How To Prepare For World War III: A Survival And Money Guide

So you've survived the pandemic. Congrats! Now there's potentially World War III due to the war in Ukraine, Russia, Israel, and now Iran! These wars could bring in other countries like the United States and many more into the conflict.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine does have the possibility of starting the next World War. Imagine. Belarus joins Russia in the war. NATO fights back. The West levies massive sanctions against Russia. China backs up Russia. China invades Taiwan. Then the U.S. finally steps up.

If the U.S. gets heavily involved, then our citizens become at risk. Once a nuclear bomb hits America, billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg can retreat to over 700+ acres of now private Kauai land.

Even Mark's buddy, Facebook ex-board member and early investor, Peter Thiel has a private jet gassed up and waiting to fly his family and friends to the most expensive place in the world, New Zealand, if World War III ensues.

But what about the rest of us poor saps who can't afford to buy out indigenous people or cough up $20,000 an hour for a 12-hour Gulfstream 650 flight across the world? Are we commoners screwed? Heck no!

We must stand our ground and fight for our freedom as the ungodly rich flee our great nation! If we survive, we can then rebuild our own empires. In the process, we can confiscate the properties of those who fled and permanently ban them from returning home.

How To Prepare For World War III (And An Alien Invasion)

Let's hope we have a swift resolution to this latest war. Let's also hope the shooting down of multiple UFOs in North America doesn't cause an all-out alien invasion.

However, just in case the world goes to hell, here are some things I'm planning on doing and so should you.

1) Be as fit as you were in high school.

Now is the time to stop making excuses about physical fitness. We had our chance to get fit during the pandemic, but now there's World War 3 to deal with. If you're overweight, it's time to get back into tip top shape. It's important to be as lean as possible when you're chasing down or running away from an enemy combatant.

I plan to make sure I can run three consecutive miles in 18 minutes or less. I'm only about two miles away from the ocean where I can take cover among the sea people. Make sure you are fit enough to run nonstop to your closest safe zone! And if not, get an electronic scooter.

Here are two weight charts to see if you're a healthy weight. If you're not within the guidelines, then at least make sure you can complete the distance and time requirements. Remember, you don't have to outrun an angry bear. You just need to outrun the person next to you. The least fit will suffer the greatest!

Ideal Weight Chart For Women
Ideal Weight Chart For Women
Ideal Weight Chart For Men - Get in shape for World War III
Ideal Weight Chart For Men

2) Reinforce your secret room (panic room). 

Do you remember watching Wes Craven's 1991 film, The People Under The Stairs? It's as terrible as watching The Exorcist as a kid. Nightmares galore! You'll learn from the movie that everybody should build a secret room so nobody can find them.

If you don't have a secret room, you must build one. If you can't build one, then convert a crawl space, attic, or unassuming closet into one. After the air strikes are done, the ground strikes will begin. A secret room will help you hide from your oppressors.

Your secret room should have electrical outlets for a mini fridge, microwave, router, CCTV, laptop, and cell phone. You should be able to live in your secret room for at least a month to let any sort of nuclear radiation thin out a little. If your enemy is camped outside, the longer you can hold out, the higher your chance for survival as they move on to their next victims.

Don't forget to build a ventilation system and reinforce the entry way with steel rebar. The biggest risk to a secret room is that it gets discovered. Your enemies could smoke or burn you out, so consider having some type of anti-fire device, and definitely keep several oxygen masks as well.

Anne Frank and her family began hiding on July 6, 1942 until they were betrayed and arrested on August 4, 1944. A secret annex will buy yourself time to find solutions. Please visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam if you are ever there. We must never forget the atrocities of war.

Examples of panic rooms for World War 3

Ideal panic room during World War 3
A wonderful panic room 13 feet below the ground with private keycard access.
Panic Room Layout for World War III
An efficient secret room that can house 6 uncomfortably
Panic room ventilation if a war breaks out
Ventilation is huge in case your enemies plan to smoke you out
Panic Room in the ocean - The most secretive secret room to stay safe during World War III
Probably the best secret room entrance in the world

3) Train in hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms.

Now is the time to watch every single Youtube video there is about how to use a knife and a gun. Take classes in hand-to-hand combat as well. Focus on chopping the person's throat, elbowing the solarplex, and kneeing the groin. If you can grab a hold of your assailant's pinky, bend it backwards until it snaps.

I studied martial arts for years growing up in Asia so don't mess with me intruders! Further, as a softball slugger, I'm handy with using a bat. Time for everyone to brush up and get fierce!

Weapons for zombie apocalypse, world war III

4) Create an A-team to survive World War III.

If it's just you and your family, it's going to be harder to survive the war compared to a hoard of 60 heavily-armed militia.

In order to build a team, you've got to make a pact before anything happens. That means reaching out to your nearby friends and sharing your contingency plan with them. Maybe they'll think you're crazy, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

We created pandemic pods. We should create World War III A-teams.

Don't be that dumbass who connects over LinkedIn out of the blue when he wants something. You need to be maintaining relationships long before something bad happens!

If your house gets overrun, you need to be able to flee to a friend's place. I have one friend who lives 2.5 miles away who has already built a panic room with a 6-inch reinforced steel door. The importance of being fit enough to run nonstop to your closest ally cannot be underestimated.

The Financial Samurai A-Team will include any reader who has read since this site started in 2009, picked up a copy of Buy This, Not That and left a stellar review, contributed at least 100 thoughtful comments, knows how to communicate and play well with others, and has skills in archery, camping, hand-to-hand combat, and critical reasoning.

5) Set up a proprietary communication system.

If either my wife or I am ever captured, we have a secret code word we will use if ever we get to speak again. A lot of times captives are forced to speak under duress (e.g., gun to head, knife to throat), hence, if for some reason I can't detect the worry in her voice, she'll use one of several secret words to signal her true situation.

We also have a secret post to leave a message on Financial Samurai. Financial Samurai stayed up every day during the pandemic. It sure as heck will stay up during an invasion. However, in the event that all electronic communication is lost, we will leave little clues in the real world.

Related: Five Financial Observations Since The Start Of Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine

Where To Invest During World War III

The chance of World War III is pretty low, but it's a good idea to prepare anyway. In the more likely event that our global politicians just play chicken with our lives, here are the financial moves I'll be more eager to make.

1) Worst case scenario: hoard real assets

Money means nothing during a world war because governments will proceed to crank up the printing press to fund their army, thereby causing inflation. Sometimes there's hyperinflation, as in the case with Germany post World War One.

After World War One, the German Mark fell from 4.2 marks to 8.91 marks per dollar. But paying for war reparations caused an economic collapse. The exchange rate rose to 4,200,000,000,000 marks per dollar by the end of 1923. The rate of inflation was 3,250,000% per month! By mid-1923 workers were being paid as often as three times a day. As soon as the workers got paid, they'd rush to buy some goods before their cash became worthless.

Real assets to consider hoarding include real estate, gold, silver, copper, oil, steel, cars, weapons, watches, matches, lighters, multiple pair of glasses, binoculars, pads, canned food, socks and shoes. Cryptocurrencies plummeted in value while gold surged the day Russia invade Ukraine.

Since cash becomes useless, it's important to have real things to barter with. Unfortunately, the minimalist who rents and owns nothing will be screwed in a high inflation environment. Therefore, you need to be a maximalist who owns everything you want and need that money could once buy.

Funny money investments like stocks won't do you any good during World War III! You need assets that provide shelter or have some type of utility to help you live.

Hyper-inflation post world war I, children playing with bricks of cash
Kids piling up bricks of cash in Germany due to hyper-inflation

Related: The Inflation Interest Rate Paradox: Why You Must Continuously Invest

2) Bad scenario: buy the most sovereign bonds possible

Buy bonds from the country you think will come out a winner. At least buy bonds in a country that you believe will pay back its debt. The most sovereign country is usually the United States because we have the biggest army, the deepest financial system, and a world currency.

During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the U.S. dollar gained against the world because the world found relative sanctuary in U.S. assets. This was even though many Americans were freaking out about whether they'd have a job the next week! When Russia invaded Ukraine, the USD strengthened and the Ruble weakened.

Remember, everything is relative when it comes to investing.

If the Chrysler building in Manhattan blows up tomorrow, stocks will tank and Treasury bonds will surge as investors flee riskier assets. Emerging market equities will probably sell off harder than the S&P 500 as well. Don't forget the fear of contagion that wrecked the Asian economies in 1997.

I was loading up on municipal bonds after the 10-year bond yield hit 3% in 2018. Then the 10-year bond yield fell to about 0.5% in 2020 and is now back up to ~4.9% after so many Fed rate hikes.

In a World War 3 and alien invasion scenario, the U.S. should emerge victorious. Therefore, the world will be buying U.S. Treasuries and U.S. real estate all day long.

Buy bonds for capital preservation in case of World War III

3) A swift uncertain scenario: hoard cash and do nothing

If we're just going through temporary uncertainty, then hoarding cash is just fine. Even though cash is losing purchasing power due to elevated inflation, it's still better than losing actual money in the stock market. Most politicians are rational, therefore, they usually won't go crazy with their aggression out of fear they'll be overthrown.

Hoarding cash is the easiest and most logical move to make during times of uncertainty. Here are other capital preservation investments to consider. When you hold cash today, you're getting ~5%. So actually, holding cash is fantastic given inflation is under 4%.

Paying down debt without fully paying off debt is the wrong move because you'll still have monthly payments. Liquidity is most valuable during times of uncertainty. The more liquid you are the more choices you have.

4) A positive long-term scenario: buy stocks and real estate

Based on history, buying the S&P 500 at the start of a war has usually proven to be profitable. Below is a chart from Fundstrat that shows how the S&P 500 performed after the Vietnam War, Gulf Wr, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, and Crimean Crisis.

The Afghanistan War period is something to be aware of since our current situation is similar. We've had a long bull market full of irrational exuberance. The “good thing” is, many of the most expensive growth stocks and speculative assets have already corrected by 50% – 80% within the past six months. Whereas, it took 2-3 years for similar types of securities to correct post the Dotcom bubble.

How stocks have performed during each previous wars, occupations, and invasions in history

As for real estate, it is the favored asset class during wartime. When stocks are selling off during a war, real estate tends to hold its value as investors seek the safety of hard assets. Let us hope the Israeli/Palestinian war does not escalate into World War III.

Once the war is over, real estate tends to recovery with the economy, often benefitting from heavy government infrastructure spending. If your property isn't confiscated by the invading country, real estate is as close to a “head I win, tails you lose” scenario. I'm a buyer of private real estate funds like the ones offered by Fundrise.

Real estate prices are down now because mortgage rates are high. As a result, I'm dollar-cost averaging into real estate as well as into private growth company funds like the Innovation Fund.

It's Always Worth Preparing For The Worst

If there is a World War III or an alien invasion, your number one goal is to survive until the chaos clears. Most wars don't last longer than two years.

Think about World War III as round two of another global pandemic. We've already experienced two years of the pandemic. Hence, perhaps World War III won't feel as long or as difficult if it happens.

It is incredibly sad an unnecessary war has begun. Lives will be lost. Livelihoods will be ruined. And so much economic progress and goodwill will disappear.

Nobody wins if World War III breaks out. We just have to gut it out until better days arrive.

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162 thoughts on “How To Prepare For World War III: A Survival And Money Guide”

  1. Devin Pruden

    We should prepare for World War 3. The government is not going to help us. The churches are not going to help us. They drive us to it. We need to prepare and survive.

  2. Dictators protect themselves between the strong military fence and the propaganda they have built and The fate of others and even their own nation is not important to them.Everyone is talking about how America should deal with them But they often forget how much America helped to make them strong.America must start from itself. Groups and powers that support the enemies of democracy should not enjoy the benefits of democracy in America and its allies Otherwise, the world of democracy has already lost the war

  3. mike Mcloughlin

    I am disappointed by the “experts ” lack of mention of EMP’s.. One hydrogen bomb set off at 90K ft. will fry almost all electronic devices with a computer chip in them , in half of the country. There goes your computer held money, cars, radios, gas pumps, food chain,electricity, water pumps and on and on. The Gov’t has spent a long time and billions prepairing for the EMP disaster.
    OK, the big guys start to ready for an all out war. Have you ever driven on I70, on a good ski day times 20? Do you think our mountain friends will sit for 1.5 million hysterical Boulderites, and 1/2 million liberals who want to use their Gold Cards to be taken careful. If I were a mountain man I’d use some of my mining exlosives to blow tunnels and bridges. Hell on earth!

  4. Oh come on! Let’s be real here. The article states, this is a plan for the ones who don’t have the riches needed to escape?! . I would need the same amount of money to build this elaborate secret room. Not practical for everyone.

  5. I don’t plan on running. I plan on fighting. I would rather go down in a blaze of glory defending my homeland than hiding like a rat in a bunker having others die for my country’s freedom. I will not be lead to the slaughter house after my left wing neighbors tell their communist friends invaders where I am.

  6. Thanks for the laugh. While I was laughing I was also reviewing your list and mentally checking off the things I’m prepared for versus not.

    I’m liking the panic room in the middle of the ocean close to the tiny desert island. Perhaps on my next vacation I’ll look for it. While laughing, of course.

    1. Same here….I am 50% ready but the pinky advice is good and I procrastinate too much on getting back into shape..May advance with my hide out under the stairs but still pondering that. Thanks for the great prep report….


  7. Invest in a Seattle houseboat, one that can be relocated. Avoids issues with global warming sea rise and you get to live by the ocean. Not sure if it helps with WWIII exactly – but if there’s a motor, there’s maybe a possibility to leave the US? :)

    1. I am in Seattle. When I was in army was told life expectancy will be about 3 minutes in the region so most of us will be fried before we know whats going on.

  8. Brandon James

    Sam, for once I can’t tell if this post is serious, or meant to be a mockery of “preppers.” For me, I see a lot of this stuff as common sense stuff that I was already doing before the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Things like being fit (I run a couple 5k’s a week), being able to defend myself and my family (weapons), having some extra food and water, alternate means of obtaining food (gardening/hunting), etc. but some things are a bit over the top, like an underground shelter. I have been looking at purchasing some real estate outside the city, though, as being in a large city in such a scenario would be the worst place to be. Worst case scenario with my extensive backpacking/wilderness experience, I could probably survive for months out in the public lands/national forests.
    Financially, I haven’t really changed anything besides keeping a little extra cash and adding a few precious metals to the portfolio. All the regular stuff continues like maxing out Roth 401k and Roth IRA, and after-tax investing.

  9. 10 day water fast will clear up cholesterol. Cholesterol never an acute problem. Cholesterol meds almost killed me.

  10. Miracles Happen

    I find this article and advice interesting and expensive. It suggests for humans to build hideout underground. At the same time to invest in real estate. But if I go underground for two years, who will look after my investments? I know there are many underground places around the world that you can hide, without having to spend a fortune in building it yourself. Even hospitals, and colleges are built with underground hiding areas. Be healthy and fit is a great recommendation, not just during war. Be safe pray daily and be hopeful to live in a peaceful world.

  11. This article really touched a nerve. My father retired as a Brigadier in the Indian army, my uncle, also a Brigadier, was killed in one of the India-Pakistan wars. None of us, unless we fought or are family of those who were lost, can even imagine the horrors that wars inflict on us. I took this article as a way to help navigate my finances during and after a war, that’s all. Thank you to all of you, who have served.

  12. As a former Navy operator who was wounded in war, all I can say about this article is, wow. And it’s not a good wow either.

    You forgot to mention the biggest part of war – psychological preparation. You must be ready to kill your enemy and I guarantee most will not be ready to do whatever it takes to keep you and loved ones alive without having severe emotional regret or hesitation.

    It takes years to physically and mentally prepare for war. And no paper money or other assets will keep you alive. The more you become a logical animal with survival skills, the longer you will live, although I’m not sure you will want to with WWIII. There are many horrible nuclear, biological and chemical weapons you have never heard of and never will experience twice.

    Observing people hoard toilet paper in the first years of Covid should have made everyone aware that we “aren’t all in this together” and in time of true despair, we regress to our animal and survival instincts. Covid wasn’t even a shadow of the horror war is. My best advice to surviving is: stop being an emotional human; have a lot of ammo; be well trained on all weapons; have canned food and know how to clean water.

    I really cannot say enough about the neophyte nature of this article. Not meant as a harsh criticism, but you have no idea of what it takes to kill or stay alive.

    1. I would think most people have no idea how to kill. Although, I have been in plenty of fights before and know where some of the break points are.

      You don’t think getting fit to maximize your flight response and train yourself in hand to hand combat and the use of weapons is a good recommendation? Creating an underground secret room with canned food and water is also a good idea.

      What is the difference between your recommendations and my recommendations?

      Any suggestions on how to stop being an emotional human being? Thx

      1. The differences between mine and yours is hope. If the war I think can occur will make even me question if staying alive is a good decision. I have little hope that mankind can withstand a nuclear, biological or chemical attack, or if you even want to be around for the aftermath.

        Being fit – great. But you spoke of running 6 minute miles – are you really going to run that fast with your child or wife beside you, or are you going to abandon them or move at their pace? How far can you run in an underground bunker? Weight loss won’t be an issue as stress will shed weight off a person like you wouldn’t believe possible. And food and water scarcity or viability will be compromised.

        You think being in a fight will prepare you for bullets and explosives? So you think you can get close enough to a professional killer and all you will do is strike him? He will show you the working end of a Randall knife or something that fires multiple projectiles in excess of 700 meters per sec long before you get close, and he is trained in Ju Jit Su or other martial arts, and he and his buddies kick each others butt for months or years with it just for fun. I have been in fights and I have been in war and there is absolutley no comparison. Even with all my training and experience, no two objectives are ever the same – just like investors to bring it back to your world.

        Training, preparation and visualization. That is my answer to your last question. Don’t worry about becoming less human because if you live long enough, it will happen naturally. I have done horrible things to human beings and so I have regret. Like grind my teeth to nothing at night from regret and the pain from war. Have you ever spit teeth out at night or pulled a weapon on a shadow in the hallway? Physical violence is never more than a night’s memory away. Guns taste cold and oily, and knives are surgical sharp. In my first life I died in 1992 from war and most days I don’t feel human. That’s war. That’s human despair. Stick with money matters because war is unlike anything else. It is life and death, not profit and loss.

        1. I’m sorry you have to deal with the mental trauma of doing horrible things to other humans. One way to heal is to stay positive, help people in need to time and money. There’s no better feeling than helping others in need.

          Unfortunately, this war affects our finances as well. So talking about it is appropriate. And if you don’t like the discussion, there’s always another place to read.

        2. Thank you for your service. It is because of you that we are able to write freely and express ourselves without fear of being sentenced to 15 years in prison.
          You obviously sit with a lot of pain. Please pay no mind to anyone who lacks empathy. Don’t take it personal, we have no idea of what you have been through, what you have done, what you have seen. I am sure it’s hard for you to see people talking about money during war time when if there is a WWIII, money will be the least of our worries. This war would be like nothing we have ever seen. The horrors of war a nuclear war is unimaginable to anyone of us. There will be no winners in WWIII. I am not even sure if there will be any life afterwards. I wish you peace, I wish peace for us all, I wish for world peace.

    2. Sometimes I wonder if emotionally charged people commenting, like you, even reads articles, or just projects your feelings into your comments?

      You say to remove emotion and to be logical, yet your comment is full of emotion.

      You write “ My best advice to surviving is: stop being an emotional human; have a lot of ammo; be well trained on all weapons; have canned food and know how to clean water.”

      But the article has these recommendations. And no, people can’t just stop being emotional, as you have demonstrated.

    3. Aneez Virani

      excellent reply. running a 6 min mile? losing weight? too many van dam movies. your advice was succinct n logical. for those who “want to live”: get proficient on firearms….learn how to clean water…..the time spent here will pay dividends

      for those who dont want to be a part of the new world order….or for those who do not wish to be “baked to death” (think 911 trade towers where they chose jumping over burning)….try skid row…..get your hands on a lethal dose of fentanyl

  13. That’s some pretty wild stuff you’re talking about, Sam. I once read an account of a European family during World War II who was able to preserve their wealth by converting their savings to gold and hiding it behind the casing of a door jamb for the duration of the war. I think I’m well-positioned for such an event sans the panic room. I think I’ll watch that movie tonight though

  14. Belarus is already on Russia’s side (secretly). NATO isn’t going to fight back. Ukraine is not part of NATO. Nobody cares about Ukraine they are alone. There isn;t gonna be WW3.

    1. Putin has now put nuclear weapons on alert as he is not happy about the sanctions. Get ready now. Don’t regret later.

    2. Allison Khan

      Unless Russia rounds on the US for helping Ukraine… holding & keeping Russia’s gold. It really only takes one bomb.

  15. Don’t forget to pick up an F-15 on the black market… it’s not a G-650, but you can DEFINITELY kick the butt of any MiG on the planet (Ref: 104-0 combat record). Can also be used to flee quickly (Mach 2.5+) should the need arise… Limitations: Single seat

  16. I read that the residents of Sarejhvo (sp?) who did well when it was blockaded were those able to provide food, arms, drugs, alcohol or sex. Keeping precious metals (gold, silver, lead), some cash, medicine (try to stockpile if you need something like insulin) and food could save you. I saw mention above of freeze dried foods… be aware that such food requires copious amounts of clean water, which may be in limited availability depending on where you live. The ability to distill clean water should be considered.

    1. why did the US get involved in ww2? bc the japanese attacked a US state. prior to that direct attack on US soil, america was not going to get involved. why did russia get involved? bc the germans broke the ribbentrop pact and attacked russia. prior to that, russia and america were fine to let germany take europe. im bewildered by this idea that you think if china takes taiwan, the US will fight back. over taiwan? no. the US will let china take taiwan because that is 10000x more desireable than declaring war on china. the US is not going to fight russia over ukraine or china over taiwan. get a hold of yourself. think rationally.

      1. Russia he already been involved in ww2 before Germany atacked them. They had started war in Finland and participated in the attack on Poland. Not same as US.

        1. i meant against germany. superpowers have no problem attacking smaller countries. but when do they attack each other? in the case of ww2, russia only began to fight germany after germany broke their pact. when did the US fight germany and japan? after pearl harbor. right now, russia hasnt attacked the US directly and they wont. russia hasnt attacked nato and they wont.

          1. Roosevelt did everything he could to provoke the axis powers into attacking the U.S. so he would have a reason to join the war, despite the fact that the citizens of the U.S. didn’t want to be involved. Biden encouraged the Russians to invade Ukraine to distract from his dismal performance as President. Simply stating that The Ukraine would not be allowed into NATO could have prevented the current war.

            1. I agree with you. However, I believe that the powers that be desire some sort of war or skirmish. Reason being, war is profitable

            2. Tess T. Culls

              um no, Putin attacked Ukraine more (as he already annexed Crimea and Luhansk regions in 2014, because he knew Trump wouldn’t do anything about the run-up (staging), nor would the EU would do anything other than sanctions if he did actually invade. This has nothing to do with Biden specifically. But he miscalculated the Ukrainian army. They are good, motivated and ready to show the world they can punch back, and ultimately be a free Democratic country ready to join the EU and NATO for protection. Putin thought he could take Kiev in three weeks, but look at him now, with over 300,000 troops killed, wounded or missing/captured with more everyday almost 8:1 (according to Ukraine). The comment about Putin would have accepted the Crimea and Luhansk along with a non-NATO Ukraine is false. He has said in interviews (only after the war started) that all of Ukraine is his goal. We need to stand with Ukraine more and more. We need to help more countries like Ukraine (Venezuela, Armenia, Georgia, Taiwan, etc) that want to go from Putin croni-ism type junk to free Democracy. It is a most prosperous and healthy type of rule for its citizens.

      2. US is NATO. If Russia accidentaly bombs Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland the US is in war with Russia. It only takes one mistake.

    2. Crusader 616

      Pray the rosary is the only thing that can save you and the Eucharist. Do an intense research on Miracle of Fatima it’s been announced 100 years ago of the remedy of the situation of the world. There are actually survivors in Heroshima Japan just by the rosary and people actually survived many years without food or water like Saint Alexendrina …just their faith and above all their good relationships with God.

  17. Alvin C Taylor

    Great post to get everyone thinking about the worst-case scenario. Your comments about being able to run 2-3 miles non-stop clearly came out of the mouth of a young person. Sooner or later, all of us will get to the age where you won’t be able to run 3 miles non-stop. What’s the plan if the end happens when you’re over the age of 50?
    Well, I have two solutions – 1. Get a bicycle. We all can ride a bike probably up to 70 years of age. Use the bicycle to get to your safe place. 2. Buy acreage and bunker down. If you don’t have the ability of “flight” then you’ll either have to fight or hide. If you have land, it would be easier to hide. The best way to hide? If you live somewhere where no one is looking for you.

    In the end, the best way to avoid catastrophe is to have the uncanny ability to see the future and act beforehand. During WWII, many people were able to escape the Holocaust. But they did it by leaving Germany BEFORE the Nazis closed off the borders. Those of us that are prepared before the crises occurs have the best chance of survival. If you are in the middle of NYC, L.A, San Francisco, or D.C when the crap hits the fan…….it won’t matter how fast you can run.

    Just sayin’

    1. Excellent point about getting a bicycle, or even an electronic scooter. Getting out before the borders close is definitely vital. Good to have a back up plan on where to go. We might go to Lake Tahoe.

      1. Alvin Taylor

        Yes! an electric scooter is even better! We could all weeve in and out of traffic. But the scooter needs to be fast enough to outrun the zombies :-)

    2. I agree with the countryside plan. We are from France here (end of our twenties) and we always lived in countryside. So we know the basics : gardening, hunting, fishing and little livestocks (chicken, rabbits, ducks, etc). And to us the best to survive is to know that things could be possible, and be able to adapt. As millenials, we were laughed at about knowing how to live like our grand parents, but that is What will save us. Yes we like video games and Netflix, but we also like to chop woods and fishin. I agree with the old military man on the damage of War, my brother had PTSD After Afghanistan and he is the antipathic type. We just have to ask our elders with WWII, it was survival and they didn’t had time to cry over their fate, but it fucked them up. I know i will not be able to kill an other human, and my 7mth old will probably not survive the lack of formula (otherwise i have to buy goats which will serve multiples purposes), but if i can survive like my grandmother in her countryside house, for my son, maybe i’ll be able to live a decent life as in the 50s.

  18. I’m going with the zombie army. Just grab one staring blankly into its cell phone. They’re easy to find. Tell them they are giving away free iPhones – over there, and then stand back while they crush the invaders.

    1. belarus wont join in because russia doesnt need any help. they can and will easily take ukraine. “NATO fights back”? against what? russia isn’t and wont attack any NATO countries. NATO’s not going to defend non-NATO countries. you’re concocting the most nonsensical scenarios. and yes, china will obviously eventually take taiwan and the world will obvoiusly let them, just as the world is letting russia take ukraine. can we stop pretending that all of this wasnt foreseeable? china knows very well noone will stop it from taking taiwan and it also knows the US wont even enact sanctions because we’re too reliant on them economically. taiwan is as good as gone. other than that, stop all the hysterical catastrophizing with scenarios that make 0 sense eg NATO fighting russia

        1. no but there are likelihoods and probabilities and thats what we play, just like in investing. why dont you advocate using lottery scratch cards as a retirement strategy? why dont you talk about becoming an NBA All-Star as a strategy for financial independence? because the odds are so ridiculously low. just like your ww3 theories. nothing is certain, but many things are so highly improbable that they can only come from some tinfoil hat wearing wingnut.

          1. Sounds good. But I would encourage you not to prohibit free thinking. As soon as you box your mind in, you may miss out on a lot of opportunities and can get sideswiped by black-swan events.

            One of the most incredible things we have is the ability to think.

            Please share what are some things you are doing right now to protect your family and your finances. All thoughts are welcome on FS.

            1. People who don’t have the ability to think freely might as well be controlled by a dictator.

              Maybe James is Russian? Something to think about.

              Anybody who does not have the intelligence to entertain blackswan events usually is very stubborn and rigid in thought. They do what they are told. Like the Russian soldiers killing Ukrainians for nothing.

      1. “they can and will easily take ukraine.”

        Well, this comment hasn’t aged too well … the invasion began Feb 24. Today is May 4. Yes Russia has taken some territory, at great cost to them. But they haven’t “easily taken Ukraine.”

        Sam was right, never 100% certainty….

  19. Im not sure that fleeing to new Zealand is the best option currently. Too close to China, who seem to be currently preparing for war.

    1. Trump won the 2020 election by factual citizens though he lost the position as president because of countless lies from professors industries big tech and government evil doers against trump against righteousness of law and justice constitution took over government. Israelite evil Zionist setting up sex trafficking ring to ruin politicians in America to distract us from the real problem on their to do list agenda to globalize the world causing an uncertainty on our future in America going to world war 3 during hurricane season aftermath of pandemic and lying politicians for not having stole an election for self interest and mismanage it until we go to war with lack of security on the south border and north because of Canada’s restriction of freedom, there is a time bomb in this world, this is only a few of the thousands of untold truth, one of many other possible topics. How do you feel about stocking up safe and successfully in regards to follow the whole truth?

      1. Don’t worry, according to Quran numeric prophecy, Allah would gather all zionist in the holly land then destroy them in away can never be healed again. Last war to start in 05March and it will end in 29June2022. Remember by this day no more Israel:). Zero doubt as i have absolute confidant in Allah words .Quran. No need to disagree. It’s very close; lets wait a little and see allah welling and promise take a place

        1. Crusader 616

          My friend I’m a crusader Watch the miracle in Fatima do a research It’s a message of God to the world including our Muslim brothers and sisters the 3 ibrahimik religion. Why do you think it happened in Fatima….. Muhammad daughters name is Fatima it’s not a coincidence. Religion is not the problem…. Poor theology is the problem….ignorance. Did you know that Islam Catholicism and Jews are 80 percent the same and all three worship the same God. I agree with what you said God will prevail

    2. Hopefully this article is tongue in cheek. If we had a true world war, with my family scattered all over the globe, I wouldn’t want to live.

  20. Financial Freedom Countdown

    Guns and bitcoin for sure. As a kid walking to school I got caught up in 2 groups fighting each other with weapons as some got stabbed and fell to the ground dying. It’s true that initially fear turns the legs to jelly. But if you are lucky; adrenaline pumps and you can outrun a bear. Living through that was an experience I’ll never forget.

  21. If you have today USD 300,000 cash what you would do for having assets to prepare to protect it during & post Crises?

    a-If decided to remain Liquid to what currency ?

    b-When decided to buy farmland in Asia or in Canada where to invest ?

    I would surely avoid banks since they would stop dealings, also converting to Gold will not be practical as will be a target of lutting ..

  22. Another great read! I live by the sentiment “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and it will probably end up in the middle.” Hopefully these wonderful world leaders realize that Elon Musk hasn’t made it to Mars yet so they shouldn’t destroy Earth anytime soon, since there isn’t a Plan B!
    If you are still working on your safe space, hoard medicine (especially antibiotics) it would be a shame to survive the initial fallout only to die of a bacterial infection. To be a total pessimist: if anyone has a condition that requires daily medication (especially on your “A-team”) like diabetes or cholesterol (basically anything chronic) find a long term sustainable natural substitute or don’t waste your time prepping because you are a goner when the medicine runs out. Most people only have 90 days’ worth of medication at most and if the world is ending I’m raiding every pharmacy from here to my safe spot. Got to have something worth trading.

    But if we aren’t the masters of our own demise, there is good chance of a solar flare large enough to knock out satellite communication, power grids, gps etc. could happen. There won’t be a safe place on Earth to run to; the aurora borealis is a common phenomenon, when will it be the big one?

    Just some food for thought :)

    Cheers Everyone!

    1. 10 day water fast will clear up cholesterol. Cholesterol never an acute problem. Cholesterol meds almost killed me.

  23. Not so sure about those height/weight charts. Seems during the famine immediately following WWIII or Armageddon or whatever, the portly among us might just have a competitive advantage… on the other hand, such a famine might just fix the US obesity epidemic. Ya gotta look on the positive side of things. You’re welcome.

  24. Sorry, your article is irresponsible to write scary scenarios, to suggest people build costly bomb shelters, and to use such salty language.

    1. Bill,

      I understand you may not be comfortable with this type of information however; knowing nothing about a war, how to defend myself and family and how to prepare gives me the opportunity to choose for myself what is best.

      Hope you understand… life is about choices and we don’t necessarily need to agree or follow one set of rules or recommendations.

      I appreciate this information particularly at a time no one should trust the government will tell us a war is upon us NOW! They generally let the commoners figure it out when the bomb hits their back yard.

      1. No one should ever trust the government at any time in the history of the world. My parents taught me to never trust government at age 7 in 1960s. Dad served in Navy 4 years. Korea war started add 1 year. Fight communism in VN now the government, schools and media are all reds posing as blues.

  25. A funny look at the tenuous nature of human economic and political systems and how to survive their inevitable demise. Did the prepper thing with a serious group of folks for 2 years. It’s incredibly time consuming, expensive, and just plain hard to attempt to become long-term self-sufficient. And exhausting if you happen to have an actual life. Figured out: 1) It is doable and important to prepare for the myriad of shorter term crises that will likely occur in your life and can last weeks, months, even a few years – infrastructure black-outs, weather disasters, financial or career losses, devastating health and death events. These are certain to happen in some measure to all of us but they are survivable and can be endured. 2) The apocalyptic scenarios are like plane crashes – rare but largely unsurvivable by the majority of those involved. And in the end, how does it feel to sit in your bunker while your world turns to shit and those all around you suffer and die? Survival doesn’t equate to being truly alive in my view. Surely, even during the worst of situations, there is something worth doing.

  26. FIRECracker

    Well, good thing all those beatings from childhood gave me a high pain threshold. If I get gnawed on by a zombie during the apocalypse, I’d probably just be like “really that’s all you got?” *yawn* And then promptly cover the wound with duck tape and carry on.

    Ahhh Asian upbringing. I’m so glad my nerves no longer work. Bring it on, zombies!


      Me from fuuuuture I’m in 2020 we have robots in our body I’m half robot half human the robot revolution began yesterday!!!

  27. Pro tip: an CIA operative who shall not be named once said that in case of a nuclear disaster, the safest place on earth is Seattle, Washington. Why? Shit will probably blow up on the east coast first. Yet in Seattle, you’ve got the mountains from the rockiest and the northern winds from Canada guaranteed to block out radiation, as well as plenty of livable climates and produce in case of power failure. If Asia gets hit first, Seattle will still be safe. Unlike California, Seattle is unlikely to get hit by earthquake or tsunamis either, and it is too north to receive radiation via the Pacific Ocean. You are welcome.

    1. For avoiding nuclear fallout/water born radiation, sounds plausible. However, my nephew lives in the heart of Seattle – Ballard District. Seattle and surrounds sit on a fault line long overdue for a major earthquake, according to him. He’s a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters so I think he’s done his research. I haven’t but worth checking into before you move there if you’re concerned about earthquakes.

      1. Yep – the Cascadia megaquake is what it’s called, and The New Yorker ran a Pulitzer-Prize winning article on it a year ago – slated to be a massive quake + subsequent tsunami.

        The human tendency to want to survive at all costs is tempered when you remember that A: We are mammals and have these things called lifespans, death is part of life and B: The only thing one can count on in life is change.

        Samurai-san’s emphasis on networks and human community relationships is sage.

        I once knew an elderly male psychiatrist who’d survive death camps in WWII, and it was his firm belief that disastrous circumstances bring out the best in people initially. I found this heartening & reassuring, and there was a study this last year that confirmed same. You have about 2 weeks during which criminal/sociopathic mentalities are set aside for better behavior.

        But supposedly 1 in 25 adults is sociopathic according to Harvard professor Martha Stout’s work, so, the importance of hand-to-hand combat skills cannot be overemphasized (the punching fist of ving tsun kung fu is called “the sawed off shotgun of martial arts” for a reason :D), along with vipassana meditation skills for the panic room, prison cell, or conscious dying under a tree somewhere due to dehydration/starvation.

    2. Went to grocery store 3 times this week in Seattle 1/2024. Shelves still less than half full. Same as in height of pandemic. Air is usually poor quality. Whoever says seattle is best place to be is wrong. Also being so close to Russia life expectancy is less than 3 minutes. Whoever the CIA operative is wrong along w/the majority of gov people. Far as earthquakes we have them every month. I have bad lungs from the Canadian wildfires blanketing this area that we can’t open windows or walk the streets. Pecunia where are you from? Don’t you know we have a huge army & naval base? What makes you think this region is safe? Your info is wrong. Wev’e been taught in seattle public schools since grade school to get underneath something, cover your head & kiss your ass goodby.

  28. I’ve been sooooooo delaying purchasing a small safe and keeping a couple thousand at home. Maybe I’m just optimistic and think nothing catastrophic will happen (at least in my lifetime) that will require me to keep actual emergency hard cash. It’s just so easy to drive 5 mins to the ATM and take out $$$. I usually take out less than $100 per mo. for cash on lunches, maybe a bit of dry cleaning and other misc trivial expenses.

  29. Ten Factorial Rocks

    Very funny post Sam. Somehow I feel all the real estate investments and businesses that run on them – REITs – will miraculously be delivering double or triple digit returns even when others are crashing. All apocalypses are self-serving and self-enriching to the prime catalysts – and the global anarchists are major investors themselves!

  30. Haha, great post. Very funny in a bit of a sad way, because this is a scenario that you can actually imagine happening.

    I’d add one thing to your list: set up your own power system: Solar panels and tesla home batteries. Zombies only come out at dark :-). And get some kind of water filtering installation haha.

  31. I have 3 day’s worth of water and more food available in my home; my roommates are not aware of this. I have $200 in small bills available for gas or other necessities should things go South. While I am a woman, I only wear shoes in which I can walk or run for extended periods of time.

    I also know that I can run without stopping for nearly 6 hours. I have family a 12 minute run away. I should focus on increasing my pace.

    1. Eh? You can run SIX HOURS non stop? How is this possible? Please share your endurance training secrets. I’m dying after about 3.5 miles… seriously dying. But maybe not so much if a band of thieves are chasing after me.

  32. Back in the early ’60s, when our neighbors were building bomb shelters, I asked my mother what our plan was in case of nuclear war. She replied “Well, if that happens we will go out for a walk.” Think of all the money we saved on construction materials, canned goods, and therapy. Still sounds like a good plan to me.

  33. Buy large amounts of ammo (Since Jan 1st of this yeah CA residents who are seeking to buy ammo are put in a watch list). Shotgun shells and 22lr ammo are the most common. Buy long lasting food rations for at least one year (5 year shelve life on these usually so be damn sure that it’s going to happen). Build a compound with mounted 50 caliber turrets. A dog would really help I would think, would wear down approachers and then we could take those shots. It’s fun to think about this but if it happens I’m sure none of us will enjoy.

    1. Freeze dried food lasts 20 years. Does CA put everyone on a watch list who buys ammo regardless of amount?

      1. Doesn’t specify the amount. Here is the part of the bill which talks about this. I think I saw that this will be active in 2018 so I’m wrong about it being effective now.

        SEC. 3. Purpose and Intent.
        The people of the State of California declare their purpose
        and intent in enacting “The Safety for All Act of 2016”
        (the “Act”) to be as follows:
        1. To implement reasonable and common-sense reforms
        to make California’s gun safety laws the toughest in the
        nation while still safeguarding the Second Amendment
        rights of all law-abiding, responsible Californians.
        2. To keep guns and ammunition out of the hands of
        convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and other
        persons who are prohibited by law from possessing firearms
        and ammunition.
        3. To ensure that those who buy ammunition in California—
        just like those who buy firearms—are subject to background

      2. No one really knows how long freeze dried food lasts when it is also canned, So far it is good for at least 30 years (some of it has a guarantee). 70 years from now we might be able to say it is at least a century. No one knows yet.

  34. Hey, the charts for ideal weight are off. Physically, the best thing for you to do is stay lean, more fat, less muscle. In college, I was 6′ 200 lbs and 7% body fat. Just know that those numbers put my at the overweight/obese range when I was in the best shape of my life.

  35. I live a mile from the White House and won’t survive any apocalypse. No prep needed which I consider a plus.

  36. Your fitness points are well taken! I think that could be a key competitive advantage when it his the fan. Same with some self-defence skills. Thanks for this fun post! :)

  37. We are totally under prepared. If something happens, we’d be in huge trouble. We live downtown and it would be tough to survive these scenarios. Someday, we’ll get some acreage and it would much easier. Til then, I guess we’d better pick up a few gold coins just in case…

  38. LivingReturns

    In my 20s, I paid a friend of a bartender in Creel, Mexico, to take me on a 5 hour death ride down a tiny road cut into the side of endless cliffs to a little town at the bottom of the Copper Canyon. I thought I was going to see a quaint cathedral, but turns out he dropped me off on the town’s single dusty street wedged between a cliff and river. The street was lined with new $50k cars and I was the only foreigner there (well until I ran into a German painter and the Caballo Blanco – the main character in the book “Born to Run” – true story).

    It was a drug town and I wasn’t welcome. I tried walking out of town in the middle of the day & was picked up and put in the back of a pickup truck by guys with guns who returned me to town w/ a warning not to walk out that end of town again. I decided to get up in the middle of the night and sneak out to the single bridge over the river at the other end of town in the hope I’d be able to hitch a ride out of there while the bad guys slept off their hangovers. There were no buses or taxis.

    I put $300 deep inside one of my boots and $60 in a pocket in case they found me, thinking I’d let them steal the $60 and keep the boot stash. Long story short, the cash in my boot worked its way out of my boot as I walked to the bridge. I must have left a trail of Jacksons along the mile or so to the bridge. As the sun rose, 3 women in a white pickup truck stopped for me; I spent the 5 hr ride back up to the high desert on bags of cacti and oranges.

    No matter how smart you think you are with preparing for anticipated calamity, you’ll miss some stupid s**t like cash working out of your damn boot or a fat rat dying in your secret room ventilation shaft. Maybe Mark & Peter will be surprised to discover their planes blew up with the airport and stranded them with the rest of us mortals.

    That said, diversified investments with good liquidity & options are way smart hedges against anarchy, explosions and general stupidity. I love the idea of a secret room stashed with scotch (Laphroig 18 & Nikka 17), wine (anything from Alexander Valley), water, my wife’s spontaneously generating shoes, tampons, silver, gold, water, coats, water filters, dog food….and and and… But most of all, I like using “I gotta outrun the bomb, dude” as my explanation for increasing my jogging pace, and I like being reminded to maintain a network of great friends who will support each other whenever poo hits the fan. Thanks Sam. :-)

    1. Now that is a story! Did you love life for the rest of your life after that? There are no secret kingdoms all around the country full of illicit activity. They are true stealth wealth practitioners.

      It’s pretty obvious to me that Zuckerberg is screwed once he lands in Kauai. The locals will find a way to commandeer all that he has. You don’t go to the islands as a white man, and sue people out of their ancestral lands and expect everybody to be fine. People have been beat up or murder for much less.

      Holding a nice town hall where he could offer them something in exchange, listen to their issues, or work to support whatever issues they have would’ve been a much better way to go about things.

      1. LivingReturns

        If money is power and power is might, it’s tempting to think might is right. And that attitude is where the international view of the “Ugly American” comes from. You know a hell of a lot more about real Hawaii than I do, but based on my experiences on Kauai and conversations with Hawaiian friends, I see big trouble for anyone, including MarkZ, who thinks their cash lets them bulldoze with impunity. I’m headed to Belize next week to play, but as usual, I’ll be chatting with the locals about their views of Belize’s place in the world and what they think of the expat communities there. I know a guy helping a wealthy L.A. actor try to develop property he bought down there in a low-impact kind of way – seems like a decent approach, but I’ll find out more when I get there. I speak decent Spanish, so that’s a big help in getting real opinions vs. paid opinions.

        As for loving life every day after brushing against death in MX drug country, well, I certainly try to, but remember how you noted that it’s easy to forget the pain of working hard once you can kick back and enjoy the fruits of hard work? Same with taking a spin with death – it’s easy to forget once you’re back in comfortable security. That said, some things are better remembered than repeated, and that little adventure is one of them. On that same trip, I narrowly escaped a lonely encounter with a gang in the middle of the night in Mexico City, but that’s a different story :-)

      2. During any emergency involving possible airspace penetration by hostiles, NORAD implements SCATANA rules, meaning the US airspace system ceases to be the property of the FAA and becomes the property of DoD (this is what happened within hours post 9-11). Fleeing billionaires will either have to get out WAY early or file a flight plan with Uncle Sam, who I’m pretty sure will not take kindly to the implied intent. In fact, I know they wouldn’t, having been on that end of the microphone. Mass orders to land will be issued, any aircraft not complying will be viewed with suspicion. Given the ratio of civil aircraft to military fighters and the time pressure of dealing with an extreme emergency, my guess is that at a certain stage of the emergency, non-responsive airborne jet aircraft will be quickly ID’d hostile and FOX 3’d into the next lifetime. Time to start working on stealth business jets folks! Or maybe just ease off on the crazy :) In the event you still want to pursue some sort of airborne escape route, I’d give serious thought to something low, slow, and non-metal to try to evade radar and air defense systems.

  39. You should have a plan to shelter in place because a chemical or biological attack is far more likely.
    Everyone should have at least a two week food and water supply. If a earthquake hits SF groceries stores will run out in 3 days.
    You should also have a first aid kit and know how to give basic medical assistance.
    FEMA offers Cert classes all around the country teaching the above because they know they wont be able to come to your rescue. First responders will be overwhelmed so they are trying to teach average citizen to be prepared.

    I’ve talked to people that survived civil unrest. Alcohol and tobacco is like gold. Also be ready to cut your losses and run. Your stuff is not worth dying over.
    The single greatest insurance against long term unrest though is a second passport.

  40. This was a great read! If WW3 happens, I hope I’m near my aunt in new jersey. She’s somewhat of an extreme coupon-er and has quite the stash in her basement. My cousins and I would often light-heatedly call it a mini super market!

    The part about being fit enough to run to your closest ally seems like it would be super difficult to achieve, but I guess no pain no game. I’ve got to start getting into shape since I’ve really let myself go ever since winter started (it’s really hard for me to work out when its freezing cold out, but then again its really just an excuse).

    Sam briefly mentioned municipal bonds towards the end. Has anyone here had experience investing in leveraged municipal bond funds? They seem to yield ~4% after counting for their super high expense ratios. I’m currently debating whether or not I should pursue these leveraged municipal bonds or crowd-funding real estate at this point (or something else altogether).

  41. Sam – Great article and fun read! I didn’t realize billionaires had such extreme contingency plans until recently reading an article on The New Yorker. Kind of depressing to know the most fortunate among us are going to skip town when the going gets rough — that is assuming I don’t beat them to the nearest executive airport with my AR :-)

    Though not as extreme, would be interesting to hear your take on how to position ourselves for a 50%+ stock market crash and loss of job — not quite WWIII, but pretty bad. I have a 6 mo cash reserve, max out my 401k and IRA, and have 15% equity in my house. My focus now is on investing and paying down student loans. I have a good 30 years left before retirement so my investments are rather aggressive (90% US and Int’l stocks, 10% treasury bonds). So I’m in a good spot right now, but wouldn’t have the cash to get through a really, really tough spot if something drastic like my not quite WWIII example plays out. I know you are a big fan of CDs, but I prefer a more aggressive approach for me right now due to just starting to really ramp up my savings/investments.

    Thank you for all your helpful articles!

    1. Ah, with more than 30 years left until retirement, means you’ve never seen a bear market. Congratulations. I’ve always wondered what it be like if I only saw the good times postcollege. What I work as hard? What are you trying to divorce my income streams? Somehow, I don’t think so.

      The good thing about not having a ton of money is that even if the market goes down 50%, you are losing a ton of money. You can afford to take risk. Older people like me, not so much.

      You’re my latest thoughts on CDs:

      1. Thanks for the link, Sam. I must have missed this article. After reading it over, I think I am going to stick with paying off student loans and investing in blue chip dividend stocks for now. Once I feel safe enough to weather a downturn and job loss, I’ll branch out more.

        You are right, I haven’t seen a bear market since graduating and having money to invest, but boy was the job market tough between 2009-2012 when I was in law school and looking for that first job. There was a time when I thought I was going to be stuck on my parents couch with $100k+ in student loans. I’m doing well now, but still have countless friends that weren’t as lucky and are still trying to find that first “good” legal job.

        Thanks again for all the helpful advice! Your website has inspired me to make finances a top priority — now I wish I would have had that insight before taking out all those student loans :-)

  42. Gold Medal Finance

    A lot of these, particularly getting and staying fit are worthwhile whether or not WWIII comes – a win win either way :)

    I’m currently riding out some uncertainty by investing in liquid assets and cash, I’ll return to more aggressive investments in due course but a few low risk months would be a nice break after a recent burn.

  43. Sam,

    Haha after reading this I feel that you and I could be best friends. I’m a first-generation Vietnamese US citizen from the California Bay Area (which I fled to Washington state haha) who recently graduated and now works in finance. I’m currently working precisely towards the goals you publish. My father has taught me so many of the principles you more eloquently express, such a stealth wealth (this is huge for him), so it is quite satisfying to hear it put in even better terms. I actually played tennis competitively growing up and was ranked in NorCal–haha we probably have similar calf sizes. I see our worldviews as quite similar and pragmatic, neither necessarily on one side or the other, just a focus on reality. I trained in MMA in high school, seriously I wonder if you and I have the exact same hobbies. I only just discovered your blog funnily enough from my “A-team” of which I have my own humorous term for. My millenial peers and their stifled bosses in business actually are quite liberal to a fault these days (I live on the west coast), so it’s cool to see someone with similar leanings.

    The only place where I found this article perhaps lacking was in your coverage of learning firearms skills–while YouTube is certainly a good tool, I would advise that getting out there and practicing is much better. If you are interested in info on shooting, I’m happy to help–I’m highly, highly proficient, but it would be hard for me to quantify. Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate how fast I am is to mention that I shoot a VTac 1-5 drill .1 seconds slower than Travis Haley. Or that my very first shot ever with my pistol was a literal dead-center bullseye. I approach shooting from a scientific standpoint, so there is really a lot to learn. Most guns are accurate, so the main contributor to inaccuracy is the operator themselves. Ergonomics and how the gun contacts your body plays a huge effect on accuracy and unfortunately this is not something you can learn or practice online, especially for handguns. The industry is rife with misinformation right now so the important thing is to go out and get a feel for your tool. Let it become an extension of your body. MMA is good, but a mag dump to the chest is better. Besides close quarters combat, however, I would also suggest that those looking to survive learn how to hunt. Setting up an accurate rifle with optics is actually likely the most deadly tool for the apocalypse. Target identification is paramount. Ammo conservation is likely as well. Learning to track, conceal yourself, and wait for hours at a time for one shot is actually what I believe will be the most relevant and deadly skill when it comes to post-apocalyptic combat. What does it matter that I can dump a mag in under 5 seconds if I get shot before I ever see the guy? I’m currently learning how to hunt to become a better chef, but I can’t deny that the skills I’m learning could be used to survive in a lethal situation. Learning how to deal with zeroing distance, hold over, windage, etc…all valuable skills towards making that one shot kill that saves your family but attracts as little attention as possible. Thanks for posting this, I thought it was a great read. Looking forward to following your work.

  44. Oh Sam, you don’t have to pretend. We know you’re part of the wealthy elite. With your net worth and passive income, you likely have your own private oils and. Financial Samuraisland.

    There are tons of prep per sites out there that sell all the stuff you’re talking about. NVGs, survival properties, everything. I know about one in particular because I covered it in an old article I wrote (they were falsely stating that bank tellers were calling the police on customers just for withdrawing cash). Some of these peepers are a bit insane.

    Of course, both they and you forget entirely about the zombies. What’s your plan for them?

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  45. I love it! Informative AND funny! I live in an apartment so I’m going to have to run 3 miles in 12 minutes and make friends with someone with bunker. Then again, I’ve seen mad max and it just might be better that I’m at ground zero so I don’t have to survive in a post-apocalyptic world! :)

  46. I am glad that you put being fit as your number one goal. This will pay dividends in bad times and good. I am early retired last year and have gotten a lot more fit over the last 12 months because of more activity and eating better. My son is an Eagle Scout, and as part of his emergency preparedness badge he assembled a three day emergency kit on shelves in our basement. It includes food, emergency gear, and radio and water. Three days is the minimum preparedness that is recommended in case of a natural disaster.

  47. Great historical info, thanks for sharing. Yes, we definitely need to be prepared for multiple scenarios, after all the Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared”

    Thanks for the timely reminder.

    1. Tanya Williams

      Thank You! Being physically fit is number 1.
      I just planted 2 Mango trees, 2 Pomegranate trees, a Guava tree, a Fig tree, a Mandarin Orange tree and an Avocado tree. They will join the Loquat Lemon and Navel Orange trees that have been in my yard for over 4 years.
      I also planted Broccoli, Spinach, Tomatoes and Jalapeño.
      I have a well stocked wine refrigerator and a duffle bag full of Appetite Suppressants.
      I think I’ll buy some Gold and keep my mind on God!

      Thank You Sam You’re Awesome!

  48. There is a terrifying quote from Einstein where he says “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

    Let’s hope we avoid WWIII!

  49. I’m going to say- just like any skill, consistency beats intensity. Read an article like this every day or two from somewhere to maintain the focus. Some of us may not have the whole package detailed in one fail swoop, but it is likely we will not be able to act out the plan we designed. I believe more so that survival is creating the options in multiple places instead of the hoarded pile in one place. If you or your loved ones don’t all work from home, there is a large chance you will not get to use the system as planned. The consistency investment translates to being able to adapt and see all possibilities with what you have accessible, and therefore adapt and survive.

    I look at a case scenario where (based on likely hours spent per day in a location) chances are my wife and I will be in location x and we leave from there to be ahead of the masses. Living in a city stands a chance that one might never make it home to get to the goods. Until we have children, we are the only thing that matters, and we have our own stashes along the route(s) out.

    As for cash, silver in spendable sizes is my currency and now eye glasses!!…I have to thank you for that one Sam!

  50. Smart Provisions

    Fun read, Sam!

    I think I’m going to polish up on my fighting skills and work on a secret basement just in case the worst happens. It might also be helpful to build my network up, so I’ll always have a place to turn to in case my other options go south.

  51. If you want to get really freaked out about how fragile our modern and complex civilization has become, you should pick up Jared Diamond’s book titled ‘Collapse’. It’s a fascinating read. I’m currently in the cash hoarding camp, I guess we’ll see how that plays out in a few more years (or maybe even sooner).

  52. I hate thinking about this stuff. And we’re mostly minimalists. *Scream* But, that was an entertaining read. Thanks for that! I’d like to think “we” would overthrow a leader that gets out of control. As far as zombies or a flesh-eating bacteria, I’d hunker down in our home and try to barter with our meager belongings. In the meantime, we’re doing the same thing we always did – eliminating debt and investing in index funds like mad men. I guess we’re rolling the dice and hope they come up in our favor, for now.

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. I’m sorry, but minimalists who own nothing will not survive the apocalypse. With nothing to barter with, the only thing left to trade is your body. Start stocking up on at least one valuable resource now!

  53. Jack Catchem

    Oh I am crying. Very well done Sam. And did you just snake “Rule #1: Cardio” from Zombieland?

    I loved that movie. Made my Marine minions recite it before patrols. Rule #2 is good to remember too. I almost got kidnapped and murdered in Iraq over that (I’ll email you the link to the post if you like).

    On a serious note, one thing we watched in the early invasion of Iraq 2003 was monitoring the relative cost of an AK – 47 to a bottle of fresh water. When guns are cheaper than water, the enemy was winning due to the mass of weapons and minimal infrastructure after we…well…destroyed it and everything.

    Many of our missions revolved around trying to reverse that trend by siezing weapons wherever we could and improving the infrastructure and economy. Initially after the invasion you could get close to 3 or 4 AKs for a solid bottle of fresh water. By the time we left a few months later things had recovered somewhat and it took a whole case to get a rifle.

    I have seen Anarchy. It’s not as fun as I thought it could be when I was a sophomore theorizing in High School.

    1. Our A-team has already commandeered a two block fresh water reservoir in the Sunset District of SF. If anybody wants water, they’re going to have to go through us. Bring something good to barter with, or else no water for you.

  54. Am loving the Dystopian side of Personal Finance! Don’t tell anyone, but my plan involves a surplus decommissioned U.S. Military nuclear silo, and a deck of playing cards.

    My personal finance strategy will then shift to the ‘Smith & Wesson Retirement Plan.’

  55. I love it when a post comes together! (insert cigar emoji).

    Best to have a fishing pole, a pot, and a ferro rod somewhere near your bug-out bag. A survivor’s gotta eat after all.

  56. If WWIII does happen, I will fly back to where I came from Sabah, Malaysia. Sell my condo in downtown L.A and move back to the beautiful Borneo and pray that I won’t get kidnapped by the pirates from Philippine while I’m sipping on my coconut at the beach.

  57. In your worst case 1), people won’t care about your hard assets if they’re actually useless at the time or can’t be traded for what has run out–copper, steel, shoes,gold, silver. It’s useless if it’s not practical. Non perishable food is great but you’ve GOT to have extra TOILET PAPER (or get a hand sprayer bidet), FEMININE PRODUCTS, decent BOOZE and or TOBACCO, or FIRST AID tools etc. Those hard assets have real currency value in tough times plus you can use them yourself. See the situation right now in Venezuela for what these people are using to get through a war-like hard times scenario.

  58. The Green Swan

    Well that was a fun read and one that I wasn’t sure where you’d go with it. Although some scenarios are definitely extreme, we must still be prepared for anything I suppose! I’ve been watching a documentary all about WWII and the thought of something that extreme to happen again is truly scary. However, we can’t live our life in fear so I say plan, prepare and life your life.

  59. 5′ 10″ and 150 pounds? Haven’t you ever heard that only the strong survive?

    Just kidding, I’m dropping some fat right now too but not looking to go that low.

  60. For me the biggest asset I have is relationships with other people. Here in Thailand I’ve witnessed military takeovers, massive floods and other disruptive events. People here tend to have enough resilience and mental toughness to adapt to the situation without getting too stressed about it. Maybe it’s an Asian mentality.

    I realize that true wealth lies in humanity and silver coins, cars and cigarettes are just manifestations of this. Without the mass of humanity all our wealth has no value. So having the right mindset and relationships is what will get you through any crisis. That was as true in the time of the Buddha or the Christ as it is today.

    I used to be caught up in doomsday scenarios and prepping back in 2008 and missed a huge opportunity to keep investing for the future. While it’s always good to plan and have flexibility there is no need to limit your thinking either.


    1. The difference is that Thailand, and in some other asian countries, the approach/perspective to catastrophe is one of maintaining a certain equanimity (chalk it up to the influence of the buddhist tradition on social behavior).

      In the USA, we have something like 2-3x more guns than people, and violence is part of the culture (and always submerged just below the surface). As we’ve seen with Katrina and in other situations, law of the gun rules when social order breaks down.

      1. Good point Phil, I’ve never heard of an American put it that way.

        In Australia we abhor the gun / violence mentality of the states – it just seems so unfair to use a gun.

        1. I dissagree… Australia we’ve been disarmed and cannot defend ourselves.
          Fines are severe as well as jail in some instances.
          Proof that home invasions where even old people are severely bashed and murders happen often because they had no weapon can be seen on the news and social media.
          A handgun would be a deterrent as well as save the victims lives.
          There are also political reasons so the public can easily be controlled if needs be.

  61. I have absolutely nothing to add other than to say:

    1. You sure do know how to come up with the wackiest personal finance topics and make them fun.

    2. That first paragraph may be the funniest paragraph I’ve ever read on a PF blog. ;)

  62. I will be exchanging my skills as a doctor for entry into a survivalist group. People with guns can take my food and hard assets but not the skills I can provide.

    Also, I will be running to the nearest eye glass store to get as many pairs of prescription glasses as I can. They don’t have to be an exact match for me, but having no glasses and being blind would suck!

    1. Jack Catchem

      I can highly recommend laser eye surgery now, then you can save yourself a post apocalyptic trip and spend more time cuddling with a dog over a bonfire of dolllar bills (or 20s if you cashed out soon enough.)

      I was close to legally blind when I was 21. I’ve had perfect vision for over a decade now. It’s pretty neat. At least think about it before the world ends. Might as well see the mushroom cloud that gets you ;)

    2. You are welcome on my A-Team if you would like to join. I have assembled the finest warriors, tacticians, and entertainers so far. Just need a couple more medical players.

      1. Alright. If there is an apocalypse we can meet in Marin…Maybe near the water. I just donated to NPR and got my 1 week survival bucket. So that at least provides food and water for a week…

        1. I am a medical doctor as well with several real-estate assets in NYC. Have already started creating a team and having a meeting Sat night about this! It would be great to get about 50-100 people and buy an island.

  63. I definitely got a kick out of this one. I’ve always thought in the case of such an event I don’t need to be the best, just better then the person in my vicinity. Our house has a year of supplies, is on a well, and is off the beaten path. If I could find a way to get electricity I’m sure we’d be fine. I don’t have a panic room though, so my best bet is security by obscurity…

    In all seriousness I’ve often wondered what would happen to this country in the more realistic situation that someone hacked the power grid for a major city and it was down for weeks. New Orleans did not give me good feelings about what would happen. While I don’t take a ww3 type situation seriously, I do worry about this particular risk as it’s way more likely.

  64. Go Finance Yourself!

    I’ll be working on setting up my A team now. I have a house warming party to go to on Saturday. Good place to start my recruiting.

    I haven’t thought about a potential WWIII. It’s been so far at of the realm for the past few decades. Though the current administration makes it more of a possibility. Never know who’s going to get pissed off and do something crazy.

    I’m not making any changes with my money as I’m continuing to invest in the stock market, and some in real estate. This will be an interesting year, at least at the start, as people get used to Trump saying and doing things that have been out of the norm. He has no doubt had a very polarizing impact already in the short time since he was elected. The market seems to either love him or hate him as we’ve seen over the last few weeks. It could be a bumpy ride in the short-term, but in the long-term my bet is on stocks going up as they always have.

  65. Freedom 40 Plan

    You should hoard all that cash in real physical notes, not just in digits. In a real bad scenario, you can always use it to start fires to cook your food or even to wipe your backside. :-)

  66. Erik @ The Mastermind Within

    Well…. they say the first thing you read in the morning influences your whole day! Thanks for that Sam!!! ;)

    Which countries, or regions do you think will go to war in WWIII? What I mean, for WW2 is was very clear who was on which side. Now though, I don’t exactly see a clear split.

    I’m building up a cash position for myself to prepare for the future. I’m exploring the real estate market but also want to ensure I have money if I want to do any other investment purchases.

  67. Hahaha.

    I actually was super into prepping when I was very young, my father took me camping and it became somewhat of a natural offshoot of that. If your readers do not want to look too crazy they can always just develop that as a hobby and then the preparations fit right in.

    My main thing I still do in this realm is convert some cash to real assets every now and then. I started collecting Silver coins at a young age as Gold was too rich for my blood. I used to have difficulty keeping any cash on hand, so I instead would just buy some silver bullion. It gives you the same chemical rush of mindless consumer shopping because you still get to open something in the mail, and it helps flesh out your alternative investments bucket. Also when you hold physical assets you can totally start to envision a Scrooge McDuck money pool…

  68. Without going full prepper, or revealing all my plans for the zombie apocalypse, it does make sense to be prepared for the worst.

    At the very least, hedge your bets and have the basics to survive minor civil unrest- food, water, shelter, weapons, and friends. Some extra cash and some barter goods never hurt either.

    From a financial perspective, hyperinflation is indeed the bogeyman. Any cash flow producing asset is good, could be as big as a house or as small as a still. You just need to preserve the value of your cash and convert it to an asset as quickly as possible. Germany. Brasil. Zimbabwe. Now Venezuela. It is the inevitable end of any fiat currency, on a long enough timeline.

    1. Jack – a nitpick – fiat is (mostly) irrelevant to hyperinflation; $ could be backed by gold but the US Gov could reduce the amount redeemable every year per dollar causing the same issue. (ie. one year $1 redeems for an ounce of gold, the next it takes $1000, the next $100,000, etc)

      Hyper inflation is usually caused by excess leverage which in turns leads to excess printing of money. I’m a big fan of Karl Denninger’s one dollar of capital rule for debt.

      “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises

      1. True. But the historical examples I’m aware of so far have all involved a currency unbacked by any physical asset, allowing the government to print unlimited amounts of bills until the populace loses faith in the currency.

        Honestly, I don’t know the specific root cause (e.g. unsupportable debt by too much leverage) for Weimar, Zimbabwe, et al. Although I do enjoy making my nieces and nephews trillionaires (in Zimbabwe dollars…)

        1. Weimar was due primarily to Germany being saddled with ALL of the WW1 expense as debt at the Treaty of Versailles – both of German debt and all of the Allies debt (the USA did not sign the treaty because of this). The Mark was backed by Gold but was suspended during the war – however the value was stable until the treaty. The treaty forced Germany to pay the value of 2 billion gold marks per year plus 26% of the value of exports (which at the time was an absolute staggering amount of money). Since reparations were required to be repaid in hard currency, Germany used the printing of bank notes to buy foreign currency, which was then used to pay reparations, which triggered hyperinflation. Zimbabwe is a bit more nuanced but indeed it was fun to buy trillion dollar bills as gag gifts for the holidays :)

      2. Fiat = backed by faith of government so if you are talking about currency backed by gold, well then we are not talking fiat. Not to nitpick this to death…

        1. In the truest sense of the term, you are correct, but unless you want to go back to where you only did physical coins for transactions, you are pretty much always going to rely on paper currency to represent fiat or precious metal. The US has never had the system you suggest although was fairly close for its first ~120 years.

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