Saturday, April 26, 2014
Bugging out on $20 a day
By now y'all know I'm not a big fan of bugging out.* That said, I'm not so clueless that I don't realize it's the only option for a very large number of people. After all, though danger is where the people are, jobs are also where the people are. So for many, if they want to pay their bills and raise their kids, they don't have a lot of choice but to live in an area they would flee were things different. And for most, a secluded cabin in the Ozarks that they visit once a year is just out of the question.**
Giraffe made a comment yesterday that I think is right on: Oil isn't just going to stop. I would also argue that the dollar isn't just going to die, the lights aren't just going to go out, even the banking system is not going to collapse with no warning. Though I live in a place and a way that (I think) could handle the new reality if those things happened, I don't think they are going to happen that way. They are, IMO, pretty long odds. So assume it's not going to happen out of nowhere.
But let's say we had 2008 again and rather than the Fed backstopping every bankrupt bank, automaker, and insurance company in the northern hemisphere, a high-ranking source in the Bundesbank leaked that the bloody Fed had sold all of their - German and American - gold to the Chinese while no one was looking. The euro dives, but the dollar does too while interest rates spike. The Russians invade Ukraine and overrun half of it in a day, then threaten to sell ALL their natgas to China if Europe complains. The drought rages on, causing Phoenix, Las Vegas, and LA to strictly ration water. A medium-sized earthquake near San Diego causes some minor but real damage to nuclear electrical generation, just as a record hot spell bakes the west. Rolling brownouts result, not just in California but all the way to Kansas. It's not TEOTWAWKI, but a lot of crap is piling up really quickly, and it looks like a few more straws are about to be loaded upon this tired old camel. It might be time to jump, or at least send the family someplace safe, at least for a while, and await events. But to where?
I am happy to report that societal inertia is your friend. Whatever happens in one geographic location, others gawk and talk but go about their business as best they can. People go to work and grill brats and cut their lawns. They did during WWII, they did during 9/11, they did in 2008 while the Dow was losing 5% a day and deflation looked to be sucking the life out of commodities from oil to gold to FCOJ and when the Treasury Secretary was threatening Congress with tanks in the streets if they didn't cough up $700b for his Wall Street buddies. You can expect that outside any physically affected area, life is going to go on pretty much as normal, and in small towns in rural America, people will talk about it but it won't affect them for a while. And they have houses for rent. And they're cheap.
You can rent a decent-sized house in small town America for literally $6k a year plus utilities. If you can find a farmhouse where the owner is simply looking to monetize a house he doesn't need, you might be able to swing $4k for a year if you paid it all in one payment.*** They are not new houses. They are not even pretty houses. But many of them are big houses with big yards in quiet places far from highways and close to farmer's markets. They are safe places with neighbors who are kind but not too close and not too needy.
If it looks like SHTF might be weeks away, if you are starting to dread what news you'll wake up to, if you are getting the feeling that you can't leave but the family must, consider finding a rental in a small town where your worries don't reach. Rent it for a year or even 6 months if you can negotiate such a lease. Send the family there to reconnoiter, to plant, to live. Send half your tools, a little gold, enough of the pantry to round out a small U-haul. If after 6 weeks the world comes back to rights, you've spent a few grand and can look forward to some really great missing-you sex. If the world goes to pot, well, it's far easier to bug out alone than with hungry, scared kids in tow.
* Rather, I'm a fan of bugging out right freaking now. Getting while the getting's good, so to speak.
** Besides, with no one watching over it, there's no guarantee what you'll find when you arrive.
***and in cash.