Investing for the End of the World

Sovereign debt crisis? Greece,check.  Declining oil production? Depending on who you believe, check.  Ineffective world leadership? All I have to say is Cancun climate conference, check.  So yes some days it does really feel the world is going to end sometime soon.  Yet twice now this week someone has asked me if that is the case, then how the hell do you invest for it?  I don’t pretend to know, but what the hell, let’s take a stab at an answer just as an exercise.

Well according to some people the answer lies in getting some physical gold that you own.  That way when hyperinflation hits you will have something that will retain its values as world currency markets fall in on themselves.  Yet that mind set ignores the fact that will anyone really even care about gold if the world really did go to hell?  Personally I think some seeds and a garden plot are going to be a lot more useful.  Beyond that a good wood stove to heat your house might be a good investment.

Yet those lines of thinking are the extreme.  A civilization collapse doesn’t typically just occur over night, but rather breaks downs in pieces slowly over time.  There will be a transition phase where things start slowly with local shortages of some items like your grapes from Chile so most people won’t even really care.  So if the world truly is on the downward slope of oil production I would get into owning some oil because on the way down the slope of production that oil is about to get a whole lot more valuable.  Also if oil does get unstable power production might just get a whole lot more important to people as a backup source of energy.  So owning a stable utility with low natural gas/oil in the generation mix would be a good idea.

Other than those obvious ones you would have to start thinking in terms of strategic resources: what are people going to need during the transition.  The most basic of those is food, so I would take a hard look at fertilizer companies.  Then if you are really worried about eating, start going down to your local farmer’s market and make some friends with the vendors.  As global supply lines have issues knowing where you can get food locally would be a great idea.

Then perhaps the best investment of all would be to have a good circle of friends and family around you.  Why?  It’s basically suicide to think you could have the skill sets to live by yourself.  People today are so depending on the systems around us that in a true survival situation we would be screwed.  For example, think about those 72-hour commercials?  Could you survive a power outage that lasts for days?  Now apply that for a week?  How would you do by yourself?  Likely not so good, but as a group you would likely stand a better chance of having some useful skills between you to make it work.

Anyway that’s my random thoughts on investing for the end of the world.  What would you do to invest for the end of the world? Feel free to suggest anything, I didn’t particularly hold back with my ideas.

5 thoughts on “Investing for the End of the World”

  1. Interesting topic. You ask if people could survive w/o power for days, or a week. Back in ’99 the North East was hit with a massive ice storm. Communities banded together and shared resources and skills.
    Mrs. SPF has stopped rolling her eyes when I bring up the subject of emergency preparedness. As avid campers we have multiple propane stoves available to us and full cylinders of fuel at the ready. We have even discussed purchasing a back up generator (it can get might cold here in Canada, eh?). We try to keep a decent supply of food staples available too.
    One area of investment for your readers may be in themselves. Practical skills – building things, starting a fire w/o a match or lighter, basic mechanics, first aid and hunting/fishing are skills that would be vital in a doomsday scenario.

  2. My furnace went last year at Christmas in -20C temps and I couldn’t get the furnace guy out for over a week. It kind of shocked me that I could keep the whole house pretty warm (and it’s a big house) with a combination of heat from the oven, one little space heater and the wood fireplace.

    Thanks to growing up on a farm and with parents and grandparents that grew up during the great depression and taught me survivalist type skills, I’d be okay. And boondocking is the best kind of camping, I don’t even turn on my generator.

    Other than that, I’ve got the oil and gas and utilties (Suncor, Encana, Cenovus, Transalta and a few others), not for survival but because they were just decent buys.

    I think solar panels would be a good thing to invest in too.

  3. I live in a condo in Montreal, and I have no fireplace or gas (everything is electric), so I don’t know what I’d do if it really got cold and I had no power for a week. I guess I would go to a friend’s house. If that didn’t work out, I’d fly out to California and stay with friends and family there.

    As for investing, I do have a stash of gold coins and lots of canned food in the house.

  4. Very fortunate to have quite a bit of acerage with a large garden and fruit orchard. Excellent fishing right offshore… if something bad were to happen, I consider my family luckier than most. Quite honestly, part of me yearns to lead a simpler life of “living off the land”… but then I find myself wondering what I’d do without my Xbox. 🙂

  5. seriously! ! ! ! !

    these things are the least on people mind people in large cities if they have no food or basically no shelter I think there might be Riots going on.And maybe the underground will take more active role in getting the average joe to join them.I mean they have no food or heat.This it’s why it’s not going to happen.So I guess gold is not going to 5000 or oil to 200.

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