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Posted: 10/25/2010 7:03:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/25/2010 7:04:08 PM EDT by planemaker]
I have in my professional life done some so-called "scenario-based planning" where you create several possible futures and see what impact that might have on your current strategies. This approach is very much like what the folks here do thinking about SHTF. These can be event-driven SHTF futures like job loss, medical problem, hurricane, etc. or macro-level evolutions like economic collapse (Argentina style), global nationalism/terrorism, etc.

One of the things that usually comes out is that there are "worst" cases, "best" cases, and "most likely" cases in the parameters that matter. While most of us do a good job of imagining what things could befall us so that we stock up on appropriate levels of guns, ammo, food, water, cash, PMs, supplies, etc. I wonder how much time we spend contemplating what preps and/or strategies, if any, we should be looking at in the "best" case scenarios.

For example, suppose in a macro sense, the R's take the House and Senate, O'dumbo and Biden go Aaron Burr on each other and suddenly we have an all Repub guvmint again, only this time, fueled by an overwhelming need to be conservative. Regulations are rolled back in droves, taxes are cut, stupid spending is cut, etc.

Or, perhaps a Black Swan event of a positive kind occurs. For example, an eccentric Stanford professor determines that when he dumped a tablespoon of cat piss in his gas tank, his mileage went up by 87%. He calls his former students Larry and Sergey and soon Google is selling the GoogleHomeLitterBoxEnergyProducer. Not to be outdone, Apple starts selling the iBox (after they determine thru focus groups that the name iPiss 4U just wouldn't sell as well to their targeted demographic). Late to the party as usual, Amazon starts selling a unit in order to get rid of their massive but dated 007 DVDs under the name Pussy Galore's Miracle Mileage Machine. Soon, our oil imports go from 60% of usage to 10% when it's discovered that the elixir works on other hydrocarbons. Combined with the "on-shoring manufacturing tax incentive plan" passed by the new Conservative gov't, things actually start being made in America again, people are productively employed, etc., etc.

While it seems we do a great job thinking and preparing for periods of austerity, how should we prepare for (the perhaps unlikely) periods of prosperity?

(Other than stopping by the SPCA to adopt a cat or two...)
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 7:39:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/25/2010 7:41:18 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By planemaker:
While it seems we do a great job thinking and preparing for periods of austerity, how should we prepare for (the perhaps unlikely) periods of prosperity?


I'm confused here...

How could failing to prepare for prosperity result in hardship, pain and/or death?

If not, then what's the point of doing it?
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 7:43:36 PM EDT
It is late, I been fighting a cold and acman about the perfect rifle, so forgive me if my reading comprehension looks like a litter box.

I look at survivalism/preping as an investment when some commodity is inexpensive and readily available.   The objective is that the investment will pay a profit in utility when needed.  Perhaps in the time of need the commodity is of limited availability or at much greater expense.

This allows me to be free to devote my resources to other better purposes than scrambling about dealing with emergencies  

Survivalism helps my times stay prosperous

TJ and Halffast may well say things better, but once you got into survivalism past Red Dawn, Then I think you will see my point
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 7:46:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By planemaker:
While it seems we do a great job thinking and preparing for periods of austerity, how should we prepare for (the perhaps unlikely) periods of prosperity?


I'm confused here...

How could failing to prepare for prosperity result in hardship, pain and/or death?

If not, then what's the point of doing it?


I think that IS my point. Some folks here prep not just to avoid "hardship, pain and/or death" but to, as best as possible, "thrive".

I guess another way of asking the question is how much energy/funding/etc. should we be expending to increase our wealth/standard of living/etc. vs. preparing for negative SHTF events? What balance do the folks here currently use?

Link Posted: 10/25/2010 7:58:22 PM EDT
What would you do if you knew you were about to be disabled and unable to work for the rest of your life?  

How far would you go with preps if you knew that tomorrow, your house would catch fire and burn to the ground?

Neither of these scenarios are unrealistic.  I haven't had a house fire, but I have been disabled for a quite a while now.  What carried us thru was not physical preps, but the mindset that we will find a way thru it.  If not, we will make one.  The mental is to the physical as three is to one...

If your mind and will are prepped, the rest is just hardware.


Ops
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 8:34:21 PM EDT
Why should one negate the other?  Survivalism/preparedness is part of my daily life, but not my whole life.  I budget my preps just like I budget what I spend on water, power, food, entertainment, and every other expense.  And while I prepare for whatever disaster may befall me or the country, I also prep for nothing happening.  That means I save money, I have a 401K, and a Roth IRA.  I know 2012 is coming, but it may just roll on by with nothing but a whimper.

It is not like the money I spend on food preps will be wasted.  As I rotate stock, it gets used.  The skills I have learned as part of my preps are skills I can and have used for projects around the house.  The guns and ammo, well, that's just plain old fun.  I'd be a shooter even if I wasn't a prepper.

I still eat out on occasion, and I still like to take a vacation now and then.  But these too have to fit within my budget.  Sometimes, if I want to take a vacation, it will mean swinging a couple of extra shifts to pay for it.  The same goes for some new tool or toy I may want for my preps.  If it ain't in the budget, gonna have to work some more hours.  I will not rob Peter to pay Paul.  My day to day life and my preps all play by the same rules, and are not exclusive of each other.

As far as mindset, I prepare for the worst, hope for the best.  Regardless, I will continue to eat, drink, work, sleep, and play until they plant me in the ground.  Preparing is just one facet of my life.

stasiman
Link Posted: 10/25/2010 8:45:08 PM EDT
What he said

Survivalism only conflicts with preparing for shit to not hit the fan if you're doing it wrong.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:17:38 AM EDT
I guess I was just trying to get a feel for the level of how much of my limited disposable income should I devote to investment-type (401K/IRA, stocks, bonds, real estate, chinchilla farm, saving up to start a business) that assumes good times (or at least not bad) vs. beans/boolits/etc. for the bad. Should it be 90/10 (optimist), 10/90 (pessimist), 20/80 until you're set prep-wise then 80/20 until you're set for retirement? Just curious to get an idea since the folks here seem to have it together far better than most places.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:01:51 AM EDT
In business 80% of the profit comes from 20% of the product line.  In the university 80% of the test comes from 20% of the material.

The threads that have touched on "most valuable prep" have had a few gold nuggets of information stand out.  Ops and shibumiseeker have had to use their property to live on.  TJ has needed his CCW to save his life.  Others have saved the lives of their kids with medical knowledge and some first aid items.  

The book of Proverbs in the Bible has a lot of useful guidance.  Divide your investments into 7, even 8, ways.  Wisdom is more valuable than gold.

Hope this helps
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 5:13:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2010 5:16:09 AM EDT by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:04:54 AM EDT
I do this (planning for best, moderate and worst case) everyday.

I see people (sheep) who never plan for anything, or worse yet, alwasy assume everything will go exactyl as planned.  This is stupid.  I also see people who assume the world will end, plan accordingly, and live their lives in fear.  This too is stupid.

I had a brother in law who passed away at 42.  Brain cancer.  He left a wife and three kids.  Awesome fellow, but he worked a LOT, always thinking about tomorrow.  Well, tomorrow never came for him.  On the other hand, my other brother in law is the opposite.  He NEVER waits for tomorrow, and instead lives for today.  He's mid 50's, buys LOTS of toys (never enjoys them because he's too busy buying other crap, accessorizingm then trying to sell it off) and has burned through $500,000.00 inheritance.  He hasn't got a cent.  His stated plan is this:  Enjoy every cent, forget about tomorrow, and when he turns 70 he'll get a job to make ends meet.  Stupid.

Life is about balance.  Consider it 'portfolio diversification' for your time, energy, money and mental health.  Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and take each day as it comes.  Prepare for SHTF:  Set aside some food, cash, meds, tools, you know the routine.  However, don't put ALL your time energy and funds into supplies.  Also make investments that can provide earnings and capitl growth if teh markets DON'T collapse.  And don'ty forget to still have fun.  Instead of placing all your eggs in one basket, divide them evenly between three or four baskets (SHTF, long term investments, living today).

Our own household approach is straight forward.  15% of household gross goes into long term investments (Roths, 401k's, etc).  There is our preps for  a better case scenario.  We prep on for shtf on a regular "opportunistic" basis:  If something is on sale, we buy a bunch.  We've bought 72 acres, have a good 8-12 months food on hand, and are quite well set up. And we have fun too:  We travel regularly, and buy damned near anything we figure we REALLY want. We are good about separating wants from needs, but as cash allows we buy wants.  The wife's guitar is a big leaf flame maple backed Gibson LC-2.  I just bought a BWM F650GS.  We are not hurting,

How the hell do we do all this?  Well, its a LOT easier to put eggs in all these different baskets when you have a lot of eggs to begin with.  Our plan was simple:  We started slow, and while everyone else was living fast on easy credit, we plodded along saving, investing and avoiding debt.  10 years later the situation has changed:  Most others we know have an income similar to what it was ten years ago (given inflation, job losses, etc) but things are worse.  They need to put 10 of their 12 eggs into the "debt" or "bills" baskets.  Instead of 12 eggs we now have 18, there is no "debt" basket, we only need to put one egg into the "bills" basket, so we have 16 or 17 eggs to divid amongst our "SHTF", "investments" and "lets have fun" baskets.  So in effect, we can do a great job of preparing for ALL possible situations.  There are situtations we can do nothing about, but that is were our faith comes in.  I guess we have that covered too.

If this sounds suspiciously like something from Dave Ramsey, Suvie Orman, or any of the other "low debt, pay yourself first" gurus, well, you might be right.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:41:52 AM EDT
Be able to feed your family for at least a year without outside help. Get and stay out of debt. Have six months to a year of cash saved up. Develop 2-3 streams of income. Learn to live on less (you'll end liking it and so will your bank balance).

Everything I've done to prep over a couple decades is also good for retirement. AE system = no big electrical bills. Food storage + large gardens+ raising animals + orchards, etc. = really really low food bills. No debt = no mortgage payment, no car payment.

I had a guy that worked for me in Florida over a decade ago. Semi-drifter type guy, in his 40's, hadn't done crap with his life but a long time friend of the family. He came up to help me with some carpentry work a few years back. It was mid summer and the fruit trees were full of fruit, the garden was full of produce. He marveled at all that, the chickens, rabbits, solar power. His words-

"You know I always thought you was a stupid ass for all this survival $hit! But man I realized you got everything you need RIGHT HERE. Money coming in, houses and land, power, food, water. Your set whether something happens or not."

I looked at him and asked him why it took him so long to figure that out.

Then again, a lot of survivalists haven't yet figured that out yet either.

Lowdown3
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 6:56:49 AM EDT
Evaluate  what your likely risks are and plan as your budget allows.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 3:00:05 PM EDT
I already have a cat.
Link Posted: 10/26/2010 4:08:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TheOTHERmaninblack:

Survivalism only conflicts with preparing for shit to not hit the fan if you're doing it wrong.


I kinda like your way of thinking, TOMIB. Survivalism is a way of life - no, a way of thinking. Its a teaching, a tao. To concentrate on the dreaded events that could plausibly unfold in our future, would disallow us the enjoyment of other things of greatness. The term, tao, I dunno, has me thinking of The Tao of Jeet Kun Do, which was written by Bruce Lee ages ago. I guess I just like saying it. *shrug* but I think of the intro scenes in Enter the Dragon, when he was tutoring a youngster. He said, "it is like a finger pointing to the sky. Focus on the finger, and you miss all of that heavenly glory." Kind of cliche and corny by today's standards, but he was right. If we concentrate only on the survivalism stuff, we lose out on a lot of the goodness of living a full life.

So therefore I believe the most valuable asset we can develope is an open mind.

Link Posted: 10/27/2010 11:30:26 AM EDT
Life itself is a series of up and down situations. SHTF or not wont change your happiness much if your life sucks anyway.
At least what I do is take care of my family, both my wife and I work out 3 times a week, sometimes a bit more if I have a class scheduled. I spend a LOT of time with my wife and kids, my wife is also my best friend. I help my oldest son with his homework, teach him how to fight. We’re close with my nephews as well, I listen to what they have to say, I take them out to dinner, catch a movie, buy them something they may want, basically be there for them.
This is the FerFAL family last Saturday, running a few kilometers (pushing the baby stroller)

I prepare for some very fucked up stuff, but I enjoy it all. Sucks when things go bad, but then again you also realize that some people are always looking for an excuse to justify their miserable lives, while others enjoy life in spite of those exact same circumstances.
Your savings, investments and most of your survival gear will come in handy sooner or later, that’s a fact of life, specially short term SHTF situations. Food gets eaten, money, batteries, first aid kit supplies gets used, savings provide peace of mind and investments are needed for when you retire and to add sources of income alike. Thousands of bucks worth of training and ammo spent? Sure, but its not going to waste if I never have to use it. Already used it several times on the streets because of the situation here, but that’s not the point, even if I hadn’t its still fun to train. I enjoy being around like minded people and adequate training also keeps you in shape and its yet another acquired skill I can benefit from personally or share with others.

FerFAL
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 1:21:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By frozenny:
I do this (planning for best, moderate and worst case) everyday.

I see people (sheep) who never plan for anything, or worse yet, alwasy assume everything will go exactyl as planned.  This is stupid.  I also see people who assume the world will end, plan accordingly, and live their lives in fear.  This too is stupid.

I had a brother in law who passed away at 42.  Brain cancer.  He left a wife and three kids.  Awesome fellow, but he worked a LOT, always thinking about tomorrow.  Well, tomorrow never came for him.  On the other hand, my other brother in law is the opposite.  He NEVER waits for tomorrow, and instead lives for today.  He's mid 50's, buys LOTS of toys (never enjoys them because he's too busy buying other crap, accessorizingm then trying to sell it off) and has burned through $500,000.00 inheritance.  He hasn't got a cent.  His stated plan is this:  Enjoy every cent, forget about tomorrow, and when he turns 70 he'll get a job to make ends meet.  Stupid.

Life is about balance.  Consider it 'portfolio diversification' for your time, energy, money and mental health.  Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and take each day as it comes.  Prepare for SHTF:  Set aside some food, cash, meds, tools, you know the routine.  However, don't put ALL your time energy and funds into supplies.  Also make investments that can provide earnings and capitl growth if teh markets DON'T collapse.  And don'ty forget to still have fun.  Instead of placing all your eggs in one basket, divide them evenly between three or four baskets (SHTF, long term investments, living today).

Our own household approach is straight forward.  15% of household gross goes into long term investments (Roths, 401k's, etc).  There is our preps for  a better case scenario.  We prep on for shtf on a regular "opportunistic" basis:  If something is on sale, we buy a bunch.  We've bought 72 acres, have a good 8-12 months food on hand, and are quite well set up. And we have fun too:  We travel regularly, and buy damned near anything we figure we REALLY want. We are good about separating wants from needs, but as cash allows we buy wants.  The wife's guitar is a big leaf flame maple backed Gibson LC-2.  I just bought a BWM F650GS.  We are not hurting,

How the hell do we do all this?  Well, its a LOT easier to put eggs in all these different baskets when you have a lot of eggs to begin with.  Our plan was simple:  We started slow, and while everyone else was living fast on easy credit, we plodded along saving, investing and avoiding debt.  10 years later the situation has changed:  Most others we know have an income similar to what it was ten years ago (given inflation, job losses, etc) but things are worse.  They need to put 10 of their 12 eggs into the "debt" or "bills" baskets.  Instead of 12 eggs we now have 18, there is no "debt" basket, we only need to put one egg into the "bills" basket, so we have 16 or 17 eggs to divid amongst our "SHTF", "investments" and "lets have fun" baskets.  So in effect, we can do a great job of preparing for ALL possible situations.  There are situtations we can do nothing about, but that is were our faith comes in.  I guess we have that covered too.

If this sounds suspiciously like something from Dave Ramsey, Suvie Orman, or any of the other "low debt, pay yourself first" gurus, well, you might be right.


Well said.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 3:21:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/27/2010 3:24:29 PM EDT by boltcatch]
Lousy times are often lousy precisely because people plan for propserity (if they plan at all) differently than they do for hard times.

Look at where we are now - gov't policies create some artificial booms, government goes crazy with spending, boom busts, now they want to jack taxes into the stratosphere to continue their extravagant spending and and make up for shortfalls.  If they'd kept their spending to a reasonable level, they could have either held onto the surplus for hard times, paid down existing debts, or perhaps not needed to inflate the boom in the first damn place.

Families need to operate different than governments - apples and oranges, particularly since we have much more pressure to get while the getting is good, because the government has the power to steal our wealth through inflation - but the same general theme applies.

Everyone needs a cash reserve and savings of some sort, but 'putting your money to work' is risky when there are still real things you have a real need for, and that money may vanish at any time.  At this point, unless you're nearing retirement age and/or have a lot of money to burn, it's just plain foolish to trust something like an IRA or 401(k).   The government simply cannot be trusted at this point not to just take whatever it wants.  If the government does not get its hands on that money it will default, or inflate to the moon and then default, and they know it.

A lot of people are unfortunately and suddenly realizing that playing by the rules may not be in their best interest.  Several generations of sound fiscal advice are being turned on their head.  This is the Prisoner's Dilemma unfolding over and over again on a large scale.  People are already getting screwed, so it's pretty clear where we're all headed.

If you're living debt and mortgage free, or are nearly there, that's great.  Honestly, I mean it.  But if you've arrived at that point and have 1 poorly maintained vehicle, 2 weeks of food in the pantry, and few tools or weapons, there is a very real risk that you might wake up the next day and find that it isn't so great at all, and that your timing is ... unfortunate.   If you're in the same situation but up to your eyeballs in debt, there is an even greater risk of that happening.  People are finding themselves in bad situations - some through no fault of their own, some due to really poor choices - and are deciding that their own outlook is better if they walk away, pull the loud handle, and start over again.  Those who are just starting out are finding that it is best to simply not play the game at all.

I have no credit cards.  I have never had any.  I do not use credit for anything.  I have no mortgage.   My non-cash savings consist of shiny round things - no paper.  I enjoy life and intend to keep on living, but for me and those like me, the American dream isn't, and never will be.   And I really feel sorry for the poor bastards who are stuck in between where I'm at, and where frozenny is talking about, because they're the ones that are going to get shafted the hardest.  Remember, it's the last people who sign up for the Ponzi scheme that get hosed.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 5:40:14 PM EDT
I learned about 25 years ago about balance in where to put resources. The company I worked for got acquired by a conglomerate run by brain-damaged chimpanzees. The unit I worked for went from 16,000 employees down to 6,500. I worked there 6 years and watched as people who had their life savings invested in company stock see the stock go from $12.00 a share to less than $6. And then the parent conglomerate declared bankruptcy. All that stock was instantly vaporized. I had seen the handwriting on the wall and had cashed mine out at $10 a couple of years before to buy a house. Even our own company credit union would not cash our paychecks for a couple of weeks. Two years later, as the company was still dumping people, I got the axe. Luckily, I got another job fairly quickly but I had saved up enough cash prior to that to go about 4 months without a paycheck if I had needed to.

Fast forward to 9/11 when the place I work at now sent everybody home. Like, as in, go home RFN and don't come back till we tell you to. Again, just a short term event but LOTS of people in this country got sent home for more than a day or two (wife included). If it had been a couple of weeks or months, how screwed up would the country have been? That really got me to start thinking about SHTF events. Hurricane Isabel roaring thru here and not being well prepared caused me to get my head out and start working more diligently. This is the first year since 2005 I feel comfortable enough about my prep situation to actually start to focus more resources on things other than basic SHTF preps. I've been putting money into 401K for almost 20 years, put some monies in stocks, bonds, etc. though not regularly, and am NOT planning on social security being solvent by the time I'm ready to "really" retire. At this point, I don't have a lot of debt, but I have a 10 year old truck that I maintain well (wife's car is newer, of course), and a 15 year old house that I just upgraded the HVAC to a super-energy-efficient kind. I only have 5 years left on the mortgage but if I cashed out some other assets, I could pay it off if I had to.

The wife and I don't sit around and stare at each other for entertainment but we don't spend our summers in the Caribbean either. I'm actually planning on taking both a pistol and a carbine class next month, a first for me. (Bought my first AR in 94 before the first ban. It had many friends before the rather tragic boating accident.)

Part of the reason for starting this thread is that I started contemplating post-retirement (well, from this job anyway) activities, even though that's probably 10 years away, and was considering what the world would look like then so as to flesh out my "between now and then" plans. I'm also devoting a few neuron pulses to at least considering how my preps should change as I get older. My parents passed away several years ago, my wife's parents both passed away within the last two years. My parents planned VERY well, her's, well, they "chose poorly".

Thanks for the insights so far, it's been helpful.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 8:03:41 PM EDT
Which reminds me on the subject of retirement - people shouldn't assume that they're going to get a pension or SS check, SHTF or not.
Link Posted: 10/27/2010 8:10:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lowdown3:
Be able to feed your family for at least a year without outside help. Get and stay out of debt. Have six months to a year of cash saved up. Develop 2-3 streams of income. Learn to live on less (you'll end liking it and so will your bank balance).

Everything I've done to prep over a couple decades is also good for retirement. AE system = no big electrical bills. Food storage + large gardens+ raising animals + orchards, etc. = really really low food bills. No debt = no mortgage payment, no car payment.

I had a guy that worked for me in Florida over a decade ago. Semi-drifter type guy, in his 40's, hadn't done crap with his life but a long time friend of the family. He came up to help me with some carpentry work a few years back. It was mid summer and the fruit trees were full of fruit, the garden was full of produce. He marveled at all that, the chickens, rabbits, solar power. His words-

"You know I always thought you was a stupid ass for all this survival $hit! But man I realized you got everything you need RIGHT HERE. Money coming in, houses and land, power, food, water. Your set whether something happens or not."

I looked at him and asked him why it took him so long to figure that out.

Then again, a lot of survivalists haven't yet figured that out yet either.

Lowdown3


Good advice/example.

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