Jason Hartman talks with The Survival Mom, Lisa Bedford from Arizona. Lisa says that deep inside every mom is a “Survival Mom” whose passion for her family drives her to make the best of the present and prepare for the future. More at: http://www.holisticsurvival.com/category/audio-podcast/ and on iTunes. Lisa shares that passion along with a long-standing, slightly crazed fascination with natural disasters, survival stories and preparing for the unknown. This drives her husband, the Paranoid Dad, crazy. You’ll hear importance of preparedness and being proactive and ideas tried, successes as well as failures. A forty-something mother of two home schooled children and wife to a busy, self-employed husband, Lisa lives in the greater Phoenix area, also known as Hell’s Waiting Room!
Lisa spent nine years as a classroom teacher, four years as a teacher mentor, and have had the same home-based sales business for over 17 years. Prior to her professional career, she believes she set a world record for holding the most part-time jobs during my high school and college years! The future has always been uncertain, a massive earthquake could take out half of the United States at any moment. What makes right now different is the uncertainty on so many levels: the economy, national security, natural disasters and a world increasingly filled with threats against our country.
If you’ve been stashing away a few groceries every week or researching how to make a solar powered generator, you’re not alone! Our concerns for the present and future can be channeled into actions that will help provide for and protect our families while still enjoying the heck out of life!
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host Jason Hartman, and this is episode #32. I’m not sure if you can hear the noise in the background, but I am actually on the gorgeous island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean, enjoying a little vacation and white sand beaches and crystal clear water and just a great time here at the Weston Resort. We talk about on this show protecting the people, places, and profits that you care about in these uncertain times. And one of the great things about the profit pillar of the holistic survival equation is that you can do things like this. I’ll be traveling for almost an entire month, talking to you from different places in my travels. And make sure you get that financial house in order. Today, we’re going to talk about more fundamental survivalism, but we want to hedge our bets. Either way, we want to expect the best, be prepared for the worst. And that’s why you should make sure that you are also listening to my Creating Wealth Show and you are joining us hopefully for the Master’s Weekend. My real estate company Platinum Properties Investor Network does an event called the Master’s Weekend a couple of times a year, and we have that coming up in mid-October. You can find out more at JasonHartman.com. This time we have a very special event planned where it’s three days instead of two. And I just wanted to mention that for you because that’s one of the very important pillars of Holistic survival, people, places, and profits. So now let’s go and talk to The Survival Mom, and that is Lisa Bedford, and it’s really interesting to hear a female perspective on survival, which you don’t hear that often, and a mom’s perspective on survival as well. So let’s listen in.
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome The Survival Mom to the show. Now isn’t that a great name? Lisa Bedford is our guest today and she’s going to talk about survival from a mother’s perspective, from a family’s perspective. And this is a new one. So it’s really great to have her on the show. Welcome, Lisa.
Lisa Bedford: Thank you.
Jason Hartman: So let me ask you, as The Survival Mom, what is it that you’re preparing for?
Lisa Bedford: Well, I love this question because personally our family takes a look at the most likely crises, the most likely emergencies, and prepares for whatever comes first at the top of the list. And this is the advice that I give other moms and dads who visit my site. For most American families right now, what would be at the top of the list for many of them is a financial crisis. And so that is what our family has started with. Here in Arizona, where we live, we’re not so concerned about hurricanes, earthquakes not so much either. But a financial crisis, a loss of a job, long term unemployment, an income reduction for whatever reason is right up there. And so that’s where we put our main focus. And in fact, I think financial survival has got to be perhaps maybe the most important facet of preparedness because if your finances aren’t in order, it’s really difficult then to begin a food storage program or to buy equipment or firearms and ammo. As much as I know people love to focus on those things, the financial side of that has to come first, and that’s what we’re doing.
Jason Hartman: Absolutely. So out of all the potential crises that could hit, and a lot of those are geographically based, some people live in hurricane or tornado areas, others like me live in earthquake areas and wildfire areas, what is sort of your worst fear? Is it just economic collapse and civil unrest that comes with that? Or is it along the lines of the natural disasters if you had to pick one?
Lisa Bedford: If I had to pick one that is most likely, it would definitely be an Argentina style economic collapse. And I don’t see that as happening overnight. I have read some scenarios where people paint dismal pictures of it happening within just a day or two, and I guess a serious banking crisis could precipitate that. But I think it’s a very slow and steady decay where maybe two years from now, five years from now, and I hope none of this ever happens but we may suddenly take a look at our surroundings and say I don’t think we live in a first world country anymore.
Jason Hartman: When you say the Argentine collapse, I mean Argentina’s been through a couple of collapses, a few. Eva Perón and Juan Perón certainly didn’t do much good for the country, but you’re probably referring to the most recent one. And I think that was, what, 8 years ago? Maybe 10 years ago now?
Lisa Bedford: Yes. It was started around the last 1990s, and within about 4 or 5 years, about 60% of the population was living at or below the poverty level. And an anecdote that was relayed to me by a friend who had a roommate who lived in Argentina, her parents were actually professors, and her friend described to her the scenario and said a month after this happened, her parents were actually digging through a dumpster looking for food. And it hit all levels. And so the challenge that I put out in my classes and when I talked to people, just in casual conversations, is what can you do now to be proactive and to position yourself and your family so something like that, the effects of that are minimized?
Jason Hartman: Very good point. And just kind of some commentary on that, maybe you want to have a little discussion about it, because I think people play these scenarios out in their head. And the nonbelievers say this could never happen in America type thing. And then some people sort of almost play it out in too gloomy of a fashion. And they give all the comparisons. Well, look at what happened in the Weimar Republic, look at what happened in Argentina several times. Look at what happened in Zimbabwe. Look at Greece, etcetera, etcetera. Look at California, Michigan, and then America in general. But I think the thing to remember is that Argentina, at the beginning of the last century, was a first world country. It was in the power position. I mean many people thought it would easily overtake the United States as THE country, and it didn’t work out that way obviously. But there are a lot of countries that had a lot of stuff going for them that things changed considerably. And I think people should take heed to that lesson from history. So that’s on one side of it. But on the other side of it is the US is in a pretty different position than a lot of other countries. We’ve got the reserve currency, we’ve got the strongest military, and we owe almost everybody in the world a lot of money. And being the debtor in a way is beneficial because they need us. They need us to survive. That’s sort of the China/US paradox that’s weird. We owe them all this money, but we’re the one that have the stuff. And so it’s hard to think…Any thoughts on that?
Lisa Bedford: Well, I just would say that for the skeptics…Before I even point that out, I would say that the future is called the future because it’s impossible to really predict.
Jason Hartman: Good point.
Lisa Bedford: And I have read scenarios from a variety of politicians and economists, even just all of the variety of bloggers online. And it’s fascinating to me that one person who has terrific credentials can predict hyperinflation. And honest to goodness, you just browse through the internet a little bit more and there’s someone who with just as impressive credentials saying we’re heading for a deflationary period or a deflationary depression. And so what that tells me is that no one knows exactly how it will pan out.
Jason Hartman: You’re absolutely right. It’s called the future because it’s a prediction. And it does not hurt to be prepared. And just for my quick two cents on that, because I love the study of economics, I think we’re going to have deflation on things we want and inflation on things we need. And what we’re talking about today with The Survival Mom is the things we need, the basic things that are needed in everybody’s life, those basic resources, food, water, etcetera, and energy. And I see some real inflation coming to those things and we’ve already had quite a bit of real inflation. The necessities I think we really need to focus on, don’t we?
Lisa Bedford: I think that’s a good point. And when you do start stocking up on the things that you need, the advice I give is that prices will likely never be better than they are right at this moment, whatever this moment is. Whether it’s this month or whether it’s two months from now, prices will probably never be better or lower. And so a lot of people can take advantage of things just as simple and elementary as grocery store sales and coupons and just watching things on Craigslist. It really is amazing how quickly you can get stocked up on things that you need, thus avoiding those inflationary prices in the future. And eventually they will affect us all, but I like to think of this as a form of insurance.
And when people are skeptics, Jason, I just say well what kind of insurance do you have? And they’ll list. You know, we have an umbrella policy or we have of course car insurance, health insurance, renters, home owners, and then I ask how often have you used that? Well, already, with we had to stock up on, I daily dip into some of those extra groceries, saves me a trip to the grocery store. And when our income fluctuates, as it has, my husband is in the construction industry. And we had been so grateful that we had had something set aside. And where inflation is concerned with the things we need, this is the ideal time to think okay, what do we need? Many of the survival moms hang out on my blog. They talk about looking for clothes for their children. They look at back to school sales. And they’re saying, hey, I’m buying clothes for kids 1 and 2 and 3 sizes bigger right now when I can find them at very, very low prices.
Jason Hartman: Right. Yeah, that’s a good point. And you know they’re gonna grow. And that’s a way to kind of arbitrage and really invest for the future because if you own the stuff now at the lower price and everybody else that isn’t smart enough to be prepared has to pay more later, you’re really in comparison improving your standard of living. So the world does not need to come to an end. There doesn’t need to be a big crisis really. It’s just good planning.
Lisa Bedford: Yes.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, absolutely.
Lisa Bedford: And right now we have products that are inexpensive and of a good quality. Years ago I spent time in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union and I was just…One of the big eye openers to me was just the amazingly poor quality of just about everything I saw. There was very, very little for sale there. And what was on the shelves, other than the stores that were for tourists, were things that I would just cast a disdainful eye on and say that’s not fashionable enough, that isn’t well made enough. And should we see a decrease in the quality of the products that we can’t afford, then by all means, I stock up on Levi’s for my son. Those are the only ones that last for him. He’s 8 years old. So I also like to think of it in terms of purchasing quality now, because the future is a little bit unpredictable as far as what will be available and the quality.
Jason Hartman: So as a mom in particular, what can you do to help your family survive? What is unique to moms? Not just general survivalism, but you’re The Survival Mom.
Lisa Bedford: Well, the reason I started my blog to begin with is because everything was geared toward men. And as a mom, I could only read so much about reloading equipment and arguments comparing one hunting rifle and another, talk about zombies. It was interesting enough to me because I have a morbid curiosity where this subject is concerned anyway, but I started to think at the end of the day if I am standing in the rubble of my home after a tornado or if we’re looking out and our street out in front of our house is just a river, my kids are going to look up at me and they’re going to say “Mom, are we okay? Is everything okay, Mom?” And to me, that was the key. And I think that should be the key to any parent. Can you look at your children and say “We’re going to be okay”? “I’ve been setting aside some money. I have a little bit of, you know, food stashed away. Don’t worry about that. Whatever the case might be, we’re going to be okay.” And as a mom, I didn’t seen a whole lot, I didn’t see much at all that would answer that question. And so what we have done as a family is we have just incorporated this as a lifestyle. And it’s nothing my kids fear.
You know, I admit when we started stocking up on tin cans of food and things like that and buckets of wheat they’ve never seen before. But we really used the story from the bible about Joseph. And I’ve also used pieces of children’s literature. Children who lived in the pioneer days, the Little House on the Prairie books are excellent, and they provide a great picture of self-reliance and planning ahead and having enough left over to share and to be generous with. We have taken those steps as a family, but it was also important to us that our kids knew exactly what was going on and it was explained to them at that level, so they feel okay, and that I know things will be okay as a mom.
Jason Hartman: Right, right. So by preparing them and just sort of introducing these thoughts, this material into the lives of the children, they’re not freaked out. I mean it’s just something that they normally do. And I want to mention, because we talked about it off tape, you’re not Mormon. And what’s interesting is I think the Mormons really have it right is that they’re into preparedness. And it’s just self-reliance and it’s responsible. It’s the responsible thing to do, isn’t it?
Lisa Bedford: You know what fascinates me is that what we’re doing, our family, and then thousands and thousands of other families, they look at the future and they see a future that’s not as certain as it was when they were children, what we’re doing is just kind of retro, because if you look at the history of humanity, it has only been in the last 60 to 70 years where at least we in the Western world haven’t had to give a thought about basic survival necessities, and that really the very small window of time. And now I’ve never known this life of prosperity, this life of success. And I start a business and it does well. And business is booming and it’s just upward onto a bigger house this time, a bigger house five years from now. But really, when you look back just to a grandparent’s generation, or a great grandparent’s generation, this was how they fought. They fought about the future, and not in terms of just where are we going to vacation next year? It was we better can all of those peaches because next year we might not have any. And it was just that mindset of let’s plan ahead just a little bit. And I bet a lot of your listeners do that financially.
Jason Hartman: Absolutely.
Lisa Bedford: Financial planning, that’s exactly what’s required. This whole realm of survival and preparedness just takes that concept and applies it to real good. And also in areas such as skills and knowledge, and even as you mentioned earlier about people running scenarios through their head, I think that’s actually helpful because as I’m thinking to myself well what if. How can I prepare my family if we all of a sudden had some sort of water crisis in the desert that we live in? I think those are helpful scenarios. What isn’t helpful when they just freeze you into fear or they just turn it off completely because you just can’t deal with even a thought.
Jason Hartman: It’s interesting when we look back at like our grandparents or even great grandparents and that kind of depression era mentality where that was a real survival scenario during The Great Depression and now this one looks very different seven decades later, but I don’t think this is anything to really scoff at. There are some very uncertain things in the future. But one of the things I find about the survival mindset is that it can get too negative. It can get to the point where we sort of become what we think about, as Earl Nightingale said, not sort of, we do. And things become kind of self-fulfilling. And we take our eye off the positive things in life, the goals we want to achieve, the prosperity we want to achieve, all of this good stuff, all of the vacations we want to take, etcetera. It’s important to maintain a balance, isn’t it? I always like to say I expect the best, but I prepare for the worst. Any thoughts on that?
Lisa Bedford: Well, I do. When you think about balance, I like the comparison of a tight rope walker, because if he or she begins venturing across that wire, at no point along that journey do they take their balance for granted, and they are continually checking their balance, whether to the left or the right or shifting their weight. They’re constantly adjusting as they go. And so with the thought of survival and an uncertain future in mind, I think that we need to make that adjustment and we need to kind of check ourselves. Okay, I’ve been hanging out on those survival blogs and forums way too much. I’ve been maybe perusing real estate with the idea of how safe is this home from a rifle fire from 300 yards away. And I think you can really just focus on that, and then go through the rest of your day and go through the rest of weeks or months or whatever with that mentality. And I refused to do that.
In fact, one thing that even started me on this road as far as blogging and writing goes is that I had fallen into that trap. And my husband would come home and one day he forbade me from going to this one particular website and forum because he’d come home to a wife that was completely wigged out. And I was checking out real estate. That’s why I know it’s there, and that’s why I know what the features of these survival retreats are. And really, now I try to just check my balance. And I think it was last week on blog I asked people where is your happy place? When you start feeling overwhelmed by the future, you start feeling discouraged. You don’t have enough money to stock up. Or you read about people who are moving out to the country and that’s not a possibility for you. What do you focus on? And for me it’s my children. And we will just sit and we will just laugh, and that is my happy place. And I just think that just finding that balance, focusing on the things that make you happy, there’s so many good things in life. But it’s almost like you have to assign just one part of your brain to the preparedness mindset. And now when I go grocery shopping, which I’m going to do later this week, if I see something on sale, instead of buying a couple of cans, I buy 10 or 20, whatever I can afford to put in my cart. That’s just that little survival lobe, that kind of reaches out and says okay, that’s a good buy, let’s go stock up.
But I think that once people start taking proactive steps, that balances easier. A lot of the people who dwell in fear are the ones who don’t know what to do or the ones who are in denial and yet they refuse to be proactive in spite of maybe what they know. And I think that once you have some knowledge and once you start taking action, it actually relieves a lot of that stress and fear.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I would agree with you. Stress comes from not doing what you know needs to be done. And when you just take care of it, the stress just melts away, doesn’t it?
Lisa Bedford: Yes, it does.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. So have you faced any real big obstacles, Lisa, in becoming prepared, whether they be from friends and family saying this is crazy or you’ve gone crazy or that kind of thing? Or just obstacles in doing it tactically?
Lisa Bedford: I would say that those obstacles fall in a couple of categories. Any obstacles that have come from people, I just dismiss. I may listen to their opinion. I was challenged once with the idea that I’m taking everything out of God’s hands. And if I start stocking up on things, maybe God is going to dump an enormous amount of food in my front yard, but now he’s not. You know, it was ranging on superstition. And my logical brain clicked in and I was just like, okay, and I could list a whole bunch of reasons why that didn’t make sense. So when I face anything like that, I listen o what’s said. I may respond, I usually don’t. I just want people to kind of catch the vision so to speak on their own. I’m not trying to argue or convince them.
On a practical level, for myself and a lot of people who come to my blog and who email me, a big challenge is just what’s happening in the economy. So a family, a mom for example, might see the need to stock up on maybe two or three months’ worth of extra food, but the money is barely even there for food for this weekend.
And as our income has gone up and down, we’ve had some dramatic shifts over the last year and a half or so, we have just had to…When I can, I stock up and I do what I can. But as I said earlier, there are other ways of being prepared. And so when times are tough, right now for example, we have a friend who’s giving my kids writing lessons, and they’re extremely proficient swimmers. My daughter can sew. Both kids know how to shoot quite well with 22 caliber rifles. And so things like that that fall into the category of maybe mental preparedness, skills and knowledge, very, very often those don’t cost a whole lot. So that financial obstacle is a biggie.
Another one that we have not run into is space. I’ll have people say okay I live in an apartment. Where am I gonna put all this food. And just at a practical level, you just have to take a look at what you own. You have to do a massive de-cluttering job. And there are practical things you can do to make more space, but primarily, people that may be skeptics, unfortunately for me in my home, everybody’s on board, and then just some of those practical considerations.
Jason Hartman: We’ll be back in just a minute.
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Jason Hartman: One of the things I would say that any person who is into preparedness and survival needs to think about, and I totally agree with what you said about how you try to avoid getting into big debates with people about whether you should or shouldn’t be prepared on that part, but one of the reasons I started this show and one of the reasons I’m sure you do what you do is because we all live in a community and we are dependent on others in our community and it really is important to get the message out. I sure hope more people receive it because the more prepared all of the people in our respective communities are, the less impact they will have on us and our families, I mean the less negative impact they might have. If your neighbors are prepared, if they have food, if they have water, they’re not going to be dependent on you for that. And so it is really important that the word get out, isn’t it?
Lisa Bedford: Yes, it is. And I purposely kept my blog apolitical. I’ve kept it just middle of the road. I don’t get off into religious things or conspiracy theories. I may touch on my faith once in a rare while. But I really want it to be information that is just very acceptable to anybody that happens along. And as I say sometimes, that if my neighbors down the street who are atheist anarchists and if they’re stocking up and something really big hits, they’re not gonna be coming at us demanding we want what you have. So I really think that preparedness is for everybody. It’s a message for anybody at every level. And it’s so important that no one…I may be venturing off into that negativity here, but people who take for granted their stability right now are the ones that I worry about the most. I had someone just yesterday compare their current lot in life with a few others in their family and they said we really are the most stable ones. And I looked at her and I’m thinking your husband works in the media. You work in a field that can be affected by tax cuts immediately. And I feel that there’s a danger of just becoming lulled. Even if there’s a 20% unemployment, there’s still 80% of the people who are still employed. For some people, the only thing that have changed in their life might be the value of their home and the value of their investments, and nothing else really have changed.
And it’s like things have changed, and even major corporations could shut down. They could downsize. And something you take for granted, a salary and benefits may be eliminated or endangered.
Jason Hartman: Sure, absolutely. Luxury is the lull to apathy, and so is complacency. So that’s a bad thing. So getting the word out is important. Do you think, Lisa, that the reality TV shows and the movies and the survival books give a realistic picture of what the future might be or is this Hollywood again?
Lisa Bedford: Well, again, the future is the future. So whether it’s a future that is more like Star Trek where there’s just amazing things that people can do or if it’s more like The Book of Eli or The Road, you know, I certainly hope it isn’t the latter. When I watch those shows, I try to learn lessons from them. And just recently, I watched a discovery series and it was from last year. And it was about a group of people who were left in Alaska and they had to make their way out. And they were given virtually nothing to survive with. And I’m watching them and when you have kind of a mindset of survival and preparedness, you start picking out things that people are doing right and mistakes they’re making and maybe equipment they should have taken and something they should have thought of. And whether it’s The Colony or whether it’s Man vs. Wild or any of these other survival type shows, I think they can be educational when you look…Stand back a little bit instead of taking everything as gospel, say okay, what would I do in that situation? What would be the smart thing to do? How could I not get in that situation in the first place?
Jason Hartman: At least it exposes one to alternative scenarios and lifestyles and so forth. So that’s a good thing because they get to see it. And maybe the techniques uses aren’t the right ones or they’re sort of fantasy oriented, but they do give you an idea of what you might expect. And the question what would I do in that situation is a great one, isn’t it?
Lisa Bedford: Well, you know what, it’s certainly a booming field right now. The whole field of survival, whether it’s wilderness survival or it’s urban survival, it really is booming. And that tells me that these production companies and these publishers would not be coming out with the material, the books, whatever, if there weren’t customers out there. So there are probably far, far more closet survivalists than you and I could ever imagine.
Jason Hartman: And I’m glad they’re out there because they’re not gonna be coming to me for their needs if they’ve taken care of them. Speaking of that, what do you do? I mean have you thought about that? Like what do you do if your family, your friends come to you for help in a survival situation? How do you handle that?
Lisa Bedford: Yeah, that’s a tough one. I’ve even heard people say that they would rather not prepare at all than to have to make the decision to turn someone away at their front door.
Jason Hartman: That is totally stupid.
Lisa Bedford: Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense. And just like the person who says you can’t prepare for everything, so why bother?
Jason Hartman: That’s crazy.
Lisa Bedford: I think you have to put first things first. And that’s why it’s important to get started now. And it’s important to put things into place now, because the more time you have, I think we have a great window of time right now. For those of us who have an income, we have a good window of time, as I said mentioned earlier, to look for the bargains and to look for and to plan out what might I need six months from now or a year from now. And how about my non-edibles? How are we doing for things like contact lens solutions and little over the counter type medicines that we always use and stocking up on some of those things? Because once you secure your family, then you feel like you can be generous to others. And I know people who have been in the survival mode for years who are doing amazing things. I mean they have literally these white buckets packed that have a small blanket inside, that have maybe a few pounds of Kraft’s dehydrated food, and they will provide them a couple of gallons of water, and they actually have thought ahead. What will I do when someone comes to my door, when I see someone coming up the road to my house? And they actually have even started to set things aside. That won’t be possible if you look at your own family members and you open the refrigerator if you still have electricity and you say I don’t have enough for my own family. I have no choice but to turn someone away.
So the proactivity now I think would allow generosity in the future. And I think just that human kindness would really go a long way to humanize maybe some very, very difficult situations.
Jason Hartman: Absolutely. Well, Lisa, that’s a great point. Give out your website if you would and let people know where they can learn more.
Lisa Bedford: Sure. I write a blog. I update it several times a week. And the web address is www.TheSurvivalMom.com.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Closing thoughts?
Lisa Bedford: My closing thought is just a recommendation to start looking at your current circumstances and ask yourself what can I do today to allow me and my family to have a more comfortable life in the future, regardless of what might happen.
Jason Hartman: And that’s a very good thought. Lisa Bedford, thank you for joining us. The website again is TheSurvivalMom.com. And I’d go there and learn more. She’s got a great blog and some great information, classes and so forth on there. And we appreciate having you on the show.
Lisa Bedford: I loved every minute of it, Jason. Thank you. (Top image: Flickr | infermon)
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The Holistic Survival Team
Transcribed by Ralph