Financial Tips for Surviving the Collapse of Civilization
Millennials are constantly being scolded and lectured by baby boomers who think that we don't know anything about finances. According to them, all our economic troubles are our own fault. They say that we don't believe in saving money for the future and that if we would just stick to a budget—cut out coffee shops and bars and stop wasting our paychecks on trendy, over-priced fixed-gear bikes—we could all own our own homes and begin planting some metaphorical seeds for a stable and secure retirement.
What these know-it-alls don't seem to realize is that, while we do believe in the concept of saving, our belief in anything like a "stable and secure" future has been strangled out of us by decades of inaction on climate change and the looming apocalypse it has brought on. None of their advice is even relevant to the meager subsistence that the lucky among us will manage once the world is reduced to a charred husk of human progress. That's not to say that "saving" isn't still important. If you do intend to be one of the survivors, here are some tips that might help you prepare your finances!
Don't Skimp on the Coffee and Alcohol
When society collapses, money won't really mean anything. The same way that bitcoin prices could collapse tomorrow and a throw a lot of "millionaires" into poverty, those "dollars" in your bank account don't really mean anything if the government collapses. Your "savings" will have to be in commodities rather than currency.
A lot of people will tell you to put your money in gold and bury your fortune in your backyard, but we both know that you don't have a backyard, or a house, or a shovel. Besides, the value of gold is still pretty arbitrary. It has some very useful functions, but without a society in place to carry out those functions—to turn it into electronics and dental implants—it's mostly just a nice, shiny metal. Keeping some handy is probably a good idea, but the stuff that's going to be really valuable, after the flimsy structure of our civilization finally gives out, is the stuff that people truly need. Namely, drugs.
There will be demand for all kinds of drugs, but caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine will be your best bets. And since high-proof liquor and freeze-dried coffee are both compact and can be kept around more or less indefinitely, you should invest in a good stock to have on hand for the end times. Alcohol can also be used as a disinfectant, and coffee and cigarettes provide the added benefit of suppressing your appetite and keeping you alert when you've eaten the last slice of avocado toast and the wolves are circling.
Rent, Don't Own
When world governments dissolve and the marauding hordes begin to roam the countryside, do you want to be tied down to one location—a house that you poured your savings into and probably doesn't even have an effective moat? Of course not. You want to be able to leave town in a campervan packed full of coffee and liquor at a moment's notice. Owning is for chumps who believe that a real estate market that collapsed because banks were too greedy will somehow survive as climate collapse brings on our collective doom. Along with decreased stress, maintenance, and upfront costs, renting also allows you to hit the fury road and never look back.
Get a Fixed-Gear Bike
Speaking of that campervan, you'd better find a good, sheltered spot to park it, because once global infrastructure gives out under the tremendous weight of man's folly, it's not going to be good for much more than a place to sleep. Gasoline will start going bad pretty soon after the oil refineries shut down. If your engine runs on diesel—and you happen to have a way to store large amounts in a cool, sealed environment with fuel a stabilizer and some sort of biocide—you may be able to keep your vehicle functional for several years, but even then you'll probably want a backup for navigating the decaying roads. Something fast, functional, and easy to repair—like a fixed-gear bicycle!
Plant Some Actual Seeds
We are constantly being told that we need to develop new skills in order to compete in the modern world, but in the hellscape of tomorrow, the skills that matter most won't be coding or graphic design, but sowing, weeding, and pruning. However much you're able to store in freeze-dried rations and canned goods, eventually the food you can grow yourself is going to be among your most valuable assets.
Seed packets are cheap, small, and can last a number of years, but if you don't figure out how to take care of plants now, there won't be much point in opening those packets after society has been razed to ashes. Find a community garden where you can develop your green thumb, or at least have a go at raising some herbs on a windowsill, or a tomato plant on your fire escape. Once you've got the basics down, you can start learning how to convert your waste into safe and efficient humanure—so you won't have to compete for precious fertilizer.
With these simple rules in mind, you can start saving up today for a secure and stable future in the wastelands of our fallen empire.
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Looking for a job? In addition to encountering those annoying never-ending job interviews you may find yourself face-to-face with an artificial intelligence bot.
Companies worldwide increasingly use artificial intelligence tools and analytics in employment decision-making – from parsing through resumes and screening candidates to automated assessments and digital interviews. But recent studies claim that AI does more harm than good.
While AI screening tools were developed to save companies time and money, they’ve been criticized for placing women and people of color at a disadvantage. The problem is that many companies lack appreciable diversity in their data set, making it impossible for an algorithm to know how people from underrepresented groups have performed in the past. As a result, the algorithm will be biased toward the data available and compare future candidates to that archetype.
The City’s Automated Employment Decision Tools (AEDT) law is designed to offset the potential misuse of AI and protect job candidates against discrimination. It was enforced on July 5th, 2023 in New York City - with other cities and states expected to gradually follow suit. Employers must now inform applicants when and how they encounter AI. Furthermore, companies have to commission a third-party audit of the AI software used, and publish a summary of the results to prove that their systems aren’t racist or sexist. Job applicants are able to request information regarding what data is collected and analyzed by the AI. Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $1,500.
Replacing Human Hiring Decisions
However, should a job applicant want to opt-out of such impersonal judgement by a bot, the new law's scope is quite limited.
While the law specifies that instructions for requesting an alternative selection process must be included in the AI screening disclosure, companies aren't actually required to use other screening methods. Not to mention that the law only applies to AI in hiring and not any other employment decisions. It also wouldn't apply if the AI, for example, flags candidates with relevant experience, but a human then reviews all applications, making the ultimate hiring decision.
Some civil rights advocates and public interest groups argue that the law isn’t extensive enough and that it’s even unenforceable. On the other hand, businesses say that it’s impractical, costly, and burdensome, and that independent audits aren’t feasible.
Responsible use of AI in hiring
Although this law may be a good first attempt to assign more regulatory guardrails around AI, it remains to be seen if it ensures the responsible use of AI in hiring processes. At the end of the day, perhaps recruiting talent should remain a human-made decision.
The good news is that AI can help companies without harming potential job candidates in many ways – such as connecting new employees with internal organizational information and company benefits during onboarding. Or helping employees to do their jobs more effectively rather than replacing them.
There’s all this talk about solo travel. And for good reason — no wasting precious time waiting for others to get their act together, take the plans out of the group chat and actually buy the tickets. Going solo, you can be spontaneous. You can plan your trips according to your precise tastes. You can hop on any flight and fly awayyyyyy.
But what if each time you flew you’d get a free ticket? That’s what you get with the Southwest Companion Pass.
Award status, upgrades, lounge access — there are many perks in the frequent flier game. But one of the coveted holy grails is the Southwest Companion Pass.
What is the Southwest Companion Pass?
The Companion Pass is part of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program. You get to choose one person to be your “companion,” and they fly with you for free (plus some taxes and fees) on every flight. That’s right. Two for the price of one. That’s half off each ticket if you split it! Whether you’re flying with a partner, family member, friend, or anyone else, they can tag along for free.
And it gets better: once you earn the pass, you can reap the rewards for that full calendar year … AND the next. That’s why people go mad trying to earn a companion pass during the early months of the year. The sooner you qualify, the longer you can use it.
There are also no blackout dates. There are no limits. And if you didn’t purchase the ticket (think: work travel, your companion, or a generous benefactor), there are no restrictions! As long as you’re the one on the plane, your companion can also … be on the plane.
You can also switch out your designated companion 3x a year. So, no need to stay in a relationship simply to get the most out of your companion pass! Ghost and fly away — with a whole new companion!
If this sounds too good to be true — it’s not. But there is one small catch. It’s kinda tough to earn this mega reward.
How to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass?
You can qualify for the pass in one of two ways:
- Fly 100 qualifying one-way flights
- Earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year.
Clearly, this is no small feat — especially if you’re trying to qualify ASAP.
So how do you actually earn the Southwest Companion Pass?
Don’t worry, there’s a path to earning this amazing reward without climbing on 100 flights or spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Earning 135K reward points may seem completely impossible, but it’s easier than it sounds. Simply sign up for a Southwest Credit Card and turn those spending habits into a rapid rewards account. Through the Rewards Priority Credit Card, earn points when using local transit and commuting, plus score major points and miles whenever you spend.
Stay with me here. This is not some scheme to get you into credit card debt. Many airline cards come with potential savings, giantic rewards, awarding you points, and cashback with every purchase you make that can be redeemed for travel. And often they can come with passive sign-up bonuses. If you spend a specific amount of money within a certain timeframe of opening the card, you can be in for a windfall of points.
Now that’s where the companion pass comes in:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Priority Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
- Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
Southwest has three personal cards and a business card. Each of these cards offers rewards between 30K-80K points. In the past, people could open two cards and get a bonus that granted enough points to almost meet the minimum. However, with new restrictions on personal cards, you can only get one bonus every 24 months. Boo!
However, this doesn’t apply to business cards. If you’re eligible, have good credit, and not likely to spiral into insane credit card debt, you can open a business card and a personal card, and accrue 100K+ points. The Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card will get you points after you spend money in no time.
Now to earn the rest of them.
The secret to gaining these credit card points is to plan your card sign-ups around big purchases. Just before a recent move, I opened a card . . . and the rewards came rolling in — a small balm to ease the pain of how exorbitant moving can be.
Put everyday spend — especially big purchases or bulk items — on your Southwest credit card and watch your award points quickly add up. Typically, you earn 1 point per $1 spent on your Southwest card and 2 points per $1 on actual Southwest purchases.
But there are other ways to earn points, including:
- Flying Southwest: Booking travel on Southwest earns more points. The cost of this travel will be worth it with your companion pass
- Shopping from Rapid Rewards Partners: Purchases with Southwest’s “Home & Lifestyle” and “Shop and Dine” Partners also earn Companion Pass qualifying points. While you shouldn’t make gratuitous purchases, browse Southwest’s partners to see if you could earn extra points for items you'd be purchasing anyway. All this, simply from enrolling in their Dining Program and shopping with their partners.
So there you have it! And since it’s almost Spring, get to earning and soon you’ll be flying two for the price of one!