Well I guess I will tell you what is worrying me. I am not particularly worried about power outages or storms or natural disasters. Not to say that all those can't happen. The risk of a storm or whatever is more or less the same as it always has been. Also it helps that I am pretty prepared for that sort of thing. Of course some tin horn dictator or totalitarian state could blow a couple nukes up in the sky and cause an EMP then it would be One Second After. I think those sort of low probability high impact events are worth paying a bit of attention to but I don't think the odds of such occurrence are any higher than a decade ago. I sort of look at them like if I happen to be in line at a coffee shop and 5 guys with AK's roll in and start mowing people down. You do the best you can and that is that.
The economy and inflation are what is worrying me these days. My income is secure. That is quite an intentional choice but still a blessing. I know almost to the dollar (somehow it is always a bit different) what I will get paid on the first and the fifteenth. However I am not entirely sure what it will buy me. If you start talking about 8, 10 or even 15 percent inflation that can reek havoc on any budget.
More concerning than tightening our belt a bit and lowering our standard of living are the second and third order effects of that kind of ruinous inflation. Very quickly banks would realize that the interest they charge needs to not just factor in risk and their profit but that the money they are repaid will buy less than the money they loan out. I recall a friend talking about 15% home mortgages in the late 70's. That would mean the cost for a business to borrow money would be ridiculous. Businesses would be less able to grow or expand. Good luck with a start up. This in turn means more unemployment so fewer people are buying less. Short of the debt trap you don't see many more vicious cycles.
What can I do about this? I think a lot of conservative financial advice suits these times well. In particular stuff like living below your means, saving and avoiding debt is so important. A person with a few dollars put away, reasonable bills and little debt can ride out a decrease in standard of living (from inflation or job loss). The exact same family with the same income disruption but a bunch of bills, a visa card and no savings will be in deep trouble.
We have some money put away and few bills. Between slashing our discretionary spending and going to minimum payments we could live on a lot less than we bring in. If need be we could live off savings for some time. In several months we will have paid off my student loan and will be debt free.
A small but regular portion of our income gets turned into silver and gold. I buy them as an insurance policy. If they go up 100 or even 300 percent in dollar denominated value I wouldn't sell. If things go beyond ruinous inflation to outright hyperinflation. Some of our precious metals would give our family a little bit of help in adjusting to the new reality and the rest would be our proverbial nest egg.
If we were 20 years older and better established real estate that can produce income would be where I would park money. A little paid off house you could rent would be better than some cash in a mutual fund. However since we aren't at that point in life yet it is a moot point.
Slowly but surely we are preparing for slightly darker scenarios. Argentina and FerFal's blog in particular are of a real help here. I am not so concerned with a full on Mad Max scenario but am working on self contained ways to maintain as normal of a life as possible no matter what disruptions we face. Little things like being able to do laundry easily or brew my own beer or listening to stations far away on the world band radio aren't huge but they start to add up.
There is a higher than normal risk of theft and violent crime. This doesn't worry me so much right now. I live in a pretty small safe world right now. When elsewhere I am pretty cautious about where I go and carry a handgun. However if you aren't a fit young guy who is reasonably trained and carries a gun it might be a good idea to worry about this. Get your body into some resemblance of shape. Get trained with firearms and start carrying one. Be aware of what you do and where you go. Not a lot of people get robbed while buying groceries at 3pm but going to the ATM at midnight is dumb.
What's worrying you?