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Prepping With A Reluctant Partner

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 10:07
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Prepping With A Reluctant Partner


By Adam Taggart  / 

The third contribution in our new Resilience Spotlight series, featuring stories from Peak Prosperity readers, comes from macro2682. It centers on the challenge of prepping when your partner does not share the same urgency/outlook as you.

I graduated in 2004 with an engineering degree from a great school, but was lured into finance by a fascination with economics and a strong desire to be “rich.”

Rich people have the flexibility to pursue their dreams and ideas.  They have control over their time and can spend more of it with their kids, which they will certainly have because rich people don’t have any problems attracting women.  

I settled bonds for a few years to earn my stripes, then got into institutional sales working for a $100B investment firm.  I put in 80hr weeks, and never said no to ‘one more drink’ when good networking came up. 

In 2008/9 my boss and co-worker were fired and I was given the reins.  A few years of continued effort and I had everything I wanted. 

I had been a closeted Malthusian since college, but the crash course helped solidify my perspective.  I’ve been going to industry conferences for the last decade, carefully talking about my concerns when the cocktails come out.  The industry is NOT unaware.  

I would always stop short of talking about owning actual gold (which I did).  Owning gold is disrespectful to the industry and is grounds for shunning.  It’s like an Abercrombie employee coming to work wearing a turtleneck.  Not cool bro. 

I’m a social butterfly; I met my wife in a bar in my late 20s.  She was my polar opposite, shy and attractive. 

She hates being on time to things because she doesn’t want to be early, standing there alone “looking stupid.”  She is crippled by anxiety.  Learning that I owned some gold (and why) made her almost sick to her stomach it seemed.  I own less than 10oz, but am not allowed to buy more.  She has no financial background, and no knowledge (or interest) in learning about my concerns.  She doesn’t want to be different, she doesn’t want people to think we are weird, and SHE doesn’t want to think people WOULD think we are weird (that wasn’t an error). 

So I prepare in secret, and to a significantly lesser extent than I would like.  

I own a very small amount of gold and silver (5% of net worth).  I have other protective exposures in my brokerage accounts (mining, bitcoin, and some others, along with more traditional allocations in case we get an equity blowoff). 

I have a giant mortgage on a property that is doomed.  It’s currently worth 20% more than I paid, but that will change when Chicago finally runs out of money (credit).  I save a high percentage of my income which is very good. I make enough to live downtown comfortably with my wife at home (we have a toddler and another one due any minute).

My prepping has to always be camouflaged from my wife by everyday motives:  

I want to buy a vacation house in MI, but what I really want it as a place to take my family when things go south.  

I bought two way radios for a ski trip, but I keep them with extra batteries in a shoebox made into a faraday cage. 

I have about a month’s worth of bottled water, but I tell my wife that I just prefer to buy in bulk.  

Every time I need to fix something, I buy the right tools and fix it myself (I just fixed a Mophie phone charger with a soldering iron).  I have a storage until it full of tools. 

I have 3 different methods to heat my house (gas fireplace, electric heaters, and gas forced air heat pump).  

I have a car that I keep topped off with enough gas to get to my in-laws.  

I have a separate brokerage account that I use to buy levered hedges for the standard-looking portfolios we keep elsewhere.  I already talked about the gold/silver (I use for half of this exposure as well). 

Deep down my wife knows what I’m doing (although she’d better not find that shoebox).  I do think it makes her uncomfortable and resentful, but I don’t think she can complain.  She has a husband who loves her, helps with the kid(s), cleans, makes good money, and let’s her spend it on whatever she wants. 

And most of all, she has a husband who is willing to live with profound discomfort, avoiding the life changes he knows are necessary to protect his family, in order for his wife to avoid some social anxiety.

I’m 35.  On track to retire at 45 if things hold together.  But if/when it doesn’t, I’ll be slightly better off than average.  Maybe if things start getting noticeably worse, my wife will come around and let me do what I need to do.  But I’m not holding my breath. 

Life will be hard for us if we don’t prepare more.  But I couldn’t survive at all without my wife, so I’m sorta stuck…


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