So you’ve survived the pandemic. Congrats! Now there’s potentially World War III to deal with. If World War III does happen, we should learn how to prepare now.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine does have the possibility of starting the next World War. Imagine. Belarus joins Russia in the war. NATO fights back. China backs up Russia. China invades Taiwan. Then the U.S. finally steps up.
If the U.S. gets heavily involved, then our citizens become at risk. Once a dirty bomb hits America, billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg can retreat to over 700+ acres of now private Kauai land. He’s probably in Hawaii already.
Even Mark’s buddy, Facebook ex-board member and early investor, Peter Thiel has a private jet gassed up and waiting to fly his family and friends to the most expensive place in the world, New Zealand, if World War III ensues.
But what about the rest of us poor saps who can’t afford to buy out indigenous people or cough up $20,000 an hour for a 12-hour Gulfstream 650 flight across the world? Are we commoners screwed? Heck no!
We must stand our ground and fight for our freedom as the ungodly rich flee our great nation! If we survive, we can then rebuild our own empires. In the process, we can confiscate the properties of those who fled and permanently ban them from returning home.
How To Prepare For World War III
Let’s hope we have peace on Earth. However, just in case the world goes to hell, here are some things I’m planning on doing and so should you.
1) Be as fit as you were in high school.
Now is the time to stop making excuses about physical fitness. We had our chance to get fit during the pandemic, but now there’s World War 3 to deal with. If you’re overweight, it’s time to get back into tip top shape. It’s important to be as lean as possible when you’re chasing down or running away from an enemy combatant.
I plan to make sure I can run three consecutive miles in 18 minutes or less. I’m only about two miles away from the ocean where I can take cover among the sea people. Make sure you are fit enough to run nonstop to your closest safe zone! And if not, get an electronic scooter.
Here are two weight charts to see if you’re a healthy weight. If you’re not within the guidelines, then at least make sure you can complete the distance and time requirements. Remember, you don’t have to outrun an angry bear. You just need to outrun the person next to you. The least fit will die first!
2) Reinforce your secret room (panic room).
Do you remember watching Wes Craven’s 1991 film, The People Under The Stairs? It’s as terrible as watching The Exorcist as a kid. Nightmares galore! You’ll learn from the movie that everybody should build a secret room so nobody can find them.
If you don’t have a secret room, you must build one. If you can’t build one, then convert a crawl space, attic, or unassuming closet into one. After the air strikes are done, the ground strikes will begin. A secret room will help you hide from your oppressors.
Your secret room should have electrical outlets for a mini fridge, microwave, router, CCTV, laptop, and cell phone. You should be able to live in your secret room for at least a month to let any sort of nuclear radiation thin out a little. If your enemy is camped outside, the longer you can hold out, the higher your chance for survival as they move on to their next victims.
Don’t forget to build a ventilation system and reinforce the entry way with steel rebar. The biggest risk to a secret room is that it gets discovered. Your enemies could smoke or burn you out, so consider having some type of anti-fire device, and definitely keep several oxygen masks as well.
Examples of panic rooms for World War 3
3) Train in hand-to-hand combat and the use of firearms.
Now is the time to watch every single Youtube video there is about how to use a knife and a gun. Take classes in hand-to-hand combat as well. Focus on chopping the person’s throat, elbowing the solarplex, and kneeing the groin. If you can grab a hold of your assailant’s pinky, bend it backwards until it snaps.
I studied martial arts for years growing up in Asia so don’t mess with me intruders! Further, as a softball slugger, I’m handy with using a bat. Time for everyone to brush up and get fierce!
4) Create an A-team to survive World War III.
If it’s just you and your family, it’s going to be harder to survive the war compared to a hoard of 60 heavily-armed militia.
In order to build a team, you’ve got to make a pact before anything happens. That means reaching out to your nearby friends and sharing your contingency plan with them. Maybe they’ll think you’re crazy, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
We created pandemic pods. We should create World War III A-teams.
Don’t be that dumbass who connects over LinkedIn out of the blue when he wants something. You need to be maintaining relationships long before something bad happens!
If your house gets overrun, you need to be able to flee to a friend’s place. I have one friend who lives 2.5 miles away who has already built a panic room with a 6-inch reinforced steel door. The importance of being fit enough to run nonstop to your closest ally cannot be underestimated.
The Financial Samurai A-Team will include any reader who has read since this site started in 2009, contributed at least 100 thoughtful comments, knows how to communicate and play well with others, and has skills in archery, camping, hand-to-hand combat, and critical reasoning.
5) Set up a proprietary communication system.
If either my wife or I am ever captured, we have a secret code word we will use if ever we get to speak again. A lot of times captives are forced to speak under duress (e.g., gun to head, knife to throat), hence, if for some reason I can’t detect the worry in her voice, she’ll use one of several secret words to signal her true situation.
We also have a secret post to leave a message on Financial Samurai. Financial Samurai stayed up every day during the pandemic. It sure as heck will stay up during an invasion. However, in the event that all electronic communication is lost, we will leave little clues in the real world.
Where To Invest During World War III
The chance of World War III is pretty low, but it’s a good idea to prepare anyway. In the more likely event that our global politicians just play chicken with our lives, here are the financial moves I’ll be more eager to make.
1) Worst case scenario: hoard real assets
Money means nothing during a world war because governments will proceed to crank up the printing press to fund their army, thereby causing inflation. Sometimes there’s hyperinflation, as in the case with Germany post World War One.
After World War One, the German Mark fell from 4.2 marks to 8.91 marks per dollar. But paying for war reparations caused an economic collapse. The exchange rate rose to 4,200,000,000,000 marks per dollar by the end of 1923. The rate of inflation was 3,250,000% per month! By mid-1923 workers were being paid as often as three times a day. As soon as the workers got paid, they’d rush to buy some goods before their cash became worthless.
Real assets to consider hoarding include real estate, gold, silver, copper, oil, steel, cars, weapons, watches, matches, lighters, multiple pair of glasses, binoculars, pads, canned food, socks and shoes. Cryptocurrencies plummeted in value while gold surged the day Russia invade Ukraine.
Since cash becomes useless, it’s important to have real things to barter with. Unfortunately, the minimalist who rents and owns nothing will be screwed in a high inflation environment. Therefore, you need to be a maximalist who owns everything you want and need that money could once buy.
2) Bad scenario: buy the most sovereign bonds possible
If things don’t get too bad, then consider buying bonds from the country you think will come out a winner. At least buy bonds in a country that you believe will pay back its debt. The most sovereign country is usually the United States because we have the biggest army, the deepest financial system, and a world currency.
During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the U.S. dollar gained against the world because the world found relative sanctuary in U.S. assets. This was even though many Americans were freaking out about whether they’d have a job the next week! When Russia invaded Ukraine, the USD strengthened and the Ruble weakened.
Remember, everything is relative when it comes to investing.
If the Chrysler building in Manhattan blows up tomorrow, stocks will tank and Treasury bonds will surge as investors flee riskier assets. Emerging market equities will probably sell off harder than the S&P 500 as well. Don’t forget the fear of contagion that wrecked the Asian economies in 1997.
I was loading up on municipal bonds after the 10-year bond yield hit 3% in 2018. Then the 10-year bond yield fell to about 0.5% in 2020 and is now back up to 2%. Bonds are once again getting more attractive.
In a World War 3 scenario, the U.S. should emerge victorious. Therefore, the world will be buying U.S. Treasuries and U.S. real estate all day long.
3) A swift uncertain scenario: hoard cash and do nothing
If we’re just going through temporary uncertainty, then hoarding cash is just fine. Even though cash is losing purchasing power due to elevated inflation, it’s still better than losing actual money in the stock market. Most politicians are rational, therefore, they usually won’t go crazy with their aggression out of fear they’ll be overthrown.
Hoarding cash is the easiest and most logical move to make during times of uncertainty. Here are other capital preservation investments to consider.
Paying down debt without fully paying off debt is the wrong move because you’ll still have monthly payments. Liquidity is most valuable during times of uncertainty. The more liquid you are the more choices you have.
4) A positive long-term scenario: buy stocks
Based on history, buying the S&P 500 at the start of a war has usually proven to be profitable. Below is a chart from Fundstrat that shows how the S&P 500 performed after the Vietnam War, Gulf Wr, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, and Crimean Crisis.
The Afghanistan War period is something to be aware of since our current situation is similar. We’ve had a long bull market full of irrational exuberance. The good thing is, many of the most expensive growth stocks and speculative assets have already corrected by 50% – 80% within the past six months. Whereas, it took 2-3 years for similar types of securities to correct post the Dotcom bubble.
It’s Always Worth Preparing For The Worst
If there is a World War III, your number one goal is to survive until the chaos clears. Most wars don’t last longer than two years.
Think about World War III as round two of another global pandemic. We’ve already experienced two years of the pandemic. Hence, perhaps World War III won’t feel as long if it happens.
It is incredibly sad an unnecessary war has begun. Lives will be lost. Livelihoods will be ruined. And so much economic progress and goodwill will disappear.
After the invasion of Ukraine began, the Moscow stock exchange (MOEX) traded down 33% in one day. RSX, the VanEck vectors Russia ETF declined by 22%+ on February 24, 2022.
Nobody wins if World War III breaks out. We just have to gut it out until better days arrive.
Readers, how are you preparing for World War III? For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter.