Hierarchy of survival needs

A very common question for people starting out and transitioning to a more independent lifestyle goes something like this… I only have X dollars. I know I need to stock up on food and I should probably have some gold and silver on hand, but what should I get first! This is a big question and most people will screw it up massively. (I did) I have found it effective to think of survival/preparedness purchases as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

In Maslow’s hierarchy, if you satisfy a high-level need like love before you satisfy your hunger and thirst, you won’t last long. Similarly, there is a hierarchy of survival needs. You can see a picture of my hierarchy of survival needs by going to the page. It’s still a work in progress and I’d love your input, but for now we’ll touch on food and precious metals.

I’ll start by saying that gold and silver are great ways to store/transport wealth and protect you from dollar devaluation (inflation). But the key phrase here is “keep wealth”. In order to store wealth, you must have “wealth” first. If we turn to Webster, we find that the definition of wealth is “an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources” or “an abundance of supplies.”

Logically, you probably won’t have “wealth” to store until you have plenty of basic survival items on hand…especially food and water. I mean, if you don’t have enough food on hand to last you for an extended period of time, why would you buy silver or gold? I originally bought the silver and gold because I thought it would be good to have in a survival situation, but fast forward with me for a second and imagine yourself in a survival situation.

You have accumulated a lot of silver and gold… now what? You can’t eat it. You won’t start a fire with it. You can’t drink it. You can only use it to trade for other goods, and for that you have to find someone with extra food and let them know you have gold/silver to trade. Anyone you approach about a possible trade will remember you as someone who has gold/silver. Obviously, this is not good from an operational security perspective.

The longer you go without food and water, the more of your gold and silver you’ll be willing to give up to get what you NEED. People will instinctively understand your desperate situation and realize how much they are affecting you. The point is that you can use the product storage to exchange for other goods just like you can with gold or silver… but if you need to, you can always consume it. In other words, in a survival situation, you NEED food, but you don’t NEED silver or gold.

There’s a joke among people who don’t like gold. They say gold won’t do any good because if you’re hungry, you won’t be able to find anyone with 1,000 loaves of bread to exchange for your ounce of gold. It’s true…and it proves my point. If the man with the gold prepared differently, he would have enough food and the gold would simply be a way to store excess wealth.

As a very practical example, let’s look at recent hurricanes, earthquakes and blizzards. After 3-5 days of the disaster, what was worth more: water and food or gold and silver? Now things get a lot more complicated when you have to work with bugs and space/weight is a big issue. In this case, you might want to take a few ounces of gold/silver instead of a few extra pounds of food, but you still need to find someone with EXTRA food who actually WANTS your silver or gold to make it worth carrying.

So what, am I against precious metals? Not at all. I fully support buying gold and silver…when the time is right. So when should you start buying gold and silver? There’s no hard and fast answer, and the answer will depend on a number of factors, including your mobility, storage space, the number of caches you’ve created, the size/maturity of your support group, and more. Everyone will have a different guide, but here’s what I’d suggest… I wouldn’t buy gold or silver until you have enough food, water, fire, shelter, medicine, trauma gear, and self-defense tools to survive. violation of public order lasting a month or more. Even then, I’d suggest spending most of your money on basic survival items and some on gold and silver.

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