September 17, 2008

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

Starting today, if you had no access to a job or income, how long could you go before you were homeless and digging through trashcans for your next meal?

Bonus question: Now take your first response and assume the US has defaulted on its debt and/or the value of its currency has been destroyed. Now what's your answer?


Anonymous said...

Two years

Flapjack said...

I am so damn lucky. I'm an expat living in a Euro country. (Not Britain or Spain, thank goodness.) I moved in 2005. I used to live in Vegas and had I owned a house and sold it then, I would've made out like a bandit. Alas, In 2001 when I moved to Vegas, I didn't buy a house because I subscribe to Murphy's Law... what if I couldn't sell when we needed to move to Holland? Did I want to be a long distance landlord?

Anywhoo, I'm just someone trying to do my best with the info I have. It is so hard to know just what to do. Even though I've been reading this blog for years, I still invest somethings ggressively with an eye towards the distant future. Those investments look like total shit right now. I've kept some safe, but make far less than inflation. I feel screwed everyway I turn.

But what makes me lucky is that I turned a good chunk of dollars into Euros and I earn euros. My country will get hit like all the others, but for us it'll be a mild to moderate recession, given our fundamentals.

So to answer the question... not touching my dollars or dollar based investments, living solely on saved Euros, I could live jobless with my family for a year.

Stuck in So Pa said...

Well, if you take out eating and paying bills of any kind, a good long while, I think!

Doug said...

ANSWER: I could go probably 10 years by selling off assets.

BONUS ANSWER: My physical gold and silver comes out of the safe and I can go 10 years.

Ed said...

I think I could go a good long time. I would just start eating the other bums. There will be plenty around. MMMM....Delicious!

Anonymous said...

At present "burn rate", about 10 years. This does not include any increase in rent or other expenses nor any allowance for interest or return on investments. It does however include medical insurance, but not any potential catastrophic health crisis. Likewise, I would still take annual vacations overseas, dine out once or twice a week, pay my auto insurance and so-on.

The unforeseen expenses are the ones that would cause problems. To be conservative, let's say 7 to 8 years of full "retirement" before I ran low on cash and had to find a job. But then my 401K, IRA and savings would be drained and it would still be a long way to Social Security (if it even exists by then) and my annuities.

On the other hand, if I can continue to work another 20 to 30 years ... well, I'm not worried ... not yet anyway.

Anonymous said...

About two years I have around 80k in worthless US dollars and would reduce outflow. Maybe longer, think back about your lifestyle in college (lots of fun with no money) Got to buy more popcorn and ammo.

Anonymous said...

Forgot about the bonus question.

Truthfully, I do not think the US dollar will become worthless in such a short period of time. It is still the one-and-only Reserve Currency on the planet. This still means quite a bit when you analyze the implications.

But, if the USA did default and if the dollar did become worthless ... then I guess I would do what any red-blooded American would do.

I'd get a semi-automatic rifle that uses at least a 10-15 round magazine, with lots of ammunition, maybe a good pistol (of decent caliber) or revolver (double action only) and perhaps an easy-to-load shotgun and I'd start to "accumulate" those other things I would need to survive.

A few like-minded souls for company, a couple of women for "real" company, a dog or two for companionship ... then off to the farm/ranch country to hunt cows and sheep and goats ... and to shoot pesky farmers/ranchers if they get in the way.

Hopefully it won't come to that though.

Agent 99 said...

Here's a website for those who want to be prepared. Shop on-line if you like. "Alpine NO one protects you better."

Anonymous said...

Forever. Been on a 20 acre subsistence farm for over 20 years now. Instead of deciding what stocks to invest in, I invested in real stock, livestock. And the wheat futures I invested in are in barrels in the basement. I cook on a wood stove that also heats the house, do the heavy work around here with a horse, and have enough comfortable work clothing bought at thrift stores stashed away for just about the rest of my life.

Don't get me wrong, when good times come back I will pursue my trade (luthier) and enjoy the wider world once again. But this whole sorry current mess can swirl down the tubes and I will just sit here, put another log on the fire, and, put some more biscuits in the oven, and be amused by it. Forever maybe.


Anonymous said...

Hard to say. My houses are paid up, but the rental one may well be confiscated by a predatory government should things turn really sour. (Though I could probably install one of my kids in it.) I have no debt and have a years worth of food stored up. I have some physical metal. I am seriously considering buying a farm with what's left of the money I removed from my 401K (taxes and penalties all paid up) but the trick is, I first need to learn how to farm. I'm really just at the backyard garden stage right now.

area 51 said...

It could be never.
Net cash could easily last 15-20 years on a low budget.
I own my travel trailer and vehicles (and guns) outright. So I would always have a mobile roof with ammenities over my head.

BB said...


Forgetting banks/401ks/etc:

10-years worth of ammo (easy)

2-years of cash reserves in fireproof gun safe

2-years of gold/silver reserves in fireproof gun safe

2-years of food canned and dried in the basement at all times in constant rotation / replenishment

Plenty of hunting/fishing/gardening skills and experience to make it from there, even if I had to live out of a back pack / tent in the wilderness after selling / trading most physical assets.

I'd think twice REALLY hard if I were you before doing this:

"then off to the farm/ranch country to hunt cows and sheep and goats ... and to shoot pesky farmers/ranchers if they get in the way."

Folks out here are a little more keen that most give them credit. You'd quickly find yourself as the hunted long before you ever fired a shot, and you'd probably be fed to the dogs and chickens afterward.

If you're not already a part of farm/ranch country -you won't be welcome when the panic hits.

Stay in the city boy.

Trust me on that one.


Anonymous said...

Keith, even if the U.S. defaults on their debt, so what? We are the biggest economy on earth! We are number one! People just hate us because we are number one in everything.

Anonymous said...

3-4 years

Anonymous said...

Three years, but I will have gone through my entire nest egg...

How about some nascar? said...

In my town, you would have to get in line. There are at least 3 sets of people who rifle through the garbage every week.

There are homeless people sleeping at bus stops but no loose aluminum cans for a 100 wile radius...

This IS Silicon Valley Today.

Anonymous said...

BB. I am lucky to be in the same boat as you. My family is successful farmers. We have wells with clean water, plenty of food, ammo, shelter. We are great at bussiness but one thing we know is how to produce for ourselves. We are educated and are proficient in our thechnological world but we are damn good at picking up a shovel and getting dirty. We can work the land and survive and live a very nice life off what we can produce for ourselves. I will survive a long time. I may may lose some finer things but but I wil be ok.

I am not religous to be clear before my next statement. I do want to be clear that we are a nation of people that are only in good spirits and mental conditions when we are attatched to money and greed. Our "entitlement" needs to be smashed. Find some inner peace that works for you. Learn to cherish family, learn to cherish the basic fundamentals of being human. Learn to be thankful for the basics and stop taking them for granted. People with good attitudes and those who are grateful are the ones who are rich not those with the most money and the sense of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Keith, even if the U.S. defaults on their debt, so what? We are the biggest economy on earth! We are number one! People just hate us because we are number one in everything.

Ed can you eat the poster of the above comment first.

Anonymous said...

I have $300,000 in cash/gold/forex from my house sale, so it would be a while.

BUT, the REAL question is, not "what if I didn't have a job/income", but "what if I couldn't get access to the money I already have?"!!!!

To wit:

"Money market fund suffers massive losses, "breaks the buck", suspends redemptions. Only the second time in history this has happened."

Holy crap! NOW things are getting interesting!

Przemo said...

7 years selling gold

Anonymous said...

I always love these threads. A bunch of kids living in mommy's basement thinking it takes $1K a year to survive.

Show me a garage or barn packed with enough canned/dehydrated food and bottled potable water for a family of four for two years, commandos, and you will have shown me the local nutcase's place.

speedingpullet said...

If I was left with the contents of my checking account, as is?

I'd probably do what one7thfarmer does, get out of the cities and work for a farmer and/or obtain my own land. The city is not the place to be when you're poor.

I've worked on farms before, and have lived in enough poor countries to be no stranger to candlelight and drawing water from a well by hand.

As for trashcan mining - don't bother with domestic trash, head for the supermarket dumpsters.

Word has it that Trader Joes has the best and freshest 'trash' as they're much better at clearing their 'past sell-by date' produce than other chains.

And, if you're lucky enough to be in the UK, a lot of supermarkets actually give away their 'slightly used' produce to charities anyway.

I had a nice gig while a student volunteering for a Youth Organization in southeast London a few hours a week, where one of the perks of the job was the daily bag of groceries from the local Marks and Spencer with perfectly good, but unsellable, food on their hands.

Thanks M & S - you fed me and you fed me well :-)

Anonymous said...

I expected a terrorist attack on the US and that happened in Yemen today. I fully expect Al-Quaida to ramp-up their operations globally.

Also, when Wall Street fails and money becomes valueless, exactly who is going to force anyone out of their homes?

I expect anarychy, rioting, and mob-mentatlity to take place. If this occurs on a wide-scale exactly who is going to be around to defend anyone? With this kind of atmosphere those who are paid to protect and serve will be busy protecting their families and land if there's enough of a panic.

Expect failures with your utilities as well. Who will be working to provide you with these services when they're also busy at home protecting their best interests.

In order to survive, Americans will migrate to the rural areas with moderate weather, away from the mobs of the cities and suburbs. This will enable them more food to forage and safety, at least for a while.

In the months ahead, while all this is going on Mexico will increase it's border with the US, taking land of some southern states. Alaska will once again be taken by Russia for it's precious oil. China with it's massive army will invade from the west and seize land up to the Mississippi river. The eastern states will be safe for a while.

Anyway, to answer the question....

You will last as long as your health, luck and ammo hold out.


Anonymous said...

You should have learned how to hunt, like Palin. But since being a pu$$y is is the new trend these days, in which grown men pay $400 for a haircut and $120 for designer jeans...America wants to become a nation of sissies with the help of all those Gen Y-ner idiots that will be hunted like dogs if this country goes really down. You better run fast with your brand new MacBooks and organic granola bars, sissy boys from CA and WA, because real men are going to kick your arses.

formosan80 said...

hmmm, only about five months. But I am good at starting businesses. I would probably start catering to those who still had jobs. I also would do what poor people do in other countries: move in with family! 8 or 9 people to 3 bedrooms.

Anonymous said...

What is it about crises that brings the psychos out of the woodwork?

If anything, the Gen Y-ers and Gen X-ers are going to be the best off of anyone. They're still young and healthy for the most part.

It's going to be all the Boomers and tweeners bitching about the lazy kids who are going to get eaten alive. They're aging and nobody's going to give a shit about their welfare if anarchy arrives -- they're going to be the ones blamed for the collapse since it was their greedy, immoral and irresponsible generation that was running the country at the time the whole thing blew up.

Mammoth said...

“Starting today, if you had no access to a job or income, how long could you go before you were homeless and digging through trashcans for your next meal?

- Given that our house - which sits on 2½ acres - is paid off, we would have to first burn through all of our savings and sell all of our sellable assets. Also, given our parsimonious spending habits we are talking 10 years minimum.

(Of course, all bets are off if hyperinflation occurs.)
- - -
“Bonus question: Assuming the US has defaulted on its debt and/or the value of its currency has been destroyed, what's your answer?”

- In this case, we would NEVER become homeless because there would be no place to go. And the
2½ adjacent acres, which we bought in January, would effectively become ours as well.

We would most likely partner with neighbors – since we would all be in the same boat – and pool/share our skills. Those who are good at hunting & fishing would provide security & meat while we would provide farming/gardening knowledge to provide fruit, nuts and vegetables, as well as construction skills.


WTF1920 said...

Well, with as much ammo as I have for hunting, I could live for years on deer and turkey. I also have about 2 months worth of freeze-dried food for backup if I can't find any animals to hunt.

Survival would not be easy, though. Because everyone else would be hungry, too. And they would be willing to steal or kill someone to get food. That's when the firearm becomes more than just a tool for hunting. And it's never a pleasant sight once the bullets fly towards non-animal targets. I hope it doesn't get to that point-I really hope not.

Anonymous said...

I guess it sucks to be working class in this country - I could last a month, maybe two.

formosan80 said...

"You better run fast with your brand new MacBooks and organic granola bars, sissy boys from CA and WA, because real men are going to kick your arses."

Organic is actually the way to go. I moonlight as a commodities buyer and I can tell you that Urea has doubled since January. Urea is used to fertilize non-organic crops and is made almost entirely out of natural gas. If natural gas goes up so does Urea and other chemical fertilizers. Non-organic farming will be very difficult without inexpenisive chemicals.

Max said...

We are the biggest economy on earth! We are number one!

EU economy is larger than the US.

Anonymous said...

Once Obama takes over we will all live in re-education camps for 3-4 years. No need for money.

Anonymous said...

I have three passports, property overseas, and money stashed in different currencies. I can move to anywhere in the EU and other Latin countries. And I can also jump on my boat with my bug-out bag to reach the Caribbean, if things suddenly get really hot around the corner.

Anonymous said...

I have a chronic honestly...not that long.

Not that it matters worth shit anyways in this mess.