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Reality-Check Time

How prepared are you for the future (really)?
Friday, May 24, 2013, 10:28 AM

Let's take a quick break from detailed analysis for a moment and zoom up to the birds-eye view.

What motivates us to spend time here at PeakProsperity.com?

  1. We all come to this site because we're concerned about the future. We realize that there are growing predicaments, caused both by human behavior and natural constraints, and we want to reduce our vulnerability to them.
  2. Also, we believe that in courageously facing these challenges head-on, we (as individuals and as a society) can create a quality of living superior to what we enjoy today realizing that such transition will require brutal honesty with ourselves, acceptance of a lot of change, and a heaping amount of hard work.

Both of these are worth addressing.

The Future

The next 20 years are going to look very different from the last 20. No doubt about it.

Here's the high-level view:

  • Our global debt-based economy is reaching the limits of its ability to convince the marginal investor to accept newly issued credit in exchange for real wealth. We simply won't be able to use credit as a way to drive economic growth the way we have for the past numerous decades.
  • Declining world net energy production (and increasing competition for it) will also add increasing headwinds to economic growth. Western societies in particular will find they have either less energy to put to productive use, or the same energy with much less leftover profit. Either way, most of the developed world will have to adjust to having less (of practically everything) than they do now.
  • This double-whammy drag to the global economy will be fought by central planners to their last breath. It will be a losing battle, most likely ending in a hyperinflationary series of currency crises caused by massive money printing. Less likely is a cascade of debt defaults causing a global Greater Depression.
  • The post-crisis era will shine a brighter light on the extreme wealth gap that has emerged in society. The few who currently own the vast majority of the wealth will be even better off on a relative basis, because they will own nearly all of the tangible "real" wealth that will still exist after paper wealth has been decimated by inflation or default. Those who instead have seen their life savings disappear, their homes foreclosed, their jobs lost, their dreams dashed they'll get despondent first, then angry. And eventually desperate.
  • In the mix here will be growing emergencies around essential resources food, water, health, education, etc. but fewer financial resources to meet those needs. Capital formation across the national, state, and individual levels will be seriously compromised from the damage to our economy. We'll have to pick our battles, and we'll be challenged to mobilize effectively around them.

Pretty sobering stuff. But little, if any of this, should be surprising for those who have watched or read The Crash Course.

When will all this come to pass? Well, much of it is already underway. But no one knows for certain its exact timing and exact path. That's why Chris, myself, and the contributing editors at Peak Prosperity spend so much time analyzing the probable implications of recent developments. By this continuous "dot-connecting," we do our best to track where we are in the greater timeline of these predictable trends.

Your Future

Which brings us to the pratical mission for this site. What are you doing to secure a bright future for yourself and your loved ones in advance of these predicaments arriving in full force?

Most of you are well-aware of our firm position that an optimistic future a better future is squarely within our reach, despite (and, in certain cases, because of) the looming issues mentioned above. That's why we stress developing personal resilience so much and built the Resilient Life section of this website to help folks do so.

As Chris so often states:

  • The unsustainable economic, energy, and environmental policies society is pursuing will last longer than we all expect they can.
  • But unsustainable trends by their very definition must end.
  • And when they do, they will do so at a speed much faster than we think they will.

So, the big question here is: How well prepared are you?

At this very moment, how confident do you feel in your homestead? Your health? Your relationships? Your finances? Your role in your community? Your income security? If the economic and societal risks above were to hit hard tomorrow, are you as prepared as you need to be?

The honest answer for most of us, myself included, is not enough. Developing resilience is more of a pursuit than a destination. Even for the most diligent, Murphy's Law pretty much ensures getting to "100% prepared" is an unachievable goal.

This isn't said with the intent of making you feel bad. Quite the opposite; we're all in this quest of self-improvement together. Life is busy, and these efforts take time to plan and put into practice.

Weekend Seminar at Kripalu: July 19-21

Our weekend seminars are designed to serve as a catalyst for improving your personal level of resilience.

They offer an often much-needed recharge of the reasons why resilience is important and why, as Chris often states, it's MUCH wiser to be a year early than a day late.

They also provide inspiration and specific guidance for improving your physical, emotional, and financial readiness for the most probable eventualities. And beyond that, the relationships you forge with other like-minded participants gives you a community support that you'll leverage for years afterwards.

The timing of this summer's seminar (July 19-21) is particularly opportune, as Chris is becoming increasingly confident that we are approaching an important turning point in the relative economic stability that the world has enjoyed over the past year and a half. Indeed, dangerous asset bubbles have re-emerged to an alarming extent and we think their remaining lifetime will be measured in months vs. years. If there are meaningful holes in your personal preparations, this summer is an excellent time to address them.

What to Expect

At this seminar, we'll address:

  • Chris' latest macro updates looking through the lens of The Crash Course
  • The importance and benefits of living resiliently, and creating a custom vision for your future
  • Developing your own actionable steps and checklists for realizing this visions
  • Talking to (and living with) reluctant partners (friends, colleagues, and neighbors, too)
  • Emotional barriers to action
  • How our beliefs can be limiting or enhancing, and knowing which we are holding
  • The six stages of awareness
  • A full tour of the precise steps that the Martensons and Adam have taken at their homesteads
  • Hopes & Fears - an open discussion among friends about the future
  • Creating community
  • Financial steps you should take - we'll have one of our endorsed financial advisors on hand to address your questions

You should especially come if you want to get to meet other like-minded people in a relaxing setting, be invigorated, and come away with a clear sense of what to do next.

We're proud of the seminar curriculum that we've carefully developed and improved over the years. We're quite certain that you'll find it immensely worthwhile.

                             Click here to Register for the Kripalu Seminar

But don't just take our word for it. Here's what participants of the recent seminars have had to say about the experience:

"I was deeply impressed with Chris, ,and Adam during this weekend. They have obviously put a lot of thought into the curriculum and done their own work. The exercises had an organic feel of having been worked from the inside out by them before being shared with us.

"The sense of openness, transparency in the workshop participants was immediate and, I believe, was catalyzed by the clear minds of Chris and Becca who come from a place of love not fear. I came away with a clear action plan and a deeper sense of peace in a world with imminent change upon us."   - Debra

"The opportunity to meet Chris, Becca, and Adam face to face was invaluable. An unexpected result of our time together was the opportunity to meet with other concerned individuals and share ideas.  Moving forward from the workshop I felt empowered with the knowledge that I don't have to do this alone. There is a growing community here, and we are poised to guide each other into a truly prosperous future."  - Nan

"This was my second Rowe conference with Chris and Becca.  In addition, having a reluctant spouse and being surrounded by generally closed minded family and community, being among an enlightened and enthusiastic group provided me with a huge morale boost to keep me moving in the right direction."  - Daniel

"Chris and Becca's seminar was a thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting experience. One might imagine a lot of negativity at an event on this topic, and we did discuss each other's fears and concerns, but I left feeling a great deal better about the future.  Before the seminar I felt like I had no one I could talk to about our predicament, but that isolation just melted away as we formed our own little community at the seminar."  - Jamie

"Attending the Crash Course seminar was life-changing for me.I highly recommend attending the Crash Course or related seminars to anyone who is interested in learning about the changes that are currently unfolding around the world, and how to adapt to them (even and especially those who think they already have all the information they need about this)."  - Heather

"This is an engaging, down-to-earth, and practical program. As late as it seems, we are all still "early adopters" in preparing for a very different future. That means most of our families and friends don't understand what we see coming, and it's great to be in a group of intelligent people who "get it." It's also a treat to hear Becca's story of having to help process things as a spouse, and to see how they work as a couple in the art of sharing a difficult message with the world. The delivery is as important as the content. Bravo!"  - Doug

"As to the Crash Course presentation recently delivered at Rowe, let me say I have been referring to it as perhaps the best workshop that I have ever attended.  I really found the whole experience fantastic."  - Mark

If you've attended one our seminars before, please chime in with a Comment below to let others know what you valued most from the experience. Or come back for a "top up" weekend -- many do.

                             Click here to Register for the Kripalu Seminar

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is: Take a moment to assess your personal level of preparedness. If it's not where you want it to be, take action whether its a group experience like Kripalu, leveraging the tools available in Resilient Life, or working outside around your homestead.

The important thing is to assess, prioritize and get busy!

~ Adam Taggart

Endorsed Financial Adviser Endorsed Financial Adviser

Looking for a financial adviser who sees the world through a similar lens as we do? Free consultation available.

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9 Comments

Dan Robinson's picture
Dan Robinson
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 13
Survival Skills, not "Money"

I've been expecting this for about 40 years, but I'm 77 and wonder if it will come to a haed soon enough to make a difference to me. My ideal would be to live through the hard time to the beginning of the hoped for revival.

Finance is the ultimate non-zero-sum game. In order for riches to matter, someone has to be poorer. I go instead for survival skills, which no one can steal, which I can maybe barter for other needs. Other barter wealth is hard steel, especially with a sharp edge or point, aluminum, which can be melted and reformed, some plastics the same, for a while, and bullets.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 84
Also an elder

I've also wondered about the planning that should be considered by persons nearing the ends of their life spans.  (Sorry to sound so grim, but it's reality).  My husband and I are in our early 70's, and I have done some "preparation," but I still wonder about the feasibility of some of the resilience ideas at our age.  Is there an "elder" cohort in the PP community?  If so, I'd love to know your thoughts.

jdye51's picture
jdye51
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
Aging In Place

Thanks for raising this topic. My husband and I are in our early 60's and in generally good health, but we also question what we should do given our ages. So much of the prep advice is directed at the younger, able-bodied group. We have to be realistic as to our health and energy levels going forward. We are on an acre of land and have thought about putting in some raised beds but haven't done it yet. Each time we talk about it, we question whether or not we will be able to keep up with it. We did plant a few fruit trees and have potted annual herbs and vegetable plants here and there in the flower beds. We belong to a co-op but not a CSA. There are many farms and orchards in our area so my thought is to learn to can and dehydrate taking advantage of the local supply. I am also thinking about barter items and am gradually accumulating medical supplies that we could use for that. We also have purchased a small number of large cans of dehydrated food for our long term storage in addition to some extra food in our deep pantry. I bought an electric assist bike but am so intimidated by the weight of it that I haven't ridden it! I wonder if I should try to sell it and buy a tricycle instead where I don't have to worry about losing my balance. smiley I agree that specific skills are probably the way to go rather than relying on physical strength. In Greece we see the consequences on the health care system of collapse so it motivates one to maintain good health as long as possible and decrease reliance on medicine.

I wish I had more answers. Thanks again for raising the question. I hope others will respond with what they are doing.

Joyce

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1982
Perhaps you should start a Group

You ask about an elder cohort here at Peak Prosperity. Perhaps you should start a Group.

As for my husband and myself, we are what you would term "older" - both a few years short of 60. All I can suggest is that physical exercise will keep you younger than sitting still, but yes, your concerns about growing older in a post peak oil world are valid.

Here, at least, is our strategy.

  1. We do not expect there to be any way to afford long term care outside of family. We have my local son, a daughter-in-law, and my husband's daughter in the area. They are all clued in as to peak oil and the failing economy. We will do our best not to be a burden when the time comes but it's nice to know they are there.
  2. While healthcare was/is still affordable, we are making sure everything we can fix, is fixed. We've made sure our teeth are in good shape. I had a congential hip problem and got a hip replaced in 2010. That knocked the stuffing out of me and it took a couple of years to get my energy back, but there was very little out-of-pocket expense. If we did that today, I'd be in hock for about $8K, since the insurance deductible changed. In 2011 had a sleep study done and gota a CPAP, which also would be cost -prohibitive this year. We make sure to have our glasses relaced whenever they will pay for it, and since our Rx has not changed we save all the old glasses as spares.
  3. Stockpiling: we have spare parts for my CPAP machine set aside and extra of various OTC medicines like aspirin, Tylenol, cough medicine, glucosamine, Benadryl, and Imodeum. Also, we have lots of first aid supplies.
  4. Preventative medicine: we are big on fluoride treatments for our teeth, brushing, flossing and avoiding white flour and sugar. We wear long sleeves and hats when gardening, and have set aside sunblock. We are very, very careful about eating healthy foods - lots of vegetables--and we try to get all of our perishable vitamins that way. Stockpiling many vitamins will not work since they lose their effectiveness, but you can grow things or get vitamin D in the sun.
  5. We are trying to Peak-Oil-Proof our home. If there is no electricity, we have ways of heating, cooking, cooling, and getting fresh water. Since we live in a hot, humid area we are especially careful about mold prevention: we buy only white cotton sheets, towels, and even rugs.
  6. We've decided to be repositories of knowledge for the younger folks, and are learning old-fashioned skills (your idea about home canning is a great one!) and ammassing books and tools. I've learned how to do a great deal my grandparents would have done. There is so much to learn you will never get bored, either. Keeps the brain active. Plus, it's fun!
  7. We've made a commitment to grow a lot of our own food (and the exercise is good for us). We have a rather large square-foot garden in the back and on the side of the house and all sorts of edible landscaping up front. I commend you on the fruit trees. They do take a while to get established, so they are a really wise first step. Our 4-yr-old mulberry is now 15-ft high and providing abundant fruit. Figs and peaches ar producing but not the apple trees or hazelnuts (yet). Don't forget grapes on fences and berry bushes. Perennials take very little work.
  8. Get to know your neighbors, and make friends. Build community. Some people join a gardening club, others have a church family, but it's important to know your immediate neighbors. If gasoline goes to $10 a gallon, walking-distance friends will be the best game in town.
  9. Take steps to defend yourself. It can be as simple as getting s sturdy door with locks, or a dog, or as complex as learning martial arts (you can be the old guy in the Karate Kid!)  Or you can do what I did (if your values and locality permit) and get a permit and a firearm. Older people are often preyed on my unscrupulous people. Do whatever it takes to not be a target.

Any steps you take toward resilliance will lessen your fears about the future and make you feel empowered. It can be an adventure.

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Online)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 800
Focus on your Strengths

Kathy,

You may not have the strength or stamina of youth, but you likely have knowledge and wisdom to share. If things crash, every bit of the modern lifestyles will need to be modified or abandoned. Entertainment won't be turning on the tube - it will be self made. There won't be an abundance at the supermarket - it will have to be sourced locally and preserved. How many people know how to do that? Can you teach? Play the piano? Repair tools? Sew? The niches are endless.

Do you work to build your community already? They need to see you as a valued member before the crash happens. Trust will be very hard to build when everything else is in disarray. If there aren't any pre-existing relationships built, you may be killed for your possessions (a grimmer reality.)

If your community sees you as a pillar, they will work with you for mutual benefit. If not, you are on your own.

Grover

KathyP's picture
KathyP
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 19 2008
Posts: 84
Thank you all for the input and ideas

I'm very grateful for the sense that there are others in the PP community that are considering what makes sense for those who are relatively "senior" and whose planning for resilience may have a shorter term than those setting out in their 30's or 40's.  I appreciate the suggestion to start a group - I've been playing with the idea for quite awhile.  Maybe a Wise Elders group (as opposed to Geezer Preppers smiley) to explore what is making sense for the 60 and up ages.

As  Wendy points out, many of the same themes apply to elders as to the entire community, for example,  a focus on maintaining optimum health and exercise (when you're older, good diet, exercise and overall good health are essential for just feeling decent), and smart stockpiling of essentials for oneself and for sharing and bartering.  I hadn't thought of stockpiling OTC medicines and supplies as Joyce and Wendy suggest.  I do have enough toilet paper for the whole neighborhood, though.  (Once you start stocking up on something, it can really get out of hand!) 

Grover emphasizes the importance of community.  We have a tightly knit community of retirees in our neighborhood who stay in touch socially and look out for one another, but it definitely needs to be broadened to the larger community.  Many of our retired friends are partying like it's 1999.  I think they have a sense of something being very wrong, but don't want to confront it. 

A few years ago I was involved in a peace group and got to meet some organic farmers and other interesting people.  When it got co-opted by a political party, I dropped out.  I'm thinking of reestablishing contact with some of the members now that they're probably disillusioned by the political party affiliation.  I think there's a good chance that some of them are very resilience minded. 

We do have a couple of raised garden beds that we had built a couple of years ago, but we spend the growing season sailing, so the beds are pretty much dormant.  I do plan to plant clover in them this year to improve the soil for real gardening.  We do use the local Farmers Market during the harvest season, but we don't live in an area that has a long growing season or particularly good soil, so the pickins are slim.

Thank you all again for the ideas.  And Dan, I share your hope  - "My ideal would be to live through the hard time to the beginning of the hoped for revival."  I really want to see what that will be like!

Look for a Wise Elders group to be formed this week!

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
A suggestion I made.

 

 

What would be interesting is if each member had the flag of their country beside their name.

Age group. Elders seem isolated by some posts. 

I'm from Canada and sometimes I feel I'm alone in my corner. I connect on global issues but not locally or nationally.

Each country has their own agricultural zones, financial and political parameters.

Sonya

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 578
Our Preparation is our Legacy

Although our preparation is not perfect.....we feel pretty much ready. Part of being ready is being discreet, so I won't say a lot, except that we are around 60 years old.

We have embraced the opportunity to prepare and decided to enjoy the process. The system we have built is much more interesting than the old system we left behind, so really there is no sacrifice in the transition, just a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that we have something to pass on to our children. 

 

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 29 2012
Posts: 578
Country Identification
Nervous Nelly wrote:

 

 

What would be interesting is if each member had the flag of their country beside their name.

Sonya

I live in the country of Texas. It borders the US and Mexico.

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