Here are some ideas gleaned from the plight of people in an environment of high inflation, as outlined in our series, $1.77 Every Year For Life: What Inflation Can Do To Your Finances: Lessons from Germany and its neighbors during the post-World War I inflation.

Think about the basics of life: How would you provide them if the economy turned bad?

Practice doing useful things that put food on the table and keep the house warm.

Try to stay employed.

People who work with their brains should consider the possibility that they might have to work at manual labor for a while.

People on the government payroll could face inadequate income despite keeping their jobs. Germans lost 80% of their pre-war income. Consider how living expenses could be cut.

Make a hobby of learning a skilled trade.

Make friends with a farmer.

Spread investments around. Cash, savings accounts and bonds are important, but they do poorly in an inflationary environment. Real estate and precious metals may be targeted for government interference or confiscation. One cannot count on selling stocks for reasonable profits–or even to get your money back– at all times.

If you like to collect things, consider buying items of high intrinsic value like jewelry or antique coins in preference to “fad” items. To the best of this writer’s knowledge, governments have tended to let people keep their gold and silver jewelry and antique coins even while gold and silver bullion was being confiscated.

Electric generators and emergency water systems can be very costly. In Germany, the power and water systems stayed on most of the time. Money might be better spent on a backup supply of food and some gardening or canning equipment.

Teach yourself what you need to know to carry out your plans. The county extension service is a great resource for gardeners, food preservers and small farmers. Some radio programs provide a sane approach to investments. Unfortunately, investors can suffer from information overload through some of the internet and cable TV outlets. Try to visit with people who have had success with investments. Visit some coin dealers and pawn shops. They are better sources of information and offer better deals on coins and used jewelry than ads in newspapers, magazines and TV shopping channels. Look at community college courses if you would like to gain some ability in the skilled trades.

If the U.S. ever experienced hyperinflation, there is no single fool-proof occupation or investment that is guaranteed to survive the storm. It is necessary to diversify, and the more options you consider, the better.

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