This forum, above all the others, could save your life. At the least, it could preserve something like a middle-class lifestyle. Yet the information on this one will be least likely to be put into action. The price of taking this action is the higest of any on the forums. Therefore, economics tells us, less of it will be demanded.
Here are some issues you had better get settled before 1999 -- the sooner, the better. (1) What are the trade-offs in an area (e.g., low crime vs. cold winters)? (2) What is the nearest metropolitan area? (3) How far out of town should you move? (4) What is the percentage of the population receiving government checks? (5) Is there small- scale agriculture? (6) Are there hospitals nearby? (Of course, they may close when the checks stop coming.) (7) Is there a physician in the area? (If you're a physician, especially a GP, you may have stuck paydirt if there isn't.) (8) What is the church situation? (Here a Yellow Pages will help.) (9) Is there a college or university nearby, meaning cultural activities and a good library? (10) What about recreation activities? (11) What about competitors to the small business you had better be planning to launch? (12) What about suppliers for the small business you had better be planning to launch? (13) Is there a Wal-Mart and a McDonald's: signs that the community has enough population with money to support basic American civilization? I could go on and on. Use the forum to find out what you need to know before 1998 is over.
Then there is the actual property. (1) Does it have some unique asset (e.g., natural gas or a waterfall for power generation)? (2) Are your neighbors likely to be envious of you? (Are they what I call poverts -- pronounced "PAHvurts?) (3) Could you walk to a decent church if there were no gasoline? (4) Have the fire ants arrived? (If chigger bites are itching like crazy in all the places on your legs where the ticks aren't clinging, probably not.) (5) Can your home and your greenhouse be seen from the road? (6) Does it have a pond and a source of flowing water? (7) How deep are the water wells for drinking water in the immediate area? (8) How much grass will you or the goats have to mow? (If gasoline is unavailable, and you don't have mowers that eat, your grass will be a haven for itchy bugs. If so, you'll need guinea hens.) (9) Will the soil hold water for a pond, e.g., red clay? (10) Has the local zoning board zoned out mobile homes? (If so, keep looking; the local bureaucrats are way too arrogant.)
If you find a place in a good region, share your knowledge. Recruit some neighbors who share your views.
You biggest anchors are probably these: your job (which may end on or before Jan. 3, 2000), your wife, your grandkids (who will need a safe place to come to in 2000), and your local church. Warning: your wife in the year 2000 will tell you: "Do something!" It will do no good to tell her, "But you refused to move." She will reply, quite correctly, "It doesn't matter what I said. That was your responsibility. Do something!" What will you do?
So, do something before 1999, while there is still mortgage money lent by people who can't see what's coming. You can get out of your urban home today at top dollar.
Rule: Don't look for a survival property. Look for a rural vacation cottage.