Today, I want to talk about an interesting "trend" that was brought to my attention recently.
Billionaires' Bunker Swimming Pool
It's about the super-rich, and their renewed rush to get prepared.
I wanted to get to the bottom of this... What do they know that we don't? What does it mean for hard-working everyday Americans like you and me?
Why Billionaires Are Now Preparing
In the past few weeks, several news outlets, from Fox News to The New Yorker, have been covering reports of the super-rich investing heavily in emergency preparedness. Everything from luxury condos built in missile silos to bug-out locations in New Zealand. Sounds nice, right?
Before I dive into those stories, I want to point out that I believe this is nothing new, but something that conveniently fits into the current news cycle. The very rich have always had the resources to invest in things like preparedness, just as much as they can splurge on lavish dinners and vacations.
Yet, we know that a preparedness plan is not just another "nice thing to have." Luckily, it doesn't require a fortune to get prepared - and that may be an advantage we have - more on that later.
Nonetheless, these new reports sparked my curiosity. Why are the super-rich surging to get prepared right now? I decided to dig deeper.
What do they know that we don't?
There is plenty of reason to believe the super-rich know something that the rest of us don't. After all, many of them reached their successful positions of status and influence through diligent and intelligent work. I considered the things they might know that we don't:
Because global business and international politics are so closely intertwined, the billionaire set may be able to assess a global threat before it reaches our shores. They may know threats that our media largely ignores until it's too late.
In fact, I saw an article in TIME recently that might bear out the kind of threats billionaires are privy to. It was written by Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union. His memo warned of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and noted that it "looks as if the world is preparing for war." He was mainly commenting on U.S.-Russian relations, the two nations who hold over 90% of the world's nuclear arsenal.
U.S - China tensions are increasing
At the same time, China has been increasingly aggressive toward our new government, and many of the rich do business there. Many fear that uneasy relations there could result in trade war, even military conflict, unless common ground is reached.
Finally, one last clue that the super-rich might have better intel than us? One word: data. Many of the new billionaire preppers come from the tech industry of Silicon Valley. These people have massive amounts of data - much of it personal and private, which we trust they use responsibly. Yet, there's no reason they can't personally use the intel they get from our data to keep themselves secure - without anyone knowing. Who knows what this data says?
Perhaps the financial elite are preparing for a market bubble to burst. The market has been rising steadily over the past year, bolstered by Trump's election, and underpinned by his first moves in office.
Follow the money - again
However, Trump himself (a billionaire) said out on the campaign trail that we were in a "big, nasty bubble." Many financial insiders believe the administration is being proactive in protecting against a market burst. Yet, with the stock market at record highs, most assume it will dip and level off at some point.
The financial elite might be investing in preparedness in case the market does something unpredictable, like we had with the sub-prime crisis in the late 2000s. Maybe they're unsure if a burst will happen, but they want to be ready if they do, to mitigate any downsides.
Finally, I had to consider the idea that the super-rich don't know anything that we don't already know, they're just deciding that now is the time to invest in preparedness. Many reports refer to these billionaire preppers as "coastal elites," the same ones who could have never predicted a Trump presidency.
So, it could be as simple as the fear of change. Many of the coastal elites and tech companies flourished during the Obama era. They never imagined Trump - now they're uncertain. It's not that there weren't threats or crises during Obama. This illustrates that we can never be certain about the future. The only thing we can do is prepare - with the time and money we have been afforded.
What They Don't Know That We Do
I haven't spent much time detailing the elaborate ways in which the super-rich are preparing, and I did that on purpose. I will say that most of the things they are buying are high-ticket items that are either unnecessary or pointless in a true crisis.
The one thing that really stuck out to me about these billionares' preparedness plans was the lack of one guiding principle.
What were they all missing?