How Did This Happen?

Written by Ryan Stancil
Posted January 4, 2020

And just like that, we’re in the year 2020. 

It wasn’t long ago that the year 2020 seemed like a distant, nearly unattainable time period. It was so distant to some, that people thought we would have flying cars (not even close), robots that do everything for us (sort of close), and machines that would be able to construct just about anything (mostly close — 3D printers) when it finally arrived. 

Speculation on technology aside, predictions about the year 2020 also came with plenty of doom and gloom. Some of that was societal, some was environmental. Think about the glut of media in the 80s that predicted roving gangs wandering bombed-out, lawless cities, or parts of the world turned into wasteland by nuclear war. 

Of course, those examples reflected exaggerated versions of the fears of the time, but in some cases the reality isn’t far off. How often do we hear about ongoing conflict in parts of the world that seem to have been at war longer than they’ve been at peace?

Or of protesting that takes a turn for the worse and results in people getting hurt or killed?

Likewise, there are plenty of officials sounding the alarm that our climate is approaching a tipping point. Once we cross that point, they say, nothing will be able to stop environmental collapse. They point to examples of massive wildfires in places like Brazil and Australia, and arctic melt to make the case.    

And then you have the predictions of economic collapse. 

It’s no secret that the world economy operates in cycles, with peaks and valleys, but there have been those who have been predicting that “the big one” was coming. And when it strikes, things like mass unemployment and businesses going under will be the norm. 

Others predict that the reality won’t be that severe. There will be some economic pain, but not on the level of 2008, and certainly not on the level of the Great Depression. It could be that those saying the next downturn will cripple us for a generation are simply trying to get clicks. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t completely ignore the fact that they are saying something will be coming sooner rather than later. 

Spotting the Trends

Despite what you might see from different gurus and media pundits, no prediction is ever a sure thing. Anyone who tells you that they know what's coming, when it’s coming, and just how severe it will be is only looking for attention. 

Instead, it helps more to pay attention to the general trends at the root of these claims. Look around now at stories involving the shell games being played by central banks, the general economic trends involving the markets, and overall consumer opinion. 

Areas like these will help you more accurately gauge just what could be coming down the road in the months and years ahead. Likewise, looking into these areas can help you figure out just where you should be focusing your efforts despite what the pundits are trying to push.

What 2020 Holds 

The chaos that dominated the news cycle of 2019 will likely continue throughout 2020. The big stories, of course, involve potential wars with adversaries like Iran, ongoing trade disputes with China, and the coming election. 

This is all happening in the shadow of economic uncertainty that touches just about any country you can think of. The trends dictate that something will be coming soon — an event that serves as the natural conclusion of that uncertainty — but no one can say for sure what form that’s going to take. 

With more than a decade having passed since the last big financial crisis, it’s a distant memory for many. For the modern news cycle, it was a lifetime ago. And just like now, there were signs that something was coming before it actually happened.

Those signs were often ignored or downplayed in favor of more attention-grabbing headlines. That practice continues today. You could call it misplaced priority. You could call it distraction. Whichever way you want to dress it, the point is it’s something that you can prepare for as long as you know what to look for. 

There are things you can do to prepare so that you’re not one of the people asking “how did this happen?” when it finally does happen. 

Like I said, no one’s sure what form it’s going to take. That doesn’t mean you’re completely powerless when it comes to protecting what’s yours in a time of uncertainty. 

Take the steps to prepare today. 

Keep your eyes open,

Ryan Stancil
Contributing Editor, Outsider Club

Heal Your Ailing Portfolio Body