The Future of the NRA

In May, a federal bankruptcy judge of Dallas, Harlin Hale, dismissed the chapter 11 filing of the NRA without prejudice — meaning the nonprofit organization can refile at a later date. The decision blocked the group from incorporating into taxes, postponing the current New York lawsuit, and potentially stifling the hopes of getting out from under impending financial scrutiny and collapse.

According to Judge Hale’s ruling, NRA leadership sought bankruptcy protections in bad faith in an attempt to achieve an “unfair advantage” in the developing case with regulators in New York. The primary regulator being addressed is the New York Attorney General Letitia James.

A Brief History of the Current NRA Legal Troubles

In August 2020, James’ filed a lawsuit seeking the organization’s dissolution, alleging leadership within the group diverted nonprofit funds to pay for personal trips, no-show contracts, and other questionable expenditures. The final alleged tally of this misappropriation of funds is in the tens of millions. Along with the chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, the suit names three other individuals. In response to the original lawsuit, the NRA sued James’, alleging the Attorney General is motivated by politics.

Why File Bankruptcy?

The NRA is facing multiple lawsuits and court battles. According to an NRA lawyer, the nonprofit sought bankruptcy as a last-ditch effort to salvage the business. In addition to James’ suit, the company is also dealing with lawsuits from Attorney General Karl Racine of Washington D.C. and its former advertising agency.

Filing for bankruptcy protection in Texas was an attempt to move litigation to a more favorable state, and this is not up for debate. In January, the NRA made it clear the filing was an attempt to escape the regulatory oversight in New York, where it received its nonprofit charter in 1871, and where James has regulatory power over incorporated nonprofits.

The Future of the NRA

For now, the NRA is still kicking and readying itself for its day in court. According to the current leadership, the plan is still to move to Texas, a more favorable state with powerful allies. However, James has no interest in making the organization’s transition easy. According to her, she has the authority to block any efforts by the NRA to abandon its incorporation.

Despite the loaded back-and-forth dialogue, the NRA will probably avoid another bankruptcy filing because of Judge Hale’s staunch warning about looking further into NRA lawyers’ “unusual involvement” in the group’s affairs. Still, that doesn’t mean the nonprofit will abandon the idea of incorporating in Texas. 

If the group does decide to continue its pursuit in a last-ditch effort to avoid prosecution in the more liberal-leaning New York, the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and Attorney General, Ken Paxton, seem favorable to the move. However, each political figure has remained radio silent outside of a couple of Twitter posts.

When the future of the NRA is uncertain at the moment, people need to realize that the undoing of this once nonprofit juggernaut will not resolve the gun debate or end gun violence. The NRA is only an organization, and if they fail, another will likely pick up the pieces and step in to fill the void, hopefully with less drama and less corruption among the leadership.

What do you think of the current NRA fiasco? Leave a comment below and keep the conversation going.

CategoriesDisaster Response Finance Prepping Survivalism

SHTF Money: Creating a Plan for When the Unexpected Happens

The general rule for an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of expenses — although some experts believe it should be six to nine months’ worth of net income — but only 25% of Americans, according to a recent study, have the minimum requirement. Additionally, only 39% have enough savings to pay for a $1,000 emergency before acquiring a loan or using credit. That is not good enough.  In an actual SHTF economic situation, how long would you last? Do you have enough money to survive and wait out the crisis or prepare for your next move?

The SHTF Money Plan

Creating a money plan is a straightforward process, but it takes discipline and commitment. Before you can start planning for savings, you need to take a hard look at your finances. How much money do you have coming in, and where does it go? 

To keep track of your money, you need to create a spending log — don’t worry too much about making cuts at first. Record every dollar you spend, even for that $1.50 candy bar at the local gas station. A thorough spending log will help you understand how you spend money. For many people, logging their money is enough to curtail some bad habits.

Continue to log your spending habits for a month. After you have a month’s worth of information, go through your logbook and divide your spending into two categories: needs and wants. Needs would consist of mortgage payments, rent, insurance, gas, food, etc. Wants would include spending on entertainment, clothing accessories, eating out, etc. 

With the final calculations, you want to look at your wants and needs lists to determine if there are any areas you can cut spending. For example, if you are eating out a lot, consider limiting such occasions to once or twice per week.

The idea is to make necessary cuts to create a surplus of available cash. The excess should be put back into a savings account. Every month you will contribute to this savings until you build your emergency or SHTF reserve. Saving takes time, and it can and likely will require patience. Obviously, the more you sacrifice, the quicker you can save, but remember that you need to live, too.

Why You Need an Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are paramount to survival and preparation. No one knows when financial troubles will arise, whether personal, national, or global. You can experience job loss, or the economy can collapse, war can lead to shortages, etc. An emergency fund means you can better survive the temporary or more permanent threats.

The Right Amount of Savings for Your Situation

The right amount of savings varies from individual to individual. Your SHTF account might only require a few thousand dollars to get through six months, especially if you have a live-off-the-land mindset and a stable inexpensive homestead. 

For most people, however, a minimum of six months’ worth of expenses is a good starting point. It is crucial to understand this is a bare-bones strategy; you will not have any extra money for entertainment or unexpected expenses. Therefore, while a decent strategy, it is better to plan for six months’ worth of your net income — better still, nine months. 

There is no quick path to building an SHTF money stash; it requires patience and discipline. Take a hard look at your spending habits and make cuts you can live with. Commit to putting back a specific percentage of your income toward your emergency fund. You can do this.

Got any pointers? Leave a comment below.


Preventing Identity Theft: 4 Strategies

Identity theft is a significant issue in the modern age. With the rise of the internet and conversion to digital commerce, stealing identities has become somewhat easier for the savvy criminal. Therefore, protecting yourself is more important now than ever before.

Identity protection is about building access barriers. You should use multiple strategies to protect your information in both the real and digital world. The remainder of this post will discuss four practices to prevent theft and ultimately protect your identity.

1. Do Not Give Out Personal Information Over the Phone

It is happening more and more often. Unsuspecting people, typically senior citizens or the elderly, receive a phone call explaining they owe money to the IRS or that a relative has left them a small fortune. In both situations, the caller requires some information: name, birthday, social security number, address, etc. While a majority of potential victims will blow these calls off, others feel compelled by the supposed legal repercussions or emotional appeal.

Do not, under any circumstances, give out personal information over the phone, unless you are certain of the person or agency on the other end of the line. Any official government institution will use the mail to notify individuals of any crucial information or debt. 

If you receive a suspicious phone call, instead of giving your information willingly, tell the caller you will contact the agency or person they claim to represent and verify the information. It is amazing how much a scammer can do with only a little information.

2. Protect Personal Documents and Trash

Have you ever left mail in your mailbox because you were too tired to make the short walk down the driveway? One of the most popular ways identity thieves gain access to personal information is by snooping in neighborhood mailboxes. It doesn’t take long either. If possible, collect your mail as soon as it is delivered. If you cannot, consider getting a secure and lockable box installed on your property.

Another popular theft method is going through your trash for personal item, such as prescription bottles, junk mail, utility bills, etc. To prevent the invasion of your privacy, get a crosscut paper shredder for your mail and a blackout stamp for your pill bottles.

3. Password Protect Everything and Use a Password Manager

Worrying about physical theft of personal items is not the only concern. Many identity thieves are tech savvy, meaning they are learning to hack devices and steal passwords. While protecting all your digital accounts with a complex and non-personal password is advisable, it is best to use a password manager to create unique passcodes for every account.

Many people fall into the trap of using a single password for all accounts. Even if the password is excellent, if a thief gets ahold of that single password, they now have access to your entire digital life.

4. Avoid Suspicious Emails and Texts

It is becoming more and more common for thieves to use email and text message links to try and entice unsuspecting users to enter sensitive information. These cyber attacks are called phishing attacks. Some of the links you’ll find in emails or on mobile devices have encrypted malware, meaning once you click the link, the thief has access to your device and any personal information stored on it. Do not click on suspicious links, and verify anything you are unsure of by contacting the supposed institution.

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? Leave a comment below discussing your experience and anything you learned that could be helpful to other contributors.


Liquid and Safe Places To Stash Your Emergency Fund

Many preppers have a hard time trusting banking institutions because of proven greed and negative economic impact. However, the misgivings of a few do not mean that all financial vehicles are dangerous and mistakes. There are many tools to secure your emergency fund and earn you a decent interest rate in the process, and in almost every case, these financial assets are more secure than the underside of your mattress.

HighYield Savings Account

Most people know that the stock market is volatile and not very liquid. In an emergency, you want access to your funds without too much of a hassle. Unfortunately, while it offers potential for significant growth, the stock market does not provide a quick turn around, especially without loss.

The stock market’s faults force many to consider the safety of a standard savings account, but these accounts will not offer even a decent return on your investment. Granted, for many, an emergency fund’s purpose is not to grow money but to maintain the current value; still, if there is an opportunity to earn two percent interest rather than less than one percent APY.

High-yield accounts provide the opportunity for growth, security, and accessibility. You can find these accounts at traditional and online banks. Many online institutions may offer accounts without maintenance fees and lower deposit requirements if any.

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit or CDs are excellent options for people who do not mind leaving their emergency fund alone for a specified amount of time, 30 days to 10 years. CDs provide the opportunity to earn even more in interest than a high-yield account, but the funds are not accessible during the specified time. However, some accounts will let you terminate the CD if you pay penalties. Some people consider having a CD latter with several CDs at different maturity rates, allowing access to funds every few months.

Money Market Account

Money market accounts can offer a higher APY than high-yield accounts, but they often come with more stringent requirements. For example, you may need to start the account with a higher initial deposit. However, money market accounts also come with benefits, like debit cards and check writing privileges, which make accessing funds easier.

Roth Individual Retirement Account

Depending on your age and the account’s maturity, a Roth IRA can act as an emergency fund for qualifying withdrawals. Being as the account is a tax-advantaged vehicle, you can remove qualifying funds without paying taxes, much like savings. However, if the withdrawal does not meet specific requirements, you may face penalties.

MultiFaceted Portfolio

If you are looking to maximize your earning potential, and secure your emergency funds while still maintaining some level of accessibility, consider a multi-faceted approach. Store part of your emergency funds in high-yield accounts and CDs, and also contribute to your IRA. Using multiple vehicles can maximize earning potential and ensure you always have money when you need it.

While it can be challenging to trust the financial industry, using the tools discussed is an excellent way to ensure your emergency funds are always accessible. How do you feel about the banking industry, and where do you stash your emergency funds? Leave a comment and keep the dialogue going.

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