Monday, June 30, 2008

Peak Oil and Retirement

I know I've mentioned how my landlord thinks the world economy will crash and burn in the next 20 years, based on peak oil production occurring now. (In short, the premise is that the world economy is based on oil production, and that when the oil is gone, the economy goes poof.)

So with this in mind, how should one invest for their retirement? In 20 years, I'll be almost 60 years old. First, I don't hold any illusions about receiving social security when I'm 62, and second, I'll be in a really, really bad position if all the saving I do now leaves me with nothing because of an economic implosion.

I have a small family, and I don't have (and don't plan on having) kids, so who will I be able to fall back on? Will I end up homeless? Do I need to take survivalist training courses so that I can live in the country and garden and hunt and be self-sufficient?

Yes, it's pretty extreme to think the economy will go poof in the next 20 years, but while I don't fully agree with the peak oil hypotheses about what will happen to the economy, I can't help but wonder. The arguments do have merit. How long will it take the US to really get behind alternative energy sources and alternatives to driving cars that rely on gas alone? Will it happen before or after a major economic depression?

Will I still have retirement savings at 60?

If the implosion does happen, will I be aware enough of what's going on to cash out my money so that I'm not financially stranded?

I'm not speculating on all of this as a way to say "oh, well, I'm going to spend my money now." I'm just really trying to look at the big, long-term picture. My plan has always been to support myself and be self-sufficient. While I plan to get married one of these days, I still plan on having my own financial net.

Having a semi-substantial cache of cash under the mattress may not be such a bad idea...

1 comment:

xxancroft said...

Some good points made. Retirement along with the abolition of slavery and the death penalty [in many places] is a function of enough spare energy in the system to enable a certain amount of idealism. You are obviously going to be watching the trends and in a better position to cash out than most, but when TPTB take action while everyone's asleep it will be easy to get caught out. Suggest you read material by Dmitry Orlov about the collapse of the Soviet Union, if you have not already done so.