Guest Post: 16 Signs That Most Americans Are Not Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Sometimes I think that I sound like a broken record.  I am constantly using phrases such as "get prepared while you still can" and "time is running out".  In fact, I use them so often that people are starting to criticize me for it.  But the truth is that only a small percentage of people out there are actively taking steps to get ready for what is coming.  Most of the country is not prepared at all.  In many ways, it is just like 2007 all over again.  There were many people that could see what was about to happen and were doing all they could to warn people, but most did not listen.  And then the great financial crisis of 2008 struck and millions of people lost their jobs and their homes.  Unfortunately, the next great wave of the economic collapse is going to be even more painful than the last one.  It is imperative that people get prepared for what is on the horizon, but for the most part it is just not happening.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have such short memories and such short attention spans in America today.  Thanks to years of television and endless hours on the Internet, I find myself having a really hard time focusing on anything for more than just a few moments.  And we are accustomed to living in an "instant society" where we don't have to wait for anything.  In such a society, we are used to "news cycles" that only last for 24 hours and very few people take a "long-term view" of anything.

And another one of the big problems that we are facing is something called "normalcy bias".  The following is how Wikipedia defines it...

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Over the past several years, the U.S. economy has been relatively stable.  And that is a good thing.  But it has also lulled millions upon millions of people into a false sense of security and complacency.  At this point, most Americans consider 2008 to be a temporary bump in the road, and most assume that the U.S. economy will always be strong.

Unfortunately, that is not the truth.  As I have written about previously, the long-term trends that are destroying our economy have continued to get worse since 2008, and none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.

We are steamrolling toward the edge of an economic cliff, and most people in our entertainment-addicted society are totally oblivious to what is going on.  So they are not doing anything to get ready for the immense economic pain that is coming.  The following are 16 signs that most Americans are completely unprepared for the coming economic collapse...

#1 Could you come up with $2000 right now?  According to a shocking study that was just released, most Americans could not...

Forty percent of individuals in the U.S. said they could not or probably could not come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose, according to research by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

#2 In that same study, Americans were asked the following question...

"Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?"

An astounding 60 percent of people that responded said that they do not.

#3 Another study found that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#4 Some people are actually trying really hard to get ahead, but admittedly that is really tough to do when we are all being taxed into oblivion.  In fact, it was reported this week that Americans now spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

#5 Right now, more Americans are dependent on the government than ever before.  In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that currently gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#6 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.  That is a stunning number.

#7 It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million "preppers" in the United States.  But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping.

#8-16 The following are nine more statistics that come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a significant portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days...

  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

What do you think is going to happen to these people once the economy collapses and there is chaos in the streets?

How are they going to survive?

After all of these years of writing about the coming economic collapse, nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.

We are still heading toward a complete and total economic meltdown.

But most Americans continue to have faith in the system, and the mainstream media keeps assuring them that everything is going to be just fine.

And in this "dumbed-down" society of ours, most people are perfectly content to let others do their thinking for them.  In America today, only one out of every six Americans can even find Ukraine on a map of the world.  That is how far we have fallen.

In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves.  The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind.  If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion.

In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things.  Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen.  When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading.

Sadly, most Americans will never do that.

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Omegaman2211's picture


Mr Pink's picture

There's an economic collapse coming?! Holy shit, what should I do????

Soul Glow's picture

1)  Make a fucking list

pndr4495's picture

Eighth step work that is.

Manthong's picture

But looking at the brighter side of things, the fatties can look forward to some weight loss as deprivation and radiation will emaciate millions.

There will be many “OMG, you look FAB !” comments on Zuckbook.

DaveyJones's picture

should I check it twice?

should I be naughty or should I be nice?

will santa get skinny too?

MsCreant's picture

Will there be a great Santa Claws back? 

Margin calls are coming, to town.


e_goldstein's picture

1)  Make a fucking list

Best comment, evah.

Dr. Engali's picture

Sit in your hole and die, because according to Michael we are all doomed anyway.

Manthong's picture

Like minds..  I keep telling the relatives that when the SHTF do like the animals do..

crawl into a hole and die..

or fight.

laboratorymike's picture

This site's tagline:

"On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."

Insight from CS Lewis:

"War does not bring a new condition, it aggravates the current condition ... The death rate has always been 100%, we cannot increase it."

StychoKiller's picture

Me and the family agreed to meet in Ukraine in case of an emergency! :>D

Goldenballs's picture

People very laid back on here,this is not funny.




For the Bankers,Politicians,Big Business,Trolls,paid shills of the Dark Side ...........................................




just-my-opinion's picture

I won't give you a down vote but....would you say it to his face

If I was mad...I would...but otherwise...thats not needed


Serenity Now's picture

Comment of the day for me.  My 13-year old nephew got suspended from school for telling another boy to shut the fuck up. I've been saying it ALL day.  LOL.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Hey Dude.  Remember that you are here and alive today because you are descended from a multi-millenium long line of preppers.


James's picture

Michael Snyder, I saw your work on another blog stating a July 14th meltdown and Capital Controls being placed here in the U.S.

Would like to see that explained here.


SilverRhino's picture

Fire Extinguishers in the home. How many ZHer's have one or more?

laboratorymike's picture

Have one, saved my apartment/stuff from a grease fire. Great suggestion!

Have food: I used to work at a grocery store and any time anything happened, the shelves were empty in a hour, two tops.

Have a means of getting clean water: Survived a flood, clean water was gone for two weeks, the bottled stuff quintupled in price despite literal mountains of water being trucked in.


Once you go through a few disasters prepping becomes second nature. I think we have very easy lives to go for years and not have to worry about anything.


SgtShaftoe's picture

One fire extinguisher in every car, in the kitchen, in the garage, on top of the fridge, in the basement, and at least one good (CAT-T) tourniquet and REAL first aid kit in the house, in every car.  The car is the most dangerous place, best be prepared for an emergency to save someone. Yes, I test my MOX alarm and smoke alarms too.  (I have a MOX alarm in the furnace room too.)

A pet peve of mine is that I hate not having the tools I need when I need them, so I fully subscribe to the redundant redundancy principle. 

Hell, I just need a couple X-ray machines and I'd be a rolling hospital. 

nofluer's picture

Having tools is the smallest part of the issue. Being able to FIND the tool you need when you need it - THAT is the impossible part of it.

My tools must have come from a top secret covert ops program as they can hide at a moment's notice, and come out when they are no longer needed because you bought another one... neither of which will be findable the next time you need one.

Most people group their tools by type. Groups like wrenches (aux. hammers), screwdrivers (aux hammers), hammers (aux hole punchers)... etc. I group my tools differently. There are the bench tools (tools probably piled on the bench - the word "bench" indicating the wood under the tools that supports the pile), the floor tools (tools in various piles on the garage floor - so designated because there isn't enough room on the bench), barn tools (tools under the hay, hanging from the rafters, in the dirt out back of the barn, etc ie located within a few hundred feet of the barn), truck tools (tools on, under, behind the back seat of the truck), and "farm" tools (tools probably located somewhere on the farm - ie where-ever I used them last), etc.

ejmoosa's picture

My friends laugh at my level of redundancy.  But who do you think they call when they need something?

Serenity Now's picture

Two is one.  One is none.  :)

A good prepper motto I came across.

Dr. Engali's picture

Argh .... A fucking list!

fonzannoon's picture

Yeah but doc we are down to 16 from 30. this is incredibly bullish.

Soul Glow's picture

1)  Fat

2)  Lazy

3)  Complacent

4)  Self Righteous

5)  Stupid

There's the fucking list.

StychoKiller's picture

The intertubez is yer friend...

100 Items that disappear first in a disaster:

 1. Generators
 2. Water Filters/Purifiers
 3. Portable Toilets
 4. Seasoned Firewood.
 5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps, Lanterns
 6. Camp Stove Fuel – Impossible to stockpile too much.
 7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
 8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
 9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid
13. Water Containers
14. Mini Heater head (Without this item, propane won’t heat a room.)
15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Lantern Mantles
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Propane Cookstoves
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear / Polypropylene
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers
34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests
45. Workboots, belts, jeans & durable shirts
46. Flashlights, Lightsticks, torches, Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks
48. Garbage cans, Plastic
49. Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash, floss
50. Cast iron cookware
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Boy Scout Handbook
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Reading glasses
81. Window Insulation Kit
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal use, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Goldenballs's picture

101 ) Common sense.

102) Dickheads

103) Gimps.

104) Chocolate Cake.

105) The Fed

ParkAveFlasher's picture

"Dog food"?  That's what the neighbors are for.

forensicator's picture

i would add Lead or bullets at the top of this list.

IPA's picture

Must.   Know.  16 reasons       must.     Click.     Article.     Can't.     Resist

BandGap's picture

No, I think you meant to say "blow me".

That's what I was thinking too.

kaiserhoff's picture

#17 Some people still live in New Yawk.

valley chick's picture

#18  beans, bullion, and bullets. Bitchez!

SgtShaftoe's picture

You can try to lead a horse out of a burning barn, but you can't prevent them running back in, or just being fucking stupid and staying inside because they like to stare at the wallpaper. 

just-my-opinion's picture

Do what I a russian made when you kill one of can take their ammo

Do I need to put the / really

drendebe10's picture

I would guess it wont be Ruskies shooti n g at you... more likely LE..

Doubleguns's picture

Only 3 million? I would have guessed there were a lot more, a whole lot more by the numbers that I know. Whole parts of our country must have jack. 

just-my-opinion's picture

You know what sucks about a econ collapse...beans and soup