As the Russian military rampages through Ukraine and rocks global financial markets, Ukrainians are on their own. What lessons should survivalists take away from history’s latest lesson?

  1. Mankind sucks at predicting the future!

If you watched the news coverage leading up to the attack, all the ivy league analysts, former CIA station chiefs and retired generals all got it wrong. Almost to a one, they said Putin wouldn’t take Kyiv, that he’d only carve off Donbas and Crimea.

People watched the news. People believed the news … and fertile ground was created for history’s most recent Black Swan event, (an event that we fail to predict, that harms us.)

The author of the The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb has much to say on the subject of risk management and mankind’s awful record at attempting to predict the future, especially Black Swans. Specifically, he notes that we would be better off making predictions on our own without watching, reading or listening the news!

If they had just looked at the facts and actions, and turned off the analysis, the ivy league crowd might have noticed the massive troop and weapons build-ups encircling the country from three sides prior to the multi-pronged Russian attack. I have no doubt that the Ukrainian people now wish that they had done so.

Don’t try too hard to predict the future. Instead, prepare for known threats and work toward a state of general preparedness. That way you’ll take the known threats in stride and also be positioned to respond to the threats that you will inevitably fail to predict.

  • Don’t keep all your money in the bank

As happens in large scale disasters of all types, countless Ukrainian citizens sought to withdraw money from ATMs, only to find the machines had already been emptied. In today’s world, money is an important problem-solving tool. For far too many, reaching for their wallets is the only tool they possess. If this is you, and all your money is in the bank, you will suffer needlessly in virtually any type of high-order, wide-scope disaster.

This lesson was also learned by conservative Canadians who donated to the Freedom Convoy when the tyrannical regime in power traded the red maple leaf for the red communist star and seized bank accounts for donations as small as $20. Having achieved the aim of disbanding the Freedom Convoy protest at the border, but suffering catastrophically in popularity polls, the regime has since unfrozen the bulk of those accounts. But in a terrifying move, it is seeking to make the emergency power grab permanent, giving the Canadian government the power to freeze accounts of political enemies over non-violent protests for all time.

The solution? Keep cash on hand.

How much? There is no one-size fits all here because the number depends on how much money you have. If, like 69% of Americans, you have less than $1,000 in savings, then I urge you to sacrifice luxuries and anything you don’t need to live until you save up at least three months’ worth of expenses. That’s just a start. But until you do that, it makes no sense at all to be contributing to a 401K to survive retirement, because you could be homeless long before you get there and lose it all anyway. Thanks to Biden’s war on the American economy, your investments won’t keep up with inflation for the time being anyway.

If that sounds like too big a goal, then start as small as you must. Save enough money for just one meal and then gradually increase that until you have a week, then two, and so on. Once you get to 3 months, you could at least survive job loss or a minor injury. Keep going and you’ll eventually save enough to pay your bills for months, and then years, and then your lifetime. The key is living below your means instead of beyond them. Until you do that, it won’t matter if you win the lottery because, like most people who win the lottery or receive an inheritance, you’ll spend a little more than you make and burn through it in a few years’ time.

I know this works because I’ve done it. For a brief time, about 17 years ago, I was in that 69% of Americans who had less than $1,000 in savings. To fix it, I stopped using credit cards and started living below my means. Today, we don’t have any credit card debt or car payments and could survive for many months without any income at all … for years if we stay in our hidey hole in South America.

  • Maintain a survival stockpile

In crises like the one taking place in Ukraine, once the grocery stores have been emptied, if food supplies are cut off, more suffering is caused by lack of food, fuel, and sundries than by anything else … including bullets, artillery, and bombs.

Can you imagine being parents of a baby in Ukraine right now? Maybe you wouldn’t be able to access your money or maybe you couldn’t find baby formula or diapers at any price. What would you do? You’d probably do anything necessary to feed your baby. You would probably be so desperate that very little would be off the table. The suffering that results from that level of desperation can be quite extraordinary.

With a little planning and preparation, it’s all avoidable … at least for you … for now. Fail to prepare and one day it could be your turn, and the people of Ukraine will be watching you on TV, just like the world watched Americans suffer during 9-11, Katrina, the Joplin super tornado, the fires on the west coast, and countless other disasters.

Don’t think it can’t happen here just because it hasn’t happened to you yet. It happens all the time and sooner or later, your turn may come up.

  • Have a bugout plan

As I write this, people are fleeing Kyiv without a destination in mind. The highways look like parking lots. People are fleeing toward Poland, Romania … anywhere they can.

For a bugout to be effective, you must have a destination in mind and a way to get there, whether that is driving, flying, sailing, riding, or walking. You also need to set specific criteria that will trigger your bugout before everyone gets the same idea. Otherwise, you could get caught in traffic.

International bugouts are more expensive and more complex. In an emergency, you can show up at the border and request asylum, but you might be forced to wait or be turned away. At a minimum you should have a carry on, a visa, money to purchase tickets and a VISA, if required by your destination country.

The gold standard for an international bugout is a safe house, dual citizenship, money for tickets, portable wealth, and money at your destination. Marriage and birth are the surest routes to dual citizenship, but it can also be acquired by investing in business or real estate in some countries. In choosing a destination country, there are many factors to consider: support network, language barriers, comfort, taxes, freedoms, how you will be received by the locals, crime, exchange rate, cost of living, whether you can find work or work from the country, and last but not least, whether or not the destination country is likely to extradite its citizens to the country you now reside in.

If you live in the U.S.A. quite a few countries consider U.S. prison sentences to be excessive and U.S. courts to be unjust, and thus won’t extradite their citizens to face punishment for serious crimes. Let’s face it, if a prosecutor has it in for you, you’re going to prison … unless you’re rich. But there is little the average citizen can do prevent it from happening … innocent or not.

While there isn’t a limit to the amount of cash you can take with you on an international flight, currency and monetary instruments in excess of $10,000 must be declared on a form. What they don’t tell is you is that they could also be subject to forfeiture if the agent suspects they were gain through illicit means. Prepaid credit cards, virtual currency, your watch and worn jewelry not purchased abroad do not count as currency or monetary instruments.

Lesser amounts could still be subject to forfeiture if authorities suspect it was gained through dealing drugs, so avoid $20 bills, as they are most often used for this purpose, and keep amounts under $5,000 where possible. Under $2,000 per person certainly shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. As you decide how much cash is safe to carry, keep in mind that your chances of getting hassled increase if you have criminal record.

  • Be ready to stand and fight for God, family, and country

In Ukraine, men claim they are driving their children to safety and will return to fight the Russian invasion. Ukraine has barred the exit of Men between 18 and 60, ordering them to stand and fight. The Ukrainian government reported that it distributed some 10,000 rifles in Kyiv.

The U.S. was born of a people’s revolution. Minute men resisted, and the former colonies eventually defeated the British, putting an end to tyranny in their country, in their day. Unfortunately, as tyranny want to do, it has sprouted anew, and is alive and well today and coming to a theatre near you.

The U.S. Constitution is under constant assault. Our southern border is unguarded. Terrorists, and all manner of criminals are pouring into the U.S. amongst the flood of illegal immigrants, and the cartels are getting rich beyond their wildest dreams, developing human trafficking into an important new profit center.

If Biden reacts the same way Trudeau did to the freedom convoy, the bank accounts of conservative Americans could be frozen, only I don’t see Americans just saying, “Oh, that sucks” and going home. And where Trudeau unfroze accounts after a week or two, I could see the Biden regime branding their political enemies terrorists, permanently freezing their accounts, and hounding them to the ends of the earth even though his approval rating is already in the crapper. If that happens, Americans will have to defend their freedom again.

The attack on Ukraine also highlights the danger of putting a weak and ineffective leader in the White House. Men like Putin and Jinping respect strength, but the current POTUS is anything but … telegraphing strategy in the media, bumbling the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and often lacking the lucidity to realize he’s supposedly the leader of the free world.

In the current state of foreign affairs, one miscalculation or slipup on either side and Americans will be defending the “Land of the Not Quite So Free as We Once Were” in a third world war.  … not the best time to have Grandpa Simpson in the oval office.


Don’t obsess with predicting the future, keep cash on hand, maintain a survival stockpile, have a bugout plan, and stand ready to protect you and yours. If it sounds like common sense, that’s probably because that’s exactly what it is. Yet, the majority of Ukrainians, the “masters of the universe” there on Wall Street, and the ivy league analyst crowd, all somehow got it wrong.

“I ain’t promising ya nothing extra.” – Jose Wales to Chief Ten Bears in The Outlaw Jose Wales

Written by

Cache Valley Prepper is the CEO of Survival Sensei, LLC, a freelance author, writer, survival instructor, consultant and the director of the Survival Brain Trust. A descendant of pioneers, Cache was raised in the tradition of self-reliance and grew up working archaeological digs in the desert Southwest, hiking the Swiss Alps and Scottish highlands and building the Boy Scout Program in Portugal. Cache was mentored in survival by a Delta Force Lt Col and a physician in the US Nuclear Program and in business by Stephen R. Covey. You can catch up with Cache teaching EMP survival at survival expos, teaching SERE to ex-pats and vagabonds in South America or getting in some dirt time with the primitive skills crowd in a wilderness near you. His Facebook page is here. Cache Valley Prepper is a pen name used to protect his identity. You can send Cache Valley Prepper a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Great article… More people need to take off their blinders…

  • Thanks very much. Really helpful. Looks like I’ve got work to do.

  • Stand and defend. Country living, long driveway, night scope, sentries, dogs, settle in.

  • Thanks for confirming what I just did to send warm baby clothing and baby food, diapers and supplies to an agency that is taking it all to Poland/Ukraine border by next Monday was not a crazy idea! That was all thanks to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center, though. All I did was pick out cltohing, pick up the supplies, launder all clothes, pack and ship everything to that agency: Crisis Response International ( Thank God for CRI!! They do AWESOME WORK!