We recently released a blog on the five major threats we face. That blog covered issues we’ll see on a global scale, but one of my subscribers, Lady Court Tales, asked if I could provide “Just an overall prediction of possibilities with possible preemptive solutions. The best you can.” While it is always prudent to see the more significant, global threats, as we covered in that blog, we think it’s also essential to see the risks rising now that may come to a head in twenty-twenty-one that will impact you directly. These issues that are already starting to impact people today can lead to a larger ailment and the collapse of systems upon which we rely. It is, therefore, prudent for us to understand these threats today. Here are ten immediate threats we will see in twenty-twenty-one and we’ll cover in each point how you can prepare yourself and your family to survive them. While this blog is a bit on the lengthy side, we didn’t want to just acknowledge the problems, but instead we took time to give specific actions you can take now as we discuss each item. So let’s jump in.
1- Hunger Crisis
Food is a basic human need. Our ability to have food on the table is typically threatened by three circumstances: poverty, natural disasters disrupting production and supply lines, or contaminated food. 2020 revealed severe cracks in our overall system. Even before the lockdown, the detrimental effects of commercial food production were apparent in the form of highly-processed foods with little nutritional value and the occasional recall for E. Coli, Listeria, Cyclospora, Hepatitis, and Salmonella. In fact, one in six Americans become sick from contaminated food every year.
In the early days of 2020’s run on stores and the panic hoarding of some items caused disruptions in supplies. And, when scores of workers fell ill in meatpacking plants, people panicked even more. Many stores ran out of some foods, and others put limits on quantities people could purchase. From milk to meat, eggs, flour, and sugar, many of the staple foods we had come accustomed to having available with a quick stop to the store suddenly became a challenge to acquire.
With more lockdowns on the horizon and the continued detrimental effects of large scale food production and disruption, we can expect food insecurity to continue to rise. Already, we are seeing large unemployment numbers and growing food lines. As the common man’s economy continues to struggle to build back, we can expect that number to continue, at least for the immediate future to continue.
You can insulate yourself somewhat by storing staples, gardening, learning to cook, can, ferment, and dehydrate food, hunting, and fishing, or seeking out local sources of grown food and game. Decreasing your dependence on large scale production sources will strengthen your ability to keep food on the table.
2- Housing Insecurity
In the early days of the lockdowns, businesses were forced to shutter or rapidly shift their business models to an at-home or touchless experience. Theaters, the travel and events industries, retail locations, restaurant chains, gyms, and more, all folded and shuttered their locations within a few months. The millions of those employed in these industries suddenly found themselves without a steady income. Even before 2020, 78% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Surprisingly, American’s personal credit debt shrunk for the first time in a long time as people quickly realigned their finances and, honestly, had fewer opportunities to go out and spend money.
But as 2020 came to a close, stimulus relief was drying up, and people’s savings accounts were drying up. Already I have heard several stories of people turning to credit cards to pay rent. Without a swift economic recovery or another middle to lower-income stimulus, we can expect millions of Americans to reach a point where they were having to decide between getting groceries, paying their rent or mortgage, or making their car payment.
Similar to the environment created by the subprime lending housing disaster of 2008, we could see more foreclosures, more people moving to rural or lower-income states and areas, or homelessness. Of particular note is the number of people moving to more affordable states or rural areas because this will be compounded in 2021 by more people working from home because of the pandemic.
However 2021 plays out, we will undoubtedly see increasing housing insecurity. Whether that means you or someone you know suddenly needs to plan an escape from the city, a necessary downsizing or packing everything you can into your car, realize housing insecurity will dramatically impact Americans throughout this next year.
What can you do now? If there is the possibility that you will face housing security issues, decide to act sooner rather than later. If that’s moving in with friends or family, picking up a renter or roommate, or pulling up stakes and moving to a more affordable area, those are always better options than using retirement funds or credit cards. Take a look at our other blog on What To Do If You Become Homeless after this blog.
3- Shutdowns & Unemployment
2020 introduced us to shutdowns and lockdowns. It showed us a type of unemployment brought about by a massive employment paradigm shift away from communal locations to the virtual conference call and touchless services. While some businesses like retail home delivery, sanitation, grocery stores, and food delivery services soared, many businesses suffered or folded altogether.
By most researchers’ estimates, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. Local, state, and federal governments will continue to respond in ways they feel will best protect their residents. Schools will open and close. Restaurants will open at partial capacity, maybe even lower capacity, or outdoor only, which isn’t really a possibility in northern states. Will we ever see a filled sports arena or stadium again? We don’t know.
We do know that any “new normal,” as they say, isn’t likely to look very familiar, as in the way we did it before. The world has changed, and until we fully adjust to it, lockdowns will be the new norm. With each lockdown or shutdown, however, the unemployment rate will remain high. Some businesses will never re-open. Chances are you know more than one person who has either lost a job, is having trouble finding a job, or may never work in their industry again. As I mentioned earlier, most Americans live hand to mouth each week, so when unemployment benefits run out, savings are depleted, and retirement accounts are tapped, it’s going to worsen. Three in ten Americans had no emergency funds set aside at all.
If you are unemployed, facing unemployment, or are seeing that a shutdown is on the horizon in your area, it’s not too late to insulate yourself a little bit. That may mean, for you, going to trade school, community college, taking online training courses, cultivating or learning new skills, or taking a pay cut and taking up a new career just to remain employed. Take heed and prepare your supplies with enough food to stretch out for an extended period. Learn from the prepping community how to be more resourceful. One channel I always recommend to people is the Prepper Princess. She does a great job at providing tips for low income living. Be sure to tell her City Prepping sent you.
4- Rise in Crime
With high unemployment numbers and food insecurity, you can expect to see a rise in crime in 2021. Most crime is opportunistic, and it is committed for a host of reasons: no direction in life, drugs, poverty, lack of school and work, etcetera. With the current state of things, we have many of those combined factors, so it is almost a certainty that petty crimes will rise. The stress of lockdowns will turn some to the coping mechanisms of drugs and alcohol. While those aren’t sole contributors to a rise in crime, they influence the numbers.
What happens if a strained and stressed populace continues to demonstrate its frustration through civil unrest? In that case, there will always be opportunists with no real affiliation who will seize on the opportunity to loot and steal. From this overt crime to the often covert crimes of domestic violence and abuse, we can expect that these numbers will rise, at least slightly, in 2021.
Your best defense against a rising crime rate is any defense. The fact is that most Americans take very few precautions and safeguards against crime and then kick themselves later when they are victims of crime. Review your home’s security, locks, alarms, and procedures. Review your self-defense items and skills. Review some of the other videos on this channel about home security and ensure you have a secure perimeter, alert system, and a lock-in plan.
5- Mental Health
If there were a national measurement of mental health, it would undoubtedly be negatively off the charts in 2020. The long term effects of these lockdowns will have a severe impact on both adults and children.
Instances of depression, anxiety, developmental and social delays are all likely increasing behind closed doors. By May of 2020, just a few months in from the real start of SARS-COV-2 in America, prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicines spiked 34%. Prescriptions for antidepressants shot up equally as high. Feelings of isolation and uncertainty about the world, along with the reduction of social networks, groups, churches, family, and friends, all have taken a toll on the collective American conscience. The fact is that the connections people usually make to loved ones and supportive communities have been impacted dramatically this year. Though we struggle to build and find new ways to connect and new ways to keep busy and continue to learn and grow, like a plant, we need the light of each other to thrive truly.
Most of us will be just fine over the long arc of time. Some of the most vulnerable, the very young, the very old, and those who were fragile to begin with will not be. Even worse, those who were severely unstable and only held somewhat in check by the constraints and checks of a social order could potentially become even more isolated and disturbed. Stoked divisions, conflicts, and vastly divergent ideologies will only further some of these individual’s declines.
Keep your head about you and learn from this year’s lockdowns what you need to encourage your own mental health. Read, take up a home hobby, learn a skill, get fresh air when you can, exercise, call friends on the phone or the computer, seek out those vital connections that keep us feeling grounded and part of a broader community. Don’t give in to the feelings of being alone, but strive to build new relationships. Comment in the comments section below and tell us what you’re doing and your best advice to keep sane. If 2021 is worse than 2020 has been, we will be thankful to hear from you.
As a result of SARS-COV-2, consumer spending has dropped to record lows, and unemployment briefly reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. As a result, many experts have projected a massive number of consumer and business bankruptcy filings in the coming months. Some businesses have shuttered for good. Some people are on the cusp of the worst economically challenging times they have ever experienced.
Millions have been forced into early retirement as businesses were quickly restructured. Recent college graduates are facing a job market with few prospects. Millions of unemployed are finding a shortage of openings as companies struggle to get by and pass on expanding their workforces. Older workers are finding companies less willing to hire for experience since so many business models have been flipped on their head during the pandemic. Perhaps the worst hit has been small business owners. Small businesses employ 47.3% of the U.S. private workforce, and many small businesses have simply not been able to survive through these difficult times.
The Paycheck Protection Act and the CARES Act provided a boost in the form of loans to small businesses, but those funds are drying up, and Congress remains deeply divided on the best approach to keep the economy from sinking. Even with a stimulus lifebuoy in 2021, many, many businesses will still fail.
This crisis could dramatically worsen in 2021. There isn’t much you can do to save the small businesses except to seek them out and spend your money there. The real impact of these bankruptcies, assuming they aren’t directly occurring with you, are fewer jobs and fewer choices. Fewer dollars spent in the community you live in, and the more that flies out of the community, the fewer tax dollars and revenue generated. Infrastructures supported with tax dollars suffer. Critical safety nets suffer from a lack of funding. So if it’s within your means to support your local business, try to do so.
7- National Debt
The hunger crisis, housing insecurity, shutdowns and unemployment, a rise in crime, mental health suffering, and bankruptcy are mainly at the community level. They are all very local to us. They either compound and impact our community as a whole or are more likely to impact our lives personally. The last four factors discussed here are on a larger scale. They are threats we face at a national level. They are threats that will be with us for years to come.
The first is the national debt. It was Milton Friedman, the economist, who had said “if your choice is a bigger deficit with lower taxes and a smaller government, or a smaller deficit with higher taxes and a bigger government, always go for a bigger deficit.” Many presidents, politicians, and chairs of the Fed have shared that philosophy, so we have gotten in the habit of borrowing and printing money against an uncertain future.
It has been so bad that by the end of 2020, the amount of debt owed by the United States will amount to a whopping 98 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Imagine if, for every hundred dollars you had, 98 of those dollars were borrowed, and you only earned 2 of them. That isn’t sustainable for a year, let alone for decades, but amidst a deepening global crisis, the need to borrow even further has increased our debt by almost 20% more than just last year. The exponential growth in debt year after year accelerates the next immediate threat– the weakening dollar.
Over the next decade and into the foreseeable future, prepare for taxes to be increased. If you can learn to reduce your personal debt and find ways to either increase your monthly income or cut your living expenses, this will serve you well in the long run.
8- Weakening Dollar
Banks can refuse to lend you money because you have over-borrowed and don’t earn enough to pay back your debt. Businesses might refuse your check if they think it’s likely it could bounce. Even your friends might not want to accept money from you if they know 98% of it is borrowed. In the same way, our financial standing internationally will be impacted as countries see the U.S. Dollar becoming increasingly problematic as a reserve currency due to our heavy debt. Historically, the dollar has had few challenges and has been able to remain unscathed as the fiat currency of choice. That may be changing now as other countries are recovering faster than the United States from the global recession in which we all find ourselves. Their currencies will put pressure on the dollar.
The fact is that America is so dependent upon foreign manufacturing and resources from other countries that when the dollar weakens and the imports cease to flow, we would all be staring down the barrel of a very prolonged economic collapse. Suppose confidence in the dollar ever erodes so much that it is replaced by another currency or a combination of other stronger currencies or DeFi technologies like cryptocurrency. In that case, it might never realize its former strength again.
Like the previous point, begin to consider your long term financial plan. For us personally, we’ve begun to diversify my investments into other assets, such as precious metals, cryptocurrency, and real estate, a subject which we’ll cover in a blog we’ll be releasing soon. The key here is to begin investing in yourself and educating yourself for other options that give you options should the dollar continue its slide on the global stage.
9- Natural Disasters
Beyond the local, immediate threats and the national threats, we can’t forget the reason many of us started prepping to begin with–natural disasters. In 2020 wildfires in Australia and California set new destructive records, displaced thousands of people, and decimated wildlife and plant life.
The Atlantic hurricane season was also record-breaking. It started early and ended with a trio of storms in late October and November. 2020 also saw an Easter tornado outbreak, a somewhat rare occurrence of 100 plus tornadoes in a short period of time. And, 2020 was the first year I and many others learned what a derecho is. This year’s derecho destroyed most of the corn and soybean crops throughout Ohio.
Inevitably in the comment section, people will debate about the root contributing factors to these events– human made or cyclical on a millennial-scale–, that’s not the point here; one thing we should all probably agree upon is that these ecological disasters aren’t likely to subside in 2021. They may increase in strength and frequency.
The whole point of this is to encourage people to prepare. If you haven’t begun to take this seriously, we’re not sure what else there is left to convince you at this point. This will take a slightly different approach next year in that we will be focusing on the more practical, basic elements of emergency preparedness and things you can do to prepare. Expect to see a lot of practical, informational videos in the coming year to help you prepare no matter what level you currently are in your preparedness.
The real unknown in 2020 that some of us in the community have been warning about for several years now has been COVID-19. There are so many origin theories and plot lines about this strain of coronavirus that the real threats of COVID-19 are often being lost. This virus has a high measure of spread and higher than the average flu case-fatality rate. Given those two things, we’ll let others debate the shape of the clouds while we batten down the hatches.
There are several new considerations about the new vaccines coming out, and we will do a whole blog on that this month. What has been claimed is that the new vaccines, from both Pfizer and Moderna, allege an incredible success rate, and 40 million doses will be ready by the end of this year. That sounds like a lot, but the vaccines require two doses– one a few weeks after the first dose. That would be enough to vaccinate the three million people who live in long-term-care facilities, as well as most, but not all, of the country’s 21 million health care workers.
In the February and March timeframe, people over the age of 65 could start to be vaccinated. April through June, the rest of the Americans could receive it. Assuming the vaccine truly works and has no significant side effects and that enough people volunteer to receive the vaccine, we could slow the transmission and seriousness of SARS-COV-2 by the end of 2021. That means we would be living with it and the effects of it throughout this next year. As at the beginning of this outbreak, there are quite a few unknowns.
Be prepared for extended lockdowns well into 2021. This issue will not go away even if an effective vaccine is rolled out and people willingly take it. Prepare your finances accordingly for the possibility that it may be well into 2021 before we see any semblance of normality.
From hunger to poverty to natural disasters, twenty-twenty-one could be at least as odd and disruptive as twenty-twenty was. Many of the things that will happen in 2021 we can’t stop or prevent. What we can do, however, is position ourselves to survive the catastrophes that befall us, individually and collectively, and tend to our piece of the world. We can look at the possibilities of 2021, but we shouldn’t forget the promise, as well. One thing that 2020 has taught many and is maybe the reason you find yourself subscribing to a prepper channel like this now is that even a little planning can minimize the impact of disasters upon us when they do occur, and they will occur.
As always, stay safe out there.
Your work, and generosity, are so appreciated!