How Much Time Do We Have Before TSHTF?

This is a question I’m asked at least once a week :

How Long Before The SHTF?

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Please let us know why you chose your answer in the comments below – thank you…


  1. I don’t see how they can kick the can down the road for another 1 1/2 years. Maybe they will trigger the new madrid this April? Or maybe when fuel prices jump it will be the straw that breaks camels backs? I vote 6 months or less. The person who said when your at the store think “what if I can never go to the store again” it’s a good policy.

  2. Everything depends on the fall harvests. If they are good then we may squeak through, but if they are bad… What happens when food cops fail and the supplies are no longer available for export? When people in Western countries who have never really gone without end up with no work, no house, no money and then no food…

  3. For the largest percentage of people in this world, it’s too late already, but I think for a few it will never happen. How confident are you with your skills and preps?

  4. I voted for one year or less. After watching the news in Wisconsin, Indiana and hearing about the union bosses calling for protests in so many other states…. Food prices, fuel prices going up, unemployment, foreclosures, what’s left? Im lucky to have a job right now but how long will that last and then what? I just hope and pray I will have enough things stored and can weather the storm. I wish for a rural retreat but doesn’t look possible for this year. Hope WTSHTF will be farther down the road than my guess…
    Keep prepping and hope for the best (more time)

    • OhioPrepper says:

      I think the happenings in Wisconsin, Indiana, and here in Ohio are positive things. Perhaps the unholy alliance of politicians, public sector unions, and certain banks and businesses is finally going to have a closing chapter. We the people are demanding that government act responsibly, and in many places that is happening. The solution to better schools isn’t just more and more money, but accountability. If you’re a lousy engineer, or carpenter, or taxi driver, you lose your job and find something else more suitable. It’s time that teachers either measure up, or find more suitable work also.
      When unions started in the early 1900’s, their main reason for existence was workplace safety and to keep workers from being exploited. We now have OSHA, MSHA, FDA, USDA, Fair Labor standards and a lot more which now fulfill those needs. Critics will say that we owe all of these things to the unions, and that unions are somehow sacrosanct, but we owe the horseless carriage to the original carriage makers, and I don’t see anyone trying to keep that area of the economy alive. Unions may have their place in the private sector, but the very essence of prepping is taking individual responsibility for our actions, and not having some group protect those of us who are the grasshoppers instead of the ants.
      I think we have a chance of swerving and avoiding the crash. It’s a very slim chance, but as a prepper, I have always been an optimist.

  5. Semtex-Jes says:

    Hmm I went with 2-3 myself , Just because I hope I have that long to GMST ( get my Sh*t together ) My post will garner some negative attention I fear but here goes….As I sit and think on this,watching new’s about school’s being closed , teacher’s fired at an alaming rate , as we sit well below average in that Dept. already . Our civil liberties being trampled on . in the name of so called safety . Our highest gov position’s up for sale to the highest bidder ( can’t wait till we put this sh*t on ebay where it belong’s ) ,insider trading rampant , banking scandle’s, FREE press controlled by 6 major company’s along with everything else in this country , Suddenly I start to feel like my FREE press isn’t so FREE anymore , Rising food price’s,Rising fuel price’s , lowering of wages across the board,mass lay off’s to in effect reset the wage’s we all worked for an earned , fire the old hire the new at drastically lower wage’s , all the while providing more welfare and more opportunites to immigrant’s and Alien’s , crushing the middle class system as we know it , and allowing our military to be over run by foreign born soldier’s , son’s of Alah , so called Muslim American’s ! As if such a thing could/would ever be allowed or tolerated , Well it does and their Chariot’s will be pulled by unicorn’s , Muslim’s are allowed under their religon to be decetfull to infidels , AKA , US , YOU ME your kids , grandkids , smile in your face while they stab you in the back , ROME wasn’t defeated by an army they were defeated by their own army which had grown thin from Alien soldiers put into it’s military , they simply refused to listen , Like you read about now in our great military , not to mention the crap going on in the muslim controlled world right now…. I would like to change my vote to 1-2 yrs .. And double my effort’s to GMST !

    • Amen, Semtex-Jes. You said pretty much everything that’s got my guts in a knot these days. Corruption and Political Correctness are running rampant. No one is responsible for Sh*t these days and it seems that only we poor, working, tax-paying slob get nailed when we stray outside the lines of government dictated normalcy. Politicians, bankers, celebrity’s and illegals, all get away with murder, but if some fat old white guy spits on the sidewalk, all hell breaks loose. (note, I am all for equality, but I feel that the push for ‘diversity’ has really helped no one.) What happened to the days when you ‘earned’ a promotion or got a job based on your simple ability to do it?

      I’ll stop now before the rant goes full tilt.

  6. When? No one knows… it didn’t happen during my parents life time, it didn’t happen during my grand parents life time, I could go on.

    On the other hand unemployment is making things difficult right now, earthquakes have greatly disturbed a lot of people this last week, folks are still having to move to get away from volcanoes … I’d mention ice storms but I haven’t heard of any this last week. The snow here has not been bad yesterday or today, ask me about it tomorrow.

    So much waiting for this big one (TSHTF) that just haven’t happened over several generations and everyday small turds are turning over lives. Small & personal disasters are everywhere.

    I guess you could have asked in who’s life has tshft in the last year, month, week or whatever. Not really glamorous but very real.

  7. Ridge Runner says:

    Tough question. My answer of 1 to 2 is based on a gut feeling that it’s going to take that long for reserves to run down, patience to run thin, etc. Of course as mentioned by others, there are a number of things that could speed up the timeline, both anticipated and unanticipated.

  8. Alex (Canada) says:

    It kind of depends on what said disaster is. If it is some kind of super earthquake then we can’t really predict that, but an economic collapse I say 1-3 years.

  9. The answer to when the SWHTF is different for different individuals. Obviously, for the elite, the answer is “probably never”. For the auto worker who lost his job in Detroit, it’s “two years ago”. For a family facing foreclosure, it could be, “in six months”. This isn’t to say that we’re all not in for some horrific times; it’s just that collapses, depressions, societal breakdowns, and the like affect different people differently and at different times. The Great Depression actually only substantially affected about 60 percent of the US population. Forty percent squeaked by with significantly less disruption to their lives than, say, migrant workers, dustbowl farmers, etc. Your level of preparedness, your intelligence, your adaptability, your attitude and a little bit of fate and luck will determine how you survive once your personal SHTF scenario comes knocking. It may or may not coincide with the scenarios of others around you, but rest assured that unless you’re one of the elite thieves, it will come. Unfortunately, we’re so far down the road to ruin that I’m afraid the best we can hope for is a crash that isn’t any worse than the Great Depression, although I doubt we’ll be so fortunate. Start helping each other out now, especially those who have already crashed or are about to- it’ll ease things along when you join them later.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      I think the elites (or at least some of them) have already had their SHF moment. It was called Bernie Madoff, who “made off” with most of their money. Don’t ya’ just love the irony 🙂 Even these folks are not immune from the laws of economics and nature.

  10. 173d Viet Vet says:

    I went for 2 to 3 years. I believe that it will take that long for the inflation created by the Federal Reserve’s “Qualitative Easing, 1 & 2 ” to really take effect. Nobody knows what effect the current run-up in oil prices will do. It may hasten the onset of hyper-inflation and the banditry and lawlessness that will accompany it.

    One thing I believe is certain, we have passed the tipping point. I don’t believe that even if Ron Paul or Rand Paul or any other fiscally conservative was made absolute dictator today could this Titanic of a disaster be turned around. We cannot cut enough from federal spending fast enough that will allow our nation to increase its economic output to pay off what is owed…..ever.

    If we want to hold off on the meltdown as long as possible, we need to DRILL, BABY, DRILL !! and we need to start now. We need to allow refineries to be built on military bases where the EPA rules do not apply so that the oil we pump can be converted here. I believe it has been over 40 years since the last refinery was built in the US and it was built in the Virgin Islands. Without cheaper fuel our economy will be dragged slower and slower. A recovery cannot take place when the energy needed for the recovery is costly. (Also get off of coal’s back and let us use our most available fuel !!)

    And on those happy thoughts……

    My advice to all who value freedom is:

    Be alert to all that is going on which will impact the nation’s economy and your life…

    Prepare for bad times by becoming self-reliant and stocking up on food, ammo, barter goods….

    Drill frequently with our Creator by prayer and study….

    Learn and mentally prepare to shoot to kill; some day soon your life or the lives of those you love may depend on that ability…..

    And close ranks with and keep faith with other like minded Christian patriots.

    • Rhonda Sue says:

      Good advice! I need to go target shooting more.Alot more.

      • OhioPrepper says:

        Rhonda Sue,
        Although target shooting is a good way to learn the fundamentals, once you are comfortable with your firearms and relatively proficient, you and anyone planning on defensive use, need to take the next step. Tactical training which includes shooting and moving, cover and concealment, tactical reloading on the move is an essential next step. As Bruce Lee said in one of his movies, when an opponent broke a board for him, “Boards don’t hit back”, and paper targets don’t shoot back. For the handgun, the training would include proper draw from a holster, instinctive shooting, low light shooting and use of a flashlight. This is not stuff from the latest action adventure movie, but real and serious skills to acquire if you plan to potentially shoot more than just paper targets.
        For handguns, the NRA offers (through its certified instructors) follow-up courses to the basic pistol course. The Personal Protection In the Home AND Personal Protection Outside the Home courses offer basic tactical concepts and practical exercises. I would consider these a bare minimum for training beyond the normal static targets at the range. Check with your local gun club or sporting goods outlet for classes or contact the NRA training division.

        • Rhonda Sue says:

          OhioPrepper……Lol…..Thats what my hubby keeps tellin’ me.I just dont feel confident enough yet to hit anything while I am moving.I am not bad just not where I know I need to be.We are planning on spending alot of time this summer in practice.Those classes you mention sound interesting.My sweety is retired army.What comes so easy and natural to him is to date eluding me. My grandmother was a crack shot,so I have been told. Alot of the women need to wake up and realize that your man or your family or the Leo’s….may not be around to protect you or your children.I am putting my ability with firearms first on my to do list.I really want a 20 gauge shotgun.Sweety said soon.Yea!!! Thank you for the advice.You and the others on this forum are so helpful.Who knows…….some little tidbit of knowledge MD or one the commenters on here give… may be responsible for giving us the ability to make our grandchildrens life easier or to even save a life.This is a great community.

    • OhioPrepper says:

      173d Viet Vet,
      We never train to “shoot to kill”, as even stating this after a shooting is a sure way to get you hung out to dry. When we sincerely believe that we are in imminent fear of serious bodily harm or death, then we are justified (in most jurisdictions) to shoot to neutralize the threat. If however the shots are well placed, and the zombies life functions no longer function, then so be it.

  11. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. In April the dollar will no longer be the worlds reserve currency. Hyperinflation will follow, and if you have not prepared by now it is to late. Best of Luck to you all.

  12. Christine R says:

    I chose 6 mo or less because we never know when the S can hit the fan for us as individuals. Times are particularly uncertain now, but it has always been and always will be impossible to predict crisis.

  13. firemedic1991 says:

    i picked 1-2 years because: it will take that long for the rest of americans to get mad/upset and start by wanting to do something. we have no idea when it will happen if/when by nature. man made is unpredectiable. i just hope im home from work when it does happen since i work 75 miles from home. a nice 2-3 day hike. good luck to everyone prepared

  14. 1 year or less. Mostly depends on when our currency loses its reserve status. That is coming. At that point we won’t really be able to print any more currency and then things will be up the proverbial creek without a mode of propulsion and the mode of transportation will have suffered a catastrophic failure.

  15. Would have likes a five years or more choice.

  16. firemedic1991 says:

    beware on buying gold, the feds or whoever is trying to make everyone that buys gold over 100 bucks will have to be fingerprinted and proper id.

  17. I’d rather be wrong and prepared than right and unprepared. Here are some clues: fuel prices, food prices rising and expected to rise more, QE2, record foreclosures, unemployment (I start a new career on Monday after being without steady income since 2008), turmoil in North Africa/Middle East, unsecured US borders, numerous US states nearing bankruptcy, US debt ceiling, union protests in WI and elsewhere, Iran sailing the Suez Canal in provocation and possibly delivering weapons, etc, etc. If you have Faith, rely on it heavily. More than you ever have. If you pray, do it more. Stay vigilant, persevere and NEVER give up. Remember our Fore Fathers and their wisdom because they knew what we would be and are now up against. God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.

  18. SrvivlSally says:

    Izslamb’s time map is 2013-2020, Wurld Dommination. Currently they are wishing to install sharia law across our land. For our country, that may be wtshtf but we will have to wait to see if it does. We are in 2011 so there is roughly 1 to two years before they begin to enact what they are intending. If it does then all of us americuns are goin’ to have tuh make a run for it. Rather, let ’em have it all so that we may live to see another day and give ourselves a little time to think about the situation. Our country needs to wake up and look the enemy straight in the face and say, “Noooo, you can’t have our country and it’s time for you to get out! We were fine before YOU arrived and, sorry, but we don’t need your help with OUR LAWS. What in the world made you think that we were in need of changing them? What?! You want to cut off all of our heads because, as you have said, we are INFIDELS, you hate America and we are the Big Satan (the evil one)?! Oh, you mean we are non-believers (up yours). We believe! But not what you want us to. Oh!, we’re shaking in our booooots! Uh, oh, we all need to put on our hip waders because you are talking a lot of b.s. and it seems the stuff just keeps getting deeper and deeper. Hey, do you people have any shovels? Oh, and some air freshener, too. What?! We are always insulting you? Wait! Didn’t you just call all of us SATAN? Whoa-ho-ho! That is a real insult! You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves for talking like that!! What did we ever do to you? Hey, when did you get permission to come all the way over here and bully us around and who gave it to you? We’re sorry, but you are going to need a hall pass and your women are not allowed to wear those long black dresses and cover their faces, either. Oh, they do because they want to hide all of the scars from you beating them and because you want them to conceal things for you? Like things that go… Oh, that’s right, you destroyed buses in England as you took over their country. It must have felt good to throw your weight around and be the bully that you really have shown yourselves to be. Ahh, bugger off! That’s right!, you injured some of OUR blood lines when you were throwing your tantrum in England.”

    • OhioPrepper says:

      You state: “all of us americuns are goin’ to have tuh make a run for it. Rather, let ‘em have it all so that we may live to see another day and give ourselves a little time to think about the situation”
      I disagree with your statement. I think about 20-25% of the worlds population self identify as Muslims; however, in this country they are a small minority. The first amendment prohibits a government establishment of religion, so those who want to practice their religion in peace, may do so. If the time comes when an attempt is made to violate that right and impose even elements of sharia, then I see absolutely no reason to run & hide, because there will be nothing to evaluate about the situation. I won’t be more specific and you may take this to mean whatever you please, but running and hiding from a bully has only ever encouraged the bully. Sometimes a bloody nose is required to draw that line in the sand, and stake your claim.

  19. I’d figure it will have a big effect when our next republican president can’t save us eather and the people relize that we cannot depend on our government for rescue

  20. SHTF every day.
    SHTF is an INDIVIDUAL thing.
    It will finally come to the attention of the world that things are globally SHTF when significantly more than half the people in developed world are suffering privation unseen in over half a century.
    We are close to that point now. But we dont have to go over that edge. done right we might never go over that edge, butt if we do ir ont be understood as being universal and longterm for several years.

  21. FLATLANDER says:

    On a more positive note, I think the fact that we are confronting financial realities and are witnessing the tensions that arise from doing that are a healthy sign. A government shut down may not be a bad thing. De-funding illegal immigrants by the tune of 98 billion. Slashing state budgets by drastically reducing these Golden retirement pensions, etc. We may be able to painfully pull up from this and get enough truly representative politicians in place to alter our course. I hope.

  22. Based upon the incredible amount of paper money substitutes being “printed” by this government and the mounting upward pressure in true inflation [not the government’s reported CPI] as well as all the effects of 40 years of a pure dual-tiered fiat monetary system, I would estimate that by the end of 2011 we will begin to see the real effects of our own government’s folly. By 2012, this country will face what we have never faced before, nor dreamed could happen in this country. As the countries of the world continue to repudiate the U.S. Federal Reserve Notes as their reserve currency, the effects of exporting inflation to other countries will come to an end, prices will sky-rocket in this country due to this repudiation by other countries and a hyper-inflationary depression will grip this land causing what we know of our world to be completely turned up-side-down.

  23. The government cannot continue to print fiat money from nothing without some reprecussion. They cannot ignore the law of supply and demand forever. Sooner or later the US dollar will have a dramatic drop in value. The financial gurus suspect this will occur in mid 2012 when they can no longer cover the short term treasury bills. The two biggest things propping up the US dollar’s value (world reserve currency and petrodollars) are both under discussion and may soon be ended. Expect hyperinflation soon. The only thing that could destroy the US dollar quicker would be massive government debt. Oh, wait…

    • “The only thing that could destroy the US dollar quicker would be massive government debt. Oh, wait…”

      And it’s a deadly spiral. When inflation hits they have to offer the bonds at a higher return rate.

      For each 1% they up the rate, we own another 100 BILLION dollars in interest per year on our debt. A 4 or 5% jump would be Armageddon.

      • “…another 4 or 5% would be Armageddon.”

        Sounds a little over dramatic when we have a president who increases the debt more than a trillion in a year without blinking an eye. Nevertheless I agree we are on a difficult path to a hard place.

  24. NoMEPreppy says:

    I’m not going to vote. Simply because I think we’ve already been heading in that direction for many years. SHTF isn’t throwing the frog into a pot of boiling water, it’s putting the frog in a pot of room temperature water, then turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t know he’s being boiled alive.

    American society is the frog. our situation is the pot of water. someone turned on the heat decades ago. Most of the sheeple don’t realize that the water’s getting quite warm.