God, Guns, Groceries and Gold

As Published in Southern Illustrated – June 09, 2016
Author- Craig Hill, CFP® Hill & Vaughn Precious Metals

I get a lot of calls at The Gold Planner, Inc. (DBA – Hill & Vaughn Precious Metals) from people who are, in one way or another, very worried about the future. They are worried about the future economy, the future social state of the nation, and worried about providing for their families. One of the recurring thoughts I have when I receive such a call, is that most of us don’t have the framework necessary to even begin addressing the problems. Most of us grew up in a time of great prosperity and the greatest “preparing” we ever did was to make a grocery list. If your family was really really prepared, you made the list and cut coupons, Ha! Now, that’s meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek as I know that many Southern families go beyond that. The South still embraces her Agrarian roots to some extent, and I know there are many capable people in Dixie. However, if we are honest with ourselves, then we have to admit that our numbers have dwindled. In addition, the problems we face now are so great that even the most capable among us are usually somewhat perplexed.

gun on BiblesWith the above in mind, I’d like to offer up a framework from which you can categorize and mentally organize your efforts to plan for the future. God, Guns, Groceries and Gold is only one way to state the proposed framework, we could also say Community, Preservation, Provisions and Capital. Now be honest, you wouldn’t have been nearly as intrigued to read this article if the later was the title. In an effort to keep you engaged, I’ll stick with the current title and try to unpack the details of it for you.

Before I get to the unpacking, however, let me be clear, people call me wanting to buy gold and silver. I have no problem with that, as that is how I make my living. However, if you think that is all you need to prepare for the future, you’re wrong. You need a strong community, you need a way to defend yourself and that community, and you need sustenance. In a true financial reset, all the above are necessary.

The first priority, and I do mean first, is God. When I say God, I don’t mean any other god than the one true God, which revealed Himself in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The triune God is the One who created Dixie, placed her people in her, blessed her and will bless her again. I’m talking about the God who gave us life and breath and who cares for His people. He cares for his people to such an extent that he extols them in Matthew 6:31-32 with these words, “do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” These words were uttered by Jesus Christ, member of the Trinity and the one and only Son of God.

Now, I’m not trying to just put up a spiritual foundation for you to be comforted by. The Christian faith has real world implications and in the South, those implications resulted in a people who came together over a common cause, one which they were loyal to. Remember, nobody is really loyal to a “cause.”. A “cause” is just an immaterial idea which resides in the heart and mind. What the Southerners were really loyal to, loyal to the point of death, were the people who shared that “cause.” Arm in arm, step by step for the love of Christ, country, heritage and family. Godly Southerners faced their challenges and stayed loyal to the South, which was a loyalty to the people of the South. This is why I could also use the term “community” to describe this area of the framework.

Community is the single most important element of survival. The Christian faith serves to build out the foundation of the community. My family and I are Reformed Presbyterians and I can tell you that our community of believing brothers and sisters has been instrumental in helping us go through very difficult times. As we approach more difficulties in the future, it is the godly community that comforts me. Is it a perfect group of people? No, there is no such thing. However, it is a godly group of people who have, or profess to have, the same world-view commitments that I do. They confess to subject themselves to the rule of the invisible, but all-knowing God. In so doing, they, by implication, confess that they will love their neighbor as they love themselves.image

This has implications. Imagine, if you will, that we do go through an economic collapse. I’m not saying we are, but let’s imagine that we do. Suddenly, there is no insurance company for your home, no medical insurance, no accident insurance and no money. When we face troubles now, we look to the insurance adjuster or agent to fix the problem. But, what if that industry didn’t exist and your barn burned to the ground? The way it used to be, if that happened, men from the “community” showed up and helped you rebuild. They showed up because they knew that it could happen to them thus, they were accountable to the community. They helped because the community embraced the idea of Christian charity and because no other outlet for charity existed. There was no HUD department or welfare office. Charity was a function of the community and it worked. Needs were met, people were cared for and loyalty was built person to person, not person to corporation. How many of you have had a great experience with an insurance company and because of that became a loyal fan of “said company?” Now, imagine that loyalty spread to members of your community. Imagine that loyalty being returned to you by those same community members.

There is much to say about community. In the interest of brevity, I’ll have to leave the topic and move on. Before I do though let me state again that community is the most important aspect of survival. We need strong communities that are committed to the rules and foundations of Christian living. Said another way, we need communities of people who have, through the power of the Holy Spirit, adopted Christian ethics and are willing to live those out to the glory of God and the benefit of those around them. As you think about the future, you need to think about your community and care for it. The idea of community runs through every other level of the framework.

Guns, or said another way, preservation is your next consideration. It is interesting to me to look at the numbers in this area. Gun ownership has grown in our country and this is driven by worry and fear about the unraveling social fabric. To some extent, it already has unraveled. Violence is on the rise and we feel that now, more than ever before, we need to be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Guns don’t only serve to protect us, they serve to make our community safer. A well-armed town is a pretty good deterrent to the local criminal. However, the greatest argument is made by arguing in the inverse. Without gun ownership, an individual, family or community is without means of protection. Any group who is armed can subdue the community members. Firearms are also necessary to protect the other elements of the framework. It does us no good to put together a nice cache of provisions if those provisions are easily taken from us. It does us no good to purchase gold and silver if we can’t protect it. To put it bluntly, we need to be responsibly armed. Free men have always been so.

Groceries or provisions are next on our list of priorities. Here again, a community can be of great benefit. I’ve seen this in real life, by the way. In 2008-2009, while the financial crisis was raging, our local church planted a “community” garden. It was very large and well planted, which resulted in a lot of production. Food was given to church members who had a need and to townspeople who were also in need. It was a form of charity, which served to strengthen the community. In a financial reset, you’ll need provisions. We live in a society that works off of just- in-time inventory. There is no large food stores in your community and if you bought it, a truck brought it. This fact is one of the reasons our society has become so fragile. It’s too concentrated and needs to be decentralized.

A financial reset will decentralize it for sure. I suggest that we not wait for that. Work with your community and your family. Plant personal and community gardens, raise some livestock and spend some time thinking about how you would eat if the grocery store was closed. Society did it for thousands of years. We can return to it and we must.

So finally, the gold guy gets around to the old yellow metal. Let me first remind you not to forget the silver metal too. Precious metals in a financial reset serve to protect capital. If the local fiat currency is now worthless, the metals will become very valuable. However, we have to get through the reset for this to matter thus, all the points above. Precious metals can be used to re-establish trade in a community after a local currency dies. This has happened in recent history in the countries of Argentina (1998-2002) and current day Venezuela. In both instances, those who had gold were not left poverty-stricken. Gold and silver trade quickly came into place as did bartering.

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Gold is down the chain though in terms of preparation. If you haven’t prepared at all, get started by thinking about your community and how you can strengthen it. Purchase firearms and get trained in how to use them. Think through your provision chains and how you can shore up weaknesses. After going through the process, if you have capital left over, purchase some precious metals.

The form of precious metals that you buy for this type of preparation matters. Gold bullion is for large wealth preservation. Silver, however, is for your day-to-day living. In a financial reset, you wouldn’t want to try to approach the local market with a one-ounce gold coin because it’s too valuable. However, bartering with or exchanging a one-ounce silver coin could make sense in this scenario. This goes to precious metals portfolio design and there is much to say on this topic. However, there is insufficient room here to go into detail. Call or email me if you’d like more information.

Let me close by offering some hope to all of you. We do face really big problems and we are probably going to go through a severe financial reset. However, that could result in some really great changes and it is my prayer, that those changes do occur. Some of those results would be the formation of strong, moral communities, greater freedom, healthier lifestyles and a sound financial system. We need to model that from a grass-roots effort by implementing sound planning in our own lives, the lives of our families and in our communities. Perhaps then others will see and duplicate. To be sure, when the old isn’t working any longer, people will be looking for answers.

Craig Hill, CFP®

Principal, The Gold Planner, Inc.