The idea of preparing for the unknown is nothing new. In recent years, however, prepping has become more popular. The rise of natural disasters, pandemics, and social unrest underlines the importance of prepping. There was a time when people would have considered a prepper to be an outlier but that's not the case anymore as it has become mainstream, with nearly everyone becoming one in some capacity.

For a long time, prepping has traditionally been associated with average rural folk and suburban families. Now, many of the world's wealthiest individuals realize that life after a catastrophic event will level the playing field. Accordingly, a new trend of wealthy preppers, taking proactive steps to protect themselves and their families, has emerged. These wealthy preppers have taken prepping to a completely new level by investing millions of dollars in bunkers, luxury shelters, and advanced survival gear.

In this article, we explore the world of wealthy preppers and how they are prepping for the worst. We will also highlight practical ways for anyone, who is not rich, to prepare for the unknown future.

The Rise of Wealthy Preppers

The buzz around prepping has been growing in recent years, and wealthy individuals are no exception. They are aware that wealth in a post-disaster world would be based on shelter, supplies, and skills rather than stocks, bonds, and digital currency. Movies like History Channel’s After Armageddon and Roland Emmerich’s 2012 hint at how wealthy preppers always have an edge.  

Like everyone else, wealthy preppers have various motivations for their preparedness efforts. Some fear a collapse of social order and the economy, while others are concerned about natural disasters or pandemics. For others, prepping is simply a sort of insurance against future uncertainties. Regardless of their motivations, rich preppers are beginning to invest significant amounts of money to ensure their survival.

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Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Rich people have always had a knack for spending money on things that most of us could only dream of. Private jets, yachts, private islands, and mansions are just a few examples of the extravagance that the ultra-wealthy enjoy. Their extravagance now also extends to prepping.

In 2017, the New Yorker published an article entitled Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich. In it, they discussed how many CEOs were on the prepper bandwagon. Likewise, in 2022, the Guardian wrote a similar article, The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse to share what examples of rich people preparing for the worst.

Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Steve Huffman are not alone in their prepping endeavors. Other wealthy preppers have taken to doing other things, including buying up private islands, self-sustaining underground bunkers, and so much more that is kept off our radar.

Consider how these billionaires are preparing for the worst.

~Bill Gates

~Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and one of the richest people in the world, is known for his philanthropy; he is also a prepper. Gates has invested millions of dollars to make the world a better place and has warned the world about potential pandemics long before Covid-19 hit. Gates also regularly warns about other potential catastrophes like climate change and bio-terrorism. He does not just talk about SHTF scenarios, he offers solutions to the problems. Post Covid pandemic, the world is learning to take him seriously.

~Furthermore, on January 5, 2015, Bill Gates announced on his website that the Omniprocessor he invested in has seen some success. The high-tech filtration system converts sewage into drinking water. With it comes the capacity to save millions of lives and is an effective alternative when SHTF. While most people are filling their go-bags and bunkers with portable water, Bill Gates is busy creating his.

~Elon Musk

~Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is another famous prepper. TechCrunch has called him the ultimate doomsday prepper. More than once, Musk has stated that he believes that the world is headed toward a major disaster. And he has said of himself as one of the few billionaires doing something about it. He is a proponent of sustainable and green energy, which has led him to start Tesla and invest in SolarCity. Musk has also built the Tesla Cybertruck as an electric survival vehicle!

~His most significant prepper activity, and perhaps the most ambitious one in the world, is his company, SpaceX. The goal of SpaceX is to revolutionize space transportation and make humanity multi-planetary. Musk has said he is doing this for humanity to have a haven before and when SHTF is on earth. Although it begs the question, how many people would be able to afford the trip?

~Steve Huffman

~Another well-known wealthy prepper is Steve Huffman, the co-founder and CEO of Reddit. Huffman has made headlines for his unique preparations for the end of the world. In 2015, he got Lasik eye surgery to increase his chances of survival in the event of a disaster.  In an interview with the New Yorker in 2017, Huffman said he bought motorcycles, guns, and ammunition to fortify his San Francisco home in the event of a disaster. Unsurprisingly, he got the idea after watching the apocalyptic movie Deep Impact.

~One doesn’t need to be wealthy to be prepared, thankfully you can prepare for the future on a budget. You may not be able to afford bugging out to Mars or getting eye surgery, but you can be prepared, nonetheless.

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Surviving on a Budget

Disasters—natural or manmade—can strike at any time. And they can be devastating to those who are not prepared. Wealthy preppers have the resource advantage to stockpile supplies and build fortified shelters. But what about those who are on a budget?

There are many affordable ways to prepare for emergencies. For example, community emergency preparedness organizations and websites like ours provide valuable resources like making space for your supplies, self-care for surviving a disaster, and survival fishing.

The following are some easy-to-follow tips and tricks we recommend for surviving on a budget during a disaster:

~1. Stockpile Essential Supplies

~It's critical to have essential supplies on hand during a SHTF scenario – this should be your first course of action. Start with portable water and food. Be mindful of the foods you stock and store. It's important to remember that food will be stocked for an extended period. So, focus on nonperishable, nutrient-dense items with long shelf lives that are affordable, such as rice, beans, and canned goods. And remember to pack a can opener with your items!

~Don’t forget to add medical supplies, including first-aid supplies and prescription drugs for you, your loved ones, and your pet(s).

~Furthermore, communication during emergencies is crucial. Create a communication plan and have a list of important phone numbers kept with your supplies. You will want to plan how you would stay in touch with your loved ones or call for help.

~2. Put Together DIY Emergency Kit

~While premade emergency kits save you the trouble, they can also be expensive. Instead, consider putting together your own DIY emergency kit.

  • Start by purchasing a sturdy backpack or container to hold your supplies
  • Fill with essential items such as a flashlight, matches, a multi-tool, a radio, copies of important documents (e.g. identification and insurance information) and any other item you might need
  • Don't forget extra water & shelf stable food as well.

~3. Learn Basic Survival Skills

~This is something many people ignore but it can be the difference between surviving and thriving. Aside from keeping you alive, knowing basic survival skills can save you money in the long run. For example, if you can start a fire, build makeshift shelters, or find and purify water, you will be less likely to rely on expensive gear and supplies. You can learn most of these skills online and for free. YouTube is a great resource. If you require a more in-person approach, check out training centers around you.

~4. Consider Alternative Housing

~If your home becomes no longer safe or habitable after a disaster, you may need to find alternative housing. While hotels and rental properties may be too expensive, there are other options to explore like camping or RV living. Though these options may require initial experience and some technical knowledge, getting the skills you need and preparing for these options now can be a true life-saver.

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