It’s High Time You Started Worrying: The Rich Are Becoming Preppers

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason March 15, 2017 14:14

It’s High Time You Started Worrying: The Rich Are Becoming Preppers

Prepping has an image. It’s not very fair, but it is persistent. When the average person thinks of a prepper they think rural homes, with chickens running around the yard or in a chicken tunnel and a gun rack on the truck parked out front. They think red state working class who don’t trust the government. The truth is that preppers are a lot more diverse than this image suggests. We’re just ordinary people from all walks of life who think it’s a smart idea to be ready for trouble, because history tells us that trouble will come again sometime.

It looks like more people are waking up to that reality. Most preppers in the past have tended to be working or middle class, and a majority live in rural areas – mostly because it’s a whole lot easier to actually be prepared in a rural area – but now the preparedness trend is spreading into some of America’s upmarket neighborhoods. Is this something we should be positive about? Or is it a worrying development?

A few weeks ago there was an article in the liberal New Yorker about how many of the USA’s richest people are waking up to the need to be prepared. The magazine spoke to several Silicon Valley execs who have bought themselves plots of land – or even private islands – and started stockpiling ammunition and other essentials. What surprised the article’s writer was how many wealthy Californians and New Yorkers were involved in this new, upscale survivalist movement.

Some aspects of the wealthy prepping scene are just laughable. For example there’s the premium bug-out bag that contains a three-day supply of grapefruit face cleanser, peppermint shampoo and cilantro conditioner. There’s a selection of organic super-food snacks and premium teas, and it all comes in a handy leather and canvas doctor’s bag with no shoulder straps and a big bright red cross logo than might as well say “Steal me”.bug out bag for the rich

Things like the Prepster luxury survival kit aren’t for people who want to be prepared. They’re for people who want to show off to their friends how prepared they are. Basically they’re a joke. On the other hand there’s a serious side to this upscale prepper movement, and maybe it’s one that should worry the rest of us.

Traditional preppers aren’t politically connected people. We don’t have access to the insider discussions where the real state of the world gets talked about; we just have a feeling that things aren’t as secure as they could be, and that history – which was supposed to have ended when the Berlin Wall came down – might have a few surprises left in store for us.

What’s happening now is that the people who are politically connected are starting to make their own preparations. Why? What do they know that we don’t? Because these people – not the ones who drop $500 on a designer bug-out bag; the ones who’re actually preparing – are not messing around. They’re spending serious amounts of money on getting themselves ready to survive a social collapse.

Related: Are You Prepared for the Biggest Social Unrest of Our Modern Times?

How serious? Very. The average prepper might get themselves a generator, lay in a supply of flour and rice, add a few extra tinned goods to the weekly shopping list and stock up on ammunition and gun spares. With the economy still in a fragile state that’s the limit of what many people can afford to do. Others can do more, but compared to what some of these rich preppers are doing we’re all in the pocket money range.

People are spending thousands on corrective laser eye surgery, so they aren’t relying on contacts or glasses after the SHTF. They’re stockpiling gold bullion for when the electronic finance system crashes. Some are building up real estate portfolios – an investment that also gives them a choice of bug-out locations. One told the New Yorker that he keeps a helicopter gassed up at all times; the same man has an underground retreat with an air filter system installed.

In short, these new preppers are investing five or six figure sums in their emergency plans. This is not something people do on impulse, and it definitely isn’t something you do as a conversation piece. You might show someone the useless designer survival kit you bought, but are you going to show them your stash of gold coins or take them for a tour of your underground survival retreat? I doubt it. The rich didn’t get rich by showing off their valuable secrets – and, reading between the lines of the New Yorker article, a lot of them are keeping their preparations very discreet. They don’t want anyone outside their immediate circle to know what they’re up to.

So why are they doing it? For some, the spark was the rising tension during last year’s presidential election. It’s hard to think of a more vicious campaign, and President Trump’s inauguration hasn’t done anything to calm it down. In fact, some on the left just seem to have doubled down on the crazy. Protests erupt into violence for the smallest reason, or even for no reason at all. Activists openly talk about resisting the government, overthrowing the system. Many wealthy preppers are liberals themselves, but they’d have to be pretty misguided not to realize that, if widespread far left riots break out, the rich are going to be early targets.

It’s also a fact that the wealthy, even if they don’t work in finance themselves, usually know people who do. They invest through these people, socialize with them and pick up the latest gossip about what’s happening with the global economy. If there are rumors of an upcoming crash they’ll hear about it long before we do. Is that why so many of them have suddenly decided a stash of bullion and guns is such a good idea? It just could be.

Related: 12 Essential Things You Can Scavenge from Cars when SHTF

Also, remember that a lot of rich people are wired into political networks too. It costs so much to campaign now that anyone who’s running for office goes out of their way to cultivate the wealthy. We like to think they wouldn’t do anything as blatant as trade sensitive information for donations, but really, who knows? It’s a fact that wealth buys access, and right now the people with the access are spending some of their wealth on survival retreats and high end bug-out vehicles.

If there are rumors of political instability, or the possibility of a major war, the rich will pick up on it before anyone who relies on the mainstream media for their news. If the economy is going to crash they’ll hear about it from their brokers. If the country is in financial trouble behind the scenes, and the government’s trying to hide it, the elite will hear about it through their networks. They have an advance warning system that will pick up just about any SHTF scenario that’s coming down the road. Is that system sending out alarms right now? Is that why the rich are stockpiling food and ammo?

Here’s something to think about – a lot of the country’s richest people are getting into preparedness in a big way. One estimate put it at over half of California’s tech billionaires. The elite are taking prepping seriously, so maybe the rest of us should step up our own efforts.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason March 15, 2017 14:14
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  1. PrepperGirl March 15, 15:47

    Excellent perspective – I really never thought of this.

    Reply to this comment
  2. PrepperGirl March 15, 15:48

    I had to laugh at the luxury emergency bag though!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Lynch March 15, 16:11

    It’s gets old using fear to sell Prepper products, we do not prep because we are afraid we prep because we are observant. The fact is only two out of ten preppers will ever use their supplies in an emergency situation and 90% of all mres, freeze dried food will end up in a landfill. Unfortunately there are many people that will be disappointed when society doesn’t break down.

    Reply to this comment
    • mhayos July 25, 03:32

      True, but what about that 10% that will use it? Do you want to be that 95% of the population that has nothing but last weeks left overs in the house? Also, a good prepper is stocking up on food that the household uses, thus mostly no food is wasted. We live in scary times if you turn off fake CNN news sites and look for yourself whats happening in the world. Rome fell and so will the US (hopefully a long time from now). We live in a great country but it needs help, just like 200 odd years ago when we left Great Britain.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Firstnana March 15, 16:33

    I would be shocked if many wealthy people were not prepping to some degree. I think the closer you are to the government’s inner workings, the more frightened you have to be. Some of those people have to be fueling the changes at hand and see no reason to prepare because they believe they are creating their new nirvana. Others will see the lunacy of it all, how it will ripple throughout society and those people, well, they’ll be as concerned as the rest of us. The difficulty with becoming prepared is this, (my opinion) is I feel all alone. You can’t tell all your friends and neighbors what you’re doing or discuss the best way to store things. If you truly want to be able to care for your family, others just can’t be aware of everything you are storing up. That also means you have to know a little bit about everything and gaining the necessary knowledge is again, impossible. That is where sites like yours are invaluable. It allows me to gather knowledge, categorize it, store it and hopefully when needed retrieve it for use. Thank you for the time you put into helping us regular people gain the necessary information.

    Reply to this comment
    • CCTer March 15, 17:46

      Well said Firstnana. I live in the suburbs and don’t have property to go to if things get really bad. I’d like to buy some property a couple hours outside of town, but its too expensive.

      Reply to this comment
    • PB -dave March 15, 19:08

      Nana, you are only as alone as you want to be. Yes you’d probably want to play your prepping efforts close to the vest. but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t act normal and be out in the community. Down the street there is an old man who has a fantastic garden, and the grandma who cans and cooks from scratch, a woodworker, another that catches more fish than can ever eat, etc…
      These folks are a 1st hand source of information/education, and they need never to know you are prepping, hell many have been prepping their whole lives. Tap into that resource.

      As for the wealthy prepping, they bare watching for any signs or trends you can pick up on.
      I think most of them would be shocked when after a couple weeks when a simple bar of soap is a “luxury” 🙂

      Reply to this comment
    • Lucy March 16, 01:53

      FirstNana, your comment strikes a chord. Yes, this site is invaluable, with so many helpful, kindly disposed, informed and wise people on it — and almost none of the knee-jerk accusations, blaming, and heated political finger pointing we find at so many other sites. It feels like community.

      I didn’t even know there were others out there, aside from the Mormons, who planned for contingencies as a group. I just knew I didn’t want to be caught without food again, or toilet paper (remember the 1973 shortage?), or water and electric during our frequent power outages. Then Y2K raised our consciousness, even if you didn’t work for IBM or any of the other companies that laid out billions to (successfully!) snatch us from the brink of disaster. We came so close, and we never even acknowledged those who worked so hard for so long to pull it off, much less thanked them. It wasn’t just for them!

      There are a whole lot of financial newsletters out there, and you can tell from reading the comments that a lot of people have a lot of skin in preserving life, liberty, democracy, capitalism, and a lot of money. They are putting their money where their mouth is, and using their resources to buy increased likelihood of survival for themselves and their families, and, for many, their way of life. They are at least as worried about the crazies as anyone else, and as uncertain of the outcome. This isn’t about simplistic, polarizing political labels. A whole lot of people of every stripe are trying to stabilize the spinning top of our current systems. So much anxiety, so much fear that it’s not a win-win game.

      What good luck to have found Clyde and friends sharing so many insights!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Neil March 15, 20:59

    I think more and more, both sides of the political isle are starting to sense increased antagonism and the civil environment is slowly beginning to deteriorate. I don’t think we’re going to have a north vs. South style civil war or anything. We are far too interwoven philosophically and geographically for that. But as the article pointed out, every civilization has an end, and we aren’t getting farther from it. It isn’t the end of the USA yet, but it’s uglier than I have ever seen it.

    Reply to this comment
  6. PL C March 16, 02:25

    Thanks for the update; I feel like I am keeping up with a more global perspective (economically and politically) when reading this blog: . It is certainly not aimed at middle class Americans, but it is conservative, and sometimes addresses the sovereign debt crises. Its software database (proprietary) has predicted many items very accurately, including Brexit and Trump’s election, and more than a year ago was predicting 2017 as a year of civil unrest, worldwide. It may be the rich read this, too.

    Reply to this comment
  7. nickjf22 March 20, 20:19

    Wow, this article is comical. If you really think anyone can predict a market crash, you are way off base. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share, as I am sure that every economist throughout history would be eager to learn what you have discovered and they haven’t. Also, saying the rich don’t buy things on whim is just not true. People with disposable incomes love getting on board the latest trends. It’s what drives luxury markets. People with wealth also often protect it through things like insurance and portfolio diversification. Prepping accomplishes both of these goals. Insinuating that there is some sort of conspiracy in play (“What do they know that we don’t?”) is downright paranoid and absurd. Also, saying that the economy is fragile flies in the face of actual economic statistics and indicators like the booming stock market, major capital accumulation in the last decade, the employment rate, and the GDP. You seem to just be regurgitating bits and pieces of conspiratorial drivel in order to be able to formulate a post that validates your own behavior by associating with elites. If you want to be prepared, just go do it and stop worry about and sensationalising what others are doing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lucy March 20, 21:09

      Dear NicksjF22, guess we will all have to stay tuned. Calling a top or a bottom to a market, or a bubble, is a fluke of timing. Analysts and market forecasters do get it right on from time to time, though. The point isn’t the exact timing, but the trajectory. Wall Streeters talk about the major drivers of the market being fear and greed, which is to say, that people tend to be influenced by others’ attitudes, which makes the bubble inflate when there is a collective sense of optimism, and collapse when the collective feels overcome by fear, and something pricks the bubble. I read a lot of economic and monetary newsletters. This site is echoing the dominant perspective, not creating a market niche.

      Besides, what’s the worst that happens? That you have shelter, food, and fuel for yourself and your neighbors during a tornado, hurricane, flood, power outage, drought, or whatever Mother Nature brings our way? Even if (ideally) none of these things come to pass, and you don’t use some of it, so? It’s called insurance.

      Reply to this comment
      • Lucy March 20, 21:19

        Also job loss, illness, fiercely hot or cold or windy weather, or a bunch of big trees across your driveway that prevent your getting out to the grocery store. It’s very convenient to go into your root cellar or pantry for fresh food. Prepping is also about not having to worry about what might go wrong, because you’re ready. You can let those unprepared buy the last of the water or toilet paper or the carrots or whatever, so it makes their lives easier, too. That’s the difference between stockpiling in times of plenty and hoarding in times of dearth.

        Reply to this comment
    • mhayos2002 July 25, 03:41

      So what did the cool-aid taste like as you gulped it down?

      Reply to this comment
  8. nickjf22 March 20, 20:30

    WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I thought the article was bad enough, but after watching the conspiracy theory video you linked to, I’m truly horrified that anyone is insane enough to buy into this absurdity. Let me spill out the logic why you are essentially proving that you are wrong: You linked to and therefore tacitly endorsed a video. The video claims 281 million Americans will die in the next 6 months. If this happens, I will come back and delete my post and acknowledge that you were right. When it doesn’t happen, you’re going to have to admit that you were wrong and are guilty of perpetuating conspiratorial scare tactics for personal gain. Better cross your fingers and start hoping for a catastrophe!

    Reply to this comment
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    • Lucy March 22, 16:34

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      left coast chuck
      May 27, 19:04
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      August 20, 21:25
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  10. Former West Coast March 23, 03:41

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    Reply to this comment
  11. red March 3, 02:33

    I’m sorry I missed this! Two ex-bosses, both millionaires, one self-made, are prepping. They went partners and bought several hundred acres of abandoned coal mines, and over the course of a few years, built underground homes. The property was landscaped to appear as natural as possible (coal country, nothing is natural, let alone thriving thanks to sulfur in the coal).
    A cousin, a retired biologist who worked for the government, said her family bought land in WV, and did much the same thing. Old coal strippings are easily defended thanks to piles of tailings and boulders, swamps and pits.
    American chestnuts, oaks, crap apple trees, anything eatable in the wild is planted (AKA hidden gardens). Where they can, where lime is abundant, clover and other things are planted to keep the deer herd healthy. No one hunts in these areas and locals are well-paid to keep things ‘natural’.

    Reply to this comment
  12. red March 8, 17:33

    The rich are different. 🙂

    Reply to this comment
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