Surviving “Great Depression 2” With No Income

The 29 depression wiped out money in the banks. If you had money there, you were paid ten percent of what you had when it crashed years later…

Be prepared for no Money in the bank, no money in your 401k, no money in your mutual funds. Social Security for the ones who are receiving it will be gone. Any pension from work will be gone.

So now figure out a plan to survive with all your income gone. Got Gold, Silver? Food, for how long? Water, for how long ? Ammo, Firearms? How much ammo? Do you have a Bible or two? You will wish you had one when this starts.

~ commenter on MSB

I read this comment and it really hit me. Though a worst-case Greater Depression scenario may be on the “what if” list for some of you (including me), think about this specific BIG PROBLEM… No income.

Surviving Without an Income Stream

Imagine (if you dare), NO INCOME FLOW. Nothing. Not even social-security from Uncle Sam. No benefits. No pension. Income from a job? What job? Do you know what that means?

It means we would all be in deep doo-doo.

Survival would require having what you need — before it happens. Before devaluation. Before collapse. Long term survival would require much self sustainability. Not very many people/households can do that.

I’ll even give you this… Rather than no income, imagine a GREATLY REDUCED income. Something like currency devaluation (more than just a little).

I just posted two articles on the subject of a Greater Depression:

[ Read: The Perfect Storm – Greater Depression – 6 Months From Now… ]

[ Read: Action Plan For The Greater Depression That May Be Coming ]

So why am I posting a third? I hadn’t planned on it today, but that comment raised my eyebrow quite a bit. It’s a highly concerning hypothetical. I felt that it’s worth mentioning in a stand-alone post. At least get you thinking about “what if”… even if it’s just a partial loss of income.

“Hey Ken, Do you really think that the government would stop sending social security and other government monies to the people?”

Well, what I believe “could” happen is a potential runaway hyperinflation type monetary event. While you may still receive your dollars, the purchasing power might DRASTICALLY REDUCE.

“What about the banks?”

Bank closures. It happened before. It can happen again. Do you really think that the FDIC can handle a banking collapse? Answer: Not on your life… not on a big scale. Your money could disappear. Additionally, I believe that current bank rules are such that creditors have first dibs on whatever money is left (not you).

“How about all those pension plans, 401K plans and IRA accounts?”

A systemic collapse will likely wipe out financial institutions including brokerage firms who may be handling your 401K or IRA. Can you imagine if you had all your retirement money in one (or a few) of these firms, and they went belly up? That’s a frightening thought, right?

The Cartel Has A Plan In Place

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the global financial powers-that-be (the heads of the banking cartel) have a plan in place. They know where this is heading.

What a time to introduce a new currency. 100% electronic of course. We would all take a big ‘haircut’ in valuation. But the big question is this… Would they be able to roll out something – while the world collapses around them (after the collapse)? Because it won’t take long at all for the modern world to go “blue screen”. Lights out. So maybe they don’t wait for collapse? Roll it out earlier?

These are just musings. Those who may be retired and collecting a pension and/or social security — you already know the effects of inflation (currency devaluation) on a fixed income. Inflation always runs higher. Now try to imagine that to the extreme.

I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know where this crazy world is going (well, sort of). However the thought of economic ruin and hard hitting income reduction really gets one to thinking.

Do I have enough food? How long will it last? What abilities do I have to replace it without money? What would I do?

Now plug that question in for other things.

Today I have the money to buy more food. More supplies. More tools to help with economic collapse survival. What is my risk-tolerance threshold compared with my personal opinion of collapse likelihood?

Lots of questions…


  1. I think of this often. Outside of taxes and utilities the only other thing I would need is food. I can’t garden like I could in my youth, and most likely I wont be able to afford much in a hyper inflation scenario, so I have started to identify wild edibles in my area. Wild game and weeds. It’s amazing how much of what grows around me is edible. Although I have stored foods, that will likely not be replaced as money dries up. I would also most likely barter with people I know that do garden.

  2. As things are now we are good, but of concern are people like our neighbors. Family of four and nobody over there knows how to cook. They are all home due to closed schools and nearly every meal is a takeout or frozen pizzas.

    1. Chevy,
      I am afraid your foolish neighbors would be a tremendous problem,a demanding problem and eventually a dangerous problem for you in perilous times.

      1. @bluesman
        I see that happening also. Just my opinion of course but unless someone is completely illiterate they can cook. Bags of rice and beans have directions on them. So do cans of chili , veggies ect. I have zero sympathy for people like that who don’t prepare and refuse to try to help themselves. these will be the first to come knocking on your door saying the kids are hungry or can’t you help us we’ve been friends for a long time.

        1. -poorman,
          FWIW, I have known a few illiterate folks. Most of them, while they might not have been able to read the instructions on the back of a box of cake mix, were perfectly able to turn out a ‘scratch’ cake, build a house, repair a car or whatever. Illiterate does not mean dumb, just uneducated.
          – Papa S.

    2. I have read that many food banks will not stock food that needs preparation because their clients just throw it away. They will use the chips and pizza and discard the healthy stuff.

  3. There is an article out there that is attributed to Dave Ramsey and appears it is not his….but it is a great read anyway. It talks about how we will not be able to sell off our stuff at garage sales, we will not be able to perform odd jobs to get cash to buy food. All our transactions will be tracked. Talk about surveilance!

    If a new one world currency comes into play with a digital-only way to make or spend it, we will need barter items to get what we need.

    It will not be like the Great Depression 1 where our families were able to do odd jobs to buy small amounts of food to survive. Without a source of income, we will have to barter items or skills to ge the things we need. If all income dries up, that appears to be the only way forward once we exhaust out own resources.

    1. Pegasus – I expect that is how ‘black markets’ arise. (Do we need to re-name that, too?)

    2. There are places that demand you get a permit to have a garage sale and keep track of everything so you can pay tax on the sales.
      Of things that have already been taxed

      personal card readers so everyone can use credit cards and be accountable for said tax, just horrible.

      1. I’m actually OK with permits for garage sales. It limits the number of weekends with hordes of scavenger scum descending like locusts on my quiet street at 0530hrs. I never considered the sales tax angle. That’s pretty effed up.

  4. My grand dad lost all his savings in the depression the only good part was the farm was paid for and they grew or raised all their needs , but he always said never trust a bank , bury your money in the back yard in mason jars , always silver or gold coins

    1. That’s the old way. Silver and gold might be worth something ‘if’ you make it out to the other side… now it’s only going to be commodities: ammo, food, water, alcohol, cigarettes, clothing, firewood, oh and toilet paper! When you’re starving or need clean water, or your child does. Gold and silver may as well be used to make a wind chime or door stop.

      1. Greetings Sally,

        If you have gold and silver, when things go south… If you are hungry or thirsty… I will trade you food and water for your gold and silver.. Before , during and after the fall.

    2. I’ve often thought of burying some supplies and cash just in case. Sure I have some in the house but what if I needed to Bug out? I could hit the stash and run… anyone else do this?

    3. My Dad and Mom grew up during the depression, but on the farm where they pretty much grew everything they needed. My Dad grew up along the Jim river in SD and to the day he passed away, he refused to eat fish of any kind for any reason. That river is polluted with insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and whatever, my
      Dad more than once would tell about how nice and clear the river was when he was growing up in the 20’s and 30’s. Mom grew up several miles away from him, away from the river, but they still grew their own food or most of it. My grandparents and my mother and her brothers lived in stone house built into the side of a hill and the garden was just across the driveway from the house and was about 2 acres in size in addition to fruit trees. And yes both of my grandfathers had tractors, but used horses more that anything else. Why you ask when they had tractors, tractors required gasoline, horses didn’t, just hay and what oats that would be put aside for them. Now today if and when something like that happens or will happen, there will be a lot of hurting people. How many burn wood for heat and cooking anymore, not many. Sorry, I could go on and on here, but hopefully you get the picture.

  5. Ken, this article flows right into my earlier post question “what happens when prepping stops?” Prepping stops when the money flow stops; then bartering will resume in earnest but just how long can that really go on – until deep fear sets in and most consumables are “well consumed”.
    How quickly can humans re-learn to be self sufficient living off the land? Living off the land is real income – not interest paid by a bank on your savings. Humanity is not ready for the true loss of cash flow.
    But I ask “is trying to live as a hunter/gather even possible since humanity today has nearly no knowledge base of this lifestyle. So again, I ask what follows when prepping stops. I need ideas.

    1. Texas Boy, never stop learning. People who had real skills in the great depression fared quite well, as their services were always in demand. When people don’t have money they barter. Shoe makers were in high demand during the depression as most people could not afford to buy new shoes so they had to have them repaired. Yes consumables will disappear, lots of things will disappear. Things can be stolen, broken, and destroyed. The knowledge in your head cannot be taken from you. You can barter your skills for other things you may need.

  6. i am about to hit 66 i am no where near in the shape to do gardening as my health at this point sucks i smoked for way to many years
    all we have is ssd and ssi my long time girl friend is crippled and stuck in a wheel chair we a pretty decent set of wheels so if we had to bug out we MUST get out the earlier the better we can get by with what we get now

    if we have hyper inflation things would get VERY TIGHT but it might be done

  7. I guess I should keep my bicycle, if it ALL goes to chit thats like a Mad Max scenario with the “smokers”, at least an EMP can’t hurt pedals!

  8. In the collapse in Greece pensioners received or had access to a reduced amount. Seems like a possible scenario for SSD and SSI recipients.

  9. Life without cash money would be disastrous and a real game changer fro all.I think the banking cartel is pushing us towards a digital dollar but I don’t know what their plans are ,I can only guess. I think they want the ability to track/control every transaction that happens.The masses use credit and debit cards now and they can be tracked and recorded.
    I do not trust banks. I use one because I have to if I want our SS checks.
    I believe that the world around us is going to get very unpleasant before it gets any better.I feel that we will see a financial meltdown as we move forward.Our dollar has been devalued to almost 5 % of its original value since 1913 , through inflation.Thank the banksters for that.

    If you have a cash stash it is devalued through inflation. When the SHTF most of us peons will not want silver or gold we will be looking for food,clothing,building materials,ammo,tools , etc.
    I suggest having as many tangible things in your storage as possible, with some items set aside for bartering purposes.
    Blessings to all.

    1. They have said that their goal is not only a cashless society, but negative interest rates. That means, you pay them to hold your money. The money version of a pawn shop. With a cashless society you have no recourse. You have to use the banks, or nothing, and they take their share off the top.

      If a cashless society happens, this isn’t far behind. FYI, most of the .gov is also all for it, since they would take their cut from every transaction without the need for pesky things like tax law.

        1. kevin – any barter known only to the parties involved. Actually, I see quite a bit of that around me now. It only requires two or more agreeable parties satisfied with the exchange.

        2. I don’t know, but I’m probably wrong here and maybe all wet to boot, but Isn’t that something along the lines of wishing in one hand and pooping in the other and what do you have the most of . If you can’t handle it yourself and you have to rely on what someone else tells you what you have, then what good is it when you need the most. Having paper money after the collapse will still be okay, up to a point, you can still use the paper money to start or fuel a fire, or use it when you do your bathroom job, or use it for target practice. And gold and silver, is okay if you can fined the right person to trade with, otherwise it won’t keep you warm when you are cold, it will draw people who will think they need it worse than you and do what they can to get it away from you ( one way or another ). Just another old fart talking though his cap.

        3. I don’t know, but I’m probably wrong here and maybe all wet to boot, but Isn’t that something along the lines of wishing in one hand and pooping in the other and what do you have the most of . If you can’t handle it yourself and you have to rely on what someone else tells you what you have, then what good is it when you need the most. Having paper money after the collapse will still be okay, up to a point, you can still use the paper money to start or fuel a fire, or use it when you do your bathroom job, or use it for target practice. And gold and silver, is okay if you can fined the right person to trade with, otherwise it won’t keep you warm when you are cold, it will draw people who will think they need it worse than you and do what they can to get it away from you ( one way or another ). Just another old fart talking though his cap.

    2. We are the same vintage ,I remember the 5 cent candy bars,penny candy and the 25 cent gallon of gas. On my first job I earned 75 cents an hour, I was living high.
      Yes, moving tangibles could be a big problem and it takes space to store them .

      1. We must be of the same vintage, because I remember the same things. .22 cal shorts for .25 cents, .22 long rifle for .35 cents, hostess cupcakes ( two to a package ) for .10 cents. Coke for a dime, now look at where prices are. Kind of reminds me of the stories my Dad told me years ago about when he ws a young guy.

  10. Visa, Mastercard, Discover are already making a bundle on cashless transactions but enough is never enough. I would like to transform some of the paper into metal but I should of done it 6 months ago. Gold was around 1500 an oz a few months ago and now over 1900, silver is doing even better. Guess it couldn’t hurt to trade some paper for more food while I still can.

  11. Last year I read a series of books about the depression. One was titled “We had everything but money.” And the lesson taught through their stories is that when they lost every penny that had been in the bank, they had to open their hearts to survive.

    We’ll all be in the same boat. But we’ll be together. Each of us won’t have all of what we personally need, but together we’ll have enough to survive until we can thrive again.

    Only one person needs to bring a potato, another will bring the carrot, someone will have an ear of corn or a handful of green beans, we’ll find a scrap of meat, have someone filter the water to add to the pot while another chops the wood to start a fire. Together we have a pot of stew that will sustain us all. And tomorrow we’ll each add a little bit of our stored flour to make a big batch of biscuits to eat. On and on it will go. And as it does the meals will get bigger; we’ll have new crops that have been harvested and we’ll be working together as a team that does not quit. The rest will sort itself out in time.

      1. LoL car guy.

        I wonder how many here are old enough to get that reference

        1. I remember my folks talking and telling about the way things were then

        2. I remember my folks talking and telling about the way things were then

  12. I wonder if anyone else has had a problem lately with their Social Security. I received a letter in June that my benefit was being reduced by $169/month. No explanation. When I called the Cody office I was told that they would send me an explanation. No explanation came so I called again. That time Josh denied he had ever said that. A lady at the office said “We are very busy. We have lots of problems right now. You may call back every 3-4 weeks to find out the status of your claim.”

    I complained to my Senators and congresswoman. Senator Enzi and Representative Cheney responded and contacted some secret number for Social Security that only Congress has. They were told that it was a mistake and I would get my full benefit, but so far I have received nothing in writing. I did get my July check in full, though. I wonder if they are already starting to see what they can get away with in terms of reducing Social Security benefits.

    1. DaisyK:

      Why the heck not? Our government already has us acclimated to the prison practice of “lockdown”. They’ve already got us trained like circus monkeys to strap a paper panty to our faces and to shame and attack those who do not comply. My tax burden last year was double the highest I ever paid previously. They have people lined up in cars for 6 and 8 hours at a time to wait their turn for a drone in a Tyvek space suit to shove a wooden Q-tip to the far wall of your sinus cavity. Grocery packages are shrinking. Police have been stood down leaving the general public with only the right to be a victim.

      Why wouldn’t they just steal your money? It’s not like we’ll do anything about it, except call and complain to some dweeb who’s paycheck is also extracted from your money.

      1. Hey Joe –

        It was quite a power struggle, 11 against 1. I stood my ground. They STFU, real quick.

  13. Barter, neighbors, friends, family. I am close to retirement from my town job. Working on several side gigs anticipation of that day ( retirement ).

  14. A complete crash to zero seems unlikely. If so we are all in the same boat (ss titanic) and a new polity will form eventually.

    I believe what will actually happen is currency will be devalued by moving the decimal so what is now 1 dollar will be 1 cent (maybe .1 cent?). Social security will have a means test so unless you are disabled and have zero assets you won’t get any at all. As FDR did in the 1930s gold ownership will be made illegal and probably silver as well. There would be too many instant hundredaires made otherwise.

    In my area I believe property taxes will also be reset lower. If they don’t no one will own any property, serfs anyone.

    Security would be in a dead heat with growing food for a number one priority at the start of such a collapse. “Its only yours if you can keep it” will be the new mantra. Chicken thief and cattle rustler will be the new high paying occupations.

    The concept of “use it up, make it do, or do without” will be painfully relearned (eventually). Having a repair shop will be a good investment then. Shoes and boots, eyeglasses, small engines, will all be needing repair or refurbishing.

    Pray to God we don’t have such a severe reset. It is likely already too late to prevent it totally now.

    1. Actually Deep South given what happened in the Great Depression property taxes did not go down and a lot of folks lost their homes and farms on the courthouse steps with local Sheriffs and Bankers at hand. The Bankers and Government didn’t care you were out of work and broke, pay your debts or lose the property. Since it cost money to arrest you folks generally were not sent to jail for minor crimes like debt. Why give you 3 hots and a cot? Just make you a homeless person and force you and your family to to move along.

      There is a reason popular culture raised up criminals as heroes for “Sticking it” to the Banks and such. The murderous set of thieves named Bonnie and Clyde ring a bell?

      I don’t see the Socialist-Democrats feeling poorly about making serfs of all they can. I also don’t see them crying that the “promised Social Security” check is hyperinflated into a loaf of bread.

      Trusted friends, families that work together (and often lived several generations in the same house to prevent homelessness), and hard work by all got so many families through the Great Depression. Even kids worked at whatever could be found, a bucket of fish was a welcome donation to the family.

      1. NH

        True at the start of the 1930s. Many did lose their property and were evicted due to loans they had no possible way to repay, not so much to property taxes. That will also be true in a future situation. Later much money was spent to resettle others on the same property. Many neighbors and some family are on such properties around me now.

        Knowing the surrounding local governments I don’t think the evict and go mentality will hold up for property taxes, the rate is based on evaluations not just a set amount so if the dollar is devalued so too must the tax valuations, at least in my area of the country. And most like the skin they live in. :)

        Father and Mother both lived and grew up in the depression and I remember their stories. I believe this one will Be different however. Multi generation homes are not common any longer but would be back quickly indeed.

        I am replying to clarify my comments and opinion not to Start anything.

        1. I remember my father telling about the 20’s and the 30’s, in the mid 20’s my grandfather had approx 2500 to 3000 acres of farm ground and river bottom, after the crash of 29, he managed to save the home place of about 600 acres. He lost the rest o taxes and then he still almost lost the home place because fire had burned a barn down, and he need another building for livestock so he borrowed enough to buy lumber to put up another barn and then almost lost the farm because of that.

    2. My grandmother that lived in town said you didn’t leave your clothes on the clothesline unattended as they would be stolen- especially kids clothes.

      That was one thing that really caused me to consider how severe it was.

  15. Ken, you said “Today I have the money to buy more food. More supplies. More tools to help with economic collapse survival. What is my risk-tolerance threshold compared with my personal opinion of collapse likelihood?” . . .

    True, but much of my $ is tied up in the guv’s version of a 401(k) retirement account. What I do have is available credit. Which adds time value of money as the third leg of the stool along with risk tolerance vs collapse likelihood. . . .

    Funny thing, when I learned to milk my grandparents’ cows as a small child we used a one legged stool. Our own legs made the other two legs of the stool. Milking required a balancing act. Just like them making it through depression and dust bowl, and the rest of their lives really, with only cash, and not much more than two nickels to rub together most of that time.

    1. Ha, milking with a one legged stool. Been there done that, although it was a long time ago

  16. If everything goes digital, we have no choice but to take the beast down, crash the system.

    1. Any ideas come to mind? Just thinking if you have to pay your taxes on your property with a new digital only currency account and a vaccine pass is required it will be very interesting.

  17. Two comments that I’ve heard forever that makes me laugh, You can’t eat gold and silver, and we’ll just get bye bartering. Maybe someone could answer these two questions. What kind of endless supply of items or profession, does the majority have that they can barter with long term? And second how many people have you ever heard of that died from starvation with a pocket full of silver and gold, other than maybe a hoarder? I would venture to say if you have silver and gold, you will always be able to get bullets and band aids. Just wish I had some Silver and Gold! Trekker Out

    1. Mountain Trekker,,,,
      Gold n silver are a no brainer if you can,,,

      Barter is tricky but doable IMHO.
      Not everyone will be able to, but if you can produce stuff, grow stuff, etc, like leather goods, sewn products, forged steel products, useful stuff ya know, theres lots, stuff people may need, or services the peeps with the gold may need, like fixing something or making something, i would say again that location Will make a difference, say i make a bunch of vennison sausage and trade it for somebodies fruit, or i make a leather harness for a goat and some other stuff and the owner trades me a kidd, or a lady gives me 5 silver rounds to sew some bags out of some canvas she had,,,, you get the idea.

      1. Kula your right about PM being a no-brainer, I’ve read your comments for years on numerous blogs, and I’ve no doubt that you and a few others can make barter work, but the majority of people have no skills and personally produce nothing with which to make long term barter work. Anywho, with the Good Lords help, We’ll make it through! Trekker Out

        1. Mountain Trekker,
          Right O on no skills for barter, some may be decent for just labor,
          Say they could work in the gardens or such in exchange for produce or eggs or the like, one problem i do see with that is many people have an overinflated sense of self value. Example, i would be willing to give a person a good size box of veggies in exchange for a few hours weeding, but that same person wants to do 15 minutes,,,,,
          Is sorta like what we see in real estate, people want to sell their dumpy house they paid way too much for 10 years ago for top dollar yet they want to get a discount on the newly renovated pad in a good neighborhood.

    2. Mountain Trekker-

      I think I’ll be OK. I’m McGyver, fer goodness sake. I can fix, repair and create many useful things. And in the strictest technical sense, you can eat silver… sort of. It’s pretty easy to make colloidal form silver solution, which is curative for many ailments. I’m with ya though; sure wish I had some. The stuff is so expensive now. I was thinking of making an appointment today at the LCS (required since STUPID19). But $2 grand, for a maple?! I’d better stick to fixing things.

      1. Good grief McGyver, I know you’ll be OK, I saw you years ago on TV make a bass boat with a 100 horse motor out of a gum wrapper. But for the life of me I just can’t figure why you can’t make a Maple leaf out of a washer! Trekker Out

        1. Mountain Trekker –
          Too much competition. China has perfected the art of marking 1kg bars out of tungsten; it’s only a matter of time before they mass produce a maple leaf from a washer. Gotta pick your battles these days.

  18. What you are concerned about is a clue as to how prepared you are. Our neighbors would be concerned about scarcity of frozen pizzas whereas I about garden or preservation issues.

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