Self Sufficiency & Survival

Jun 25, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Brian Wall, Going Green

by Brian Wall

Lightning. Thunder. ZAP! Power goes out!

As a kid I always loved it when the power went out. It was exciting! Life was acceptably unpredictable and a tinge out of control. It was fun lighting the candles, peering out the window at the pitch black outside, gathering together as a family and talking or playing cards until PG&E could get things figured out – usually an hour or so later.

I still feel that excitement today. But now it’s mixed with apprehension. Now it’s my home, my fridge and food, my family – and I feel a deep obligation to provide for them. So lately I’ve started wondering, “what if the power goes out for weeks?” It could happen. Seriously. And the questions proliferate at nail-biting speed. What if there was a severe gas shortage? What if I lost my job? What if I lost my 401(k)? What if I couldn’t depend on the Social Security system? (ahem.. cough, cough!). What if our monetary system collapsed altogether? This Great Recession we’re in has been harsh for many people, how safe am I from its bitter wake? It really boils down to two core questions: what do I depend on, and what if I lost it? And there’s a third question that must follow: what, if anything, do I do about it!?

Johnny Max articulated it passionately and candidly when he got fed-up and composed the following article he titled the “Self-Reliant Retirement Plan” in 2008. I hope, if nothing else, this gets you thinking and asking yourself questions you may never have thought of before. Maybe it’ll give you something to talk about with your family by candlelight during the next thunder storm!

Self-Reliant Retirement Plan by Johnny Max

Why is my retirement going away? My philosophy has always been to work hard, work as much and as often as possible and put money into retirement. I was raised by a hard working man who loved and took good care of my mother until the day he died. He taught me to respect my wife, always be thankful for everything she does for me, work hard to support her and build up a secure future so she does not have to struggle to make ends meet when I pass away.

It started back in 2004 and 2005 when there was a trend in the liberal government types about forcing banks to give mortgages to almost anybody needing a home. I thought that was crazy back then and I was right. How can the government force a bank to give a loan that they feel is too much of a risk? It is not their money! Well, that is what happened and the pressure was increased to approve loans to anybody who wants a home, even if they do not have a job!

Why do people believe everybody deserves a home? What about a lazy, no good wife beater who refuses to keep a job? Does he deserve to have a home, if he refuses to work and pay for it? My philosophy if everybody is free to work and earn enough money to buy any home they can afford. That is freedom.

I am losing my retirement that I have been building up all my life. I know the money went in and if it does not come back to me, where did it go? Who has all my money and all your money! I had put money into my 401k just like everybody else had done. I was a good little sheep, but no more!

I am tired of being just another sheep in the herd, being lead to the slaughter house. This sheep is scared and ready to make a getaway. It is time for this sheep to take the momma sheep and our baby sheep and leave the herd. It is scary when you lose everything because of a few stupid shepherds with an agenda that makes them rich by slaughtering the sheep – and you are a sheep! What if all the sheep should leave the herd?

Here is my new retirement plan I call it my “Self-Reliant Retirement Strategy.” The key is Self-Reliant. Do anything and everything to free yourself from being forced to put your money at risk. Provide for your family as much as possible.

If I had taken this philosophy back when I first entered the work force I would already be there. If I had put the money into being free all these years, instead of into mutual funds that can be taken away, my family would be much better off.

The Self-Reliant Retirement Strategy:

a) Make my home use as little electricity as possible and then produce my own electricity via solar and or wind.
b) Develop a side income where I can generate income from my home and it has to be something my wife can help with and continue when I pass on.
c) Reduce as much as possible or eliminate the use of gasoline.
d) Plant fruit trees that produce fruit in my climate.
e) Plant a large efficient vegetable garden.
f) Raise chickens for eggs and meat. g) Put up our own preserves (veggies, fruit etc.) to last through the winter.
h) Get used to watching broadcast television and save the money wasted on satellite or cable.
i) Brew my own beer and make my own wine, because 200 gallon a year per household is more than enough.
I do not want to pull out of society at all. I just don’t want to have to rely on circumstances out of my control to provide for my family.

Re-published with permission. Johnny Max and his wife (The Queen) host their own Podcast titled The Self-Sufficient Homestead. They’re every-day people trying to take care of themselves, and educate others while they work towards they’re goal of self-sufficiency. Learn more on their website

Johnny Max & The Queen

Brian Wall lives in Reedley with his wife, Sheryl, and their daughter, Kiana. He is a professional software developer and has a B.S. degree in Ag Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


  1. Great article! Definitely something to think about.

  2. Enjoyed your article, definitely something to make you think


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