How to Survive The Great Pandemic Depression
This article was originally written on April 23, 2020
The sky might appear to be falling right now. There are people all across the world who are quarantined in their homes while COVID-19 death rates are climbing exponentially. There are families who are separated from each other because they fear spreading the coronavirus. There are businesses deemed “nonessential” that are closed for weeks. There are bills (including rents and mortgages) that are unpaid. There are food and essentials that are increasingly becoming scarcer. On top of this, you might actually have been infected with the coronavirus and are fighting to stay alive at this very moment.
Bad news seems to be sprouting daily. Recent data has just revealed that millions more have just filed for unemployment, with estimates of about a twenty percent unemployment rate here in the United States. To put this astonishing number into context, consider that the Great Depression had peak unemployment rate estimates of roughly twenty five percent.
What does this mean for us now? As I discussed in my book The Survival of the Richest (2016), without money, entities do not prosper. And without money, entities do not survive. If you take away the ability for businesses to make money, you are essentially killing them and the people who own and work for them. Make no mistake, the removal of wealth may kill more people than the coronavirus.
Considering that so many people are out of work and that so many “nonessential” businesses do not appear to have an opportunity to make money, it appears that the unemployment rate will continue to elevate. The problem is that once we surpass the unemployment rate record set by the Great Depression, there will be no way to numerically deny that we are living in a major historical economic and financial moment. Every economics and finance textbook of the future will use this time as a benchmark to study wealth.
The Great Depression and the Great Recession have rightfully earned their titles in history. Since I have little doubt that we will break our highest unemployment record within the next few weeks, let me be the first to welcome you to The Great Pandemic Depression (or The Great Pandemic for short)!
It is important to name this event for economists and financialists for the same reason that it is important for medical scientists to label the disease that has created it. Wealth scientists need to admit that there is a wealth emergency in the same way that the medical scientists have already admitted that there is a medical emergency. Admitting there is a problem is the first part of the solution.
Please do not panic though; we’ll get through this…humanity always does. We are the best survivors life has ever seen. I would like to share with you a free excerpt that I wrote from The Survival of the Richest several years ago that can briefly illustrate how to survive the Great Pandemic. The key point here is this: if humanity unites, then we can conquer the virus and restore prosperity. It is humans who have created our great civilization. We can do anything, especially when we do it together. Don’t be fooled by what you hear though, this road will be long and bumpy…so hold on tight. The problems of the Great Depression were not cured overnight, neither will be ours. On the bright side, this might be the struggle that this world needs to finally bring humanity to full unity.
Enjoy and stay safe!
Chapter 23: Surviving an Economic Collapse
“All nations have a risk of dying at some time. But all of the many ways to destroy a nation have something to do with wealth. If a nation were demoted to the survival step from a once-prosperous position, then it needs to be prepared for tough times. But how do individuals survive when the nation it belongs to is barely alive?
In an economic collapse, wealthy individuals and groups are usually still in the best position to survive. They may have accumulated enough wealth that they can provide themselves the proper amount of survival essentials for a sufficient time period to wait out the catastrophe. The poor may have a more difficult time, as the economic struggle may aggravate their already-challenging individual positions. But there is some good news!
Contrary to what many doomsday preppers may say, the conclusions of this book actually have some positive messages for any potential economic Armageddon. Two major things can help individuals survive a major economic collapse. First, if everyone has an emergency reserve, then it will relieve some pressure until the situation is hopefully rectified. But for how long should your emergency reserve last? In The Most Important Lessons in Economics and Finance, I proposed a twelve-month emergency reserve broken down as follows: “…at least six months of current living expenses in cash equivalents (e.g., a checking account in a bank), three months in actual cash stored somewhere fire-proof and safe, and three months in gold…” (Criniti, 2014, 177). If you want to add even more protection for a major economic emergency, then I would add to the above an additional one-year minimum emergency reserve of the survival essentials listed in chapter 12, for example, a one-year supply of food, water (or at least an alternative plan to obtain more, such as by collecting rainwater), and so forth. You could have more than a one-year supply of survival essentials but having less than this minimum is very risky.
If everyone in a given country were to take these measures, then the whole country would be better prepared to handle an economic catastrophe. Usually in these situations, the nation just needs a little time for the economic managers to reorganize their strategies. They may need to borrow or print more money. They may even need an entire economic facelift with a totally different strategy, for example, to shift from communism to free-market capitalism. The individual just needs to ensure that he or she has enough survival essentials to survive until the political smoke clears.
The second major thing that can help individuals survive a major economic collapse is to recognize the value in human cooperation and unity. Many doomsday preppers plan on isolating themselves and taking care of only their families. This is a short-sighted approach though. It should never be forgotten that what took us to our current state of civilization is our proper management of wealth together. Collectively we have created civilization, and collectively we can destroy it. Thus, in a worst-case scenario, collectively we can recreate it! Humans can fix almost any situation, as long as we keep united. It may take a little time, and thus, the reason for the individual emergency reserves. However, people should not hurt others and steal from one other. This can lead to a downward spiral of other problems.
We are our best assets! If we create animosity among our neighbors, especially for reasons that may be out of our control, then we divide ourselves and lower our collective probability of returning civilization to its former state. None of us, regardless of our occupation, can restore an economy alone. Simply, it would require too much knowledge and labor for any single person or even a small group. The above points could help us keep our focus and our sanity if we ever were to unfortunately experience an economic collapse.”
Excerpt from The Survival of the Richest (2016) by Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV, pages 215-217
Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV (AKA “Dr. Finance”)
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Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV (also known as “Dr. Finance”) is known as a major disruptor in the science of finance, revolutionizing the field’s entire academic foundation. He holds a PhD in applied management and decision sciences, with a concentration in finance, from Walden University. He earned his BBA at The George Washington University with a concentration in international business. He earned a master of science in financial services from The American College, where he also obtained prominent financial designations, including Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Registered Executive Benefit Consultant (REBC), and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU).
Dr. Criniti holds Pennsylvania licenses in fixed annuities, life and health insurance, and real estate. His various professional experiences include work as an investment and a retirement specialist for The Vanguard Group, as a financial planner for several hundred clients, and as a real estate developer.
A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Criniti is a professor at several universities, an active investor in various marketplaces, an explorer, a financialist, a survivalist, and has traveled around the world studying various aspects of finance. He is the author of three acclaimed finance books: The Necessity of Finance (2013), The Most Important Lessons in Economics and Finance (2014), and The Survival of the Richest (2016).