Are the Rich Immune From TEOTWAWKI? Or, Will Money Protect you When the S Hits the Fan?

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rich people and survivalA friend of mine came from a very wealthy family whose father had established an extremely successful business and had invented and patented numerous devices that are used worldwide. In conversations she sometimes casually mentions childhood vacations in South America and other exotic ports, and her parents’ backyard not only has a lavish swimming pool but a lazy river winding its way around the property.

We were having a chat one day about preparedness and all the craziness that was happening with the economy when she suddenly clasped her hands over her ears. She didn’t want to hear anything that might affect her sense of security.

Every once in a while she mentions buying a first aid kit from Costco or possibly storing food, but I’m not sure she has ever followed through. Money in the bank and investments are her security, and that’s what she’s counting on to protect her and her family.

Money does shield us from many of life’s unpleasantries such as medical issues left untreated and unpaid electric bills.  Many preppers have wished for more money in order to buy the perfect Bug Out Location or a pimped out Bug Out Vehicle.

However, I’m not so sure that money will be the answer when the S hits the fan, and here’s why:

1.  Wealthy people travel. Often. In a world that is more chaotic and unpredictable every day, a secure middle-class home with a fair amount of preps and friendly neighbors is a far safer place to be when the S hits the fan than on a sunny beach in the Caribbean.

Exotic locales make wonderful vacation spots, but those resorts, villas, and beaches are often in third-world countries. Enough desperate people storming the gates will eventually overpower the most secure security system.

No one knows when a world-class disaster might hit, affecting flights home, food supply, access to medical care, and I wouldn’t bet on the safety and well-being of even a mega-billionaire who finds themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time.

2.  Rich people rely on others for the basics of everyday life, from grocery shopping to stocking up on toilet paper and tending to vegetable gardens and livestock. In a big enough crisis, their employees might not show up for work, or might bring their families to live in the safety of the Big Estate. Some will turn against their employers, knowing exactly what they have on hand.

3.  Money brings security but some of that is a false sense of security. Food shortages, tainted water, terrorist attacks, pandemics…they will affect the poor and rich alike. That false sense of security works hand in hand with normalcy bias, assuring the wealthy that all they need is their American Express black card. And Jeeves.

4.  Not all, but many rich people are out of touch with the real world and live in a bubble. How long would someone like a Kim Kardashian survive if she was on her own, her credit card didn’t work, and suddenly her bodyguard and driver took off and left her stranded in the middle of a big city? She might be far more vulnerable than a street smart woman who has been living out of her car.

5.  When the American dollar is worth nothing, the very rich will probably have very little with which to barter. Once the gold is gone, then what? Designer clothes? Jimmy Choo shoes?

6.  Even if a wealthy person has planned ahead and has a well-stocked bunker or secluded home, if they are traveling, they may never make it to safety. If they aren’t known and trusted in their bug out location, will the locals come to their aid, if needed?

7.  Over the years I’ve noticed how frequently “rich kids” aren’t required to become especially educated or trained in much of anything, and that’s a real shame. The trust fund money is deposited each month, so life is pretty much worry-free.

One pundit said, “The biggest problem rich people have is their kids,” and after watching this play out in real life in some families I know, I’d say it’s true.

I’ve written many, many times about the importance of learning practical skills and acquiring knowledge and training in areas that could become life-saving someday. If the worlds as we know it ends, will it matter if someone’s rich kid heads up the family charitable foundation or works part-time as an investment banker? How will that help him or her survive?

8.  For the wealthy, the world is full of glamorous distractions, from fashion shows to shopping for yet another home.

Distractions can be a real negative, though, when they get in the way of what is really happening around us. The dollar continues to decline in value, war seems imminent in the Middle East and elsewhere, we’re finding out just how vulnerable our power grid is, but if there’s an invite from George Clooney to join him on his private island, well, all that bad news can just wait! Right?

Distractions keep us from focusing on what is most important, and at this point, being prepared is a priority.

There are always exceptions to every rule, and I’m certain there are many, many wealthy people who see the warning signs and have become preppers. Some very rich people are also savvy and street smart, survivors in any scenario. However, I believe they are in the minority in this particular income bracket for the reasons listed.

I haven’t written this to trash or mock people who have made a success of their lives or have inherited great wealth. In fact, I’m hoping that some of them read this article and realize how vulnerable they might actually be.

When the S hits the fan, it will affect everyone, in every walk of life.

Rear view of rich woman walking towards private jet while pilot and stewardesses standing at airport terminal

19 thoughts on “Are the Rich Immune From TEOTWAWKI? Or, Will Money Protect you When the S Hits the Fan?”

  1. Luxuries will be immediate fodder for looters, but as soon as people realize that this is a long-term proposition, material wealth will have a massive shift to practical. There will still be a need for status and flair, but I expect it to be more like you see in war-torn 3rd world nations…

    Much “wealth” is in the form of credit (either owned or owed) and fiat currency – if the banking system goes belly up, so do the digits in their accounts – the wealthy may actually “own” precious little.

  2. I’d planned to make an observation, but by the time I filled in the three info lines, I’d forgotten what I wanted to say. It sucks being old. Oh well, good post!

  3. I wouldn’t count them out so easily. For every couple of Paris Hiltons, there will be a couple of first generation seriously motivated go-getters. People who had the intelligence to “see all the angles” and the drive and ambition to achieve. For some of them, the rules of the game will have changed, but they might just see it as an opportunity to go for even more even faster.

  4. RothbardianamericanHelot

    I liked this article, and can find no disagreement, except for (maybe) this part:

    “a fair amount of preps is a far safer place to be when the S hits the fan than on sunny beach in the Caribbean.”

    While not an absolute, I suppose if you’re some rich person with no roots to the area, that is true. However; the history of the Caribbean has been one of upheaval and rebellions for centuries. Some (many?) people came out ok after mega upheavals on those islands.
    And, of course, some (many?) wound up as slaves.
    … So maybe it’s a coin toss?
    Are they a more developed police state than here?
    A more dependent populace? …

    A whole lot of survival lore could be learned from the history of those islands.

    Perhaps it depends upon which beach you’re on? And, what happens here in the unitedstate?

    I’ve read recently that Puerto Rico is in worse shape financially than Illinois or California.
    That’s not a good thing, for many.

    Anyway, the first thing I thought of while reading your article was the bit I read about how some of the rich (in Hollywood?) are finding it trendy to build moats around their ticky-tacky McShacks.

    One moat looked like it was narrow enough a person could jump over it, that’s worthless.
    Another moat looked like a true moat, and I was kind of impressed.
    But then I imagine a hoard.

    Still, I like moats. I think they are a good idea, and they can be cool. Even if they are just a seepy ditch full of thorn trees and bushes.
    I mentioned moats years ago on FerFal’s since disappeared, Grab The Apple.
    I’d be full of myself to think I might have had a hand in encouraging the building of moats.
    But it’s a somewhat encouraging thought, seeing as how so many other ideas and themes I’ve expressed on his pages have come to life. [Probably just a coincidence though. Only, I stopped believing in coincidences long ago!]
    In that same way, I look forward to the first Survival Mom I meet in real life.
    I think you’re doing good, Lisa.
    Some Moms will survive – and even thrive – when SHTF, …and their children, too, because of you.
    [Not the Dad, though. He’ll probably be killed off fighting some rattlesnake or band of bossy RepDemFascist thugs, or from ten thousand other things guys do to get things done.]

    – Insert images from Pintrest of guys doing things, to get things done, that shock most viewers, especially the women in their lives, here: x. –

    Anyway, I think maybe it could be said, it’s ‘good’ to see the architects and the rich picking up on things like moats.
    For their sake. … And perhaps, the middle class will imitate them?
    But I used that word ‘good’ loosely, because nothing about SHTF will be good, except maybe the rebuild/reset on the other side?

    In the background is James Earl Jones in his Darth Vader-ish voice saying something prophetic from a Conan The Barbarian film to support to my rant, but I fear I’m in the early stages of catching what Gorges Smythe suffers from. So, I’ll stop at that and let your imagination fill in the blanks.

    Imagination, it’s a survival tool. …Ignore it at your own peril.

    …Now I’m off to read some hard facts from the Austrian Economists, facts and real world deductions which no one tells you about, alongside some hard facts from TheHousingBubbleBlog which everyone seems to ignore, and all the while I’ll be wishing every woman in the world would tune into it all as reasons to prepare. Then maybe they’d drag their spouses along as well?

    There, I did my part, my conscious is clear.

    Pardon the length.

  5. RothbardianamericanHelot

    Yeesh, now that I’ve refreshed the page, I like what MikeM wrote. He said what I wrote in 1/8 the space.
    Unless of course, when he says, “they might just see it as an opportunity to go for even more even faster” he’s talking about all those debt donkeys out there who’ve bought grossly over inflated properties hoping to make it big that way. Or those who are counting on paper promises to see things through,
    Nahh, he’s not talking about that, …right?

  6. I feel like I should point out that those who became wealthy from being resourceful and innovative would likely prosper under any circumstances. We should all endeavor to be the same! 🙂

  7. It was not the money that saved people in the Tsunami area from a few years ago. It was the ability to discern the conditions and react. The rich are no different than anyone that is prepping in anticipation of TEOTWAWKI, and I will explain why. Many folks are prepping without appreciating that prepping is a lifestyle change not how much ammo, weaponry, and food one can accumulate.

    My family had our own crisis that was in our opinion, as traumatic as the end of the world. We had to learn how to live without and fast. We did not transform into a prepping life to save ourselves from this future event but for the reality that LIFE happens and EVERYTHING can change in a moment.

    As a lifestyle change, preppers are not shocked by the natural seasons, and are fully prepared for winter. Preppers have not a weeks worth of food but several months worth of food, understanding that the government is not able to help in a crisis the way we imagine. Preppers do not buy food that is not something they eat regularly, AND they rotate what they have in their storage. Preppers study to obtain a diverse skill set, NOT because they wish to bug out, but because the skills are often beneficial in every day life…such as first aid/lifesaving skills.

    Preppers should not look for a revolution, but prepare instead to keep an honest man honest. Cows do not have horns to fight, but to remind the coyotes that they will if they need to. Oh and the horns are real…but no need to even think about them 99.99% of the time.

    In every generation, in every time, people will be challenged and some will rise to the occasion and thrive and others will wilt away, because they had not mentally prepared and instead only put on an external mindset of readiness. Prepping is not the correct term-or I often think it isn’t, because my grandparents lived the way I do, and it was life. They relied on themselves and then looked to offer assistance to another. We must remove the trend to consider what this group or that group is doing and instead, look within and see what we are doing in the times we live in.

    I believe we are being challenged to stand tall in these times and learn from the past how to live today.

    Of course, all I can base this on is my family having nearly lost my husband, then adapting to a lifestyle that is considered below poverty standards in the US, all the while, rolling up our sleeves and making do.

  8. Stealth Spaniel

    Great article Lisa. Surviving SHTF scenarios is going to depend so much on what that particular person/family has been taught.
    I have a friend whose grandfather was Walt Disney’s money man. Yeah-THAT kind of money. Lots of education, not flashy with her money, tends to live rather modestly actually. However-this woman goes to the grocery DAILY! She buys exactly what she has to have, and not a lettuce leaf more. I suggested that she get an extra bag of dog food “in case something happens.” She was shocked! “But then I’d have to STORE it!”. (Oh surely not that!) Her mother has a gargantuan pantry that I’d kill for-and I think it contains 6 or 7 cans. And no-they don’t want to hear about TEOTWAWKI. That’s just crazy talk Lisa! My friend-D-has a daughter who has married into money. They have 3 children under 6 who wear the latest designer fashions, got an electric toy car when the oldest was 3, and live in a million dollar mansion. This same daughter had to call her father for cash to pay the electric bill ($600). When D asked why they are not paying the utilities, it seems hubby dearest wanted new larger TV’s. So, he replaced the 60 inch, 5 months old tv’s-with 80 inch tv’s in 4 rooms. One of the “old” tv’s went into the armoire for the 5 & 6 year old. The biggest worry in that household is getting into a 7000 SFT mansion on 4 acres that they are badgering the father in law to pay for. I feel sorry for these people. I feel worse for the 3 children-6,5, and 1 year.
    Our values, our realities, our futures are totally out of control with so many Americans. The big reset is going to be a shock and it is going to be brutal. It is also necessary to right this pathway we are on. I watched that movie American Blackout and wished that they had explored additional themes. How important is that 80 inch tv when nothing is on? There needs to be a balance between enjoying your life and fun, silly toys-and keeping survival in mind. More and more Americans have lost the ability to see the difference.

  9. RothbardianamericanHelot

    Jennifer wrote, “Preppers do not buy food that is not something they eat regularly, AND they rotate what they have in their storage.”

    Well, that’s not entirely true.

    The things that last forever like rice and honey can be put aside and forgotten. Even if you’ve gone Primal/Paleo and no longer eat rice, it might be good to have around for just in case.

    And myself, I have some canned goods, but I’ve read some very bad things about eating stuff from cans, so it’s only as a last resort. The canned goods are not getting rotated. Especially after learning about some ~100 year old sunken ship which had canned goods on board that were ok to eat, even today.

    I don’t eat canned fruits or Spam, but I’ve got some.

    Anyway, interesting comments.

  10. @Jennifer, I agree with you wholeheartedly! I learned from my grandma who survived the Depression…Prepping is a lifestyle…and there are SOME of the rich who are probably better prepared than the rest of us…but the high profile media Hollywood lifestyle ‘reality TV’ get me more press exposure, are probably not amongst them, and maybe that’s a good thing! I am a big fan of Duck Dynasty…you think they aren’t prepared? But I would wager a bet that a lot of media crazy folks are not…or maybe they are and are just doing OPSEC?

  11. I cannot warm to this article. Can we really ascribe all such negative characteristics to being rich? What is rich? Usually we define it as someone who makes more money than us. There is too much class warfare in the US already. Yes, there are the irresponsible trust fund babies. But, what is the difference in that and the irresponsible one living on government dole? Seems like same character issue. The 1099 is not relevant. Some would think me rich; i might think another rich. To assume one is rich, we have to compare ourselves to them. There are only 2 outcomes, neither spiritually healthy. We need to be educating as much as we can with discretion. Yeah, when you try to talk to the rich person and they tune you out, what in the world does INCOME have to do with it. I have been tuned out by folks at all income levels. Sheep are sheep. It seems as once we open the dialogue, God may open their eyes. But do not make the assumption that God has surely attitude toward the rich. We must purge this cla$$ warfare, and unite positively.

  12. I’d like to expand on Rothbardi’s comment. We built up our food supply by stocking foods that we don’t normally eat. Now, these aren’t foods that we hate — that would be a complete waste — but they are items that are considered occasional treats or foods to eat when there’s no money to buy more. Because they’re not part of our daily routine, they stay in the cupboard until we actually need them. Although we don’t eat canned meats and vegetables every day, they’re just as important to our food storage as the flour (when we rarely bake), sugar (not used often because there’s a diabetic in the house), and so forth.

    That said, Jennifer’s post was excellent!

  13. The population will match the food supply.

    If you haven’t socked away bunches of food and/or are partially a homestead. Hope you made your peace.

    If we have a financial collapse. These rich folk, no matter how motivated and entrepreneurial, are going to die from dehydration or starve. The whole delivery system will come to a complete halt. They had better have enough food to last long enough to get the first crop in. Presuming they had seeds.

    The population is going to match the food supply.

  14. I’m not sure people who always had whatever they wanted ever develop the appreciation of a full kitchen. I grew up without a lot, but we all did in the late 50’s and 60’s – it was no big deal not to have a lot of money for extras because everyone was in the same boat. When my husband graduated from grad school we were so broke we couldn’t afford to even go to the grocery store! I’m sure we qualified for aid – food stamps and such, but we have always paid our own way and would never have taken a handout. We have family that would have been more than happy to help us if we had asked, just like I would help family now. When did that stop and evolve into people thinking that they are entitled to money others have earned? When did families quit helping each other? Sorry, I digress – but since we have been without, we can clearly see what needs to be done to take care of ourselves in the event of an emergency easier than a rich person ever could. I stock not only the essentials but also things to make life easier in a SHTF situation. I buy used books from the local library sale, I stock games we like, I can cook, I’m ready to heat solely on wood, and I can hunt, fish, and garden. We have learned life skills that the rich have not. I truly think that when push comes to shove, I would rather live my life and have my experience to draw upon for survival than to be rich and clueless.

  15. I can understand the commenters who do not agree. But I do, we live in an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, where there is no water, save swimming pools. The population is greater than the natural food supply (by far). There are no farms, no live stock. Lots of virtual (lots of numbers on a screen) bank accounts and investments. We live in a beautiful big house, nearly 6,000 sq ft, on 1/2 an acre (which is huge piece of property by local standards). And until recently had no way to provide for our 3 sons in the event of an emergency. As a Mother, household planner, and new prepper…I see all the holes in our life style. If it were up to me I would move us to a smaller, more defendable home, on a larger property, near some natural water. But it’s not. So I have spent a considerable amount of time (and money) learning to provide the necessities. How to filter, and distill water (most pools around are salt water), how to shop to have a few months of supplies in stock, instead of a weeks (because I have no problem with weekly shopping, and I have always done it that way.) We now have up to date first aid on hand, emergency bags, bob water storage bags, 3 months of supplies, and many other things, that will hopefully ensure our survival. My husband (the investor in our family,) see’s only the bottom line, and the boxes arriving regularly (as I stock up on emergency freeze dried food with 30 yr dates). You see in 30 yrs I won’t have 3 boys in my home. Instead I will be buying their emergency supplies as christmas gifts. When the shit hits the fan….hungry is hungry, thirsty is thirsty….and desperate will be every one. And all those commas on a financial statement won’t mean a hill of beans.

  16. I have never understood the mantra of buying gold for ‘security’ if a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI . You can’t eat gold. Who would barter for gold? I say, stock up on things that will really be worth something in either scenario mentioned above. Coffee, toilet paper, chocolate, etc. things that will REALLY be of value ….again, you can’t eat gold! People will not be trading in useless things, but in things that have value NOW: under the circumstances that are NOW in the SHTF age. Also of value will be knowledge: how to hunt, sew, butcher, make shelters, forage, etc. Things that will be needed in the worst case scenario. Any way, good post!

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