I would not invest in anything tied to the stock market, including 401K.
As others have said: durable goods, paying off all debt and mortgage, home improvements (new roof, weatherization/insulation, good windows, consider converting to natural gas if you can, if you live where winters are cold), items that will last a lifetime that you need or will need, "good" land (with water supply, solar exposure, that stuff will grow on - suitable for off-grid living if it came to that, or if you needed to sell it), also some gold and silver - in your possession, not a certificate - in coins first, bars second), backup systems for your house (what would you do if your normal systems failed - sanitation, water, heat, light, cooking), equipment for self-sufficiency or the ability to produce barter goods, warm bedding and weatherproof outerwear for everyone in the family, a significant long-term emergency food supply with a good storage system, heavy-use water filter like a Berkey...really the basic idea is to be able to eliminate debt and reduce your potential dependence on and obligations to others (like the oil company, town utilities, grocery stores) in preparation for tough times. Also you could invest money in useful things that could be sold to people who didn't think ahead, if you had even more money left over after all of the above.
I think your 401K is likely to be worth nothing or nearly so 20 years from now, I'm sorry to say. Arranging in advance for self-sufficiency and minimal need for money in retirement is my plan. It's not going to be 100% or perfect, but the less money you need, the better you'll be able to afford the necessities, so setting that up now while you have funds is wise. Conventional investments are not going to hold their value long-term anymore - that time is past, unfortunately. And the US dollar is on a definite track to permanently losing value before "we" (parenting-age people) hit retirement age, so keeping money long-term in the form of anything based on the dollar is a recipe for loss (unless you're interested in keenly and actively playing the market in the short-term, but I think most people are not up for that, and there is risk there, too).
There is helpful info on this topic in the forums at chrismartenson.com - it's a common question there, if you're looking for more info than you find here.
Originally Posted by quelindo
How do you invest?
My DH has a 401K that of course took a big hit a few years ago. We are not currently contributing -- we're taking a break to pay off some bills and build up an emergency fund (and I know all about how we're losing the benefit of compound interest and time by doing this).
I believe in the whole peak oil/"life as we know it is going to be gone in our lifetimes" thing, and I can't shake the feeling that pouring money into investment funds like a 401K might be foolish. I just have this picture of it being worth nothing twenty years from now, and that it would have been better to instead pay off the house and build up a huge cash reserve or do something else.
What do you all think? And I'm really asking those of you who believe what I believe, because I already know the conventional wisdom on all of this.