For some reason, I think that an electrician is a more durable trade than a gardener — it certainly will be, going forward — and likewise, a metalworker (blacksmith, welder, etc.) will have a better go than an innkeeper. (I know: there wasn’t much call for electricians back in the sixteenth century, but I’ll bet that metalworkers were in high demand.) And since we’ve moved away from leeches and trepanning, I’m pretty sure that a doctor would have a more durable trade than a wall covering specialist.
There are basically four kinds of trade, methinks (and there is some overlap, certainly over time):
I couldn't help but read this, and think back to Mike Rowe's interview where he said "Don't follow your dreams. Follow the MONEY, and then you can fulfill your dreams."
Looking at the list laid out by Mr. du Toit, the Mrs and I fall into several of his categories in skills that we have that we can use should everything fall apart. Obviously, soldiering, given my current occupation. Farming (small scale, I can't run a 500 acre farm), cooking, baking, brewing, innkeeping, and entertaining, and a few others. In short, we can make ourselves valuable no matter what happens.
And let's say that nothing bad happens in the next few years. Hypothetical situation, I know, but still, play along with me. I retire, move back home, what do I do to earn my daily bread? Well, I already have a list of things I can do, and all I have to do is refine them into a business plan and I'm off to the races.
Just something to keep in mind, especially if you have relatives who are looking at going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt in order to attend a university. I've met far too many university grads who are nothing but poorly trained fry cooks, given that they're not actually useful in any kind of real world application.