Doomsday Preppers: The Financial Guide to Survive The End of the World as We Know It

Maybe you’ve seen some of the new television shows about doomsday preppers. It got me thinking about what you’d need to do about your financial life following the end of the world as we know it.

It seems simple enough to plan for uncertain times following a global meltdown. With the right equipment and supplies you could be prepared to survive and care for yourself. But what about caring for your financial life afterwards?

I remember following the 9/11 attacks in New York how a few banks were significantly impacted and people could not access money from the ATMs. It caused great concern and certainly a feeling of hopelessness that they could not access their own money.

So what actions should you take to prepare for doomsday and how can you build a financial bunker?

Following a global or national collapse it is clearly uncertain if our national currency would be worth much, if anything. For a history lesson on this see The History of Credit & Debt – Money, Credit & Debt.

Goods would not be produced or delivered any longer so the cost of what remained would skyrocket. Hyper-inflation would chew up much of what cash you managed to store and it would be gone quickly, so that’s not a real option.

And we need to assume that in the face of such clarity you would not be working at a job where you got a paycheck or that banks and ATM’s would be functional at all. Without any money coming in or any way to get to it if it was, what can you do?

Currency will become things newly of value, not things that used to be of value. Stock certificates and paper money will become fuel for a fire and not fuel for your economic needs. And carrying or trading gold will become just as impractical for day-to-day transactions, so what are we to do?

Following a catastrophic event that may alter the world as we know it, we will need to first abandon all previous currency that is unsupported by faith in its value or worth. Instead we will need to return to creating value in the exchange of goods and services or worth created through demand.

A loaf of fresh bread in exchange for some wire or manual labor will become a much more logical transaction than parceling out some flakes of gold for a bag of muffins. And try shooting a deer to eat with some gold.

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The most important currency will become the ability for people to be able to survive independently and then create value by providing services and manufactured goods for others.

If anything, desired items like ammunition will be easier to transport, store, have a longer shelf life and have more perceived value than gold or worthless dollars.

Ammunition will become a practical and necessary item for people who want to protect their stuff and be able to hunt to feed themselves. For that reason, it’s logical that the best doomsday prepper financial investment will be to count on ammunition as the replacement for currency.

Ammunition seems to tick all the boxes of what creates a good currency. Following a doomsday event a good currency would need to be desirable, easy to carry, divisible for smaller transactions, and durable.

According to one site the following amounts of ammunition are recommended for personal use.

  • 9mm – 5,000 rounds
  • .223 – 10,000 to 15,000 rounds
  • 12 gauge – 5,000 to 10,000 bird shot,
  • 12 gauge – 1,000 to 2,500 00buck
  • 12 gauge – 500 to 1,000 slugs
  • .308 – 5,000 to 10,000 rounds

According to the value today, those rounds would cost:

  • 9mm – 5,000 rounds = $1,250
  • .223 – 10,000 to 15,000 rounds = $3,500 – $5,250
  • 12 gauge – 5,000 to 10,000 bird shot = $2,250 – $4,500
  • 12 gauge – 1,000 to 2,500 00buck = $900 – $2,250
  • 12 gauge – 500 to 1,000 slugs = $450 – $900
  • .308 – 5,000 to 10,000 rounds = $3,500 – $7,000

And that’s just to care for yourself!

Some report the shelf life of ammunition to be 50 years or more so the storage ability of this currency is plausible. But that’s certainly not something I’d be in a rush to store in my basement.

Early entrepreneurs following a doomsday scenario will organize some resources to become specialists in the manufacturing of goods or services for barter and then magnify those bartered items by passing them on.

We will also see merchants who will begin to form the roots of local stores where survivors will visit for supplies. As in Colonial times, these stores will begin to extend some credit to people and wait to be paid. Credit will be local and based, not on net worth, but on the character and ability for the person to repay the debt.

To prepare, merchants will need to make sure they have financial ledger books and writing tools in order to record these transactions. Like it or not, credit will become a necessary tool to fuel a post apocalyptic economy.

At some point after local regions begin to stabilize, the creation of a local currency may occur. But this will depend on enough people having faith in the value of the currency and common usage of it in daily transactions.

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And when a national government arises again, a national currency will be recreated and will begin to have value again. But that will be a long way off following a doomsday event.


I’m already anticipating the comments from people that think gold is the way to financially survive. I disagree.

Gold is a precious metal, only because we believe it to be precious. You can’t eat it, it’s heavy, the value of it can fluctuate wildly, it’s hard to divide for small transactions and in light of the choice between gold or survival, it can become worthless.

In a doomsday scenario if you had a lot of gold and you needed some supplies, those that would want your gold in exchange for the supplies would dwindle. People would not need a bigger pile of gold when what they most needed was a squirrel to eat.

Gold has been less valuable at times than salt, butter, quahog oyster shells, or even dead rats.

Gold can be a good investment in a world that is rebuilding and where people find future value in the mineral. But in the days following a world changing event, I can’t see gold being the most valuable commodity to create wealth.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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