Poor Is A Choice – 25 Ways To Choose A Rich Life

I’ve written previously about The Top 10 Symptoms of Poor Man’s Disease and about how I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and once lived in such a rough neighborhood I counted prostitutes on my way home from work each night…but I never chose to be poor and I do believe that poor is a choice.

I never went hungry growing up or did without anything I needed (and by my high school years had just about everything I wanted) but there was a time when I was very young when my folks would search through the couch cushions at the end of the month to scrape together enough money to have a treat at McDonalds.  As an adult I’ve been unemployed, lived check-to-check and I once lived in such a bad neighborhood that I made a game of counting how many prostitutes I passed on my way home from work.

I now live in a small town and one of the benefits of living in a small town is that you get to know many different types of people.  Folks with varied economic and educational backgrounds…folks with  different definitions of success who define ‘the good life’ in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine.  I know lots of folks who don’t have a lot of financial resources but I don’t know a whole lot of ‘poor’ people…and most of the folks I know who are ‘poor’ live a life to be envied by most folks…and I’m not talking about people like Hillary Clinton talking about being broke when she and President Clinton left the White House.

Even those that are members of the lucky sperm club and grow up with all the benefits that family wealth provides have been known to choose poverty… then there are guys like Donald Trump who’s failed and gone bankrupt multiple times, but never let it keep him down.

‘Poor’ is a combination of:

  • Expenses equaling or exceeding income
  • Not making changes to bring income up and/or expenses down
  • Having a poor attitude about it because you ‘deserve more’ or ‘aren’t getting your fair share’

Being poor really is a choice, or more appropriately a series of choices made and choices not made.  If you accept my assertion that poor is a choice, why not choose rich.  Below are a number of choices to make…or avoid to choose rich.  I’ve written this guide as advice for the young…who have opportunities that those of us a little more seasoned might not have…but even if you’ve made some poor choices in the past, it’s never too late to choose rich!

Poor is a choice so:

  1. Choose an education:  I don’t care whether it’s an advanced degree, a bachelor’s degree, a certificate from a trade school, or a journeyman trade…just make sure that you get an education or skills that are marketable.  The most prestigious degree in the world isn’t worth getting if you can’t earn a living.
  2. Choose to start in the Military:  What’s better than getting job training, work experience and college money…how about earning an income and serving your country while you do so.  Oh, and it’s the best resume material in the world… what other career entrusts those under 25 with millions of dollars worth of equipment and human lives…  There are even part time options called the Reserves and the National Guard.  Did you know that less than a quarter of the young people today qualify for military service because of medical conditions or the choices they’ve made (convictions, drug use, obesity, mental health medications, etc.).
  3. Choose to take an entry level job:  The current movement to raise the minimum wage is endangering entry level jobs.  No job is beneath you that’s legal and moral.  Take that first job that’s unsavory to prove yourself so that you can eventually have the job you want.
  4. Choose to volunteer:  Volunteer for more responsibility, accept the unpleasant tasks and prove yourself so that you can move up in the organization or on to the better job or into a career.  Volunteer in your community to help others, build your reputation and expand your personal network.
  5. Choose to work:  Work even if you don’t have to because that’s how you’ll create more opportunities.  I’ve known folks who work until they have enough money to last themselves a few days, weeks or months and then fail to show up or quit to knock around for a while.  Don’t lose the gig you have until you already have the one you want and never burn bridges that you might need again.
  6. Choose to treat your employer’s business as if it’s yours:  The best employees approach every job as if they’re the business owner.  They give 100%, don’t cut corners and look for ways to improve profitability.  If you take ownership of your job you will either be rewarded with more opportunities, benefits and pay or will learn that you want to work for another employer.
  7. Choose to be patient:  Employers look for and reward loyal employees that perform well over time.  Doing a good job is a marathon, not a sprint so don’t expect rewards for working hard for hours or days…think in terms of weeks, months or years depending on your chosen career.
  8. Choose to improve your skills:  The smartest guy I ever worked with didn’t rely on his intelligence to get ahead…he spent every spare moment developing skills to become more attractive to potential employers.  While the rest of our deployed group went out to dinner or a night on the town he’d stay in and study and practice for IT certifications and work hard learning new software development skills.
  9. Choose to network:  You may be the best widget servicer in the world but if you don’t develop a reputation within a group of people who are involved with widgets then you’ll be hard pressed to get that first job.
  10. Choose multigenerational wealth creation:  Traditionally, new immigrants to the U.S. expected to work hard for low wages their entire lives in order to improve the opportunities for their children.  With all the opportunities available these days, I don’t think that this is necessary any more, but you have to admire the stamina and determination of these immigrants to refuse to think ‘poor.’
  11. Choose a second job:  Maybe you need extra experience to achieve your dream job…maybe you just need extra money to make up for some temporary setback or poor financial decisions.  Don’t be too proud to take a second job.  I’ve had second and often third jobs most of my adult life…often that third job is something that’s mostly fun or gives me a discount for things I enjoy doing.  Consider taking a second job that gives back to your community as well as developing your skills…military Reservist, National Guardsman, or reserve law enforcement are such options.
  12. Choose frugality:  Spend less money than you make and you’ll be less likely to choose to be ‘poor.’  Especially beware those monthly recurring charges that add up quickly.
  13. Choose to stay out of debt:  There are good reasons to take on debt but the only two I can think of are to purchase a business (or equipment) that will bring in much more income each month that you pay our in payments and to buy a house…but a modest house for your income in a good neighborhood.
  14. Choose to stay away from drugs:  Drug use doesn’t just slow down your reflexes, it slows down your opportunities.  There are a number of jobs, opportunities and promotions that will be denied to you if you choose drugs.
  15. Choose to stay away from crime:  I don’t just mean ‘don’t do crime’ I also mean that you should stay away from those who do.  Ask any law enforcement officer and they’ll tell you that there is such a thing as guilt by association.  Background checks don’t care if you were ever convicted.
  16. Choose to look employable:  If you’re going to be a tattoo artist than it’s OK to have tattoos all over your neck and forearms but if you want to go into the Army or become a nurse than such tattoos will make it more difficult to find employment.  The same goes with tattoos, purple hair, mohawks and all similar types of expression.  Look like what you want to be…dress for the job you want as well.
  17. Choose to act the part:  Don’t just look like what you want to be…act like it as well.  Those who get the opportunity most likely looked and acted like they already had it.
  18. Choose to take care of yourself:  You have to be and look physically fit enough to do the job and healthy enough that they expect you to be able to work.
  19. Choose good hygiene:  I know a woman who is competent, experienced, dependable, loyal and attractive…but she’s been unexpectedly fired twice recently…she lives in a house with several dogs and she’s let them make her house smell like a urinal which means that any clothes that she puts on that aren’t straight out of the dryer…smell like a urinal.  Keep yourself and your environment clean so that nothing distracts from you competence.
  20. Choose how you define ‘rich:’  I know a guy who lives check-to-check but he wants to fix cars and work from his farm so he does.  He’s had good paying jobs but he always comes back to the farm because that’s what he wants and I’ve never once heard him complain about being ‘poor.’
  21. Choose continuous self development:  From time to time I’ve found myself resting on my laurels…I’m never happy again until I start working on myself again…mentally, physically, career skills, personal networks…whatever…and once I start growing again…I’m always happier and seem to make more money.
  22. Choose to start a business:  You must take risks to seek rewards.
  23. Choose to pick yourself up after your failures and begin again:  Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  Learn from your mistakes, don’t let them cripple you emotionally, and have the strength try again
  24. Choose not to quit:  Don’t like what you’re doing, keep doing it anyway until you find the next thing.  Finish the semester, stay at the job until you find the next one and for heavens sake don’t give up on your marriage or kids.
  25. Choose to ignore the poverty industry:  There are a whole lot of people out there making a living off of keeping other people poor.  Don’t buy into their philosophies of division, grow a chip on your shoulder or fall into the trap of ‘managing’ your income so you don’t loose your disability payments, EBT card, or now healthcare.  By all means use the social safety net if you don’t have any other alternatives until you can transition to self sufficiency but beware because they are designed to trap you into dependence by penalizing you as you begin earning your own way.  In other words, choose to earn your way, not fight for your fair share.  Fighting for your fair share is just another way of choosing poverty.

What’s this have to do with preparedness?  A lot actually, by choosing to live rich you’ll be happier, deal with setbacks more effectively, be more self sufficient and perhaps have more money for preps.  Survival is an attitude…so is choosing to live richly.

Bonus Choice:  Choose to vote for politicians that will leave you and your pocketbook alone:  Compliance takes up so much of any business owner’s time and the penalties for non-compliance can be crippling…don’t let these obstacles keep you from trying but do your best to vote out the bastards that punish entrepreneurs and those who create our GNP.

Survive The Apocalypse – Infographic

How-to-Survive-the-Apocalypse-A-5-Step-Survival-Guide

Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge.

Teaching4Why pass on your self reliance skills

For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement.

The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have.

Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn a difficult topic or perfect your knowledge.

Teaching Fire Making Skills

Teaching Fire Making Skills

How people learn new self reliance skills

People learn new skills and knowledge in through three primary methods. We all incorporate all three methods when we learn. Everybody will gravitate towards one primary method dependent on their personality and hard wiring. It is important to know how your students learn and what method(s) are best suited to your topic.  Tailor your class to have the maximum impact by incorporating multiple teaching methods appropriate for your topic.

The three types of learners are:

  • The visual learner – This person gathers most of their information through their visual senses. They like to watch videos, read and take notes. They tend to organize the information in a format that is balanced and aligned.
  • The auditory learner – This person’s primary learning input is via listening. They prefer lectures and often ask questions. They tend to prefer discussions over what they don’t understand, and remember verbal instructions well.
  • The tactile learner – This person learns best by doing. They prefer to attend “how-to” workshops, doing labs and studying with others. They tend to dislike lectures and prefer to be active in their learning process.
Cody L. giving a class on survival techniques

Cody Lundin giving a class on survival techniques

Techniques for teaching self reliance skills

Since we now know the primary ways people learn, let’s go over several ways to go about teaching people the skills you know.

  • Direct instruction – This technique uses lectures to pass along information. It is good for passing along large amounts of information in a short amount of time. The drawback of the technique is that is very inflexible.
  • Problem based – This technique gives the student a problem, and then allows them to come up with an answer. It is used to develop critical thinking skills. The downside to this method is that it takes more teacher guidance, supervision and time.
  • Co-operative – The technique allows students to share and develop their knowledge with group members. Not to be confused with simple group work, true cooperative learning activities are highly structured. Again, it takes a lot of teacher supervision and guidance.
  • Field based – This technique takes students out into the real world to experience new information firsthand while being able to use all their senses. The upside to this is that it accommodates all learning styles well. The downside is that it is dependent on multiple environmental variables.

Teaching5Effecting teaching of self reliance skills

Now that we know how people learn, and several methods of teaching, it is important to touch upon some personal skills that will help you translate your skills and knowledge into student learning:

  • Communications – The ability to effectively communicate is key to keeping students engaged. This applies to the written word as well as the spoken.
  • Presence – Patience, demeanor and leadership are paramount in the classroom. Remember that the students are always watching you, and their behavior will be a reflection of what they see.
  • Planning – Have a good lesson plan. Even if you know the material inside and out, a good plan will help you stay on track and make the most of your time.
  • Flexibility – Be flexible, the unexpected will happen. Be ready to change directions and still keep the students attention.  Capitalize on mishaps, surprises and mistakes as ‘teachable moments.’

“I can’t teach anyone the self reliance skills I know!”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

AJ teases me about being an “evangelical prepper”, because I am constantly trying to bring new folks into the fold.  I gladly take that title on, and so should you.  Your teachers and mentors passed along the self reliance skills and knowledge that you are using to live a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle.  Pay it forward and teach and mentor others even if the thought terrifies you. At the end of the day, you’ll have gained more than you gave out, and chances are that you’ll have learned something along the way.

Pallet Wood Projects

5 Minute Pallet Table

Grumpy G’s 5 Min Pallet Table

Frequent Prepography contributor Grumpy G is nothing less than a pallet aficionado and has had me taking a second look at pallet wood as a low cost resource for building pallet wood projects.

I’d previously dismissed this abundant and low cost building material from an outdated worry surrounding introducing toxic chemicals into my immediate environment.  I can still hear one of my sergeants yelling at then Private Jackson…”Jackson, take that damned pallet off the fire, don’t you know they’re treated with toxic chemicals!”

Grumpy G and others over the years have shared pallet wood project stories with me and I’ve been concerned with their safety but have had my concerns brushed off by those in the know…that doesn’t mean every pallet is safe to build from (or burn nearby) but some of them certainly are and you can find out which ones by reading this short article from Instructibles or this article for expanded information.

Pallet Rabbit Hutch

Grumpy G’s Pallet Project Rabbit Hutch

…anyway, on to the purpose of this note to our readers…Grumpy G has shared a cool website with me called 1001 Pallets but would more appropriately be titled 1001 Pallet Wood Projects.  It’s a great place to view the possibilities for this most humble of recyclable materials.  You can see pictures of pallet wood projects for the garden, the workplace, the home or anyplace else you can imagine…check it out.

Seasteading – Today’s Quote

This isn’t the mother of all tax dodges… Friedman and fellow traveler Thiel are after something more audacious. Settling on the sea offers a way to opt out of an overregulated society, Friedman says, and invent new forms of governance that stoke innovation.

via For Libertarian Utopia, Float Away on ‘Startup’ Nation – Bloomberg

Andrew’s Note:  Ever want to build your own country…I mean that literally!

The Warrior Class – Today’s Quote

We have an incredible warrior class in this country – people in law enforcement, intelligence – and I thank God every night we have them standing fast to protect us from the tremendous amount of evil that exists in the world.

Brad Thor, Author

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

An Introduction To Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is a quick and easy way of creating inexpensive long term preps. They are less expensive than freeze dried, or prepared dehydrated vegetables and they are quicker and easier to prepare than fresh vegetables. They also offer more flexibility in your preparation schedule as well as providing a good, uniform quality in the end product.   There are certainly some negatives to using them but the benefits outweigh the negatives by a wide margin.

The Cost Saving Of  Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen VegetablesAnyone on budget or is cost conscience knows that freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods can be an expensive choice for long term food storage. Recently, an online store had #10 cans of freeze dried sweet corn on sale for $12.95. The suggested 23 servings per can cost $.56 apiece. That is on the low end, as regular prices can be upwards of 50% higher. In comparison, I recently bought all the store brand frozen veggies pictured to the left  for $.89 each, that’s five bags for just $4.45. Each bag contained ten servings, giving me a total of 50 servings. Broken down, that is $.09 a serving. Sometimes, you can even find store brand frozen veggies on sale for as low as $.69 each; driving the cost down even more.

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Gives You Flexibility

I think almost everyone would agree that eating preserved home grown vegetables is preferable to eating store bought. The problem is that once most vegetables are picked, you have a very narrow window to preserve them in before they go bad. For someone in a time crunch this could be an issue. You are also limited by the amount of your harvest. If you have small garden, you may not be able to raise the amount of vegetables it took to get the 50 servings in my example above. Store brand frozen vegetables, on the other hand can currently be purchased year round and stored in the freezer until you have time to prepare them. The only limiting factors to getting the best price is the timing of sales at whatever stores you frequent.

Ease Of Preparation When Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

The prep steps for dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables are dead simple.  There is no planting and growing. There is no harvesting. There is no cleaning and prepping consists of just 2 steps . Getting them ready is as simple as opening the bag and spreading them out on your dehydrator trays.

Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables Give You A Quality End Product

From the time the your frozen vegetables hit your kitchen, you have complete control over the quality of your process.  Don’t become complacent because you’re working with mass produced vegetables…keep a clean kitchen and start with quality veggies and you’re likely to have a high quality end product.

The Cons Of Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables does have some negatives. The biggest drawback is not knowing the source of the veggies used and all the associated concerns. If it came from your garden or a local farmer you can feel safe with the product. If it came from a big industrial farm through a multi-state or multi-country distribution system you don’t have such reassurances. Let’s be honest, for most people buying freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods this isn’t a primary concern. If it were, they wouldn’t be buying foods from the store to begin with. The other concern about using store brand frozen vegetables is shelf life. Dehydrated foods don’t have the shelf life of freeze dried foods. Still, homemade dehydrated foods when packaged properly, can last 10 to 15 years. If done with exceptional care, they can last almost as long as their expensive freeze dried alternative. Even so, you should still rotate your food stocks to assure that you consume your foods while they still contain most of their nutritional content.

The End Bit On Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables

Dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is not being put forward as a complete replacement for freeze dried or prepared dehydrated foods.  Some items can’t be exposed to the heat used by most dehydrators, while others just aren’t practical. Trying to properly dehydrate something like broccoli, for instance, seems daunting to me. I am not even sure you can do it, let alone do it at home. Even so, when you weigh the positives and the negatives I believe that dehydrating store brand frozen vegetables is an inexpensive, quick, and easy way to bulk up your long term food supplies.

Check back with Prepography later this week for my Top 10 Tips for Dehydrating Store Brand Frozen Vegetables.

Empowering – Today’s Quote

When you rob someone of their incentive to go out there and improve themselves, you are not doing them any favors…  When you take somebody and pat them on the head and say, ‘There there, you poor little thing… Let me give you housing subsidies, let me give you free health care because you can’t do that.’”

“What would be much more empowering is to use our intellect and our resources to give those people a way up and out…

Dr. Ben Carson via Hollywood Actor Couldn’t Help But Start Clapping After Hearing Dr. Ben Carson’s Take on Welfare During ‘The View’Dr. Ben Carson

Do Or Do Not – Today’s Quote

Do or do not.  There is no try.

Yoda, character from Star Wars

Prepping As A Moral Imperative

“Prepping As A Moral Imperative” is going to be a little “evangelical prepping”.  That is a phrase coined by AJ. No, this isn’t a sermon on Christianity.  I do believe the Bible is very clear on being prepared and self-sufficient.  I am going to look at the matter in a more secular manner. The evangelical portion comes through my apologist’s attempt to draw more people in to “prepping”.  This essay frames the argument in a way that tries to appeal to the “rational being” in the non-prepper.

What is a Moral Imperative?

An imperative is a principal that a person is unable to resist.  Reason is what makes an imperative a moral choice. It becomes a moral “law” that must be followed. To act against this law is seen as self-defeating and against reason. We can test moral imperatives by applying a series of tests that German philosopher Immanuel Kant (below right) created in the mid-1700s. These tests either verify, or debunk the validity of a moral/ethical idea. Kant’s ultimate goal was to establish how much sway a moral argument should hold in a society.

Kant’s Formulas

Prepping As A Moral Imperative The first test is called “The Maxim Test”. A maxim is a statement of truth. A very simple and easily understood maxim is, “water is wet”.  A philosophical maxim is one that states a moral truth. This type of maxim is one that all should follow. Take lying, for instance. If the act of lying is morally right, then that morality must extend to everyone. Chaos would reign, if everyone lied all the time. This chaos would be self-defeating. Thus, as a rule, lying is bad. The second test is the “Individual As An End” test. This test is meant to determine if the imperative is benefiting the individual alone or others, as well. The greater good is served, if it passes the test; even if the individual benefits. A good example would the white lie. You are serving your own self interest of “being kind” when you tell a white lie. This is done at the cost of sacrificing the honesty being asked for. Only one person benefits from the white lie; you.  The third and final test is called the “Kingdom of Ends”. It combines the first two tests and applies it to the group. basically, a moral imperative is true, if the group can set down moral laws which apply to everyone equally. No specific sub-group, or individual gains from the application of this new moral “law”.

Putting Prepping As A Moral Imperative To The Test

Let’s apply Kant’s formulas to prepping as a moral imperative. The maxim of prepping as a moral imperative proposes that being prepared for an emergency is beneficial.  Not being so would be self-defeating. It reasons that a person who is concerned about their well being would take steps to protect against foreseeable emergencies. Even the US government promotes individual preparedness on its Ready.Gov site.   The maxim passes the first test, even by government standards.  The next test determines whether the individual is using prepping to benefit themselves alone, or if the whole of society is served by the act. The person who prepares is acting in a self-preserving manner. In the event of an emergency, they would no doubt benefit. Society also reaps rewards during a time of crisis from the prepared. The person who preps needs less help during a crisis. They use less communal resources and are better placed to help with recovery. In fact, the well prepared can give aid to others in need, when called upon.  Again, the idea of prepping passes philosophical muster. The last test helps us determine whether the morality of prepping benefits across the whole of society, when applied to every individual. If every individual in society applied the principles of “prepping”, then in times of crisis, society would benefit from the maxim. During the crisis, no one group benefits, to the detriment of another. No individual is better, or worse off than another, except to the extent in which they had prepared for said crisis. In the end, though, society is much better off should everyone be prepared to some extent, rather than some being prepared, while others are not. Prepography Logo; Prepping As A Moral Imperative

Prepping As A Moral Imperative, An The Appeal To Reason

I realize that I am most likely preaching to the choir. Chances are if you visit Prepography regularly you already feel that prepping is a moral imperative. Your take away from “Prepping As A Moral Imperative” can be a new tool to work on the hesitant.  If you don’t buy in to the whole prepping mentality, ask yourself this one thing, “Is what has been put forth in favor of prepping as a moral imperative reasoned, rational and logical?”   If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, “Why am I not becoming more prepared and self-sufficient?”

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