Preparing for Armageddon in Texas

I’ve been in Texas for the past two weeks visiting family, and last weekend spent some time on a ranch near Austin, the state’s capital.

The ranch is owned by an associate who uses it as a place to escape the city and clear his head from time to time. It’s also a potential refuge in the event of civil unrest and he is taking steps to be able to live on the ranch independently and to be “off the grid”, if such a time comes.

Tough to be a vegan here

He is sorted with water. There is a large river bordering one side of the property, and several water wells providing good, clean water. He’ll have a hard time living there as a vegan, however, as some basic plant crops have proven difficult to grow as the gophers and squirrels eating anything as soon as it becomes even remotely edible. Cattle (and a few horses) roam and graze on the land, so grass-fed beef is abundant.

Self-sufficient electricity is a remaining challenge. Generators require fuel to be delivered, which might not be available in an armageddon or close-to-armageddon scenario. Solar energy during the day would work for much of the year and one can pump water up into a tank using daytime energy and then let water run out of the tank at night to generate power. Our host was concerned, however, that a large water tank on the horizon could attract unwanted attention from the likes of Mad Max during a time of lawlessness. But that’s when the guns and ammo come in.

Texans love their guns and they come in various sizes here depending on what/who you are wanting to kill. If you are simply wanting to shoot an intruder coming into your house (bang, bang, bang through the chest, I was told), a small, .22 caliber hand gun might do the trick. My wife was able to shoot a few rounds, without even having a take off her Loro Piana panama hat. Larger caliber rifles are in the gun safe so one can play sniper with intruders or, if the cows have all be eaten or stolen, simply pick off a deer every now and then to keep meat on the table. So much for a well balanced diet, but I guess that won’t matter if we’re all in survival mode. Cave men weren’t exactly monitoring their cholesterol numbers.

The coming financial apocalypse?

I work with a number of very wealthy individuals and families, and some have concerns about a possible debt-induced financial apocalypse, which could lead to civil unrest and the loss of wealth. The fear is that hyper-inflation would become the new normal, food and other basic items would be in short supply and of course stock markets and banks would fail. Civil unrest would lead to vigilantism as our normal institutions like the police and national guards would have also imploded. Sounds a lot like what is happening in Venezuela today in fact.

To be protected in times of chaos, some folks I know are in fact talking about taking actions such as buying land in New Zealand and burying gold in the ground, since the banks won’t be a safe place to store anything of value. Also, the prevailing winds down there apparently help keep fall-out from nuclear explosions out of the air! But such extreme measures aren’t for everyone.

So what are the rest of us to do?

I will admit that I do own some physical gold and I my firm recommends that as part of any investment portfolio. But I keep it in a bank, not buried in my backyard. I also own a few guns, primarily relics of my Texas childhood, but I know myself well enough to know that I’d have a hard time using any of them in self-defense. Also, I don’t have the stockpile of ammunition needed to truly protect myself and my family if all hell breaks loose.

Personally, I feel my doomsday prep time is better spent thinking about relationships which I want to have in good order. Last week I spoke with a friend who has been estranged from his father now for some time. Money-related ego issues, it seems, got in the way of what could otherwise be a close father-son relationship. All too common, in my experience, in families of all levels of wealth. So what steps can I take to mend or improve existing relationships in my own life today?  These are benefits I can reap irrespective of how well the stock market is doing or how many ounces of gold I have stashed away.

Chris Saye
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Chris is a family office executive, coach and writer. He is a former partner with both Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, and currently manages MarcWhittaker, a network of family office advisors in Singapore. He is a fluent Russian-speaker, having spent 15 years living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Chris has been married to his wife Galina for over 20 years and together they have three children and two grandchildren.

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