A Word From Bob

As Seen & Heard

Contact Us

rss

Invest Yourself

The FREE Investment Newsletter That Really Works!

10.8.2014 Financial Intelligence Report Bookmark

Ebola, should you prep for it?

On the weekend I put out a story about Ebola and how none of this makes a lot of sense. I’m not going to go through all the things that are wrong with this whole picture again, but suffice it to say that something is very fishy about this whole thing. There’s an agenda here, and just exactly what it is isn’t clear yet, but it will be.

However, maybe the timing is good for moving along a bit concerning basic prepping for emergencies. As you all know, I try my best to offer up real world solutions to things other than just simply the markets, because frankly the markets are not the only thing in life. Sure we make our money investing, but we all have lives outside the markets.  So if there’s a topic I’m fluent about, I think it’s right that I share that with you all.  Right now a lot of folks are in semi panic mode over Ebola, and what they should do at home. Well one thing to do is have basic emergency preparations in place.

Ebola, should you prep for it?

On the weekend I put out a story about Ebola and how none of this makes a lot of sense. I’m not going to go through all the things that are wrong with this whole picture again, but suffice it to say that something is very fishy about this whole thing. There’s an agenda here, and just exactly what it is isn’t clear yet, but it will be.

However, maybe the timing is good for moving along a bit concerning basic prepping for emergencies. As you all know, I try my best to offer up real world solutions to things other than just simply the markets, because frankly the markets are not the only thing in life. Sure we make our money investing, but we all have lives outside the markets.  So if there’s a topic I’m fluent about, I think it’s right that I share that with you all.  Right now a lot of folks are in semi panic mode over Ebola, and what they should do at home. Well one thing to do is have basic emergency preparations in place.

A couple weeks ago we talked about water, and how to get it, and filter it in an emergency situation. I’ve had a ton of people write in to thank us for that article, as they had no idea that there were filters available for just 80 -200 bucks that allow you to take swamp water, ditch water, retention pond water and turn it into drinkable water.   I was happy to share the info, and I hope you all went and got one.

When the power goes out in a “normal” emergency, whether it’s an ice storm, earthquake, Hurricane, etc, water is one of the first things to worry about. But it isn’t the only thing as we’ve discussed. If you live in a frigid zone and you heat with electric, then heat becomes almost - if not as -important as water. But there’s obviously more to being comfortable during an emergency situation than just water. Food comes to mind, and then of course a way to “cook” it.

The beauty of short term food storage is that you don’t need to be a survivalist to have a pretty good short term stockpile. Canned foods such as hearty soups store well for a long time and are fairly cheap. While certainly not gourmet by any fashion, 50 cans of Progresso Rich and hearty soup, or even Campbell’s chunky steak and veggie soups will get you through a few weeks of no supermarket. But you don’t want to eat just soup for a few weeks, and there’s other things that are also cheap to store up that last a long time. Dried pasta comes to mind. Rice. Canned tomato sauce. Canned veggies.  Canned pork and chicken breast. Canned Tuna.   Oh and don’t forget your coffee and tea, dried milk or non dairy creamers etc.

In other words, there’s a difference between prepping for the end of the world, and being prepared enough to live fairly well for a few weeks. If your town was in lock down for 21 days as they try and snuff out a viral infection like Ebola, do you have enough for you and your family to stay “in home” for 21 days? Probably not. But it is so incredibly easy to do, that you should have that stuff on hand anyway. You never know when that next twister, hurricane, flood, virus, etc can hit your hometown.

So here’s an action plan for you all that’s really quite easy. Get yourself to a BJ’s, or Costco or any other bulk seller and buy yourself a nice assortment of canned goods. Pick up your soups, rice, pasta’s, tomato sauces, canned veggies, canned pork and chicken, etc.  Then find a decent place in your home to store it all. If you have to, it will work in a shed or garage, but it’s better in a basement or a spare walk in closet if you have something like that.

Okay, so if you got the water filters I talked about, and a few hundred dollars worth of canned and dried food, you’re pretty much almost set for hunkering down. But, you have to have a way to cook that food, and boil water. Life gets mighty miserable if you can’t have your morning coffee or tea.  So if you live in a house with electric cooktops, and the power goes out, you need plan B. Even if your house is supplied with natural gas, that gas only comes if the pumping stations are on line.  During Hurricane Sandy they had to turn off the natgas because of so many fires. So having a backup is necessary.

For most people the first thing that comes to mind is the propane grill. That’s great, just as long as you buy an extra propane tank or two and keep them filled. You can go a long time cooking on a grill with just two filled 20 lb tanks.  But you must have them BEFORE the emergency hits. The day the power goes out it’s too late, the propane tank swap joints will be bone dry in a matter of a couple hours. Do yourself the favor, get a brand new tank at say Lowes and get it filled. Total cost 50 bucks.  Keep them both as full as you can, or the best thing is to have 3. Keep two full at all times while you use the 3rd for daily grilling.

But what if you didn’t have a grill, or any propane? Is there any way to cook without making like Davey Crockett and building an open pit fire?  Yes there is, but again, you’ll need to “get” the thing or build one ahead of time. It’s called a rocket stove, and frankly every home should have one or two. You can make them yourself for about “free” if you’re even semi handy at all, or you can buy them pre made for about 30 bucks or so.  You can use paint cans, soup cans, bricks, etc, and they work VERY VERY well.

Okay what’s a rocket stove? The idea of a rocket stove is a way to cook or boil water, using very little “fuel” but produce enormous heat. The fuel used is sticks and twigs. Now the beauty of these things is that no matter where you live, you can forage up enough sticks and twigs to fire these up several times a day. That’s quite unlike a big wood grill or smoker, which needs logs. Logs are hard work, twigs however are on the ground everywhere.

I truly wish I had made a video to show you all how these things work, or even how to make one. But there’s enough good video’s on youtube to get you started.  I have made several of these things, and I have to tell you, they’re really quite amazing. With a coffee can full of twigs, I can boil a gallon of water, or cook anything I could cook indoors.

This is a video showing you how to make one. It’s not the best by far, but it hits the high points and shows you how easy it is to make one.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwujZFK05rY

If you look around on you tube you’ll find quite a few more, and you can get as fancy or as basic as you want. Then again, there are folks that build these and sell them online for about 30 bucks, it’s not a horrible idea to just buy one if you don’t want to make one.  

Again folks, I don’t tell you guys about products, or projects or what have you unless I completely believe in them. If I won’t use it, I certainly cannot tell you to use it. So anything you see in my pages comes with the guarantee that I trust in what I’m telling you to be “good stuff”. These little rocket stoves are indeed “good stuff”.

As a side note, you can make larger rocket stoves out of barrels, etc to use as a heat source in outbuildings, etc, and they are really quite incredible. I have not made one personally, but my friend Ken did for his garage in NJ, and the amount of heat it puts out in comparison to the amount of wood he puts in, makes it about 3X more efficient than his wood stove in the house. Pretty neat stuff.

Now if you’ve not prepared at all, and the power is down, you don’t have a grill, no propane and you didn’t bother to buy or make a rocket stove can you still cook something? Yes, but it takes a bit more work. Naturally you can make an open pit fire, but it uses way too much wood, and it’s pretty visible to everyone. It works but it’s not ideal. You’re not going to want the hassle of trying to find and cut wood to feed it.  The better way is a hole fire. It’s called a Dakota stove. Here’s what you do… you go outside, maybe to your backyard. You dig two holes, side by side maybe 4 inches apart. Make them maybe 8 – 10 inches in diameter and maybe 16 inches deep.

Down at the bottom dig a tunnel connecting the two. Make that hole about 4 inches around.  Put your kindling, and twigs in one hole and start a fire. What you’re doing is using one hole for an air inlet, and the other to contain the fire. Once the fire is going well, it will stay contained in the hole, with flames coming out the top.  Put some rocks or bricks or what have you around it, and then you can place your pot on top of the fire.

The fire will burn really hot, but it will need more fuel. That’s the only problem is that you have to feed the fire hole from the top. So you’ll have to move your pots and pans to refuel.  But it is very efficient, using very little fuel and it produces a very hot fire. When  you’re done, you just fill it in with the dirt you removed to make the holes.

So think about what we’ve done over the past few weeks. In just a few articles we’ve shown you how relatively easy it is for you to survive fairly comfortably during a short term emergency situation. For 200 bucks you can get a water filter that will produce gallons of drinkable  water each day for your family, and you can get that water from lakes, ponds, drainage ditches, retentions ponds, streams, etc.  For about 400 bucks you can stock up enough canned and dried food to feed your family pretty well for 3 weeks. For “free” you can build a little rocket stove or two, that will cook anything you want to make, using common twigs for fuel.

Is that all there is to it? Not really, there’s always the little things you should have on hand. Matches and lighters, a medicine kit, toilet paper, candles, batteries, flashlights, etc etc. It’s amazing the amount of things we take for granted in running our daily lives.  But my main point was that in a short term emergency disruption, as long as your main shelter (house, apartment, etc) is still intact, you can get by pretty well with not a whole lot of effort.

Sometimes it is the “little things” that will make such a big difference. For instance I know a young couple that thought it wise to stock up all manner of canned foods for an emergency. Bravo! That’s good thinking. But when I asked them what brand of manual can opener they bought because some of them are pure junk, they looked at me with big round eyes like a deer in the headlights. They forgot about that. No power means no counter-top electric opener. Likewise a rocket stove can boil water better than your gas range. But no matches or lighters means you’re looking just like that deer.

Yes you can flush your toilets with two gallons of creek water. But do you have any toilet paper? If stores are closed, or have been cleaned out, you’ll find that no TP makes you grumpy. So, you bought some cans of coffee for your emergency pantry. Good job! Did you remember to buy an old fashioned “percolator” coffee pot that works on campfires, or propane grills or rocket stoves? Or at least a French press you just pour hot water into and it drips through the coffee?  

See? It’s a lot of little things that add up to making life easier in a bad situation. But the bottom line is that now we have so much technology, that it is only your choices that limit how well you will get through a bad time.  With the advances in solar power and inverters, you can for very little money take a shed or outbuilding and make it completely off grid and run anything electrical you might want. But that’s a different article, this one is all about short term emergency contingencies.

One of the only constants in life is change. Things can go along normally for years on end, seemingly forever and then “boom” something happens. No one likes to think about it, let along prepare for it. It’s sort of like insurance. I hate paying my premiums each year. But I know it is for a good cause. Likewise taking basic preparation steps for getting through short term emergencies is like that insurance plan. Hopefully you’ll never need it. But when you do, it is awful handy to have.

One day I’ll produce a lengthy article or booklet on longer term preparing which will go into much greater detail. I’ve had quite a few requests for it. But for these letters, I think that if we hit the basics, and can keep you in food, water and a way to cook it, you’re already light years ahead of the masses.  I think we’re off to a pretty good start there. So as the weeks go by we’ll inject an article here or there about such topics. It lets us take a break from beating up on Obama, foreign policy, the markets and the other insanity.

The Market…

Monday the market was very whippy, running higher and then lower and back to flat for the close. Usually when a market is whipping back and forth, it means “uncertainty” where the bulls and bears are fighting for control. When the day ended, no one had really won.

Tuesday however there was no question who was in charge. We fell out of bed right after the open, attempted a few half hearted pushes for higher…and then rolled over big. By the time the afternoon bell rang, we were down 260 points and we’d blown past all the support levels. It was an ugly day for the bulls and it was funny listening to CNBC cheerleaders trying to explain it away.

But there’s no explaining our lousy economy away. Wal-Mart had to announce it is ending healthcare for its part time workers because it’s too expensive. Can you imagine what I’m saying here? The single BIGGEST employer in the United States is ending healthcare for a huge portion of the American workforce because they can’t afford it. I thought our President said his Obama-care would lower costs? Another lie from the fraud in Charge.

But it isn’t just Wal-mart…the IMF had to lower its estimates for global growth again. That’s 3 times in 3 quarters that the IMF has had to lower its view of economic activity. Maybe some day they’ll figure out that the worlds going to hell in a handbag?  

Over in Germany, their industrial production fell to multi year lows. Well of course it did. Some 4000 companies in Germany were direct sellers of product to Russia. But the lunatics in charge of the US military complex and their lapdogs in the EU have placed all those sanctions against Russia. Now those German businesses don’t have to produce any product because all their production is sitting in warehouses collecting rust.

French paper is at yields so low they’ve not been seen in 250 years. Greece is going to default again, China’s fake economy is creaking and groaning as you can only make so many “ghost towns” with no inhabitants. The Baltic dry index is sucking wind, as no one’s shipping anything. Ebola or what ever this thing really is, is beginning to have an impact on things. I can go on and on about all this, the bottom line being that “yeah, things stink”.

So today we opened green on green futures. But it was short lived and by 11 am we were down across the board with the DOW off 35, and the S&P off almost 7. It looked like it might snowball downhill again, but they raced in to save the day just as Europe was closing. If you overlay the VIX with the chart of the SPY you see the direct correlation. They beat the snot out of the VIX and that instantly ignites futures buying in the S&P.

Then we simply “hovered” for hours as they awaited the release of the last FOMC meeting’s minutes. The thinking was that if enough of the members were talking about keeping rates at virtually zero for a considerable time, then the market might want to use that as the reason to start a snap back move higher. So they were willing to try and just hold us in place, sort of treading water.

The “interesting” thing was that about 15 minutes ahead of the release, the market started sprinting higher. There was no reason for this, as the market generally remains dead flat until the minutes hit. So, someone leaked the report. How do we know? Because the market was praying for signs that the Fed’s would feed them more free money, more low rates, maybe even a new QE program. They'd only move the market up if they knew they were going to get that. When the minutes hit, they talked about a lot of “issues” that were bugging them.

They talked about the slowing global financial situation. They talked about the strong dollar hurting us. They talked about how they haven’t seen the inflation target they wanted. They even mentioned that folks might be confused about them removing “considerable time” from their statements.

The market loved it. 20 minutes after the release, we were up 200 points.  You have to see the irony in the whole situation. The market gained 270 points because the global economy is so weak, they Fed’s are worried. Stocks gained because the Fed worries there’s not enough inflation, just a day after Wal-mart halts healthcare for its part timers because the cost is rising too fast.  I can’t make this stuff up.

So we had a big up day to counter yesterday’s plunge. Now what? Well, we start earnings season today, and next week we’ll get the numbers out of the banks. If they fudge the balance sheets and move loan loss reserves into the plus column, I could see them gunning the market higher. But I’m having a hard time thinking they’re going to take us to new highs again.

While they spent too much money to let today be a one day event, I don’t think this has real staying power if earnings disappoint. Granted companies have spent 95% of their earnings buying back their own stock, which always helps the cause, but you get the idea…the market is not functioning on solid fundamentals, it’s back to hoping and praying the punchbowl stays full.

I think we can lean long for a bit, but don’t let your finger get too far from the sell button, okay? Good. I’ll see you all this weekend.




Showing 0 Comment

Social Media

Bob Recommends