truck in the United States causing gas pumps to run dry and grocery store shelves to go empty. Similar interruptions in the banking system would freeze credit cards, bank accounts, and ATM machines. Everyone could be out of work for a period of weeks or longer. These may sound like extreme examples, but they are not. You can expect all of this to happen, including more. These systems will all come back online eventually, but the damage will already have been done.
The most difficult part of the plan outlined in this article is sticking to the plan even when the world around you is in chaos. In the beginning, you will be tempted to abandon the plan and convert your gold back into the only store of value you have ever known - the dollar. Trust the plan. It will take many years for the world’s financial system to hit rock bottom after the collapse has begun and several more years for signs of a recovery. You might not realize the full value of your gold and Bitcoin until somewhere in the middle, but it will come. Find comfort in knowing as the collapse gets worse, the value of your gold and Bitcoin will increase.
Even though you may be sitting on enough gold to ease the stress of crash conditions, do everything possible to avoid selling any of it until absolutely necessary. If you lose your job, find another. Work 2 or 3 part-time jobs if need be. Rent out a room to someone you trust. Sell the boat you stubbornly held on to. Try to get an understanding of your new financial situation and create a budget accordingly. Use this budget to determine ahead of time how much gold you need to sell each month to maintain your lifestyle. Never sell gold in a panic, it should be done in a controlled, predetermined cadence according to your budget.
When the time to sell gold comes, use an internet search to find all the local brick-and-mortar gold buyers in your area. Call and find which will buy your gold at the highest price per ounce. Expect to sell your gold for less than its retail value as the gold buyer needs this margin for profit. Retrieve only as much gold as necessary from its hiding place, take it to the buyer and exchange it for dollars. Use those dollars to buy what is needed immediately; go to the grocery store on the way home, stop by your power company to pay your bill in cash, use your bank to wire money to your mortgage company. Get dollars out of your hands as quickly as possible. The reason for this will become abundantly clear when inflation takes over.
It is unlikely you will barter for goods directly with gold. You want as few people as possible to know you have any. But keep the option open. You may find your local farmer willing to trade twice as much food for gold than dollars. It will be up to you to decide how well you trust the person you are bartering with. Always keep in mind anyone you hand a gold coin to will know you have more at home.
Your Bitcoin is a much different story. Hold these until after the crash. Except in the event of unforeseen circumstances, you should only sell your Bitcoin if you run out of gold, or your Bitcoin becomes so valuable that selling just a fraction would dramatically improve your lifestyle such as pay off your entire mortgage. An increase in value such as this would not be unprecedented; Bitcoin went up nearly 500% over 6 months in 2017. But also keep in mind the value of Bitcoin has been volatile in its short history. Do not panic if you see the value Bitcoin sharply drops at times, in fact, it is advisable not to look at the value of Bitcoin or it will take you on an unnecessary emotional rollercoaster. The value of Bitcoin is only important on the day you sell it, hopefully years from now.
This article does not cover selling Bitcoin in detail because instructions would quickly become obsolete. There are already cryptocurrency-backed credit cards and in a few years, converting Bitcoin to dollars might involve nothing more than walking into a bank. In the meantime, don’t forget you went to great lengths to generate and print your Bitcoin bills offline and hide your keys. Selling Bitcoin requires taking your private key out of hiding and uploading it to an internet-connected device. The person buying your Bitcoin will assume you have more at home. When the time to sell Bitcoin comes, it will be up to you to research the safest method. In the meantime, your Bitcoin private keys should be hidden away, not to see the light of day for many years.
Once the initial horror and chaos of the collapse subside, you might find the next several years to be rather mundane. Do your best to earn an income. You may be able to turn your passion for gardening into a business, or find your new job selling fruit is less stressful than your old office job. Sell gold as needed, and settle into a rhythm. You will naturally adapt, as people have for millennia, to new surroundings. You may actually find you prefer the new paradigm.
Chapter 11: Between Now and the World's Financial Crash
First of all, don’t panic. Do not destroy what’s left of your pre-crash life worrying about what’s coming. Since the beginning of time, our species has endured the waxing and waning of feast and famine. War, natural disaster, ice ages - humanity has always pulled through. There are people in the world today living long, happy lives in conditions far worse than you will ever experience. Follow the instruction in this article but continue to enjoy life and spend time with friends and family.
Securing your finances is the number one priority. If your gold and Bitcoin spending goals were reached, it’s time to look at some additional ways to prepare.
Survival gear and strategy.
There is an industry built around disaster preparedness selling a dizzying array of products and services. Because you are part of the middle-class, your budget is limited and it’s important your dollars are used wisely. Do your research, and be aware most preparedness experts speak from their own experience or environment; someone with a military background might suggest weapons and ammunition; someone from Montana might suggest wilderness supplies and hunting equipment. While none of it is necessarily bad advice, it might not fit your individual situation. Again, think of today’s third world - people aren’t trapping wild game or engaging in battles that require tactical assault rifles. For the most part, they continue to live in population centers and survive using a gray-market economy to meet their needs.
Focus on disaster preparedness that will get you through the initial several months of the crash. Civil unrest, food riots, and rampant crime are guaranteed. You’ll want to hunker down at home as much as possible during this dangerous period. Look at your surroundings. What can you not live without for several months? Use the following as a guide.
- A plan: There is nothing more important than simply having a plan. Consider a scenario with no ability to communicate by phone, internet or otherwise. Decide ahead of time what to do if an emergency strikes while you are at work. Who picks your kids up from school? Expect traffic to be at a dead stop in busy areas. If you cannot return home, what is your backup location? If you cannot hunker down at your own house, where will you go? Of course, the best laid out plans go out the window during an actual emergency, developing a plan is mostly psychological. It will not only force you to think things through but help keep you from having to make decisions in a panic.
- Community: Strength in numbers. There is no better survival tool than a group of people who care about you and your family. You do not need to convince them the collapse is coming - simply build a relationship and they will be willing to risk their lives to protect you. This will also create a pool of resources beyond what you can acquire yourself. Get to know your neighbors, spend time with them now. However, you should not, under any circumstances, tell anyone that you have gold, Bitcoin, or survival supplies.
- Food: One month food supply for every member of your family. Three months is better. Grocery store shelves will be emptied within days. You don’t want to be among the desperate, dangerous, people trying to feed their starving family. Buy emergency food with a long shelf life that does not require refrigeration. this is likely to be grains and a variety of freeze-dried and dehydrated items. Can’t afford food from an emergency food supplier? Get canned food from the dollar store. Hide it.
- Water: Obvious. One month water supply for every member of your family. Three is better. Think portable. Your 55-gallon rain barrel is useless if you need to vacate in a hurry. Go to the local big box store and buy cases of plastic bottled water. Buy enough to flush your toilets and take showers as well as for drinking. Because water does not arouse suspicion, there is no need to take great length to keep it hidden before the crash - the corner of your garage is adequate. After the crash, secure it as if your life depended on it.
- Safety: Alertness first, community second, prevention third, guns last. Alertness means being aware of your environment and avoiding dangerous situations. Community was covered above. Prevention means making yourself an inconvenient target - fenced yard, exterior lights… make it obvious you’ve taken steps to secure your house. Guns. Without formal training, such as law enforcement or military, a gun in your hand can be just as dangerous as one pointed at you. You cannot predict how you, or the person you are pointing the gun at, will react in the situation. Buy a gun, but take classes and visit the shooting range until operating the gun is second nature. Buy an automatic pistol, shotgun, or rifle of common caliber. Tactical accessories will be mostly useless; if the day comes you need to draw your gun, the situation is likely to be over in a confusing few seconds.
- Wealth: You are middle-class, you don’t have wealth. After securing four year’s income replacement in gold then the same on Bitcoin, you’ll want some cash. It is guaranteed when the collapse happens, you will not have access to your bank or ATM. Inflation will ultimately destroy the value of the dollar, but in the meantime cash will be king. $500 - $2,000 in small bills, hidden away in your house.
- Shelter: If you have friends and family, it is unlikely you will be without shelter. However, there could be moments you need to sleep along the road or community shelter. A basic camping tent is adequate. A camping trailer is better. Don’t buy additional camping supplies. Keep in mind that if the day comes you are sleeping in a tent, you will have all your worldly possessions on your back - your expensive camping accessories will be left behind for more valuable items.
- Health: Forget about the standard first-aid kit full of gauze and band-aids – you need medicine. Your biggest threat is dying is from a common infection. Unfortunately the most valuable medicine is acquired by prescription only, which this article is not going to cover.
- Transportation: Gas. Go to your local hardware or automotive store and buy five 5-gallon gas cans. Fill them. Put them in your shed or garage. This will get you 500 miles in the average vehicle. Gas pumps are guaranteed to shut down, run out of gas, or both - gas will be liquid gold. Most of the population carries no gas beyond what’s in their tank currently. Be aware you must add fuel stabilizer to your gas or it will go bad in as little as 30 days.
- Keep quiet: Having gold, Bitcoin, and supplies during the collapse puts your life in danger. Don’t tell your friends, family or children. Tell your spouse if necessary, but ensure they understand why secrecy is of utmost importance. If you give food to a starving neighbor, tell them it was scavenged. You must give the appearance you are just trying to survive, like everyone else.
Prepare yourself. Don’t depend on the government to save you.
Chapter 12: Conclusion
If you come away having learned only one thing from this article, it should be that the world around you will eventually change. From the beginning of human history, people have experienced the waxing and waning of feast and famine. It is no different today. Just as the natural cycles of life on this planet, for every summer, there is a winter. Winter is coming. If you do not follow the instructions in this article, come up with your own. Whatever you do, do not live under the false assumption that change is not coming.
At some point, the collapse will be at your front door. Even with the financial means to survive, you will be tested in ways you never imagined. One test you must pass is sticking to the plan. The stress of the collapse will cause you to think and behave in irrational ways; trust that the decision you made to follow this article was done under calm, thoughtful conditions. Do not revert back to dollars in a panic. Do not fall for false claims that the collapse is over early or that it will be avoided altogether. The sooner you accept the crash is imminent, the more time you will have to prepare.
Go forth. Do what needs to be done. Find comfort in knowing you are as prepared as possible for what is to come.