How do we protect ourselves from the coming civil war?" I've been asked to help answer a lot of questions in the 20 years I've been in the planning business, but this one, posed to my firm, was new. It came in early 2009 when most people were concerned about the depth of the recession and the prospects of a depression. As I reflected on how clients reacted to the panic of 2008, a few thoughts emerged.

Concern was the order of the day, but as unsettled as things were, civil war did seem extreme to us. Earlier in my career, I probably would have begun a discussion or worse, a lecture, about why such an event was not going to happen. Today, I am more likely to welcome, than dread, a discussion with clients about the economy and even politics.

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