Better a Year Early Than a Day Too Late: Preparation Only Has Value in Advance

He who hesitates is lost. ---proverb

Change, especially a collapse scenario, often happens quite fast. So fast that there's little to no time to react in the short frenzy between "before" and "after".

This is true throughout nature. Glaciers that took millennia to form calve off into the sea in a matter of moments. Old-growth forests filled with thousand-year-old trees can be decimated by a single wildfire. The bubonic plague "Black Death" pandemic of the Middle Ages killed one-third of the Earth's human population over just four short years.

Fast change is also a hallmark of human society. Movements and ideas -- oftentimes simmering for years, decades or longer -- suddenly reach a critical state in which the populace is swept up into history-making action. The outbreak of World War I. The Civil Rights movement. The dissolution of the USSR. The Digital Age.

When it comes, change happens swiftly. And life after -- for better or worse -- is forever different.

I've witnessed this time and time again since co-founding PeakProsperity.com. And in pretty much every instance, I notice that the vast majority of people -- including even many of the the watchful and preparation-minded folks who read this site -- are caught by surprise.

Fukushima

A good example of this was the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March of 2011. Of course, no one could have foretold the timing and scale of the tsunami, and virtually nobody expected that it could overwhelm the facility as spectacularly as it did. So in the immediate aftermath of the plant's failure, the world looked on in sympathy, not fear.

But on March 12th, that changed as the first of several hydrogen explosions was observed among the reactors. And then my phone rang.

It was Chris, my co-founder here at PeakProsperity.com. "I don't know exactly what that was, but it wasn't good", he said. Based on his background in the sciences, his strong assessment was that the situation at the plant was much more serious than was being publicly admitted to.

Since I live on the west coast here in the US, he advised me to consider getting a radiation detection/contamination protection kit -- "just in case". While we both hoped it wouldn't come to that, I quickly heeded the advice. I placed an order for a kit as well as a shipment of iodine tablets.

I was very lucky to have done so. Because just a few short hours later, as the world woke up to the worsening situation at Fukushima, anything related to radioactive contamination was sold out across the US. For months. The supply chain for that stuff was miniscule compared to the demand of a panicked nation.

If you were late to game -- and pretty much EVERYBODY but the extreme early-birds like me was -- you were out of luck. And vulnerable.

Now, thankfully, as horrible as the on-going crisis there still is (it's five years later and the radioactive fuel that melted through containment still remains in a molten state), the worst-case scenario didn't materialize.

But I still keep my contamination kit handy. More than anything else as a reminder of how fast things can change. And of the outsized value of early action.

Oroville Dam

More recently, we saw a similarly swift devolution of events at California's Oroville Dam this year. The west coast had suffered an especially wet winter, and an arrival of a Pineapple Express in February didn't help the situation.

California residents were focused on flooding and mudslides in the usual places -- no one had any inkling that there was risk of larger infrastructure failures, let alone one at the tallest dam in the US. And, as the water levels rose at the Oroville Dam, the communication from state authorities was "All is fine. All is under control. There's nothing to worry about" -- until suddenly a mass evacuation of over 200,000 residents living downstream was ordered.

Not surprisingly, the subsequent panicked scramble resulted in tremendous traffic jams, slowing down the evacuation to a snail's pace. Residents had no time to prepare, buy supplies (if there were enough in their area to purchase), or line up a safe destination they could head for. They just had to grab what they could and flee as best they were able.

Again, everything appeared fine right up until the tipping point. Those with the foresight beforehand to pack a to-go bag, arrange a bug-out crash pad -- or better yet -- leave for a safer location until the waters stopped rising, fared much better than the herd who waited.

2008 Financial Crisis

On a more economic note, I've pointed out in a number of past articles how quickly things went south during the 2008 financial crisis. Even pundits like Chris and I, who warned for years it was very likely coming, were still shocked by how viciously it struck.

Most folks have preferred to forget how quickly the bubble popped. Between September and October, the S&P 500 lost one-third of its value. Poof!

Of course, the S&P then continued falling through March, ending at over 50% lower than its pre-crisis high. Millions of jobs were lost over these months. And the prices of other major assets from houses to bonds were savaged, too.

It all happened so quickly that most investors and homeowners were simply overwhelmed by the shock. Unsure what to do, they simply watched the price of their assets continue to fall -- praying for the carnage to end.

Timing Isn't Everything. Positioning Is.

They say that Timing is everything. I disagree.

Trying to time disruptive events is a fool's errand. In the years I've been involved in running this business, I've seen too many people make big bets (portfolio allocation, geographic relocation, job change, etc) because they were rock-solidly convinced a major change event was 'imminent'. Most of those folks eventually regretted the cost of their haste as the status quo muddled on much longer than they'd expected.

Anyone who predicts with exactitude about the when of future events is deluding either you or themselves. More likely, both.

BUT, we can predict the what (i.e., what will happen) with much greater precision. And that's where advantage can be gained.

For instance, many of those paying attention in the years leading up to 2008 had arrived at the conclusion that bad policies and overly-loose lending standards had resulted in mal-investment on such a grand scale that a massive clearing event was inevitable. Did they know the date of the tipping point? No. But they knew the probability for a major financial crisis increased with each year.

Those who positioned themselves -- prudently -- in advance avoided the losses that everyone else took. As The Big Short detailed, some were even able to profit wildly from their foresight (though admittedly, this was just a rarified few).

The adjective "prudently" is important here, because here at PeakProsperity.com we emphasize risk management, not speculation. Our goal is to maximize our odds for prospering no matter which future outcome arrives. Yes, the intent is to enjoy the best (risk-adjusted) return in building our wealth as possible. But it's important to understand that sometimes 'prospering' simply means losing less than we would have otherwise, should events go against our expectations.

So for those looking to protect and growth their wealth, our advice is to focus on the positioning for highly-predictable events rather than their timing

This is the same logic underlying an insurance policy. Illness/injury, car accidents, house fires -- the timing of these, if they happen at all, is unknowable. But should they happen, insurance only has value to you if you procured it in advance.

The exact same is true across the spectrum of the Eight Forms Of Capital (for those unfamiliar with this framework, it's the guidance we offer for building "true wealth" in life). Don't wait to invest in your health until you've developed a chronic condition. Don't put off building community before a crisis (injury, job loss, etc) forces you to ask for help from others. Don't forget about creating an emergency kit until some disaster (hurricane, earthquake, flood, etc) hits.

For those who put off taking advance action, it may be simply "too late" in a number of scenarios should the status quo quickly change.

Don't be an 'avoidable victim'. For the events you calculate are likely to happen, assess your current level of preparedness and take steps now to shore up any deficiencies. As you do this, ask yourself: What would I absolutely regret not having in place should this happen tomorrow? Make that list your top priority.

To help you in this, we have a self-assessment form, which you can download for free here. We use it at our annual seminar each year, so it's pretty well-honed at this point.

After taking it, some folks prefer to go a step further and schedule a consultation with Chris to discuss their personal situation and get his experienced perspective on their plans as they take shape. If interested, you can learn more about how to do that here.

But the main focus here is to prioritize the key steps to take in advance of any potential life-altering events that concern you.

For example, anyone who reads PeakProsperity.com should know that Chris and I think a major market correction is long overdue. We anticipate price drops of a similar magnitude as seen during the 2008 crisis, and possibly even worse. (For those new to this site, read: The Mother Of All Financial Bubbles)

If you share our conclusion, are you positioned prudently should the market correction arrive tomorrow?

Remember that in 2008, most people didn't expect the market to fall. Folks believed: It's different this time. Yet when the market started tanking in September, it happened so quickly that investors had already lost a third of their portfolio's value by the time their October statements arrived in the mail. At that point, most were psychologically unprepared, and simply held on, praying that the market would go back up. And still prices kept falling for months after.

Don't let this happen to you. Determine what your minimum acceptable positioning should be and then make sure it's in place. Even if it's as simple as just holding more of your investment portfolio in boring old cash. (Feel free to read our How To Hedge Against A Market Correction guide for additional ideas). I myself just updated readers on how I recently increased my short positions within my portfolio.

Yet it still surprises me how many people I talk with regularly who agree the risk of a market correction is uncomfortably high, but have not yet begun to position themselves accordingly.

For example, a large number of folks have had free consultations with our endorsed financial advisor since the start of 2017, each very concerned to protect their financial wealth should a market correction happen. Many indeed plan to open accounts, but haven't yet -- remaining invested in their existing long positions for the time being. Why? Because they've been making money over the past several years, and can't yet wean themselves off of the central bank gravy train even though their brains tell them it will inevitably come to an abrupt and painful end.

If you're one of these folks, please reflect for a moment. No one can predict when the next market downturn will happen. By the time it does, your capital needs to have already been positioned smartly in advance. It will do you a lot less good to try to sell after taking an initial round of losses. And at that point, emotionally, you might find yourself too shell-shocked to take action. There might even be restrictions placed on access to your funds if the situation gets bad enough. So is today's urge to wait 'just a little bit longer' worth the risk?

Only you can determine if and when to transfer any of your capital over. But if you've already made the decision in your mind to eventually do so (as many of you have expressed), then a prudent step is to simply fill out the paperwork to open an account now. You can deal with any transfers later. Doing this is a small investment of your energy in the here and now, but will save you valuable time, stress and potential uncertainty should you decide to move your money there urgently in the future. So whether you plan to work with our endorsed adviser or another one you like even better, remove as much 'friction' as you can today that could threaten to derail your goals for tomorrow. 

The same logic applies to nearly anyone concerned by the Three E's discussed in The Crash Course:

  • Homeowners looking to sell before the next housing downturn -- With more and more major markets topping out, have you determined a time frame by which you'd like to have your house sold? Have you identified the broker/agent you'd like to use? Have you calculated your desired listing price?
  • Account holders at Too Big To Fail banks -- If you're planning on eventually moving your cash to an alternative provider with less exposure to derivative risk or the potential for a "bail-in", have you identified the specific credit union/savings bank/private vault/etc yet? Have you conducted a test transfer yet?
  • Those considering buying cryptocurrency for the first time -- Have you learned how to purchase them yet? Which coin(s) do you want to buy? Are you going to use an exchange? Which one? How do you plan to store your coins? Have you lined up that solution yet?
  • Those switching to a de-growth lifestyle -- Where do you want to live? What will your homestead needs be? Will you keep your current job or need to re-skill? Will your new lifestyle depend more on others? If these answers require any life changes, have you made any of them yet?
  • And on and on...

In all of these cases, the benefits of taking action on the essential steps today, in advance of a future date by which you may desperately want those steps to have been taken, are clear.

Most folks just need a little nudge or inspiration to get started. Consider this your call to action. For those who haven't thoroughly utilized them yet, our free What Should I Do? Guide, as well as our book Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting are chock full of our best guidance and recommendations.

As Chris has often said about preparing for events that have large downside risks: It's much better to be a year early than a day late.

Very wise words.

What would you regret most being a day late on? Whatever your answer, focus your attention there -- today.

~ Adam Taggart

What is the Secret Service trying to hide about Trump's assassination attempt?

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / Contributor, Anadolu / Contributor | Getty Images

This past weekend we were mere inches away from a radically different America than the one we have today. This was the first time a president had been wounded by a would-be assassin since 1981, and the horrific event has many people questioning the competency and motives of the supposedly elite agents trusted with the president's life.

The director of the Secret Service apparently knew about the assassin's rooftop before the shooting—and did nothing.

Kimberly Cheatle has come under intense scrutiny these last couple of weeks, as Secret Service director she is responsible for the president's well-being, along with all security operations onsite. In a recent interview with ABC, Cheatle admitted that she was aware of the building where the assassin made his mark on American history. She even said that she was mindful of the potential risk but decided against securing the site due to "safety concerns" with the slope of the roof. This statement has called her competence into question. Clearly, the rooftop wasn't that unsafe if the 20-year-old shooter managed to access it.

Glenn pointed out recently that Cheatle seems to be unqualified for the job. Her previous position was senior director in global security at America's second-favorite soda tycoon, PepsiCo. While guarding soda pop and potato chips sounds like an important job to some, it doesn't seem like a position that would qualify you to protect the life of America's most important and controversial people. Even considering her lack of appropriate experience, this seems like a major oversight that even a layperson would have seen. Can we really chalk this up to incompetence?

Former Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / Contributor | Getty Images

The Secret Service and DHS said they'd be transparent with the investigation...

Shortly after the attempted assassination, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, launched an investigation into the shooting and the security protocols in place at the rally. The DHS promised full transparency during the investigation, but House Republicans don't feel that they've been living up to that promise. Republican members of the House Oversight Committee are frustrated with Director Cheatle after she seemingly dodged a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. This has resulted in calls for Cheatle to step down from her position.

Two FBI agents investigate the assassin's rooftop Jeff Swensen / Stringer | Getty Images

Why is the Secret Service being so elusive? Are they just trying to cover their blunder? We seem to be left with two unsettling options: either the government is even more incompetent than we'd ever believed, or there is more going on here than they want us to know.

Cheatle steps down

Following a horrendous testimony to the House Oversight Committee Director Cheatle finally stepped down from her position ten days after the assassination attempt. Cheatle failed to give any meaningful answer to the barrage of questions she faced from the committee. These questions, coming from both Republicans and Democrats, were often regarding basic information that Cheatle should have had hours after the shooting, yet Cheatle struggled with each and every one. Glenn pointed out that Director Cheatle's resignation should not signal the end of the investigation, the American people deserve to know what happened.

What we DO and DON'T know about Thomas Matthew Crooks

Jim Vondruska / Stringer | Getty Images

It has been over a week since 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks narrowly failed to assassinate President Trump while the president gave a speech at a campaign rally in Butler, Pennslyvania. Despite the ongoing investigations, we still know very little about the would-be assassin, which has left many wondering if the agencies involved are limiting the information that Congress and the public are receiving.

As Glenn has pointed out, there are still major questions about the shooter that are unanswered, and the American people are left at the whim of unreliable federal agencies. Here is everything we know—and everything we don't know—about Thomas Matthew Crooks:

Who was he?

What we know:Thomas Crooks lived in Bethel Parks, Pennsylvania, approximately an hour south of Butler. Crooks went to high school in Bethel Parks, where he would graduate in 2022. Teachers and classmates described him as a loner and as nerdy, but generally nice, friendly, and intelligent. Crooks tried out for the school rifle team but was rejected due to his poor aim, and reports indicate that Crooks was often bullied for his nerdy demeanor and for wearing camo hunting gear to school.

After high school, Crooks began work at Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center as a dietary aide. In fact, he was scheduled to work on the day of the rally but requested the day off. He passed a background check to work at the facility and was reportedly an unproblematic employee. Crooks was also a member of a local gun club where he practiced shooting the day before the rally.

It was recently revealed that sometime before his attempted assassination, Crooks posted the following message on Steam, a popular computer application used for playing video games: "July 13 will be my premiere, watch as it unfolds." Aside from this, Crooks posted no warning or manifesto regarding his attack, and little other relevant information is known about him.

What we don't know:It is unclear what Crook's political affiliations or views were, or if he was aligned with any extremist organizations. Crooks was a registered Republican, and his classmates recall him defending conservative ideas and viewpoints in class. On the other hand, the Federal Election Commission has revealed he donated to a progressive PAC on the day Biden was inaugurated. He also reportedly wore a COVID mask to school much longer than was required.

Clearly, we are missing the full picture. Why would a Republican attempt to assassinate the Republican presidential nominee? What is to gain? And why would he donate to a progressive organization as a conservative? This doesn't add up, and so far the federal agencies investigating the attack have yet to reveal anything more.

What were his goals?

What we know: Obviously we know he was trying to assassinate President Trump—and came very close to succeeding, but beyond that, Crooks' goals are unknown. He left no manifesto or any sort of written motive behind, or if he did, the authorities haven't published it yet. We have frustratingly little to go off of.

What we don't know: As stated before, we don't know anything about the movies behind Crooks' heinous actions. We are left with disjointed pieces that make it difficult to paint a cohesive picture of this man. There is also the matter that he left explosives, ammo, and a bulletproof vest in his car. Why? Did he assume he was going to make it back to his car? Or were those supplies meant for an accomplice that never showed up?

The shocking lack of information on Crooks' motives makes it seem likely that we are not being let on to the whole truth.

Did he work alone?

What we know: Reportedly, Crooks was the only gunman on the site, and as of now, no other suspects have been identified. The rifle used during the assassination attempt was purchased and registered by Crooks' father. However, it is unlikely that the father was involved as he reported both his son and rifle missing the night of the assassination attempt. Crooks' former classmates described him as a "loner," which seems to corroborate the narrative that he worked alone.

What we don't know: We know how Crooks acquired his rifle, but what about the rest of his equipment? He reportedly had nearly a hundred extra rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and several homemade bombs in his car. Could these have been meant for a co-conspirator who didn't show? Did Crooks acquire all of this equipment himself, or did he have help?

There's also the matter of the message Crooks left on the video game platform Steam that served as his only warning of the attack. Who was the message for? Are there people out there who were aware of the attack before it occurred? Why didn't they alert authorities?

We know authorities have access to Crooks' laptop and cellphone that probably contain the answers to these pertinent questions. Why haven't we heard any clarity from the authorities? It seems we are again at the mercy of the federal bureaucracy, which begs one more question: Will we ever know the whole truth?

Who will be Kamala Harris' VP pick?

JIM WATSON / Contributor, Chris duMond / Stringer, Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Over the weekend, President Joe Biden officially dropped out of the 2024 presidential election and put forward his endorsement behind his Vice President Kamala Harris.

Glenn recently predicted that Biden would step down due to the mountain of pressure within his party to do so. But now that we are here we are faced with an all-new line of questions, like, who will be the candidate on the Democratic ticket? Who will be their pick for vice president?

As of now, the answer to the first question seems to be Kamala Harris, who received the support of the president and several prominent democrats. It's still too early to call for certain, and Glenn doesn't think it's likely, but assuming Kamala becomes the Democrat nominee, who will her VP pick be? There are endless possible options, but there are a 5 big names that could prove beneficial to Harris' campaign:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

Bill Pugliano / Stringer | Getty Images

Governor Newsom has spiked in popularity within his party since his taking office in 2019 due to his scathing criticisms of President Trump and other Republicans. Newsom has been a popular contender as a possible Biden replacement, and a future presidential bid seems likely.

His widespread recognition may be a boon to Kamala's ticket, but the California governor comes with a dark side. Newsom was famously nearly recalled as Governor in 2021, hanging on to his office by a narrow margin. He also faced criticism for his hypocrisy during the COVID lockdowns, attending large gatherings while the rest of his state was locked inside. There's also the issue that both Newsom and Kamala are from California, meaning that if they were to appear on the same ticket, that ticket would lack geographical balance and would potentially lead to a Constitutional issue that would force the duo to forfeit all 54 of the states' Electoral College votes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro

Tom Williams / Contributor | Getty Images

Another prominent Democrat Governor, Josh Shapiro has also been floated as a potential VP pick. Governor Shapiro has become a viable pick due to his well-received performance as Pennslyvania's Governor. The governor has good support within the swing state due to his handling of the I-95 bridge collapse, the train derailment in East Palestine, which had effects on his state, and the assassination attempt on the former president last week. Shapiro would bring much-needed support from the swing state if he was put on the ticket.

That being said, Shapiro has little time to build nationwide name recognition before the DNC in August and the November election. This would be Shapiro's debut on the national stage, and he would find himself in the most unforgiving situation possible.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor | Getty Images

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and opponent of Biden during the 2020 Democratic primaries, "Mayor Pete's" name recognition might be what Kamala needs on her presidential ticket. Buttigieg rose to popularity during the 2020 election due to his youth and status as "openly gay." Buttigieg has served as the Secretary of Transportation during the Biden administration for the past four years and has formally endorsed Harris.

Nevertheless, Buttigieg has some dark spots on his resume. The East Palestine train derailment disaster has besmirched his reputation as Secretary of Transportation. And while his youth may work in his favor when compared to the other elderly members of our federal government, it also means Buttigieg lacks the experience and prestige that other politicians enjoy.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

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Yet another governor of a crucial swing state, Whitmer was elected in 2018, two years after President Trump was elected, helping secure the state for the Democrats. Whitmer is known for her strong opposition to Trump, both during his presidency and his reelection campaign. Whitmer serves as co-chair for the Biden-Harris campaign and as vice chairperson of the DNC, which gives her influence over the Democratic party, something that would come in handy as a Vice President. Gov. Whitmer also established the Fight Like Hell PAC, which is dedicated to helping Democrats get elected and to stopping Trump by any means.

On the other hand, in a statement following Biden's resignation from the election, Governor Whitmer stated that her role “will remain the same.” It is also worth noting that if she were to be chosen as Kamala's VP, that would make their ticket all-female, which may foster some "woke points," but is politically risky.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

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Andy Bashear has seemingly beaten the odds twice, having been elected and reelected as the Governor of Kentucky, despite the deep-red nature of the state. Beshear, who has moderate tendencies, would be a boon to the Harris campaign as he has a track record of reaching rural, typically conservative regions where Democrats tend to struggle. He is also known for his propensity to talk about his Christian faith and willingness to work with Republicans, which are traits that might help win over moderates.

But, like Gov. Shapiro, Bashear has very little time to whip up national support and recognition. He also is unlikely to be very much help for the Harris campaign in winning over important swing states.

Five times Glenn had J.D. Vance on his show and where he stands on key issues

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We finally have an answer to the long-awaited question of who Trump will pick for his running mate, and it's none other than Ohio Senator and friend of the show, J.D. Vance. At the RNC in Milwaukee, Trump officially accepted the party's nomination as the Republican candidate and announced J.D. Vance as his running mate.

Glenn has had Senator Vance on the show several times to discuss everything from DEI to the Southern Border. If you are looking to familiarize yourself with the next potential Vice President, look no further, here are five conversations Glenn had with Trump's VP pick:

Why Biden Won't Stop "Racist" Government DEI Programs, But Trump Would

How Trump’s Trials Could HELP Him in the 2024 Election

Could THIS new Senate bill DOOM a Trump presidency?

MIDTERM UPDATE: What Republicans must do to WIN BACK the Senate

'Greatest risk of a terrorist attack in 20 years': Senator SLAMS 'atrocious' Biden move