10 Reasons to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 4, 2019
10 Reasons to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

It was not that long ago that the country of Greece suffered a devastating collapse of their economy.  At the time, there was a lot of blame game going on but, at the end of the day, it was years of irresponsible and unrestrained spending that took them down.  That, coupled with questionable accounting practices and misstated economic indicators left the Greek citizens befuddled and angry when the reality of depression hit.

Could the same thing happen here?  Not to be depressing but in going through my own thoughts as I answer the question “What am I least prepared for?”, I realized that it was time for a wake-up call and time to re-evaluate my own preps within the context of an economic collapse.

10 Reasons to Prepare for an Economic Collapse - Backdoor Survival

Looking back at what happened during or our own Great Depression, I have come to realize that an economic collapse, if it were to happen, would have the compound effect of combining all woes we so diligently prepare for into one huge mess – a mess that may take decades to resolve.

I worry about this, because, as prepared as I may be, I find it difficult to wrap my head around a mega collapse that will result in food and water shortages, power outages, civil disobedience, medical anarchy, and worse.

A global economic collapse, unlike a natural disaster which, as tragic as it may be, is a short term event, will change our lives forever.

Time for a Wake-Up Call

Back in 2012, Michael Snyder wrote about the lessons we can learn from the financial meltdown in Greece.

At the time, being a prepper in the United States typically branded you as a nut job.  Now that preparedness has become more mainstream, I feel that we should review those lessons and take another look at the ramifications of an economic collapse.

Here are the 10 lessons along with my own thoughts as they might apply to an economic collapse in 2015 and beyond.

10 Reasons Why We Need to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

1.  Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or warehouse club.  Those of us that prepare, know better. It is those folks that do not prepare that we need to worry about.

2. Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

When credit systems and distribution channels are compromised, medical supplies will not make their way to the local pharmacy.  Any medicines and supplies that are available will likely be diverted for use by the power elite.  Sorry to be such a cynic but we all know that there are privileged classes that have the power and the means to get whatever they want, even if it means denying the rest of the population with their fair share.

3.  When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

No money to pay workers and no fuel to fire the grid translates into no grid at all.  Going without power for a week or two is one thing but going off grid for months or even years?  We are a soft society accustomed to our comforts.  Without the grid, our lives will be quite different than the life we live today.

4.  During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

When the grid goes down, so goes the water treatment facilities that ensure that clean water flows from our faucets.  I survived 12 days without running water.  Do-able yes.  Fun? Hardly, but I knew the water would come back on eventually. What if the water never came back on?

5. During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Same thing.  If the grid is down, our banking system will basically be down too.  This means that credit cards and debit cards will be useless to transact business and make purchases.

6.  Crime, Rioting, And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

This is not a maybe.  The haves will need to defend their property from the have-not’s.  I also suspect that the “haves” (aka preppers) may have to defend themselves from government looters.  It will be every man or woman on their own; defending what is theirs.

The young and healthy might be able to handle this but what about the elderly, the sick, and the disabled?  Even if they prep, how will they defend themselves?

7. During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

Without credit cards, debit cards, and quite possibly currency, a barter economy will emerge.  By the way, the best description I have read relative to how such an economy will work was is James Wesley Rawles book, Patriots.

Things will definitely fall apart during an economic collapse. Having supplies and especially skills to barter with not be an option.

8. Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

This happened in the 30s and it will happen again. When people no longer have hope, they feel that life is not worth living.  My guess is people will start jumping out of buildings and may take family members with them in a suicide pact.

9.  Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Let me take this one step further.  Your currency WILL lose value during an economic collapse.  It happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and it has happened more recently elsewhere around the globe.  We are not immune to runaway inflation coupled with the devaluation of our currency.

10. When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

If you think that the government will come to the rescue of those that are suffering think again.  Remember the aftermath of Katrina?  Remember Super Storm Sandy?

It is foolhardy to believe that government assistance of any type will become available following a collapse. History has demonstrated over and over again that governments cannot be counted on when things hit the fan. You will be on your own so you better be ready mentally to accept that reality and the tough times that will ensue.

The Final Word

If you have made it this far you might be thinking “Gaye, we know all of that.  That is why we prep.”.

Agreed; I am preaching the choir.  But, that being said, the overwhelming ramification of having all of these things happen at once will be a blow to the psyche that is of greater magnitude than anything you can imagine.

Think about it.  To prevail following a collapse you will still need to get up in the morning, go about your chores, and go about the business of living.  This is going to take a level of fortitude that I can not fathom.  Heck, there are some days, during these modern, comfortable times, that I can barely face the day and all of its challenges.

So where do we go from here?  What solutions are there to get you through to that mental place you know you will need to go to?

Three things you need to remember are:

1.  Only you can be counted on to take care of yourself and your family.
2.  Leaning coping skills during times of calm will give you a heads up on coping during times of crisis.
3.  Give yourself permission to worry, to be concerned, and to be a bit afraid.  This will keep you alert and on your toes at all time.

At the end of the day, those that prepare will be in it for the ride.  The real question is whether we have the mental fortitude to get there without losing are path along the way.

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20 Responses to “10 Reasons to Prepare for an Economic Collapse”

  1. Dear Gaye, thank you for this article. It can’t be easy to be the voice telling the truth. Last week I watched a movie called Inequality For All. It illustrated using graphs the common factors between the Great Depression and the economic downhill slide that began on 2007-2008 and in which we still love today. Very sobering movie. It is currently on Netflix Streaming. I was made aware of it through one of your recent author interviews. The author listed it as one of her favorites.

    • The reality is that although handling one or two issues (no water and no electricity, as a an example) will be difficult, dealing with no ANYTHING all at once will be overwhelming no matter how much we have prepped. The absence of law and order and fear of government confiscation will add to the burden. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt

      There is really no way to drill in advance for a total collapse.

  2. Gaye,

    Sorry I have been such a stranger lately, but we are coming to the end of the term at Montana State University and there is a lot to do. As you know from the think pieces I have contributed to Backdoor Survival over the last two years, I have prognosticated similar possibilities as you suggest in your article. All seems fine to everyone these days with the stock markets and economy, but all of this has been underwritten by floating checks on the backs of future generations by having China and Japan let us borrow more and more.

    There will be a reckoning day. There always is. All our international creditors have to do is simply stop lending.

    All the more reason to achieve self-sufficiency.


    • Richard, Have you considered what could happen with an economic collapse along with a Dust Bowl scenario? We know what’s happening in California, not many are aware of what’s happening to our agriculture on the Great Plains. I know some will not want to live through the tuff times. I have learned from my ancestors, tuff times come and go, but we usually come out stronger when we become more self-reliant. 🙂

  3. You mentioned learning coping skills and giving yourself the ‘ok’ to worry. Some time ago my sister gave me some Guatemalan worry dolls. Only God knows where she found them. Anyway, she must have figured I needed them. What you do is whisper one worry to each doll before you go to bed, and in the morning the dolls will have taken the worry away. The “dolls” are tiny stick figures placed inside a tiny bag. I laugh every time I picture myself whispering to them, and if I’m having a bad day, just the idea of me being that ridiculous makes me forget whatever I’m stressing about. So, you can always make yourself some worry dolls to help you cope!

  4. Your post today was very good…we all need inspiration everyday…and you are supplying that for many of us….I am going today and sort out our items for a bob because the tornado season has reared it’s ugly head…..I also worry everyday of our economy….I don’t prep so much for myself as I do for my children and their families….they know I have a lot of food in my pantry but they have no idea what is stored away in different places….won’t they love me when things take a turn for the worse…warmest regards..and thank you Gaye

  5. As I read this, I couldn’t help thinking, as you mentioned, even if/when this type of event happens, Mother Nature will also have her input. I know people rely on their electronics. I just wonder how many are prepping for if/when those won’t be be available. Even with some in a faraday cage, if the infrastructure isn’t up and running, then what?!
    Just the other day, I looked out my window at the dark clouds and noted to my daughter if we lived in Oklahoma as I used to as a young girl, I would be heading for cover; because the sky looked like one with a tornado. I was taught to read the sky for those clouds and colors. Later that night on the news, they showed pictures of a funnel cloud which had been just miles away from me. It didn’t touch down, but it could have. Not for the first time, I wonder how many are relying on apps and other such items to tell them what weather is heading their way. As you state, combine natural events with any manmade one(s)and WOW. So just saying as you prep for whatever, think the worst, prep for that and pray it never happens.

  6. Excellent “reminder” article.

    Water… Warmth… and Wherewithal(mental stability).

    The essential essence of your website is Planning Ahead.
    So, important…

  7. Great top 10 list. A lot of people take for granted even the little things that will be harder to come by when problems arise. I lived here during hurricane Sandy and watched as people became desperate for fuel and generators. It was quite sad. I can’t even imagine what society would look like in a total collapse.

  8. In the last month I have had the power go out at work and while out shopping (only for a couple minutes each time). But it sure made my heart skip a beat! I know I have holes in my preps and not sure I will ever be totally done prepping, but mentally I think I will probably panic inside for a bit when the reality of a SHTF situation really happens. I know many skills and have taught my family as much as possible, not just now, but as they were growing up. I have faith they will use those skills to survive and even to help others.
    One of the things that I worry about in a grid down situation is the quality of the air. There will be so many fires. Not only people burning to keep warm, to cook, but burning their trash(plastic, garbage) and homes/buildings burning down from people doing stupid things, all the synthetic fabrics and materials. I don’t ever read about this issue. No one mentions air quality. Maybe people see it as a minor issue next to everything else that could happen.

    • “In the last month I have had the power go out at work and while out shopping (only for a couple minutes each time). But it sure made my heart skip a beat!”

      I feel your pain on this one. A week ago, we lost power in the middle of a beautiful (weather-wise) day. This is not uncommon, and the power is usually restored within minutes. After about 10 minutes, I had to reach for my cell phone to make sure it still worked. Images of an EMP were dancing in my head!

  9. Talk of economic collapse is widespread – the possibility is very real, but what gets to me even more is that when you turn your eyes to Washington and look for any hint of change for the better, you see that the ones that did this to us are still in charge and continue right on the path that brought us to the edge of this cliff!

    Oh but one thing they are doing, they are sure building a powerful police state and FEMA camps to come down hard on us when we do finally wake up and protest their economic insanity.

  10. “At the time, there was a lot of blame game going on but, at the end of the day, it was years of irresponsible and unrestrained spending that took [Greece] down.”

    You really don’t know what you are talking about.

    It was your beloved United States that need to weaken the strengthening euro at that time. Greece was and is the Achilles Heel of the EU. So, your eCONomic and financial Jackals aka Goldman Sucks et al. took down Greece. The economic and financial situation in Greece is none the worse than yours or that of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, etc. I’d say yours is THE worst!

    Personally, I think you guys and gals in the Great Land of GMO Milk and Fake Money have more to worry about WW3 (Day After: bit.ly/1EzopCx and Threads: vimeo.com/18781528) than the inevitable economic and financial collapse, as your government will preempt that with WW3.

  11. Your list includes both the notion that there won’t be any money to be had (no ATMs and no useable checking/credit cards) and money will lose its value.

    Huh? Scarcity raises value. In the Great Depression people were SHORT of money (the money supply collapsed) so prices collapsed. Those who retained their access to money saw its purchasing power soar. Unless it’s TEOTWAWKI (like MacCarthy’s The Road) money will likely be honored and in all likelihood rise in value.

    Economic collapses have occurred and we can learn more from them than from reading someone’s FICTION NOVEL. Having some stored food, water, security supplies etc. makes reasonable sense, but short of an asteroid strike, life generally goes on after a period of adjustment. People crave order, and are quite ingenious about acquiring it even after major dislocations (see Argentina, where despite considerable difficulties produced by political criminals, power and water still flow…albeit less than reliably.)

  12. We had no power for five days during a hurricane in mid 90’s. Well pump included, we stocked up on water ahead of time, some had power those with underground utilities, so we took some of the food to friends house stored in their freezer. I ate 2 lbs of frozen blue berries in 24 hrs and other foods that would go bad in a day or two. Many of us wasted time and money for y2k, never again. We only prep for weather issues. Much of the y2k stuff was sold or donated to incl grain grinder, long term foods, etc. The ones that prepped then won’t prep again except for several weeks. Most would rather be dead if this meltdown was on going, because the best years would be gone.

    • How sad that you feel that way about possible problems in the future. No, I don’t have things for several months or years (at least not yet) but I don’t want to just give up either. I would rather die trying to help my family and friends survive a long term meltdown than just lay down and let the world go on without me. You have no idea what can happen after a disaster – there will be many who because of their religious or personal values will continue on and try their best to help others. “The best years would be gone” what a waste. Today our society undervalues family, shows little or no respect for each other or other’s property. If this is the ‘best’ bring on the worst!

  13. Don’t want anyone to think I am a pie in the sky believer that everything will be fine no matter what type of disaster strikes – economic, political, weather or whatever.
    What Gaye has written here is a sure bet if things continue to collapse around our ears. There will definitely be a lot of deaths, looting and stealing, destruction and other horrors especially during those first few weeks/months. As things continue I am sure groups will form that will try to attack the weak and gain whatever supplies and help they can get. Simple things we take for granted now will become luxuries. Even things like being able to call you children in other areas to know they are okay, or taking a trip in a motor vehicle will become nearly impossible if not impossible. But I believe just as was mentioned in the comments about “After the Crumble” there will be those who will band together not to destroy but to rebuild. Our current society is a sad commentary on our once great nation – too many laws that protect the criminals and do nothing for the innocent victims. Too many labels on people and too many rights destroyed.
    The ones I really worry about are the Amish and similar communities as they are currently living a life ‘off grid’ and many will seek to destroy and plunder their communities in their own greed.
    Life will definitely not be easy and many will die but others who band together can and will rebuild this country. The question is where will you fit in?

  14. I am more concerned of the country’s nuclear reactors ( Some have 2 in each state) It takes manpower and resources to keep those things from melting down.If water stops flowing to them for water ever reason it will be the second worst thing to happen versus yellowstone causing an ELE. Get your self a lot of potassium iodide or nascent iodine. It will prevent radiation from being absorbed in your thyroid gland whichis the main way radiation poisoning kills you. Its cheap, highly effective and should be part of your medicine prep anyways as it its highly antimicrobial and antibacterial. activated carbon and calcium sand will be good long term water filters as well. 4 season tent, lotsof knives, lighters, canlde making supplies, hand crank lanterns and radios. All of this will take you a long way

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