Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

Financial Self-Sufficiency: 5 Lessons from a Digital Nomad

Why struggle to find the time and money for prepping? Leverage your skills and learning into becoming financially prepared the smart way. - Financial Self-Sufficiency - 5 lessons from a digital nomad - http://graywolfsurvival.com/91193/financial-self-sufficiency-5-lessons-digital-nomad/Being prepared for what life sends to you isn’t just figuring out what to put in your bug out bag, it’s also about making sure you’re prepared to deal with anything that comes up – and that includes making sure you have an income without having to rely on the rat race. I’ve done it and you can too. You may not realize this but this but for some of you, this will be the most important post you’ll read from my site.

I think WAY too many preppers are toohhh focused on what may happen if the world as they know it comes to an end and don’t take enough common-sense measures to make their lives more stable and satisfying.

This post will explain how I came about to being fairly-well financially secure and then tell you how you can do the same thing, and have a happier life along the way. Or, you could just skip to the list lower down if your patience is the size of your savings account. Go ahead – I won’t be offended. Ok, maybe I might just a little, but I have broad shoulders.

Until SHTF (if that ever happens), THIS is the life you have to live, and living in this life means you have to pay for things.

And, let’s face it: even just prepping itself can sometimes get expensive. I spent quite a bit on my gear to get my bug out bag dry weight down below 25 pounds but not sacrifice quality, for example. Taking an E.M.T course, doing tactical training, and lots of other worth-while training can also get expensive.

Can you afford all the prepping you want to do right now? And if you’re planning on burying a bunker or some large prepping, forget it (btw, in case you’re considering that, check out what I think about burying shipping containers.

Spending money on prepping isn’t all you have to worry about though. Unless you live out in the middle of the woods and have a full-on, off-grid homestead, you have recurring bills, stuff you buy to improve your life, and sometimes unexpected expenses such as your transmission going out or a surprise baby. Oh, and beer. Speaking of which, I’ll be right back.




Obviously, having some kind of savings is a good start, but I think you need to dig deeper. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I love to dig deep into a problem. Also, like most things, I’ve already done this myself first so I can explain it, which is important. You’ll see why in a bit.

Job security

Most people these days spend 12 years in school, go off to college or some on-the-job training, and go to work for someone else. I did that same thing for a LOT of years, working for a LOT of people. Unfortunately, this means that you’re subject to the whims of your employer and the waxing and waning of your chosen career field. Long gone are the days where a company would take care of you for life.

What would happen to your family’s safety and security if you got fired tomorrow?

Do you have a REAL FINANCIAL BACKUP PLAN? I’m not talking about just investments and all that highfalutin’ gabbing. I mean have you looked at your ability to get stuff in pretty much no matter the circumstances in the same way that you’ve looked at your ability to start a fire or have food?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the world’s economy is pretty whacked, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna improve anytime soon. Whole industries are taking a beating. More and more jobs are being sent overseas – while at the same time, we’re paying for more and more people to live here for free.

This means that you spend most of your day doing things that don’t help you prepare for anything. It also means you’re away from your family when you should be helping them prepare for life as well.

And for those of you who are still stuck on preparing for SHTF, do you have the time and the ability to learn what you need to know and prepare everything you want to prepare or is life getting in your way?

Something has to change.

A big change in my outlook

A long time ago, I read a lot of books on how to get out of this cycle. One of the ones that really resonated with me was called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. My life changed after reading that book – or more accurately – my outlook on life changed. Unfortunately, my actual life didn’t change.

So what does this have to do with being a prepper?

The whole point about being a prepper is to be prepared (in case you haven’t caught on to that yet). To be prepared, you have to have a good plan and to execute that plan. An old adage that I’ve heard a lot over the years in tactical and survival training is:

Two is one and one is none.

That phrase smacked me in the head like a half-rotten salmon when I read Kiyosaki talking about Multiple Streams of Income. Basically, he said that you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket because something could happen to that basket.

Sound familiar? Having multiple streams of income is basically just having backups for your primary financial survival.

Unfortunately for me, I got caught up in a cycle of military deployments, required and voluntary professional-development schools, and government contracting assignments overseas. I fell right back into a new version of the old hamster wheel: I was still relying on one income (at a time) – and that income required my presence to earn it, usually while getting shot at or spending months at a high-pressure government training school.

Then one day, I picked up a copy of The Four Hour Work Week. That’s when it all came together. If you read one book this year, read this one.

I realized that I wasn’t really doing what I wanted to do in life because I was always having to trade time for money. I also realized that I was spending a LOT of time on things (including certain prepping activities) that didn’t give me a good return on that time.

By putting the ideas of Rich Dad together with the 4HWW (Four Hour Work Week), I figured out what I needed to do was to look at how I spend each day, how I earn my income, and how I can be a LOT more efficient with it all.

So what does that all mean?

It means that now I can spend my day pretty much however I want to. If I want to take an E.M.T course, I can do it (I have that planned). If I want to spend several days reorganizing all my gear, I can do it. If someone in my family needs help with something, I can take the time to help.

AND – it also means that I don’t really have to worry about my boss being replaced by some anal-retentave with a vitamin deficiency or this quarter’s bonus not coming in because the division decided to build a call center.

Because I’ve taken this to a whole new level, I can actually spend my day doing pretty much whatever I want. I can go camping in the woods, can attend any kind of training I would like, or I can spend time with whomever I feel like.

I’ve become a Digital Nomad.

The 5 lessons for financial self-sufficiency

Obviously, the point of this post wasn’t to let you know that I’m now prepared financially (or at least comfortable while I build up more of a safety net). I wrote this post because there are certain things that you should consider.

Now don’t think for a second that I’ve stumbled upon some kind of get rich quick or pyramid scheme. I haven’t.

What I do have, however, are some good ideas to get your brain juices bubbling:

1) Align your income with your goals

If your prepping involves learning how to do something big or you haven’t been able to get to it because life keeps getting in the way, try to earn a side income from it. If there isn’t a job out there that does that for you – make one up.

If you want to make sure your family has food, why not learn how to set up an aquaponics system at home – and then find a way to earn a side income from it such as teaching others how?

If you want to learn more primitive skills, why not take a class from someone like Mykel Hawke – and then write a series of ebooks on what you learned?

If you want to learn about homesteading, why not collect all your research and start a homesteading blog? This is actually what I did with this site. I knew a lot about this stuff already but there were quite a lot of things I wanted to polish up on and the best way to really learn something is to teach it. PLUS, there are still a lot of things I don’t know, but once I spend time researching it and laying it out, I have a pretty good grasp of it – especially when I go out and actually try it myself.

These are just a few ideas for how to start your own micro-business. Basically what I’m saying is look at what you want to spend your time doing – and then create some kind of income with it.

2) Stop trading time for money

This is a HUGE one. If you have a product that you can sell – especially a digital product such as an ebook or a blog – you can set up a system where you get paid even when you’re not actually working.

This is just like leveraging food-gathering skills in a survival situation. Why spend calories and time hunting when you can set traps? Why sit on the shore fishing when you can set up a fish trap and use that time to improve your shelter? IT’S THE SAME THING.

Whatever system you choose to do to supplement your income, make sure you work yourself OUT OF IT. This will mean that you may not make as much money from it but so what? If you sell a physical product, have someone else do the hands-on stuff. If you’re only selling it in your neighborhood – get your butt online and let your website sell it for you.

Now it would be nice if you could just sit back and never have to work again, but this is the real world. If you continually apply the 80-20 rule that the 4HWW book explains (and no, I’m not gonna spoil it for you by explaining what it is – read the damn book!), you can spend less and less of your time working and more and more of your time still earning.

3) Stop wasting time and effort on things that aren’t important

Think you don’t have time to work on some kind of additional side income? Take a look at your day. I bet there are a LOT of ways you could spend your time better.

How much time do you spend watching TV?

How many hours/week are you on Facebook?

Do you spend time actively doing something with your family? Why not use this time to not only learn some kind of prepping skill – learn how to make money doing it – together.

Are you working overtime just to pay your bills? Have you really taken a look at your bills? What do you actually NEED? What would you have to change to be able to get back to a reasonable work schedule so you’re not exhausted by the end of the day?

How much of your income is being spent on maintaining your debt? Have you looked at your credit card payments and how much of it is going to just being able to not pay off your balance each month?

4) Consider bartering skills you want to learn or hone

Instead of buying eggs or other food from a grocery store, see if there’s a farm – or at least a reasonable store owner – who may be interested in trading your skills for what you need. BUT – try to get them to trade skills that you want to work on anyway. That way even though you’re kind of trading your time for something, you’re actually getting something out of doing it.

Instead of buying a book on how to use a ham radio, see if you can find a local ham radio operator who would like to learn something that you already know how to do – such as use basic first aid or food canning.

If you put some thought into it, there are LOTS of ways you can leverage your time better by trading skills.

5) Start making financial self-sufficiency a part of your life

When I worked for an aerospace corporation, I learned a useful phrase: “That which gets measured, gets improved.”

If you don’t start actually looking into getting yourself out of debt and into a life where you have money coming in from several sources – sources that don’t require your full attention – you won’t start actually changing your life. You’ll be stuck next year deeper in debt than you already are, and possibly trying to scramble for another hamster wheel because yours got taken away.

Get out there and figure out what you want to do with your life and try to figure how to make an income somehow with it.

So you don’t think I’m gonna just toss out these idea coins at you like a drunk sailor at a girly bar, do you? Here are some very useful resources to help you learn to ACTUALLY DO THIS.

A lot of these resources focus on creating a location-independent income but that doesn’t mean you have to actually travel. You can just choose to spend your days at home learning things or doing something like home-schooling your children. Location-independent doesn’t require that you leave home.

Location 180 – Sean Ogle – this is a great site if you’re looking to be able to create an online income from anywhere, especially if you’d like to travel. I learned a lot from this site.

Nunomad.com – another good resource.

Tropical MBA – this is one of the big dogs out there. Lots of people got their start here.

The Suitcase Entrepreneur – this is the best-rated book out there on the subject.

Problogger – a site that does a great job of researching and explaining how to make money with a blog.

Entrepreneur Boost Upfuel Podcast – This one isn’t centered on traveling as much as the others. It’s basically how to make money on the internet. I listen to this one a bunch.

The Lifestyle Forge Black White 328x65 logo*** Lifestyle Forge – This one is quite a bit different. For one, it’s MY SITE. At the time of writing, it’s in the pre-launch phase but you can sign up in the big blue box to be notified when the site goes live. Just make sure you check your inbox/spam box for a confirmation email because it won’t allow me to send you anything if you don’t.

Once the site goes live, that link will just take you right to it, so click it either way.

The big difference with my site than the others is that not only do I explain how I got to the point where I can work anywhere I want (mainly on Graywolf Survival, actually), I focus more on getting what you actually want out of life. How to find balance in the craziness, and how to achieve your Life Goals (what some call stuff on your bucket list). Also, you’ll be able to follow me as I accomplish what I want to do in life – and mess up along the way.

If you like my writing, and you’d like to take the information in this post to the next level, make sure you sign up for free. You’ll not only learn a bunch about setting goals, making money, etc – you’ll actually learn what goes on behind the scenes of Graywolf Survival. In fact, you’ll eventually learn so much, you could start your own adventure online. It changed my life – and I’m gonna explain how it can change yours too.

About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. Thank you for actual info that is beneficial and practical. A lot of nonsense on the net, but I can appreciate common sense when I read it.

  2. Just found your fabulous site. Loved the Crazy Prepper article.

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