The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on February 22, 1981 · Page 31
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 31

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Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 22, 1981
Page:
Page 31
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Fcuj GEfje Smtioag Jmf agraglj Feb. 22, 1961 SECTION Freeholders plan to survive when economic chaos strikes Panlagraph graphicROGER BARNES By Scott Richardson "Some people read the Book of Revelations for signs of the coming of the end of the world. I read the Wall Street Journal. "No offense to God intended, but I think the newspaper will be more accurate." The speaker let's call him Jim is a young, articulate professional man who lives and works in McLean County. He calls himself a freeholder.. According to Jim, freeholders believe the world is on the verge of economic collapse. They are preparing for the chaos that would follow. They intend for their families to survive. To do that, Jim has built a survival hideaway stocked with dehydrated and canned food to last six months, a solar-powered system to provide fresh water, enough gasoline to reach anywhere in the continental United States and guns. Jim knows of 10 other McLean County families with such hideaways, which they call "freeholds." Jim said the name "freeholder" is taken from the title of a science fiction novel published in 1964 in the wake of heightened international tension. The book, written by Robert Heinlien and titled "Farnham's Freehold," traced Hubert Farnham as he prepared to survive a nuclear war. Farnham stockpiled food, weapons, water and bottled air in a sophisticated bunker beneath his basement. When the attack came, Farnham and his family survived in the hideaway. Jim said today's freeholders are following Farnham's example, except that freeholders fear a worldwide economic collapse more than they do nuclear war. "You read every day in the newspapers about the eventual collapse of the economy," Jim said. "Each nation is so tied to the others through imports and exports that when one country fails, they all will. "The industrialized countries have to import most of their oil. That makes us very prone to someone in the Middle East one day deciding to turn off the spigot. "Our cities depend on trucks to bring goods to market. The cities have maybe food for three days in the stores. "If the oil stops flowing, the food stops moving. It's as simple as that," Jim said. In the freeholder scenario, chaos quickly grips the cities as food supplies diminish. City dwellers begin leaving their homes in search of food. They flood the countryside "like a swarm of locusts," Jim said. "At that point, my objective is to quietly disappear." Where Jim, his wife and their children intend to disappear to is something only they know. Jim refused to describe the hideaway or the surrounding terrain for fear someone might recognize it. He would say only that it is within a three-hour drive of Bloomington. Its structure is capable of sheltering his family and one or two other people comfortably. Inside, there is enough food stored to last at least six months. It has a fresh water supply. And Jim has stored enough gasoline to reach anywhere in the United States, should that become necessary. He keeps a pistol, a rifle and ammunition there. He has learned how to handle guns. Other freeholders have built more extravagant freeholds, Jim said. A Colorado doctor built his hideaway, complete with automatic weapons, in the side of a mountain. "The questions always arise whether I would kill to protect the freehold ... would I share our supplies with anyone? "I just don't know. But if it were a matter of my family surviving, then the answers are 'Yes, I would kill,' and 'No, I wouldn't share with anyone,'" he said. "The reason I do this is not because I lack confidence but because I have enough confidence to believe the country can survive. I want my family to survive with it," Jim said. "I really don't want to survive a nuclear war because I don't think there will be much left worth surviving for. But we can survive an economic collapse if we are prepared. The government can restore order within the six-month's time limit." He and his wife have discussed the freehold and their view of the future with their children. "I think the oldest son is just old enough to understand," Jim said. "He is comforted, I think, by our belief that our family can survive whatever happens. He knows he'll be safe. "The youngest son doesn't care one way or the other as long as we've been sure to stock a six-month supply of candy in the freehold," he said. "We've told all our children not to discuss the freehold with anyone." Meanwhile, Jim watches world events by reading newspapers and magazines. He waits for the event or series of events that will signal it is time to "disappear." "I don't want to sound like a doomsayer. I'm 55 (percent) to 75 percent certain the collapse won't happen. But are those odds good enough to risk the lives of my family? "Being a freeholder is a lot like being a Christian. If you lived a good life and when you die there is nothing, what have you lost? But if you live a good life and find out that you've been right, you've got it made. "Having a freehold is like that. If I'm wrong, what has it cost me? But if I'm right, well .. " 2 p soy ychecks worth it, usboinds, wivs By Emilie Krebs It's worth it, say the wives. It's worth it most of the time, say the husbands. It's worth it, they all say, for wives to work outside the home in order to maintain a certain standard of living. Despite extra expenses in taxes, transportation, clothing, food eaten away from home and child care, three Central Illinois couples find financial advantages in counting two paychecks. "If Linda didn't work, we wouldn't do anything we wanted," said Donald J. Boswell, 24, Kappa. Boswell and his wife, Linda, 25, live in a mobile home in a community of about 150 people, about 10 miles north of Normal. They've been married five years and Linda has been working full and part time for 2Vs years. She works at Brokaw Hospital in the housekeeping section. Boswell is a journeyman welder at DMI in Goodfield. Last year the couple had gross earnings of $24,700. Linda earns $500 a month in wages and they pay $685 per month in expenses, including trailer rent, utilities and a car loan. Linda's money goes toward paying some of the bills, but is used for extras also. "We used to eat out quite a bit, once a week, but now it's every two weeks," Linda said. When they do go out, they spend about $26 for dinner, including steaks and drinks. Grocery bills average $60 per week, causing the Boswells to complain about the high cost of meals. Gasoline for the couple's two cars adds up when both cars are used. A full tank of gas, at $28 for one car, can last up to four days if Boswell catches a ride to Goodfield. Linda rides to Brokaw with her mother-in-law, but donates money for gas. Linda has a few uniforms she uses for work each week, but hasn't spent more than $20 for them. Since the Boswells have no children, their Chihuahua dog is their only added expense. They do not have a regular savings plan, but they have thought about buying a home only to be discouraged by high interest rates. "We've been trying to buy a home, but at 19y percent, my dollar's not worth enough," Boswell said. Without children, . Linda can't see herself staying home all day. "I'd have the house cleaned and then sleep 'till noon and get up and cook supper. I'd find myself bored," she said. "It has its moments. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes no," said Fred Lowe, 37, Danvers. Lowe is a planning supervisor in the northern area for General Telephone Co. His wife, Beverly, 36, is a licensed practical nurse at Mennonite Hospital. They have a son, 13, and a daughter, 10. Beverly has worked for six years, but stayed home seven years to raise the children. The family lives in a comfortable home. The Boswells bring home a joint . income of between $30,000 and $40,000, but inflation eats into their earnings. "It used to be a rule of thumb, if you had income of $1,000 per month you had it made," Lowe said. Beverly started working full time last November so the impact her salary makes on taxes for a full year has not been determined. However, the Lowes know they will pay more taxes with both of them working full time, but the added income justifies the expenses, they said. Because she works nights, Beverly is home during the day. That eliminates the need for child care. "If I had to pay child care, then it gets questionable," Beverly said. Transportation is a problem, however. Lowe said he has to buy a second car to make traveling to and from work easier. He gets a ride, but his wife picks him up many times from the office. "We're definitely buying another car. It's just one of those things we like salmon siream. We make progress, but it's against odds." "We're going up have to do. I'm looking for a work car definitely under $500," Lowe said. The Lowes pool their earnings, but keep track of some of the things Beverly's salary buys. "On part time it brought groceries. On full time my money is going to buy ihe new furniture (she's planning to get) and new clothes," Beverly said. Because she sleeps during the day and picks up her husband after work, the family eats out one or two times every week. "A lot of time she picks me up in town and it's awfully late. We just about have to because of the time," said Lowe. Trips to family-style restaurants mean a tab of about $15 for four. The family tries to stay within that price range on meals eaten out, but every now and then they splurge on a big meal. The family has a savings plan through General Telephone, but Lowe concedes saving money would be impossible without his wife's salary. Both think Beverly's job is important to maintain their lifestyle and do not consider the cost in taxes significant. "We like a certain lifestyle and we're trying to maintain that. We're simply trying to keep what we've got. We're like salmon going up stream. We make progress but it's against odds," Lowe said, laughing. They describe themselves as middle class "We don't have to worry about where the next meal is coming from" and they like the small community atmosphere for their children. "At my present salary, we couldn't afford for her to stay home," said Thomas Lovelass, 30, 1114 Liberty Road, Normal. Lovelass is an attorney and his wife, Meredith, 29, is the assistant to the director of nursing at Hawthorne Lodge Nursing Home. There are three children in the family, two girls, ages 9 and 7, and a 6-month-old son. Their net income is about $40,000, but Lovelass expects his earnings to increase dramatically (by about $10,000 per year) over the next few years because of his law practice. With combined earnings, the Love-lasses are able to make a house payment on their multi-level home, car payments, insurance premiums and child care costs. In the summertime, child care expenses are about $60 a week, while during school, the care drops to about $35 a week. Lovelass has done some calculating to find out what his wife's earnings mean to the family after taxes. "There's a $6,000 or $7,000 difference between her working and not working," he said. Besides the normal monthly expenses, the family is also paying off a business loan for Lovelass' office space. The family rarely eats out "It's too much trouble," Meredith said. "Most of the time I cook dinner," Lovelass said. "We order an occasional pizza, but I cook simple dinners." He does the grocery shopping and comes home with meat on sale to fill the family freezer. It's a necessity for the family to have two cars, but both Lovelass and his wife save money on lunches. She can eat for about 75 cents a day and he seldom eats lunch. Future plans for them include another child and when it arrives Meredith would probably quit her nursing job and take over management of student apartments owned by Lovelass' law firm. Rocking son John in her arms, Meredith said she enjoys work and after staying home with the baby seven weeks was ready to return. She echoed sentiments expressed by Linda Boswell and Beverly Lowe. "I love working and I'm stimulated by it. It's working out. There's no other way to do it," she said. r ' WOT lllllla,!- V': i. ( Ifr f it v - x y hi y v Linda and Donald J. Boswell , IKIIIIT III. I .-J i iiiii n ''"' iii 1 1 ' .jj - - y- 'rl-.tZZI Meredith and Thomas Lovelass r -2sl, 1 ,-,i ! ii - ; I Beverly and Fred Lowe Psntagraph photos by Emilie Krebs Weigh expenses when deciding work value It's never not worth it for a spouse to work, says Dennis Knobloch, a Bloomington certified public accountant. But couples should weigh expenses of working, including federal and state taxes and social security payments, in order to determine how much of their earned income is actually take-home money. To illustrate how much of a second income is brought home after taxes, Knobloch calculated three levels of income and taxes on that income. One spouse earning $25,000 and the other earning $15,000 in taxable income after deductions. Taxes and social security payments on the $25,000 are $6,921. Taxes on the combined income are $13,886. Figures indicate it's costing $6,965 in taxes for the additional $15,000 of income. One spouse earning $36,000 and the other earning $15,000. Taxes and social security payments on the $36,000 are $11,381, but taxes on both incomes total $19,516. The cost in taxes for the second income of $15,000 is $8,135. One income of $46,000 and the other at $15,000. Taxes and social security payments on $46,000 are $15,943, while the total taxes on both incomes are $24,676. Tax cost on the $15,000 is $8,733, leaving $6,267 after taxes. r "i

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