Tag Archives: retreat

  • Insider
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    The Benefits & Challenges Of Maintaining A Retreat Property

    Be smart when making the decision to purchase one
    by charleshughsmith

    Friday, April 14, 2017, 10:18 PM


    Executive Summary

    • The matrix of factors to consider in a Plan B residence
    • What to know abot eacf of the five key factors
    • Not all second homes are fully functional
    • The challenges & benefits of maintaining two separate fully functional residences

    If you have not yet read Part 1: Does Your Plan B Include a Second Place to Live if Plan A Doesn’t Work Out? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    In Part 1 we reviewed the three basic categories of Plan B Residences: temporary (to ride out an emergency); semi-permanent (to weather a recession/loss of income) and permanent (replacing Plan A residence with Plan B residence).

    In Part 2, we’ll consider a Matrix of Factors that will help us choose the inevitable trade-offs of costs and benefits, and add a category—permanent maintenance of two fully functional residences.

    The Matrix of Factors

    While there are many factors in any Plan B, I’ve pared the key factors in Plan B residences down to five: cost, control, security, depth of resources and functions enabled. Each is on a sliding scale from low to high. There are costs and benefits to each being low, medium or high.


    Let’s go over each factor.


    While cost measured by price is self-explanatory, this also includes opportunity costs (what else could have been accomplished with the money?), time (the hassle factor of how long it will take to get something done) and labor—how much labor must be invested to accomplish a goal.

    There is even a stress cost: how much will this goal/project add to my stress load? Even if the money needed is on hand, the overall cost can be high in terms of time, hassle, stress and opportunity cost.


    By this I mean ownership (of the land, the house, etc.), contractual control (of jointly owned assets, of any hired labor, etc.) and functional control, i.e. residency.  As many have discovered to their regret, it’s possible to have legal ownership/control but end up with effectively zero functional control, as your house might be occupied by squatters or family members who morphed from allies to enemies.

    Control is important because…

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  • Insider

    Doing ‘Retreat’ Right

    What to look for when assessing location
    by charleshughsmith

    Friday, March 31, 2017, 5:08 PM


    Executive Summary

    • Understanding the difference between Artificial and Economically-Viable Communities
    • What to look for in a retreat community
    • Why regional assets matter
    • The importance of "path dependence" in a retreat location

    If you have not yet read Part 1: Having A 'Retreat' Property Comes With Real Challenges available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

    In Part 1, we considered the nature of security and independence, and found that the intuitively appealing remote cabin in the woods (RCITW) is actually highly insecure and does not reduce dependence on fragile global supply chains at all—it may well increase our dependence and vulnerability to disruptions.

    Security is a function of an engaged community (eyes on the street, knowing one’s neighbors, reciprocity of caring) and occupancy. The remote cabin that’s rarely occupied is the acme of insecurity.

    Here in Part 2, we’ll consider the qualities that create security and resilience in communities.

    Artificial Communities vs. Economically Viable Communities

    If we reckon a community is a collection of dwellings, we might be tempted to view all collections of dwellings as being roughly equal. This would be a great mistake, for communities divide very naturally into artificial communities and economically viable communities.

    In artificial communities, security is poor and difficult/costly to improve.  In economically viable communities, the multiple layers of stakeholders provide self-reinforcing homegrown security.

    Artificial communities are consumer communities—they produce essentially nothing. Economically viable communities produce goods and services as a function of their natural-resource advantages (good soil, adequate water, river ports, coastal harbors, advantageous weather, etc.) and concentrations of capital (rail lines, banks, universities, an entrepreneurial culture supported by local government, etc.).

    History has not been particularly kind to defensive strategies, which is what most artificial communities are. This is why…

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  • Blog

    Having A ‘Retreat’ Property Comes With Real Challenges

    About that bug-out plan...
    by charleshughsmith

    Friday, March 31, 2017, 5:07 PM


    A flurry of recent headlines has highlighted the financial elites’ interest in secure retreats (a.k.a. bug-out locations) should the trucks stop rolling. 

    The intuitive solution to many, from the super-wealthy on down, is some version of a hideaway in the woods: a remote locale known only to the owner, where the owner can burrow safely away until the storm passes.

    It turns out security and independence are tricky qualities, and surprising reversals are not just possible but likely: what appears to be secure at first glance might be highly insecure, and independence turns out to be highly relative.

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