Friday, April 16, 2010

Retreats and reality: Should I stay or should I go?

Anonymous said...
Instead of putting the money in a rural hideout or supposed 'sanctuary', when crime and society get out of hand.

It would instead be far wiser to buy a house and plot of land in a good 2nd or 3rd world country in South America for instance, and move there.

That's Ferfals advice. It seems to me alot of people are just asking for trouble for no good reason, apart from just being stubborn. It's not patriotic, it's stupid.
April 15, 2010 7:00 PM

I would have chosen a few different word but yes, that’s about right.
That’s why I’m pretty adamant about the super fortress retreat.
It just doesn’t work for what it’s theoretically supposed to.
You put all that money, effort, etc, etc so as to have this impenetrable bunker … for when SHTF, the ballon goes up, or whatever you want to call it, and if that ever happened it will not turn out as you dreamed.
So you turn out believing you’re ready for sometihng your not. But the wonderful thing is, such a situation is so unlikely. Its like when Lisa Simpson sells a lion repelling stone to Homer. She tries to explain to him that it works because there’s no lions running around in Springfiled… Homer still buys the rock from Lisa for 20 bucks.
Now, the problem just doesn’t stop there. Some people end up buying the $20 buck stone, only that it costs several hundred thousands to get set up as you’re supposed to, and it requires serious life changes, some of which people go out of their way to achieve.
Maybe its people that don’t enjoy that lifestyle but think its better for the end of the world (they end up living a miserable life and the world never ends) or they make serious financial sacrifices, losing jobs and such, and end up broke because of their SHTF planning. Funny how this supposedly “end of the world proof” idea can’t survive without a serious influx of funds.
So you have to A) Be able to work from home, and not just barely make it but have a solid business that can take a few downturns without sending you running to the nearest fair sized city (which is wisely two gas tanks away… you know, because of biker looters) looking for a job. B) Actually enjoy living in the country/farm/woods, wherever it is you ended up at.
And that’s what it all comes down to, what you like to do.
Live in the country or in the woods or next to a national park because its what you LIKE doing. Don’t thinks it’s the best SHTF proof plan, its not. But if that’s what you want then its more than enough reason.
Now, be sure that you can sustain that livestyle, make sure you have adequate infrastructure, medical assistance near by, job opportunities or ways of making money, otherwise you go from “Not good for end of the world” to “awful choice no matter if times are good or bad”.
Then you have others to consider, your wife, your kids, family.
Some people actually enjoy that their kids can see grandpa or grandma every now and then. What about when they grow up? Will they have an education, social life? Or are they supposed to marry the homestead’s sheep or go buy a bride form Asia?
Talking about surviving from a practical sense, when things are no loner sustainable in your country, you just leave. Always has been that way, always will. Living in your retreat shooting it out with the ex cons, UN soldiers or cannibals every week or so is not realistic.

Want to prepare for a worst case scenario, as in we have to leave and never come back worst case scenario?
Live wherever it is you want to live, and have a small property in another country, and put it up for rent on the mean time.
Its not only going to cost you a small fraction of what a fully loaded end of the world retreat would, but you can also put it up for rent while the world doesn’t end. Find a place you like and you can go there on holydays too.
“Honey: We’re buying a small house/apartment in Australia/Brazil/Uruguay/Thailand (wherever it is you like). We’ll put it up for rent and use it ourselves every once in a while”
“Honey, I’m spending all our savings and asking the bank for 100.000 more. We’re moving to Nothingville. Well, not actually Nothingville, its 100 miles from there so you wont be able to watch a movie in a real theater ever again. Or see other real live people other than ourselves. Oh by the way, say bye bye to your folks, you’re never seeing them ever again as well!”

So after you get divorced and lose your kids you move there and start living the dream!

Serious now guys. History is the key, and history tells us that when SHTF bad, you leave.

What I’d like to do is keep a small apartment in the capital district in Buenos Aires, the part I know would be the last part to fall before the entire country goes to hell. Uruguay would be even better though harder to rent probably.
Not only can I have a plan C location, its also one that can be rented to tourists on weekly or monthly basis. That means not only that I’ll have the place furnished and in proper condition, I can stop renting it whenever I want and move there myself, and I don’t depend on a two year contract. Besides, it makes almost twice as much as renting for longer terms. Even with a couple months loss if it doesn’t rent and even giving 10% to some realtor to take care of it, you’re making money and having a place available at a moment’s notice. You can stay at a friend’s house or use your emergency cash to pay for a hotel until the place is available.
Now that’s a realistic alternative for a worst case scenario.



Don Williams said...

1) If the USA ever collapsed, I suspect that many other countries would collapse as well -- we spend almost $1 Trillion per year to suppress wars and maintain order. To promote our own interests , of course. We trade a lot with both Europe and China -- and we have much more farmland and water per capita than they do.

2) It makes more sense to me to move around within the USA than to go abroad but it really depends on the circumstances I suppose. Easier to deal with actual problems than hypotheticals. Any solution you develop for one situation will look bad applied to a different situation. But policemen generally do not look favorably on foreign refugees when thing turn bad.

3) The military has the idea of looking at the possible threats, developing plans to deal with each of the different threats, and then letting the plans sit until the situation arises that requires one to pull out the appropriate plan and execute it (after some possible updating.)

4) I don't think an isolated fortified compound is viable unless you have the US Pentagon's budget -- I would like to know how much Mel Tappan drew out of his wealthy heiress wife's trust fund setting up that farm in Oregon.

5) But I could see having a rural bolthole as a short term refuge (6 months or so)if one thought the cities might turn to crap and needed an option. Maybe by helping out a friend or relative now who lives there or even by owning a small rental property.

The Roman patricians used to temporarily flee from Rome to the Alban hills outside whenever riots and streetfighting broke out within Rome itself. But they didn't stay there.

6) I just don't see taking a vow of poverty to live in a rural refuge long term if you don't plan to have a business there.

And if you ever evacuate, you will need a way to make your way back to earning a living after the dust settles. Otherwise , you might as well write off your investment in your primary home.

7) Even in urban areas, You can Hide for a month or so with little chance of discovery --a (very) few Jews even lived out WWII in Berlin. But you have to have a food supply , water, a smokeless heat supply, blackout curtains and stay absolutely quiet --see the "Dairy of Anne Frank" for example. Such a life is not viable long term.

DaShui said...

You forget that long term visas are a problem. Many countries foriegners can't own real estate. Americans can't speak foreign languages, so this leaves Belize, or the bahamas.

FerFAL said...

You can learn! :-)
Many Americans speak spanish very well.
You can own property in the countries mentioned.
Guys, you can do things. There's always a way.


Loquisimo said...

Don, if you want a self-sufficient retreat (not even the Amish are self-sufficient by themselves, the townships yes, individual families no) it helps if you have brainwashed a wealthy woman into giving you all her money. Of course, if I could do THAT, I wouldn't NEED the retreat, because the same techniques could likely work on anybody.

There are persistent rumors here that Obama used a form of stage hypnotism called Neuro-Linguistic Programming to win the election. Hitler clearly could do something similar off the cuff. If I had THAT ability, I'd simply hook up with that rich heiress, and we'd conquer the world. Obama has Soros backing him, and the Rothschilds were early backers of Hitler because they wanted a counterweight to Stalin. It didn't work out that way, so they had to destroy him, which took four years and the entire industrial might of the USA.

But hey, if you can hypnotize the world, it's your oyster. If you wanted to destroy the system and rule as god-king, you could. Hitler came close. But as long as I'm Loco Man and not Superman, I need to work within the system, or be like those commies in San Francisco who have been trying to destroy the system for 45 years and getting nowhere.

Don Williams said...

1) I do not rule a foreign refuge out -- but there are disadvantages compared to staying in one's own country (which I agree may be secondary to the advantages, depending upon the situation.)

Jobs are harder to acquire (unless you are a doctor or some valued professional) and if you have to defend yourself against a criminal attack, you will probably have fewer rights as a foreign refugee than what you would have in your own country.

2) Plus I recall a tale in James Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific" about a French professor who foresaw the World War II coming to Europe, knew it would be a cataclysmic disaster and who decided to flee to an isolated island in the Pacific to escape.

An island called Guadacanal:

heh heh heh

Anonymous said...

Spanish is the easiest language to learn. You'd be surprised how fast you can pick it up with practice.

Also, going overseas is no more dangerous than going interstate. You just have to be prepared.

Just_In_Case_The_SHTF said...

It can't hurt to do a "what if" analysis of relocating to another country as a Plan B, Plan C, or Plan D.

According to General Eisenhower (and many other generals), plans are worthless as soon as they are made, but the act of planning is invaluable. It's better to think through the issues and alternatives in a calm manner before the crisis hits than to make knee-jerk reactions on the fly after the crisis hits.

Anonymous said...

"Jobs are harder to acquire (unless you are a doctor or some valued professional)"

Could be, but the stereotype of the foreign taxi driver saying, "In my country, I was a doctor." comes to mind, so knowing skills that don't require much verbal communication might prove more utilitarian after SHTF GOOD for some people.

cryingfreeman said...

@ Don Williams: Your French professor example is perhaps an exception that doesn't prove the rule.

As a UK citizen looking across the pond at Americans, it never ceases to astound me how insular most (but not all) Americans are and indeed, I marvel at the relatively low passport holder stats in the US. The impression I get is the world beyond the US is seen by many Americans as somehow "inferior".

In any event, I'm with FerFAL 100% on this. Everyone should - as far as their means permits - have a safety net outside their own country. I'd go even further and strongly advocate planting flags around the globe, as per Sovereign Man's counsel:


jjmurphy said...

Everyone has a different outlook on how they will deal with a SHTF scenario. Some here advocate going to a another, less-developed country. Whatever floats you boat. I am not leaving the USA for a number of reasons. I know the USA, having lived from coast to coast over the past 50 years. I know the customs, language, and landscape. I know the people, the politics, the culture. My most recent ancestor came here well over 100 years ago. I am 100% American. My entire clan is here. All my "connections" are here.

If I went to another country I would have none of this knowledge or connections. I figure I have a better chance staying alive in my native country than in someplace I know very little about.

Besides, as Don Williams said above, if the USA goes down the toilet most other countries will already be in the septic tank.

I am not going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Also the patriotism idea of 'sticking it out' by remaining in the U.S by setting up a retreat or sanctuary is also bunk. If you do that you sever yourself from most of society and enter into basically a type of hermitism. If you moved overseas, you could continue living the American dream by having your own business, making friends with other english speakers and watch American television and movies through cable and also the blackmarket.

I think the best thing is to take holidays overseas to familiarize yourself with a country, (it's laws, owning property, setting a businesss, renting a place ecetera) and then pick one or a couple. Obviously learn it's language. (Spanish is really easy to learn, so is Portueguese teach yourself no need to go to school) And then set everything up that would enable you to travel over there at short notice.

Later when the U.S calms down, you can always go back and start again. You'll be older and wiser due already having experienced starting over, and any bad experiences which come from difficult times. (stabbings, muggings, home invasions, rape, homelessness ecetera) you and your family are spared. By avoiding the worst your nation has to offer, you will be in a better position to start again when things get better, without having lost your idealism or positive outlook on life, which traumatic experience often rob you of.

In addition, while your living large and having a great time overseas, you are in a position to help traumatized family or friends by offering them a place of refuge and the opportunity to start again. By you being overseas and established already, they will not only be willing to travel, but probably jump at the chance. And thus get out of their dangerous, miserable living conditions. Think about it.

Also as a 'job' how about starting your own business? You live in the U.S getting capital to start a business is no problem whatsoever. Granted it would need to be well planned and if you suck at it, it woud be wise to take a partner. But read some entrepreneurship books.

Don Williams said...

Re Cryingfreeman at 5:40 Am:
"As a UK citizen looking across the pond at Americans, it never ceases to astound me how insular most (but not all) Americans are"
I have been on multi-week tours of Great Britain (several times), Australia, and Italy, and short trips to Mexico. That hardly makes me a citizen of the world, but I appreciate that other parts of the world have a high quality of life.

But I am doubtful that most countries would welcome long term refugees --vice short term, free-spending tourists -- in a severe crisis. Any crisis that made it worthwhile to evacuate from the USA would have major impacts everywhere.

Plus, there is the question of whether the airlines would still be up in a severe crisis. And While my sailing is not up to RYA standards, I know enough to know that blue water sailing is damm dangerous in anytime other than narrow time windows in summer.

For example, Most sailors leaving the US East Coast for Europe depart in late May and June to slip through the narrow window between winter Atlantic Gales and late summer Hurricanes. Year before last, at least one sailor died and several had to be rescued by the Coast Guard when they tried to leave in early May.

People have flown from the USA to Europe in light aircraft (there is a chain of large airstrips from WWII in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Faroe Islands down to Scotland.) But that is a dangerous stunt and depends upon a highly advanced weather forecast service that might not be up in a crisis.

Americans could drive south, of course. But the highways south peter out in southern Panama --there is no connection to South America other than by a few ferries. And they would have to pass through multiple national border checks to make it even to Panama.

Don Williams said...

PS to cryingfreeman:
1) I like Australia and Australians, for example. But if not for the US Navy, Australians would have had to start learning to speak Japanese in WWII.

2) And if in the future the US Navy withdrew from the Pacific for lack of funds, Australians would have Chinese overlords within 10 years.

3) That is not the fault of the Australians -- but there are only 20 million of them and their land can only support half that number in a long term sustainable manner.

4) Meanwhile they have 3.5 BILLION Asians to their north --just a hop, skip and jump over a short island chain.

5) I prefer the "insular" location of the USA.

Patrick said...

Great post, one of your most frank and practical yet.

Some points from a guy who is in the process of doing this, albeit in an aggressive, twentysomething way:

- you can learn spanish, spend a couple months with $20 teaching software or just piecing a prep course on your own and practicing with the local fast food employee, then another two months when you touch down and you'll be able to get by. I speak pretty good in some instances after two years here, but I still don't speak like a highly educated native (but I could if I had taken the effort to really master the language).

- The leverage play in offshore real estate via currency conversion needs to be taken into account, this is a real pearl of the article above. For $100k you could start your US-based bugout fort but for the same you can get a nice place that has an optional rental yield (not a great one, but something, between $500 and $1000 USD a month, if you put it up for rent through the tourist-targeted agencies) and you're installed in a functioning society. So all the infrastructure costs you'd have to pay in your self-contained hideout (solar panels, medical supplies, agriculture implements) are externalized costs in the foreign country. That's what I mean by leverage, it's a much smarter move from a money management point of view, which is a key survival (and quality of life) skill to be had in any world where lots of other people are alive and using technology.

Note: for a young person such as myself, who is coming here to start a family rather than bringing one, there's also a leverage play in your knowledge, education and US-based connections that you can bring to local industries in the form of skilled-labor.

- Since you can hedge against bottom up risks (resource scarcity, petty crime) much more cheaply by buying abroad, consider hedging against the top-down risks. The Argentina government does do internet surveillance just like every modern government, but what they don't have that the US government factually does is detention facilities sprinkled throughout the country capable of holding a double digit % of the population.

- Finally, when consider a business to fall back on or invest in, I highly encourage you folks to read You Can Farm by Joel Salatin, the man makes a white collar income selling value-added products and premium, grass-fed meats from his farm in Virginia, and it would be entirely possible for someone with half a hectare to do a scaled-down version of the same operation for a side-income or source of good food, great way to hedge against food price inflation. FerFal is right that pure agrarianism isn't going to cut it, but the agriculutral base of the global economy is chemically, environmentally and economically unsustainable and investing in your own food production is probably a second order investment after getting a stash of precious metals and fallback cash.

Anonymous said...

IF SHTF happens in the US and my side wins no one who left the country will be allowed back in. Immigration to the US will be banned. The only one's who deserves the land and the country are those who fought for it and endured the hardship.

Personally I'd rather die in a revolution than see ex-pat (like Obama)to live a good life away from home and not contribute a thing then come back to rule. It's just unthinkable.

Anonymous said...

A person moving overseas to a 3rd or 2nd world country doesn't swap one ghetto for another. His money will afford him more in such a nation than it would afford him in the u.s. Thus you will have higher living conditions not lower. That is the whole point of moving overseas. If you were a millionaire then even if the u.s did go down the drain your money would allow you to move to a better spot and into gated communities hire decent security etcetera. But the thing is you aren't a millionaire your an average person, and for the average person in the u.s things may suck. That's why you move overseas, to afford the safer locations you can't afford in your own country.

Also the thing about the U.S collapsing and the whole world collapsing is false. China would take up the slack and become the next super power. And more importantly 2nd and 3rd world countries usually have agricultural and resource based economies, and these are resilient to economic conditions. Unlike first world nations which specialize in service, knowledge and manufacturing operations, all that will just go down the toilet. Also instead of casting a suspicious eye at the Chinese, why don't you learn their language instead? As the saying goes if you can't beat them join them.

Don Williams said...

Re Anon at 3:31 am:
"Also instead of casting a suspicious eye at the Chinese, why don't you learn their language instead? As the saying goes if you can't beat them join them."
1) Strangely enough, while my son is majoring in computer engineering in college, I encouraged him to take several years worth of courses in Chinese. Just in case, heh heh.

2) His college also has an exchange program with China's top engineering university, and I've encouraged him to study there for a semester as well. For the contacts. as well as the courses.

3) Because of our geography, most Americans have long been isolated
from the Eurasian continent. Plus our economy was full up and roaring after WWII when much of the rest of the world was in ruins. And because of the Cold War, we didn't do much trade (exports/imports were about 3 percent of GDP until the 1990s.)

4) With the fall of the Soviet Union, our elites went on a global money hunt --but American citizens themselves are suffering the Punic Curse that afflicted Rome after the fall of Carthage. The profits of Empire flow to a Wealthy few (and to their purchased politicans) while the huge costs are dumped off onto the common citizens.

5) The elites of Europe and the US today encourage the import of cheap foreign labor and so it is misleadingly easy for workers to move from country to country.

I think that would change RAPIDLY in a major economic collapse -- and that the doors would slam shut. Including to expatriate Americans looking for jobs abroad.

cryingfreeman said...

@ Don again: I'm not really advocating jumping ship out of the USA in TEOTWAWKI scenario... I'm suggesting Red Pill Americans already have a nest in place now, i.e., spend months each year out of the US in the chosen locale, "planting a flag" as it were, and working towards a second citizenship if possible. I have two different citizenships myself.... just in case.

I tend to agree with you re Australia. I think it and NZ could be in a certain someone's sights if world events went the wrong way.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

People will go so far to preserve their own life "just in case"... and end up living a life that's not worth living, alone in the mountains or the woods with not enough human contact.

Their kids are poorly educated because of the schools that are sorely lacking in those areas, and they end up as bored, drunk hillbillies. What a life.

WATYF said...

Don Williams said: "But I could see having a rural bolthole as a short term refuge (6 months or so)if one thought the cities might turn to crap and needed an option. Maybe by helping out a friend or relative now who lives there or even by owning a small rental property.

The Roman patricians used to temporarily flee from Rome to the Alban hills outside whenever riots and streetfighting broke out within Rome itself. But they didn't stay there."


This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. Having a backup and/or alternate residence nearby.

I don't plan to move to the middle of nowhere, but I will own property there AND have a home near a major city. Not to mention that I have full dual-citizenship with a neighboring country, so it would be much easier for me to go there if things got truly ridiculous here (which I don't really foresee).