What's Your Plan B?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Although Plan B includes a wide spectrum of options, these three basic categories define three different purposes for having an alternative residence lined up.

We all have a Plan A--continue living just like we’re living now.

Some of us have a Plan B in case Plan A doesn’t work out, and the reasons for a Plan B break out into three general categories:

1. Preppers who foresee the potential for a breakdown in Plan A due to a systemic “perfect storm” of events that could overwhelm the status quo’s ability to supply healthcare, food and transportation fuels for the nation’s heavily urbanized populace.


2. People who understand their employment is precarious and contingent, and they might have to move to another locale if they lose their job and can’t find another equivalent one quickly.


3. Those who tire of the stresses of maintaining Plan A and who long for a less stressful, less complex, cheaper and more fulfilling way of living.

The Fragility and Vulnerability of Highly Optimized Supply Chains

Many people are unaware of the fragility of the supply chains that truck in food, fuel and all the other commodities of industrialized comfort to cities. As a general rule, there are only a few days of food and fuel in a typical city, and any disruption quickly empties existing stocks. (Those interested in learning more might start with the book When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation.)

Most residents may not realize that the government’s emergency services are actually quite limited, and that a relatively small number of casualties/injured people (for example, a few thousand) in an urban area would overwhelm services designed to handle a relative handful of the millions of residents.

Authorities can call up the National Guard to maintain order, but the government isn’t set up to provide food and fuel to millions of people stranded by a natural disaster or a "Black Swan" (unexpected disruption).

To reduce costs, supply chains and other essential systems have been stripped of redundancies--any break in the optimized flow has the potential to cripple the entire system. Since these highly optimized systems work so well most of the time, we don’t really understand the vulnerabilities that lurk just below the surface of "just in time" deliveries and other efficiencies.

This inherent fragility has long fueled interest in rural "bug-out" retreats, a topic I recently addressed in Having A 'Retreat' Property Comes With Real Challenges.

Where Do We Go When the Economy Falters?

For the past eight years, US politicians and Federal Reserve authorities have attempted to repeal the classic business cycle of growth, stagnation, recession and renewed growth. It may appear they’ve succeeded, but the era’s slow growth has been sustained by unprecedented expansions of debt in the government, corporate and private sectors.

This extraordinary expansion of debt has been enabled by a decline in interest rates. Most observers with a sense of history view these extremes of debt expansion and near-zero interest rates as unsustainable and destabilizing:


In other words, extending the expansion cycle by extreme policy measures cannot actually repeal the business cycle; rather, these policy extremes increase the likelihood that the eventual recession will be deeper and/or longer than it would have been absent the policy extremes.

Thus we can anticipate a recession of some sort, in which mal-investments and unpayable debts are liquidated and written off, and credit expansion (and the consumption that depends on it) slows or even reverses, as it did in the 2008-09 recession.

Employers must lay off employees when sales and profits fall, and as incomes fall, sales fall further, creating a feedback loop of mutually reinforcing declines in household income and spending.

When the music finally stops, many laid-off employees won’t be able to find a chair (i.e. another job). Without a job, most people can’t afford to remain in high-cost urban centers for long.

When the 2000 recession gutted employment in the San Francisco Bay Area, 100,000 people moved away.

Recent immigrants to wealthy metro areas have the option of returning home to the village or town they’d left to seek work in the city. Many immigrants from south of the border have invested their earnings in building new homes in their villages of origin. When the economy north of the Rio Grande falters, they can return to the home they built when their incomes were high.

In China, many of the urban workers laid off in slow periods return to their villages, where there is a source of food (farms) and a roof over their head (the family home).

Today’s "rootless Cosmopolitans" (urban dwelling Americans) typically lack a village they can return to in hard times. So a common Plan B is to seek an equivalent low-cost place to retreat to in recessions.

Where Do We Go When We Burn Out?

There’s a simple phrase that embodies the exhaustion and dissatisfaction we experience when we feel like we’re on a treadmill going nowhere that’s speeding up: Burn-out.

As Historian Fernand Braudel (and others) observed, cities have always had a higher cost of living than the countryside—and offered higher pay scales. Cities aggregate capital, talent and power, and while this dynamism serves to raise many out of poverty, it can also exacerbate wealth and income inequality.

The globalization of labor and capital combined with the aforementioned policy extremes has deepened the divide between "haves" and "have-nots" in many urban regions. Those who bought their homes in desirable metro areas for $150,000 are much wealthier now that these modest homes fetch $750,000 or more. Young people with conventional jobs will never be able to afford these home prices, and so the time-honored source of middle-class security--home ownership-- is out of reach.

Many of those who dove in and bought a home are stretching to pay crushing mortgages, soaring taxes and higher costs for healthcare and childcare. They are burning out, and their Plan B is a permanent move to a less burdensome and more fulfilling life elsewhere.

Three Different Purposes, Three Different Durations of Residence

Although Plan B includes a wide spectrum of options, these three basic categories define three different purposes for having an alternative residence lined up, and these purposes define three different durations of Plan B occupancy.

While the serious prepper with a "bug-out" Plan B might be planning for the long haul, others will view their "bug-out" Plan B preparations as a temporary arrangement--a place to go in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, or localized social unrest.

Such a temporary home-away-from-home could be as simple as an RV parked in the parents' driveway, a spare room in a relative’s house or more elaborately, a storage shed turned into a "tiny house."

Those planning for the eventuality of a much lower income due to recession will have a much different Plan B, as they need dirt-cheap housing for an extended occupancy that might last from a few months to as long as a few years.

The recession Plan B must include planning for childcare/schooling, healthcare, employment/earning a living—all the day-to-day components of Plan A.

The recession Plan B also has to account for the possibility that the return to the Plan A lifestyle will no longer be an option due to health issues, the decline of the sector of employment, or permanent declines in household income.

The burn-out Plan B is intended to be permanent. Plan A is being replaced by a Plan B that must provide the essentials of home, work and community--what I call fully functional residence.

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NidStyles's picture

Pfft, no plan B. I simply live within the realm of reality. I have firearms, survival skills, and skills that I can barter for goods that include hunting, woodworking and metalworking.

This is my lifestyle.

WTFRLY's picture

Survival of the fittest

NoDecaf's picture

Someone convinced me that the future is awesome. We're all going to have cheap stuff made by robots. You won't even have to mow the lawn or wipe your ass because it will all be done for you!

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) NoDecaf Apr 17, 2017 11:36 PM

Nothing like living the dream baby!

Until you get punched in the face by reality and have blood dripping all over the place.

Keyser's picture

I've already put Plan B into action and I am still living the good life, although 8,000 miles away from the US... Lots of place on this spinning rock in space to escape the madness...

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Keyser Apr 18, 2017 12:33 AM

Good for you.

D Nyle's picture

Neighbors are liberal survivalist (no guns), I have guns. problem solved

new game's picture

darwin can be a bitch...

first to go are about 33 percent of worthless eaters, blobs, and drugged healthcare parasites.

what is the problem here again?

ruthless bastard, lol...

Déjà view's picture

Sans FATCA...Mr.T most likely will T as in Tighten noose further...

Cloud9.5's picture

After 48 hours of vigilance without rest you are no longer fit.

Cloud9.5's picture

We have learned a few basics having gone through four hurricanes.  Three days without water and you will no longer be fit.  Most people will be forced into drinking contaminated water within a week of grid failure.  Sewage systems will fail. Many will sicken and die due to water borne illnesses.  If you have a well get a hand pump as a backup.  At a minimum, get a back packer’s water filter.  Three weeks without food and you will no longer be fit.  When the power goes out refrigeration fails. Food begins to spoil after three days.  Most people will be hard pressed to find ways of cooking without electricity. People with RV’s will be better situated than most.  Many will have back yard grills.  Some will have camp stoves.  You can pick up a Dutch oven at Walmart for around twenty bucks and cook with fire wood if push comes to shove.  Twenty pounds of beans and rice will go a long way towards bringing you and yours through the storm.  Most people will begin to go hungry after the first few days.  They will begin to starve after the first week. Things will start to get crazy after the first week.  Arm yourselves.  Stay close to home and remain vigilant.


Generators are a short term solution.  If you have freezers, they will enable you to eat more of your frozen food before it spoils. After about the first week a running generator will serve as a magnet and draw all sorts of desperate people to your location.  Depending on the circumstance that could be a problem.

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

Good on ya and well said. I need to learn more about growing shit. killing shit I have down pretty good. metalworking is huge - another gap in my skill set. But I think you have the mindset/strategy most should look up to.

OFF TOPIC (mostly):


ANTIFA, and their ideological fellow travellers.

Leaving aside the alt right faggot that punched that 100 pound woman (thus giving cryptofascist Leftists a pithy meme to confirm their dismissal of everyone not a statist-Leftist a 'nazi')(( yes, she is a cunt that seemed to embrace violence, and no that doesnt matter))..

ahem.. its been basically all antifa with the violence, the censorship, and basically the Left generating hate hoaxes at record pace to keep up the 'everyone I dont like is a Nazi' thing..

Anyway... I'm just trying to say I am sick if these fucks after this most recrnt thing. Saw them kick and stomp a guy on the ground for an extended period as the cops apparently stood down.

- I get they were ordered to and some didnt want to but plenty of video of cops being absolute stereotypical smug assholes when asked questions.

Ive seen plenty of violence- for some reason watching these fucking assholes stomp this guy....

I got mad.

And I have STAYED mad.

Look... I think there should be more free speech rallies that are less focused on Benedict Trump (if he's still your Chosen One, you are letting Trump do to you whst Obama did to the anti-Bush Left... *learn* from how they let party loyalty and a cult of personality make them keep worshipping Obana after he became Bush 2.0..

sorry, anyway- more rallies, and when antifa attacks- make them regret it.

I think they need to learn fear. They need to FEAR what might happen to them if they curb stomp old men and throw m80s at women and generally try to stop all speech they dislike with violence on the Potemkin justification that everyone not Far Left is a 'nazi'

These people are neo-Bolsheviks.

Or to borrow from Ranier Wolfcastle: ANTIFA et al are COMMIE-NAZIS.

I think we need to better organize defense of free soeech rallies (even if pro-Trump... like many of you I absolutely want to defend everyone's right to soeak and that core principle is much more important than any particular position.

I am not suggesting hunting anyone down.

Im suggesting that next time antifa commie nazi scum stomp on a guy on the ground... they bleed for it.

Some men you just can't reach
except through a scope.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Agree...except that commie skank should have had to replace all of her teeth, and have a proctologist remove a size 12 boot out of her rectum. Same goes for all of her buds. The only good Red is a dead Red!

918pigpen's picture

Been living Plan B for several years now, productive farmland, water , timber, 3 b's, NO DEBT, No Job

grow my food raise my protein! Bring It!

If it weren't for insurance and taxes I would live like a King!!

And I do have a plan C !!   LOL

Let the Empire crumble!

We will never see the "Good Ole Days" again!

Is-Be's picture

It could go either way, we are perched on a knife edge.

Trump uses intuition to make his decisions. He is a Go player, not a chess player.

And that is a good thing. But is his intuition good enough? Is yours? Help is on its way.


My intuition is to learn to grow potatoes or anything else that wants to live.

meditate_vigorously's picture

Well, at our house we are on the Roman Numeral system, so we don't have a plan B either.

Restorative_Ally's picture

Plan B I'm ready for.

It's Plan A that has me in knots.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Apr 17, 2017 10:33 PM

I like the idea of a bug out Van / RV / cargo trailer. Simple and portable.

NidStyles's picture

If you need something that large to survive, then you have way too much bullshit. Trim your kit, you shouldn't need so much crap.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) NidStyles Apr 17, 2017 11:17 PM

Fuck you. I wasn't talking about living in a damned Class A.

I am dealing with this shit in real time too. My father can't afford to live in southern fucking California and finally realized he is almost broke. He still thinks he can buy a house. He can't. He can afford two options: living in a cheap studio apartment and paying rent (utilities included) or he can afford to buy a cheap RV for cash. Oh and that also means he has to move to my state which he hates because it gets cold. He is 84 and thinks he is 34 and living the dream. It has to suck to wake up and realize you are mortal, broke, and have to depend on a bitch like me to help you.

As for having too much shit, my idea of the good life doesn't include living in a fucking tent under the freeway. So fuck off troll.

NoDecaf's picture

Did you say a TENT?

Why do you need so much crap?

Is-Be's picture

Hoowee! Didn't take our happiness pills this morning, did we?

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Is-Be Apr 18, 2017 12:31 AM

Be happy that I am not the bitch you have to depend on to do everything for you because you can't read, you can't hear, you can't use modern tech and you piss everyone off (including your family).

My father should do jumping jacks every day. I am a Christian. He is not. That doesn't matter because as a Christian I have the burden of caring for my last surviving parent.

Whether he likes it or not.

Aegeas Du'Augloth's picture

You're not a Christian, 

Or you'd hold your foul tongue that spews bile and frogs out of it.

For fucks sake.... get you damn dream wood floors refinished already and pull the tampon out and quit whining already.

Sounds like you're missing a man in your life to make your toes curl..

P.S. ~ actuall Christians do their good deads in silence and in the "shadows". You've already received your reward and praise for your good deeds because you're like " look at me, look how great I am because I'm taking care of my last living parent "....

Truly sad on so many levels... I hope you ponder that.


Four chan's picture

are stacks of gold and silver a plan?

Global Douche's picture

With at least some of us? Fuck yeah! :-)

Four chan's picture

take up arms against our oppressors, start from the top unlike hitler.

Seasmoke's picture

My Plan B is to go back to Plan A. It seems to be working out better for the Plan A onlys. 

stant's picture

Analog is looking competitive again

blindman's picture

plans are for those who do not get where
they are. no?

blindman's picture

Tom Waits - Hope I don't fall in love with you

sdot54's picture

more people should think about the "what if" question...because we are just on track for a shit show future if this keeps up

I Write Code's picture

When the music's over, turn out the lights.

Common_Cents22's picture

im selling my high end lake lot this summer, cancelling my home build.   pay $5k a year in taxes on an empty lot.  selling my 28ft cruiser, my bentley, maybe harley.   hopefully im timing the top of the market.

i feel a major storm coming........

CRM114's picture

Sold my Jag XK8 convertible in Jan 2008 - nicely timed.

Yacht buyers appear to be getting fewer - I'd be prepared to offer a tad below the supposed 'market' price if you wish to shift it quick.

Common_Cents22's picture

yeah, im afraid to look at current yacht prices haha.   but the GOOD thing is i bought mine new demo 25 hrs from a bankrupt dealer (well, the bank) during the credit crunch so i should be ok.

NidStyles's picture

Why do you have so much bullshit in the first place?

Common_Cents22's picture

i had a helluva time!!!  time to turn the toys to cash and wait for the next downturn.    

NoDecaf's picture

Plan C - if anyone has a Jag XK8 to trade or barter for my awesome survival skills hit me up, lets make a deal.

I'm running a pre-SHTF special... Bucket of wood grubs and a blue tarp

OverTheHedge's picture

I used to have a high income, and lots of toys. Unfortunately, I worked out that I had lots of toys to compensate for having a shit life. I used to see my wife in daylight twice a month, on alternative Sundays. Lots of lovely money though, so obviously living the dream.

I now have completely the opposite - no toys (well, a few), no money, but a brilliant, outstanding lifestyle. My most recent, major purchase was a compressor. Fabulous toy. Who needs a shiny convertible when you drive off-road almost every day? 4x4 is way more fun. My life now revolves around food - if I'm not cooking, I'm growing something to cook later. This week, I will mostly be making bacon. Beats driving 100 miles to meet a client who doesn't want to invest in some scrappy fund that exists for the sole purpose of extracting wealth from an unsuspecting Muppet.

hxc's picture

Love ya nid, but how can you be an ancap while not appreciating the nicer things in life???

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

He who dies with the most toys wins.

Is-Be's picture


Generate options. Don't close them down.

CRM114's picture

I shall be forced to live off the products I can get within a half-day's walk, or can grow/gather myself.

Lobster, mussels, trout, steak, bacon, fries (canola & potatoes), beer, wine, cider.

If things get desperate, I may manage to find a token vegetable.


I have the vacuum packed coffee well hidden ;)