Survival Preparedness for a Broke College Grad?


Maybe you’ve taken out a college tuition load (or maybe you haven’t), you’ve completed four years of college, have a Bachelors degree, and can’t find a job that pays anywhere near what you expected. Or maybe you can’t find a job at all?

You have come to realize the state of the world that we’re in, that is, the horrible economic outlook with mounds upon mounds of debt to be paid, is in dire straits and may be headed towards the rocks. You are nervous about the future, and wonder how you will be able to pay off the already burdensome college loan, as well as your mounting credit card debt. Maybe you have a car loan too. You want to change things and prepare somehow, but you don’t know what to do.

Here are a few ideas about what you may consider doing to position yourself in a financially crumbling world.

You must realize that the world we live in is no longer the one where the prospects keep going up and up, one where people can keep on leveraging higher – taking on more debt – buying a newer car – a newer apartment, condo, or house – living the high life because your house just went up 100K in value last year…

You must realize that the entire period of time where this phenomenon took hold was simply by design of the elites to allow easy money to flow in the streets (for a variety of very greedy reasons). It unfortunately captured many of the dummies who know no better and even those who should’ve known better. It grew into an enormous bubble, one that will, and is, still bursting.

Your response to this realization should be to stay away from any and all debt, whenever possible. IMO, a home mortgage is OK, IF it is well within your means. Don’t count on the value of your home going up any time soon though. Consider renting.

If you have built up any credit card debt, even if you don’t think you can pay it off very soon, at least stop spending on your card. Stop the hemorrhaging if there is any…

OK, so you need income. We all need income in varying degrees of necessity. You have your degree but you can’t find a job where you are. So, face the likelihood that you may have to move away to find a paying job. This is the key to your current situation if you are looking for a job and cannot find one. Even today, there are jobs out there, but you will probably have to move in order to find one that meets your needs.

If you do not wish to move, then, you will have to live with someone who will take you in. Maybe it’s your family (there’s a lot of that going on these days). Maybe it’s a close friend. You will still need to provide worth to whomever you’ve moved in with, so, you may very well have to accept a minimum wage type job for starters – or, perhaps you have skills which will benefit whom you’re living with.

If you are concerned about being prepared, survival preparedness, economic collapse, hard times, or the next great depression, then I would advise learning as many practical skills that you can. I mean, ‘hands-on’ skills. During a severe economic downturn, many people will be on their own, fending for themselves. Your expertise in creating an Excel pivot table may not cut it when you’re bartering for food or supplies.

Preparedness starts with your current financial situation. How much debt do you have? How much income do you have?

Trim your expenditures to become frugal. Pay down debt and save cash whenever possible.

Once you’ve managed to change your lifestyle to enable a positive cash flow, then and only then, can you start the process of becoming truly liberated and free. Begin by buying extra food supplies (this always the first basic step). Learn how to supplement the food you buy with food you grow yourself. Learn how to preserve food. You would be surprised how much free food you could get from the excesses of your neighbors gardens – but you need to know how to preserve it for later.

Learn how to make things, how to do things with your hands. In a way, it’s like re-learning what our ancestors had to do to survive. Making do with what you have. Learning multiple uses for single supplies.

If you really want to prepare, then it is this mindset and way of life that needs to mingle or take over your current way. It can blend… you don’t need to go all the way. In fact, so long as the world doesn’t crash down around us – blending that old way of life with the modern way of life, is a nice compromise. One that will keep you ahead of the pack in many ways…

In summary, be willing to change your ways. Be willing to learn new things. Get out of debt. Get income wherever you can. You don’t need to make a zillion dollars a year to be successful and free. In fact, although you may disagree at your current stage of life, you will find out one day that it is not about money at all. Life, survival, and happiness is about other things altogether. The survival preparedness mindset, I believe, will head you in the right direction.


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  1. Some good advice here. I would like to add a couple thoughts related to prepping cheaply. First, if I’d known how much moving around I’d do in my lifetime I would have just LIVED out of suitcases and trunks. Seriously, you can get good, near new suitcases, sports bags and trunks at the 2nd hand stores for $5 or $10. Inside you can store 2 litre pop bottles of beans, pasta, rice, sugar, etc. Squirrel away a dozen tins of stew or chili, stock up on coffee, tea, etc. It’ll make moving easier, and it’s good opsec. (don’t tell your drinking buddies what’s in them when they’re helping you move. lol.)

  2. This was a good article though I thought it should be out in general circulation rather than a survival blog. (It might receive some real attention if it were in Forbes, Time or Newsweek magazines) This article gave wonderful advice to the college student as I think it is too late for the college grad to do something about with their freshly minted degree.
    For the New Graduate, (oh by the way, congratulations) I would consider several options.
    Option # 1: Did you work your way through school? If you did, is this a field that you could turn into a viable career? If your field of study is not hiring, your previous trade will at least put food on the table in the meantime.
    Option #2: Have you considered going back to school in a highly valued trade? A 4 year college degree tells me that you are able to learn things quickly and retain information for future use. You are smart. even if you majored in a “softer field” (ie. Liberal Arts Major, Art History, Social Sciences)
    Option #3: By all means, Go to where the jobs are. I grew up in a resort community where I saw many Fine Arts or Philosophy majors flipping burgers and wiping down tables. In this same area I saw over 70% of the restaurants fail within 5 years of opening doors. As a child, I rode my bicycle past a storefront that we jokingly referred to as the “Repo Depot” It led to a very cynical outlook on life. It also led me to a 4 year degree in Economics at a Cal State University.
    Option #4: The school of Hard Knocks. Learn from my mistakes and at least go home and think about what I have said. Do not make the same mistakes I have made. Do not waste time waiting for the Perfect Career (aint no such thing). If an agency or company is not hiring, go out and look for something/somebody that IS hiring and will put you to work right away. Employers will ask about extended gaps in your employment history. This is the one area in life that you simply must never quit or give up on. a good job can turn into a great career. Keep the faith New Grad.
    At the risk of sharing too much background info, I majored in an area that is tough to find a job in (4 yr degree in Economics). One of the jobs I did to work my way through school was driving ambulance and fighting fires. When I saw the abysmal pay scale of schoolteachers in CA, (I laughed out loud to the Superintendent of a school district) I stayed in emergency services. I eventually got tired of playing on the freeway so I decided to go into Nursing so I could treat patients without dodging drunk drivers and getting rained on in January. (I hate being cold and hungry. IT SUCKS!) My cousin was gainfully employed after she got an RN after her last name. She was my inspiration for a career change.

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