Prepping could be a fad. I mean, it’s possible that there is a combination of ‘end of civilization’, conspiracy and fear scenarios along with a breath taking economic down turn that intersected to created a short lived phenomenon that will burn hot for a minute, then quickly cool like microwave popcorn. Add the band wagoneers brought in by the buzz from certain reality series and, voila, we’ve got ourselves a genuine, honest to goodness American fad.
It could be that, but I don’t think so. At least, I’m convinced that it doesn’t have to be so. I am increasingly led to the conclusion that the economic problems of the last 4 years, especially the housing crisis, have shifted the financial tectonic plates in this country and the movement has created a new understanding among Americans about money, debt, wealth, food and the future. I call it, The New Affluence.
I’m a baby boomer in my mid fifties. (Yep, I’m OLD. It will happen to you someday too, so don’t roll your eyes. Get ready now, because it will happen before you know it.) My generation and the couple that followed grew up believing that our homes were our biggest investments. We grew up inside the bubble. House prices would always increase. We would take out large, long term mortgages and often refinance every few years to grab the equity and spend or invest it. The gravy boat would never run dry.
Eventually, the thought became, buy as much house as you can possibly afford. You will be more comfortable and your payoff would be, or at least could be, huge. We were wrong.
About the same time, we started buying bigger, more expensive cars and toys, using home equity lines and bottomless credit cards to finance our every desire. Then the bubble burst and the bottom fell out.
It was only then we realized that houses, like everything else, are subject to the ups and downs of market trends and national stability. Most of us lost some, millions lost everything. It felt like a total eclipse of the sun.
Out of the rubble, a phoenix is rising; a bird with a wiser, more pragmatic understanding of finances and investments. This new understanding says: buy only as much house as you need, avoid debt, live simply and practice self sufficiency. This is the NEW AFFLUENCE. It is the difference between true wealth and the appearance of wealth.
Remember what our grandparents used to tell us: Live on less that you earn, neither a borrower nor a lender be, put something aside for a rainy day, waste not want not? It turns out the old geezers were right.
Now we have a growing throng of people putting the NEW AFFLUENCE to work. We are buying smaller houses. We are growing and preserving some or even all of our own food. We consider storing up basic necessities as natural as putting money in a savings account. We are setting money aside and we are buying commodities like gold, silver and land. We have eliminated our credit card debt. We pay cash for cars. And we have something we haven’t had in years; CASH. It’s a great life and a great feeling.
I am well aware that only a comparative few are on board with the NEW AFFLUENCE so far. I also know more are waking up to the truth every day. Many never will. Some will, in fact, mock us for our lack of cool. I’d rather be right than cool any day. Besides, I have something the mockers will never have; FREEDOM.
Are you part of the NEW AFFLUENCE movement? Tell us your story. We’d love to hear it.