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I understand that the value of investments in debt, equity, paper currency, bonds, and in physical properties all go down if the country gets into a major war.

What is the best strategy to be prepared for a war from a personal finance perspective, under the assumption that a major war involving almost all developed countries could happen beginning 2030-31 extending upto 2034, and minor local skirmishes in 2022-24?

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A major war between developed powers would likely be nuclear and/or heavily ai/drone driven and would probably be the single biggest destruction of capital the world has ever seen if not the end of civilisation itself, so serious advice around this is hard to make due to just how crazy that type of war would likely be.

That aside, if you follow the capital events of WW1 and WW2 (which personally I don't think are a great guide given how much nuclear weapons have forever changed largescale wars between developed powers), there are no real winners amongst any of the initial participants, with all sides finishing with economies worse off than they did before - particularly in terms of currency devaluation.

The notable exception is the USA, who came in late in both wars and was a large scale economic engine during the war before they came in, which gave them a large economic advantage.

There's thus some rough capital preservation lessons here from this period:

  1. If your country looks like it is going to get into a major war, leave as quickly as you can beforehand with as much capital as you are allowed to take with you if any avenues exist to do so
  2. Developed (initially) neutral powers will probably be the best place to park capital if you can manage #1
  3. Holding the currency of any active participant in the war is nearly always terrible, so gold or other 'hard' money style holdings will generally outperform cash. Note if you can't leave the country you typically won't be allowed to buy much/any of these assets due to the capital controls that are nearly always imposed as soon as wars of survival kick off
  4. Real estate provided it doesn't get blown up or stolen by an invading power devalues but generally not as bad as the currency

the tl;dr is: leave as quickly as you can. If you can't leave get out of cash, stocks and bonds if allowed to do so and buy 'hard' assets. If you stay and your side loses the war expect to lose it all. If your side wins, expect to lose a lot of it.

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    Please see: Should one advise on off-topic questions? The Help Center clearly bans open-ended, hypothetical questions like this. This question invites speculation, discussion, and opinions rather than answers that can be backed up with facts and citations. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 14:49
  • Thanks for the answer. I have a belief that the wars will break out and your advice seems reasonable. I will try to accumulate hard assets in place of bonds and equity.
    – wor-ried
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 15:59

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