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 Post subject: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:20 pm 
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I'd love to strike up a serious conversation here, like we used to do routinely years ago.

1. Are weather extremes something you consider more often? In my case I have a gas boiler, but what good is that when the ignition and circulator pumps run on electricity? I'm actually quite happy my hot water heater is "old tech" with a pilot light, a thermocouple handles all it's needs, it runs as long as there is gas. How to handle a power outage? Especially a winter one. And to what degree? No pun intended.

2. Have you saved for retirement? Outside of Social Security, and perhaps a pension, there are IRAs and 401Ks. Over the last few years the stock market in general seems to be a rigged game, or at least a lot more volatile. I think we will see banks screw us again in our lifetimes. Going from stocks to bonds is still a paper holding. Do you consider having hard assets? Any kind. Real estate, art, gold?

3. Do you have any kind of food stash? Something that can hold you for a while? Or even just seeds, for planting a garden?

Feel free to add more? I hope we're just getting started.

Think of it as being prudent, not alarmist.

A

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:40 pm 
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aristide1 wrote:
1. Are weather extremes something you consider more often? In my case I have a gas boiler, but what good is that when the ignition and circulator pumps run on electricity? I'm actually quite happy my hot water heater is "old tech" with a pilot light, a thermocouple handles all it's needs, it runs as long as there is gas. How to handle a power outage? Especially a winter one. And to what degree? No pun intended.

I live in a building so well insulated that I've already switched the heating off for the year and it's still -3C outside. Insulation gives you a better level of self sufficiency for heat! I don't really bother too much about the cold anyway and tend to trudge/dig/wade my way through anything but I know that for many people that is not an option.

aristide1 wrote:
2. Have you saved for retirement?

I have been saving into defined contribution pensions with each job I've had however as I have changed jobs quite a bit over the last few years there have been some bigger gaps in my pensions than I would have hoped for. I'm not overly concerned though. I got on the property ladder before I was 30 which is good and have been overpaying on the mortgage so hope to clear the debt early. Once the debt is cleared then my outgoings would suddenly plummet. I don't expect to pay off my mortgage entirely of my own accord as I expect to inherit at some point the kind of money that would mean I could pay it off overnight. I then won't be worried about my own old age so much.

aristide1 wrote:
3. Do you have any kind of food stash?

This is a little left field I think. I always have a number of tins and other hard rations but only the sort of thing that would last a weekend if I ended up getting home and not bothering to go out. I don't intend to outlive a meteor strike or anything major.

Back in the 60s and 70s there were people who built nuclear bunkers in their own gardens and I do wonder if there is still any merit in doing so. A major problem with such bunkers that has been found though is that building them underground does nothing for flood proofing!

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:45 pm 
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A wood stove may get me through a -3C evening if the day temps are decent. Perfect days to bake. I like the idea of creating heat without electricity, and more so without gas. It is however tedious work, and fails if you go on vacation.

I don't know what your Social Security is like, but ours will be in big trouble in a decade or so. Its already taking in less than its spending, but it's living off a surplus for now. Now that it's a real surplus, the SS surplus is a stack of IOUs. A reasonable expectation is 78% of what you've been promised. There's some talk of lump sum payments so you can buy your own annuity, but that's doubtful, really bad for people with no money sense (the same idiots that got adjustable mortgages and didn't know what they were doing), but spectacular for banks and brokers, which is why it might happen. Since I won't qualify for SS until I'm almost 67 I can safely guess I will get the estimated amount for age 67 at age 70. The problem of course is getting to age 70.

I wasn't thinking have a stash of food because of a major depression or world war, but rather for a prolonged weather related issue. Perhaps a shortage caused by economic chaos, which is the warfare of choice in this century. In the town of my birth they are seeing storms that knock out power for up to a week more frequently. Perhaps it's a combination of weather and deregulation, either way what you need to keep in mind is gas stations don't function without electricity either.

I wonder if people here are aware of MAGI - Modified Adjusted Gross Income. In the US certain tax events happen according to your AGI, Adjusted Gross Income. AGI includes profits from stocks and regular bonds, but not from municipal bonds and qualified ROTH IRAs distributions. MAGI however is used to determine whether or not your Social Security will be taxed, and MAGI DOES INCLUDE muni bonds and ROTH IRA distributions. That is to say while they are not taxed they are used to determine if your Social Security is taxed. Ahh, the magic of accounting.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:43 pm 
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It's a short walk from cradle to tomb, and we're all on the same path. No I'm not being morose; death is guaranteed at birth. As I grow older, I've become more extroverted, I love connecting in genuine ways to people young and old, growing friendships and embarking in new projects both interactive and solo... funny, I haven't lost my contemplative side and still have no real hope for human society as it exists today.

And I smile as I write this: Eco-disasters are already here, they aren't in some distant future, there's no stopping them by all the genuine reports from the scientists and extreme weather everywhere. It's a time of diminished expectations all around as the young shrug and do/be just what they can do/be, the masses toil without hope, and the wealthy keep amassing in frenzy... in hope that all the lucre will buy them a little more time, that a little more power will give them satisfaction, that their offspring will survive and remain dominant in the coming dark ages.

My house is mostly paid off, I don't worry too much about it. Tho there are RSPs, my savings are more in the house than anywhere else. If it all goes to hell soon, I'll miss my fantastic constantly growing music collection and stereo, but I keep practicing my guitar & singing, and my harmonica is small and portable, so my world won't be w/o music. We're mostly adapted to life w/o a private car: got rid of our autos over the last couple years and now rely on walking, bikes, buses, car coop & car2go. We grow more and more of our own food in a tiny patch in the south facing back yard. My children are on their own trajectories through life as they should be...

Quote:
Over the last few years the stock market in general seems to be a rigged game, or at least a lot more volatile.

When has it ever NOT been? :lol:
Quote:
I think we will see banks screw us again in our lifetimes.
:lol: :lol: That's actually hilarious. The screw is continuous and constant, my friend, not some rare occurrence. Why do you think banks are the most profitable of all businesses? They make nothing, grow no food, add nothing to human wisdom. And when their own greed leads them to a precipice, they can persuade presidents and governments to cough up billions on bail outs -- from taxes sucked out of ordinary people and yet more future borrowings.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:48 am 
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Since we are all angry about the top 1%, I'd like to pour a little more oil onto the flames by recommending the recent BBC documentary series "the super-rich and us" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2BiuW93bos). And for all the Brits out there, you'll love the Guardian's piece on a book about the Cameron administration: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/201 ... er-started

I don't have an illusions of even being able to save much for bad times. I'm on a part-time teaching fellow pay, as there's not really anything else (tolerable) out there for me. I've tried having consulting interviews, but they only made me laugh with their fairy-godmother questions (there was an actual question with a fairy-godmother) and (I guess rightly) questioned my motivation for the job. I'm amazed how many differently-educated but equal-minded people these large businesses attract -- almost like an army of blanks *shudder*.

I suppose I'm lucky that I'm European and there are still some safety nets available, though having had jobseekers for a year, I'm not sure why anyone would actually _want_ live on that little money. In London, you can barely afford the tube. Theatre, eating out, other social engagements? Nope. In worst case (that is probably London being a few feet under water), I'll ship myself back to Austria -- must be lovely living with your mom again when you're in your thirties (not).

Quote:
3. Do you have any kind of food stash? Something that can hold you for a while? Or even just seeds, for planting a garden?

Garden?!? :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:52 am 
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After WW2 the Western World embarked in what I can only call a Socialist madness, the so called Welfare States.
By the late sixties it was already apparent the system was insolvent. The Bretton Woods (and with it the Gold Standard) was abandoned, Central Banks and the financial system were given free rein and money started to be created out of thin air.
In 2007 everything crumbled but by now a powerful elite (the famous top 1%) of bankers-politicians depended on that system for their luxurious existence. So our money (and our future) were used to bail out bankruptcy; all that was done in the last 8 years was to squeeze citizens of their savings to maintain the status quo.
Either they manage to keep the status quo and we survive as nothing else but slaves; either the system implodes.
Either way, buy gold, guns and canned food.


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:57 am 
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1. Planning for weather extremes & power outages.
2. Planning for retirement.
3. Keeping a food stash.

Wow. These things may all come under the heading of "planning for the future", but they're almost completely unrelated.

> 1. Planning for weather extremes & power outages.

Good idea, but you can only go so far. Good to have some flashlights and fresh batteries. I also keep a few gallons of drinking water in the basement. Beyond that, how long can many of us live in a modern home in a modern community without heat, water or electricity? A few days to a week or two at most. Then your refrigerated food spoils, you start to smell, you get tired of living like pig. So, in an extreme weather emergency you drive 1/2 a day to where there's no crisis and you get a motel room or stay with your sister and her husband until things are restored.

> 2. Planning for retirement.

Something we all should be doing, no doubt with very different degrees of success. But there's no "bad times" about it ... we'll all be too old to work eventually.

> 3. Keeping a food stash.

What for? So I can survive for a few weeks in my own filth in my house and eat cracker and rice & beans cooked on a camp stove? No thanks, I'm not planning for a nuclear winter or zombie apocalypse.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:47 am 
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I'm connecting more with my surroundings, growing food together with other people is powerful. Socialist madness at its best. Also with growing food comes the problem of storing it, preparing it and eating it. Basic stuff yet oddly exotic. ;) Living and eating with the seasons, part time job but a lot of surplus money since living is cheap. Dreaming of perhaps owning a piece of land some day, but would need a much bigger pile of money for that. On the whole I'm quite comfortable so far, but these are early days yet. Interesting times, eh?

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:09 pm 
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JJ wrote:
> 3. Keeping a food stash.

What for? So I can survive for a few weeks in my own filth in my house and eat cracker and rice & beans cooked on a camp stove? No thanks, I'm not planning for a nuclear winter or zombie apocalypse.

That is good! 8) I'd add: Come what may!

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:54 pm 
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JJ wrote:
> 3. Keeping a food stash.

What for? So I can survive for a few weeks in my own filth in my house and eat cracker and rice & beans cooked on a camp stove? No thanks, I'm not planning for a nuclear winter or zombie apocalypse.
JJ wrote:
So, in an extreme weather emergency you drive 1/2 a day to where there's no crisis and you get a motel room or stay with your sister and her husband until things are restored.
You're assuming that 1) the roads/weather are clear enough to allow everyone who has this idea to actually travel to said relatives/motel room and 2) there's no middle ground between being completely unprepared and building a self-contained, megaton-proof bunker in your basement. Both are poor assumptions. There are plenty of disasters/emergencies that could leave you stuck in the disaster zone for a few days/weeks before relief agencies show up to save your bacon, and for most people, stashing the supplies necessary to stay alive/healthy through that period would entail minimal expense and inconvenience.

Which is not to say that I myself am adequately prepared, because I'm not. Like 99% of my fellow men, I am hypocritical, lazy, and shortsighted, and rather than clear out that box of old computer parts to make room for a few MREs and a water purifier, I will be completely flummoxed by the Spanish Flu, Part II, and end up starving to death in my own filth in my house wishing I had crackers, rice, beans, and a camp stove. :)

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:34 am 
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Great post Irre.

" I am hypocritical, lazy, and shortsighted, and "

This kind of honesty adds credibility to your argument, the exact opposite of the political nut jobs (both parties) that claim not only to be right, but to be infallible. But yes if a nuke fell on the nearest big city I would sit outside and enjoy a bottle of wine. Otherwise some rice and beans may keep me going until the stores open up again.


Cistron:

"Since we are all angry about the top 1% "

In the US 1% means over 3 million people, this is a ridiculously high number for the accusations that fall on them to work, it's more like the .01% or the 1% of the 1%. If you look at that group then the rest becomes clear and credible. Of course politicians aren't going to finger the very people that own them, are they? The press is of no help either, since the proletariats don't buy advertising.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:37 am 
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1- Weather extremes and power outages: wood stove (heat and cooking), blankets, warm clothes, probably enough basic foods for a few days in the pantry. I live on a hill so flooding risk is low.
2- Yup. As much as possible.
3- see 1

There is also the risk you can do nothing about like a very exceptional hurricane with massive winds... Stay dry, warm, and hydrated.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:36 am 
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I am at work at the moment, so I can't write much but I will soon. This general topic has been much on my mind.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:58 am 
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Irrelevant wrote:
You're assuming that 1) the roads/weather are clear enough to allow everyone who has this idea to actually travel to said relatives/motel room

I can't think of too many emergencies where they would not be. Snow would be the most likely, but even after the most extreme snowstorm, major roads are cleared within a day or two, so you wouldn't need to bunker down for more than a couple of days. With enough warning, of course, you get out of town beforehand. Even in a massive evacuation, where traffic is moving on a couple miles per hour, you can get well away from the danger within a day.

There just aren't many scenarios, short of a war, giant asteroid strike, a volcanic eruption or massive collapse of our society, where you couldn't just pack your swimsuit, hop in the car and weather it out in Vegas.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:48 am 
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JJ wrote:
I can't think of too many emergencies where they would not be. Snow would be the most likely, but even after the most extreme snowstorm, major roads are cleared within a day or two

Flooding comes to mind. We're now facing rising sea levels and more unusual weather patterns caused by climate change. Flood waters don't necessarily kill many people but cause huge amounts of property damage and disruption so it becomes pretty hard to travel in flooded areas unless you have a boat.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:36 pm 
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Winter: No electricity means no heat. Options:

1. Stand by generator, too large and impractical. Can run on LP or NG, pluses.
2. Portable generator and transfer switch. Lower startup costs, adequate power, no self startup, unless I got creative. 2 pole 240 volt model if you plan on a transfer switch. Reliance 120 volt single pole transfer boxes discontinued. Nothing available. Inverter models cleaner power, but breakdown may mean a new motherboard, inductive surges not welcome.
3. Inverter/battery/auto transfer/auto charger. In between costs, power limited by battery supply, but would probably be enough for most outages. 2500 watt 24volt Outback inverter $1800, batteries, subpanel, wiring, permits, etc. Some inverters have an option to start a generator if it has electric start. Why this momentary contact switch costs $500+ can not be explained. Oh yeah, quiet.

Summer: My street has a slight decline, I'm near the low side. The street sewer goes to a pumping station. Everything was fine until a new home development was hooked to our street sewer. Now it backs up. A check valve prevents backing up into my home, but at that time water still can't get out. That's a big deal, a small stream runs under my home. A sump pump tosses any excess water into the street. I have a battery backup for this. A single 12 deep cycle battery and a 12v pump normally used on boats (bilge). The battery is 100 amp hour, but the pump pulls 20 amps when it runs. Did I mention the battery weighs 70 pounds?

Summer outage and deluge more likely to cause problems.

Economic concerns next post.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:22 pm 
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edh wrote:
JJ wrote:
I can't think of too many emergencies where they would not be. Snow would be the most likely, but even after the most extreme snowstorm, major roads are cleared within a day or two

Flooding comes to mind. We're now facing rising sea levels and more unusual weather patterns caused by climate change. Flood waters don't necessarily kill many people but cause huge amounts of property damage and disruption so it becomes pretty hard to travel in flooded areas unless you have a boat.
Also earthquakes (roads sheared and bridges felled), epidemics (quarantine), blizzards, hurricanes, etc, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Irrelevant wrote:
edh wrote:
JJ wrote:
I can't think of too many emergencies where they would not be. Snow would be the most likely, but even after the most extreme snowstorm, major roads are cleared within a day or two

Flooding comes to mind. We're now facing rising sea levels and more unusual weather patterns caused by climate change. Flood waters don't necessarily kill many people but cause huge amounts of property damage and disruption so it becomes pretty hard to travel in flooded areas unless you have a boat.
Also earthquakes (roads sheared and bridges felled), epidemics (quarantine), blizzards, hurricanes, etc, etc.


No, not "etc. etc." ... unless you also think that maybe a high UV Index warning or a hay fever alert is going to keep people from taking to the highways.

Flooding tends to be isolated. A certain river floods, so you can't take the bridge out of town to the east . But you can still drive north, west and south. Although you can get caught in the middle of the flood, and then you're going nowhere. If you get caught in the middle of a flood, you're going to need to be rescued by someone in a boat, so all the saltine crackers, canned tuna and bottled water you have stored up isn't going to be any good when you're in a shelter. But you almost always have warnings of an imminent flood. Weather forecasts are an amazing thing. They actually _know_ when it's going to rain. Imagine that? Get out of town before the flooding hits.

Hurricanes, once again, you have ample warning. Get out of town. Or take your chances and see above, re: flooding.

Earthquake damage also tends to be centered in different areas. It could block a bridge or highway, but not all arteries.

Blizzard=snow. Snow plows > snow.

Epidemics? When was the last time an epidemic in the US contained an entire city?

If you're attempting to be prepared for any of these catastrophes isolating you from the rest of the world, you're planning for a once in a thousand year phenomenon. It's up to you if you want to spend the money and the effort worrying about such things. But it's not very smart.

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Last edited by JJ on Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:12 am 
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JJ wrote:
Weather forecasts are an amazing thing. They actually _know_ when it's going to rain.

In Britain our weather doesn't work that way. :lol:

I know the top 1% thing has already been mentioned. Maybe the best way to be prepared is to be in that top 1%?
Willis Micawber, from the book 'David Copperfield' by Charles Dickens wrote:
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:49 am 
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edh wrote:
In Britain our weather doesn't work that way. :lol:
I predict grey. That's a pretty solid prediction for London. "60% of the time, it works all the time" ;)

aristide1 wrote:
In the US 1% means over 3 million people, this is a ridiculously high number for the accusations that fall on them to work
I would say "the top 1%" is a figure of speech to exemplify the vast accumulation of wealth at the top-end and that things are clearly out of whack.


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:41 pm 
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JJ wrote:
No, not "etc. etc." ... unless you also think that maybe a high UV Index warning or a hay fever alert is going to keep people from taking to the highways.
The "etc, etc" was a way of saying that I was sure there are others I hadn't thought of ... and there are.

Additionally, traffic volume might make technically passable roads completely impassable. I live in Oakland, California, and if everyone with a car decided to vacate the area simultaneously, it would take at least a full day for me to drive out. Add panic-fueled foolishness and bad behavior on top of that, and a day could become a week.

And even if the disaster itself doesn't prevent travel, pre- or post-disaster violence just might. For example, if a major earthquake hit Oakland right now, while racial/socioeconomic/LEO-citizenry tensions are high, it's entirely possible that much of the city would become a war-zone, and if so, near-certain that the governor would hesitate to send in the National Guard to put a stop to it. In those circumstances, the only safe way to evacuate would be in an armored car, which is infinitely more expensive than a dozen MREs and a water filter.

JJ wrote:
If you get caught in the middle of a flood, you're going to need to be rescued by someone in a boat, so all the saltine crackers, canned tuna and bottled water you have stored up isn't going to be any good when you're in a shelter.
Yes, assuming there's someone with a boat around to rescue you before you die of dehydration and/or drinking contaminated floodwater. While that's likely to be true in industrialized countries, a sufficiently large disaster, multiple coincident disasters, or politics could keep relief agencies tied up for days, and you with no way to aforementioned shelter.

JJ wrote:
Earthquake damage also tends to be centered in different areas. It could block a bridge or highway, but not all arteries.
Oh, really?

JJ wrote:
Blizzard=snow. Snow plows > snow.
I was in Denver in 2002 or 2003 when a storm dumped ~3ft of snow in a day. There wasn't much wind and the storm broke no records (IIRC, there had been worse within the last 20 years), but it still took three days for some areas to become accessible by car. If it had been more widespread, longer-lasting, or accompanied by more severe winds/temperatures, three days could easily become a week or more, and if FEMA decided not to show for some reason, that week could become two or three.

JJ wrote:
Epidemics? When was the last time an epidemic in the US contained an entire city?
How soon we forget ...

JJ wrote:
If you're attempting to be prepared for any of these catastrophes isolating you from the rest of the world, you're planning for a once in a thousand year phenomenon. It's up to you if you want to spend the money and the effort worrying about such things. But it's not very smart.
First, disasters come in enough variety that "once in a thousand year phenomena" occur a lot more than once in a thousand years. A significant minority of the people currently on this planet will suffer through them, and both their number and their suffering will only grow, thanks to climate change, urbanization, population growth, and the near-universal escalation of intra-communal tensions.

Second, as I said earlier, I'm not promoting preparation for the apocalypse. I'm promoting preparation for a week-long suspension of civilization in your area, something far from possible and neither hard nor expensive to prepare for. Sure, a couple hundred bucks and a bit of closet space isn't enough to keep you comfortable for a week, especially if you live some place with an extreme climate, but it's enough to keep you alive and reasonably healthy.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:31 am 
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Irrelevant wrote:
I was in Denver in 2002 or 2003 when a storm dumped ~3ft of snow in a day. There wasn't much wind and the storm broke no records (IIRC, there had been worse within the last 20 years), but it still took three days for some areas to become accessible by car. If it had been more widespread, longer-lasting, or accompanied by more severe winds/temperatures, three days could easily become a week or more, and if FEMA decided not to show for some reason, that week could become two or three.


I was in London when it snowed 5 inches and everything ground to a halt. Public transport, air traffic, cars. Walked past the underground emergency response vehicles on my way home with the wifey.

I was in Vienna when it snowed half a meter within a few hours - no

I think these anecdotes only show that some states/regions are better prepared than others and shows what a crucial role a well-funded government plays. I rather fight for that, than stockpile food and water at home.


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:26 pm 
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In '87 we had an ice storm in the East. Wouldn't have amounted to a huge problem except the trees had not dropped their leaves. The added weight broke many limbs and trees, along with power lines all over the place. Homes in the country were without power for over a month, and they were on well water, ie no water pump and no water for the toilet. A barrel of rain water would have been priceless.

Quote:
I would say "the top 1%" is a figure of speech to exemplify the vast accumulation of wealth at the top-end and that things are clearly out of whack.

Well watch the extremists use it literally to tear it apart as "class envy." Which is an odd thing to call someone else when it's your group that is bending over backwards for them while they look down their nose at you.

But there are other consequences to consider. A major earthquake forces insurance companies to liquidate stock holdings when cash runs out to pay claims. I'm not a big fan of flood insurance, because it seems to allow people to build homes in places where homes should not have been built in the first place. But federal flood insurance is who's burden?

And if anyone is paying attention politicians on from both cults are looking to pump Dodd-Frank full of loopholes and make the taxpayer foot the bill for the all too soon next financial disaster. At which point more will lose their jobs, less revenue for the government, and it all starts to slow down again.

Did anybody see "Killing Them Softly?" Not a great movie, but Brad Pitt had the best little speech at the end:
Quote:
Jackie Cogan: My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words 'All men are created equal', words he clearly didn't believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He's a rich white snob who's sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fxxked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fxxkin' pay me.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:29 am 
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Quote:
Well watch the extremists use it literally to tear it apart as "class envy."
The funny thing is that some of those extremists seem to sit in the poorest classes of the US's population. The unattainable American dream shoved down their throats for the last 50 years has left them unable to swallow the truth.

Trickle down is a nice concept, but (when empirically tested) it just does not work. I was really shocked when I heard an interview with Arthur Laffer who insisted that making the poor less poor wasn't worth it if the rich "suffered" for it. Wow ...

aristide1 wrote:
And if anyone is paying attention politicians on from both cults are looking to pump Dodd-Frank full of loopholes and make the taxpayer foot the bill for the all too soon next financial disaster. At which point more will lose their jobs, less revenue for the government, and it all starts to slow down again.
How much did saving the banks cost each UK household? I think about 23 grand (£).

I'm for a re-introduction of the strict separation of investment and retail banks. If they like to gamble, let them gamble and die.


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:26 am 
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Cistron wrote:

I'm for a re-introduction of the strict separation of investment and retail banks. If they like to gamble, let them gamble and die.


McCain tried to reintroduce the older bank regulation Clinton signed into deletion. He failed.


It's like what they said in "The Day The Earth Stood Still." We know what's coming, and yet we can't seem to do anything about it.

Quote:
I was really shocked when I heard an interview with Arthur Laffer who insisted that making the poor less poor wasn't worth it if the rich "suffered" for it. Wow ...


Right wing extremist Christianity at its finest.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:17 pm 
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1. Are weather extremes something you consider more often?
Yes, but mostly because we're thinking of moving. Our current house is old, drafty and thermally inefficient. Lots of character, though! Our next house will have much less character but will be thermally more efficient. I can say this because the homes in our target market are practically all 1960's and newer ranches, tri-levels and colonials.

2. Have you saved for retirement?
Yes. My household's financial trajectory is progressing according to my plan. My plan relies heavily on an ultra-high savings rate (via personal austerity). I don't talk about personal finance with friends/family much anymore because the math shocks them.

I was lucky to make most of my (financial) mistakes while still young enough to recover from them. Some were my own doing (classic mistakes like spending more than 100% of my income: financing ridiculous cars & other toys). Others were due to partly to my ignorance but also to predation (a broker convinced me - then a 21 year-old with no dependents - to purchase a whole life insurance policy, "it's an investment!" I'm still bitter). It wasn't until we purchased our first home that I got serious about personal finance. The thought of three decades of debt peonage woke me up.

So I think I learned from my mistakes. But I watch a lot of my peers, friends and family members repeatedly shoot themselves in the proverbial feet. I do not understand why personal finance isn't a mandatory part of public school curriculum. I had "home economics" in middle school, but it had nothing to do with economics (I made a crappy sweatshirt). So, the whole shooting in the foot thing ... I don't think our schools or society have equipped us to be savers. My grandparents were savers and had pensions - they didn't have to think about savings, there was a team of actuaries thinking about it for them. My father has a pension - the only person I know receiving one. But it's nothing like his father's pension. He personally saves in addition to his pension, but he's ill-equipped for it (he doesn't have a team of actuaries). None of my peers have pensions or actuaries. We all have defined contribution plans (401k, 403b, etc.), brokered by companies with fiduciary conflicts of interest (your success is secondary to their profits). Despite the preponderance of flawed plans, since hedonism "feels better" than stoicism (in the short term), participation in these plans remains dismal.

My interest in economics is purely personal - I have no formal education or professional background. So for a long time, various ideas from whatever I'd read bounced around in my head. It took me a while to connect the disparate concepts together. It came together in a spreadsheet I built to automate planning, tracking and rebalancing. If anyone is interested in it, PM me (I'm especially looking for assistance solving underdetermined linear equations with openoffice).

As I get older, my main financial worry is that government will renege on the existing incentives to save that I use (tax-advantaged savings programs like 401k, IRAs, etc.). The current administration recently announced a plan to tax gains in 529 plans, for example. We use a 529 to save for our kid's college. Although the issue was quickly dropped, turds have a peculiar way of clinging to Washington. It wouldn't surprise me if some future administration pushed hard for legislation permitting this.

3. Do you have any kind of food stash?
We currently live within walking distance to three grocery stores. Still we grow and can vegetables every year. We do this less for resiliency and more because it's one of my wife's hobbies. I built her some raised beds, we dense-plant using square foot "rules", in Mel's mix. We compost our food waste, but that comes no where near the amount needed to top-up our beds. Vermiculite never goes away. Peat moss sticks around for a while. Compost just evaporates.

We're looking to move to a much less walkable city. It's unlikely we'll have any grocers in walking distance, so I'll bike. But we will also have a larger yard for gardening.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:27 pm 
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Cistron wrote:
I think these anecdotes only show that some states/regions are better prepared than others and shows what a crucial role a well-funded government plays. I rather fight for that, than stockpile food and water at home.
Good government is indeed the best form of emergency preparation, but some of us are too cheap and lazy to bribe (sorry, I meant "make campaign contributions and promise future consulting positions") and strong-arm (oops, I meant to say "lobby") all our local and/or federal politicians into doing the right thing? Instead, we settle for building nuclear-powered, self-sustaining, underground biospheres with automated defense systems. :lol:

Seriously, though, even if your government is good, it is far cheaper on a communal level to leave a certain amount of disaster preparation to individuals. For example, how much do you think it would cost for Denver to double or triple the size of their snowplow fleet so they can clear that 3ft+ of snow in just one day? What would it cost to prepare for an equally fast response to all the other possible disasters the city might face? I've got no numbers, but it would certainly be more than equipping every household with a 72-hour food/water/fuel reserve.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm far more liberal than libertarian, and these days I'm usually on the side of more government involvement, but there is a happy medium between personal responsibility and governmental oversight, and I believe expecting non-disabled citizenry to fend for themselves for a couple days in case of emergency is closer to that happy medium.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:56 pm 
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Irrelevant wrote:
Cistron wrote:
I think these anecdotes only show that some states/regions are better prepared than others and shows what a crucial role a well-funded government plays. I rather fight for that, than stockpile food and water at home.
Good government is indeed the best form of emergency preparation, but some of us are too cheap and lazy to bribe (sorry, I meant "make campaign contributions and promise future consulting positions") and strong-arm (oops, I meant to say "lobby") all our local and/or federal politicians into doing the right thing? Instead, we settle for building nuclear-powered, self-sustaining, underground biospheres with automated defense systems. :lol:

Seriously, though, even if your government is good, it is far cheaper on a communal level to leave a certain amount of disaster preparation to individuals. For example, how much do you think it would cost for Denver to double or triple the size of their snowplow fleet so they can clear that 3ft+ of snow in just one day? What would it cost to prepare for an equally fast response to all the other possible disasters the city might face? I've got no numbers, but it would certainly be more than equipping every household with a 72-hour food/water/fuel reserve.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm far more liberal than libertarian, and these days I'm usually on the side of more government involvement, but there is a happy medium between personal responsibility and governmental oversight, and I believe expecting non-disabled citizenry to fend for themselves for a couple days in case of emergency is closer to that happy medium.
I'm not so sure about your guestimations. There is a huge cost of lost opportunity associated with a city drowning in snow (or other things). Makes it all the more laughable when London grinds to a halt due to the annually unanticipated 5 inches of snow.

But as I said, that's what federal agencies are for. In Austria, the army drags around sandbags in case of flooding (only thing they are good for anyway) and when Bush is not in power, FEMA probably does its job in the US. Doesn't it?


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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:01 pm 
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Every dealt with FEMA? Whatever dignity you have after losing everything will be ripped from your hide by them. I know people who qualified for assistance after 9.11 simply just quit trying to deal with them. Now if we were banksters that toppled a global economy, they'd be shoving money down our throats.

I have some serious plans with the feds in mind when it comes to retirement. I'm going to Romney-ize them.

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 Post subject: Re: As you get older are you planning for bad times?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:38 pm 
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I don't believe this sheet. I spent like an hour typical a major post and poof the power goes out and my post disappears.

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