And what I see unnerves me.
I do not expect anyone to go against their beliefs just to follow my lead, but I strongly suspect that those who do take heed will be damned glad they did. And everyone else may very well suffer terribly.
Here is what I see coming - and why - as well as what steps I am taking to cover my ass-ets:
I can almost guarantee that within the next 5-7 years the entire population of this planet will suffer some sort of large-scale "disaster". Perhaps not an extinction event like that which got rid of the dinosaurs, but some world-wide suffering will occur. I make this claim based partly in these facts:
1) Two major, huge religions are beginning to clash. When people go to war with religious fervor, the result is always catastrophic. Whereas one group has already declared their intent, I see no way to avert this unless some other disaster strikes first. We can only hope...
2) There is the (slight) chance that "global warming" really will cause serious world-wide repercussions
3) Oil is selling at $100 per barrel. Oil supplies are also nearing exhaustion. Imagine the "Mad Max" world when oil supplies get so low that we cannot heat our homes, drive our vehicles, get products made or delivered to stores, and cannot even light our homes.
4) If any of the above should occur, (or any other great disaster) first there will be world-wide recession, followed by depression, followed by panic, street warfare, looting, international wars, famine and disease.
Of course, there are those who look through rose-colored glasses and believe that, no matter what happens, we will somehow be "rescued" by new advances, technology or ???? Maybe. But I strongly doubt that we could act quickly enough to avert the inevitable.
So, while I sincerely hope I am wrong, I believe it would only be prudent to prepare for the worst while I hope for the best. In that way, it would be hard for me to lose, either way.
I am taking (and in some cases I already have taken) the following steps:
A) I can afford to refinance my home, even if things stay "swell". If the proverbial crap hits the proverbial fan, my home will have no monetary value to speak of, anyway. So, I refinance to pull out equity and use the proceeds for viable preparations, as follows:
B) Purchase and store a three year supply of MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) for each member of my immediate family, to be doled out sparingly if needed. If there is an oil shortage, a food shortage is a certainty. If serious climate change occurs, a food shortage is assured. In fact, if any disaster hits on a global scale, there will be a shortage of food. No guesswork here.
C) Set aside a fair supply of ordinary medical supplies. If I were on life-sustaining medicine, I would try to keep a rotating 6 month supply on hand.
D) A generator, to generate electricity for at least a few days in the event of a loss of power. The generator could then be used to pump water from our well, to store ( I keep clean milk jugs stored in the basement, just in case). Without electricity, you cannot pump water from a well. The generator could also produce power to complete other necessary tasks before suffering total loss of power (like making a pot of coffee :o).
E) Extra blankets/sleeping bags, sweaters. Heat may be a problem in the event any catastrophy hits. A few winters ago, an ice storm knocked out power throughout our community for 11 days in the midst of winter. No power means no heat for most folks around here. Electricity is needed to run a furnace, heater, or even a pellet stove. Only those with woodstoves (or generators, with a supply of gas) had heat.
F) I have a woodstove and chimney sitting in a crate in my shed. If I need it, I can set it up in a couple of hours. I also have a buck saw, and log splitting tools. But I ain't bustin' my back unless I have to, so for now it stays in the shed.
G) Guns, ammo, fishing gear etc. Just in case I must supplement the MRE's to make them last longer - or in the event I am forced to defend what I have against those who did not prepare. Desperate people whose families are dying will stop at nothing to save their loved ones.
H) "Heirloom" seed. Seed sold in stores are hybrids. If you try using the seed from the plant that is grown from hybrid seed, that seed will not produce anything edible. If you want to be able to grow new crops each year from seed produced the previous year, you must start with heirloom seeds. I purchase mine online. Each year I grow just enough crop to harvest seed for the next year (many seeds do not store well). Each year I replenish my seeds. Then, if I need to, I can grow a huge garden.
OK, so I have made reasonable preparations. And here is the beauty of it all:
If the crap hits the fan, I am at least somewhat prepared to survive. And if only a small disaster hits (like that ice storm), my family can sit back, relax, and be comfortable. And if nothing at all happens, I can give away all the MRE's to the needy, just before they expire (10 years) and write it off on my taxes. Meanwhile, the interest on the refi is tax deductible, I have a generator for whenever the power goes out, but best of all - I don't have to worry so much about disasters. I sleep better, knowing I am protecting my family.
But one thing is absolutely, positively certain - eventually, disaster WILL come. It always has, throughout history. It will continue to do so.
1/3 of the population of Europe died in the "Black Plague" in the middle ages. More than 6 million people died from the Spanish Flu in 1917-1918. Millions suffered in the "Dust Bowl" and depression of the '30's.
Disasters are a necessary part of life. And each of us has a choice - prepare, or don't.
The only question is EXACTLY what will trigger the disaster, and WHEN will it occur. My guess is the trigger will be oil and war, combined, which will trigger disease and famine. And my guess is this will occur within 5-7 years.
Now, if I am right, I win. And if I am wrong, I win. What about you?