Thanks to everyone who responded to my question (yesterday) about battery-operated chainsaws. Lots of good information was provided, and my correspondent is currently considering her options.
That brings me to another question from a reader. It looks very much as if the world economy is on the brink of a precipice right now. Consider just a few headlines from the past week:
- CNN: Opinion: Brace yourselves for another financial crash
- Simon Black: Forget about Ebola – here’s why US banks (and your savings) are now EXTREMELY vulnerable
- David Stockman: Kudos To Herr Weidmann For Uttering Three Truths In One Speech
- Michael Snyder: 19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy
- Casey Research: The Many Roads to Currency Ruination
I've been writing about these and similar problems for years, as have many other people. I hope most of us have taken what steps we can afford to prepare ourselves for another financial and economic crisis, which I believe is as certain as the dawn.
Now a reader e-mails to ask for advice. I've condensed her query as follows:
I'm stuck with an unemployed partner and teenage kids who can't earn their own living. We haven't been able to afford reserve supplies for an emergency, yet it's clear that even harder times are on the way. I want to build up reserves for my family to help cope with them, so I'm selling a bunch of our stuff at garage sales and through Craigslist. By mid-November I hope to have $2,000 to spend. What's the best way for me to use that money?
A bit of background: she lives with her husband and two kids, a boy of 15 and a girl of 17, in a small suburban home in a Missouri city. The local crime situation wasn't bad until recently, but it's getting worse as economic hard times bite deeper. The family owns one older car free and clear - they sold a second, newer vehicle when they couldn't afford the monthly payments. The mortgage on their home runs about $650 per month, which isn't too bad if both of them are earning, but for the past year her husband hasn't been able to find work. Her income isn't enough to cover all the bills.
I have some ideas of my own, which I'll address tomorrow; but I thought I'd throw open my reader's question to the rest of my audience. If you were in her shoes, and had made almost no emergency preparations, and could raise $2,000 for the purpose, how would you spend it? Please let us know your suggestions (concisely, of course - point form is fine) in Comments, and we'll see what the range of replies covers.