Let's pause a moment to consider everything that is going on right now and has occurred since 2020. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Are you? I have, at times, been extremely overwhelmed and, even at points, depressed.
I want you to close your eyes. Take a deep breath, hold it, and count to 10. Let it out. Now, do it two more times, just like the Navy Seals are trained to do to calm their nerves.
I've performed this breathing exercise several times and found it to be very calming. It seemed like a good time to share it with you before we go deeper.
This is not my typical blog post. Some people may be triggered, but that's okay. Feel free to disagree with me. However, It's time to discuss our current reality and how it will affect our future. I hope you'll keep an open mind.
Let's consider the last four years. COVID 2020. Crazy right? Then a "mandatory vaccine" or you'd lose your job. All the celebrities told us to take it. They even gave us tv commercials with singing and dancing in the street...over a needle and an experimental drug! What?! Oh, and if you like Stephen Colbert, you may enjoy this collection. Utterly insane, I think. It was all straight out of some nutty movie script if you ask me. When have we ever seen anything like this? You can't get this many people to agree on anything at the same time! Hmmmmm.
Well, not all celebrities supported the "vaccine." There were a few directing us in other directions. ICE CUBE, Aaron Rodgers (QB Green Bay Packers), Rob Schneider, Rosanne Barr, Kyrie Irving (NBA star), and quite a few more who were brave enough to go against the "directive."
After that vaccine, people breathed a sigh of relief. "Whew! Got the shot. I'm safe." Then came the 2nd shot. 3rd Shot. 4th shot. 5th shot. 6th shot. Now, we find out the shots don't even work! They don't protect you! You still get sick! At least they don't work how they were said to work...some of you reading this know what I mean.
So, here we are, nearing the end of 2023. COVID has wound down, and although there's a lot of chatter by the "upper powers" of another coming pandemic. As CBS and other media outlets condition...I mean, prepare us; we still have some time before it hits...I think.
In the meantime, while we're waiting on the next pandemic, we've been given a war in Ukraine vs. Russia, which seems to be wrapping up a bit sooner than some want...I mean, expected. And as it's wrapping up, we've just kicked off a conflict between Hamas and Israel, which seems to be spilling over into other countries that have nicely been filled up over the last several years with people who are, well...liked what Hamas did except now it seems quite a few of them want to do it in the countries they reside in. Hmmmm.
Are you nervous yet? You should be—crazy times.
I warned you about getting triggered, didn't I? But keep reading. Don't quit yet. It's necessary to get prepared for what "may" occur in 2024.
Money. 2024. Setting Your Expectations.
I won't lie to you. I expect the road ahead to be a wild ride in many ways, but let's start with money. My expectations for the road ahead...
I believe 2024 will most likely be a bust year. Why? Lot's of reasons.
Inflation. Need I say more? It's out of control.
Layoffs. The COVID shutdowns affected the US and global supply chain. With all the global manufacturing dependencies, it set off a financial Tsunami that has not fully hit the US yet. An easy layoff search will show you how layoffs continue to build. With every company experiencing layoffs, the options for work continue to shrink for those being laid off.
Real Estate. Commercial Real Estate is a real problem. During covid, remote workers became the go-to option. That left a lot of empty office space in play. Once COVID ended, many companies and workers chose to continue with the "work from home" culture. This put the real estate owners in a precarious position and is expected to result in defaulted loans.
Small Business Shutdowns. Many small businesses shut down during COVID and never reopened. Some reopened only to close at a later date due to loss of business from the "new normal." Small business employs about 50% of the total US workforce and accounts for 99.9% of the businesses.
Gas Prices. This is my personal opinion, which very seldom gets mentioned by itself in the news. Consider gas prices several years ago at $2 per gallon. Consider gas prices today at from $3.20 to $3.99 depending the day. For simplicity, let's just say a average variation of $1.50 per gallon difference. For the average family, raising the gas price $1.50 per gallon is devastating. For a 2 car family using 1 tank of gas per car per week on a 15 gallon tank, is an extra $180+ per month in cost. That's $2,160 per year extra cost! A tremendous amount of money for a $50,000 to $100,000 income family.
More of My Thoughts
Why is everything so crazy like this? Are our leaders really this bad? Was it all just a freak thing that happened? One major catastrophe after another? How much worse can it get?
There's no easy way to say it. It's been set up. Yes. Do that breathing exercise again.
Ask yourself, why is our government $33 trillion in debt? That's $33,000,000,000,000.
Now, who is that debt owed to? The majority of our National Debt is owned by two groups. (1) Federal Bankers, (2) Foreign Governments. What?! That's right. Crazy!
Consider the interest payment on that amount of debt. Care to guess what it is? We, the taxpayers, paid $213 BILLION in Q4 2022. With the debt level being even higher now in 2023, you can estimate the total interest for 2023 somewhere between $850 BILLION to $1 TRILLION Dollars! In interest alone! Wow! Let that sink into your mind.
That's $850B to $1T being paid by us (Americans) to Banks, Bankers, and foreign governments like China. Want to know how China's getting rich? It's off us!
Let's put that into perspective. We pay more interest on debt to bankers and foreign governments than the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 194 Countries in the world. Only 20 countries have a GDP higher than the interest we pay on our US National Debt!
Sorry to say it, but I expect a bust year, and so do a lot of other financial minds out there.
Watch what Robert Kiyosaki has to say about it all.
So what can you do to get prepared? Time is short.
Protect your money. Talk to your financial advisor to get a feel. Ask him about Robert Kiyosaki, George Gammon, Ray Dalio, and James Rickards. (You can also watch these guys on YouTube.) What's he or she telling you? What's their strategy for a possible market crash? Many times, they say ride it out. That's the standard line. Considering alternatives?
Educate and Learn. Stay informed by connecting and following people who know more about money than you do. I call those "money mentors." You can find one locally, or virtually, but find one.
Dump your debt. Just like Dave Ramsey has been saying for 30 years. The borrower is a slave to the lender. That will prove to be true in the coming months and years. Get rid of your debt. Get free of the banks. And LOSE THE STRESS!
Self Directed IRA is a great option for breaking away from the constraints of a financial advisor and gives you many more investing options to protect your retirement. The truth is Blackrock and Vanguard control most of the wealth in the world, and your 401K or IRA is probably managed by them. Thrivent Financial is a good alternative option if want to stay with the financial advisor model.
Store food reserves. During the 1920s, there were several major problems. Jobs, inflation, and food, to name a few. It happened once. It can and will happen again. Today, we're a spoiled society in the United States, where food is abundant and available. For many countries and people in the world, food security and scarcity is a problem. Over 800 million people go hungry around the world every day. To protect yourself and your family, build your food supplies into a rotation system. I started doing this several years ago. Visit ThePrepared.com . And learn to grow your own food.
Whew! You made it through! What a heavy blog post, but I couldn't walk into 2024 without sharing my thoughts when we're all going through such challenging times together.
For more guidance, drop me a line. I'll be glad to chat, answer questions, and offer any help I can to get you prepared.