I’ve been spending what little free time I’ve had over the past week kicking myself in the face (figuratively) for being very short sighted in my life.
I write 3-5 blog posts a week talking about how to be financially responsible for your life. Many of the topics I write about have to do with ensuring your financial life is okay in case of some kind of financial disaster. Here are a few examples of financial disasters and way to mitigate the risk of them causing serious damage:
- Job Loss: Create an Emergency Fund (I use my Roth IRA but other people use savings)
- Natural Disaster: Home/Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance
- Theft: Home/Renter’s Insurance, Car Insurance
- Sickness or Disability: Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, Life Insurance
The other day I was thinking about how I spend so much time preparing myself financially for disastrous situations that I’ve completely neglected preparing myself in other ways for a disastrous situation.
While your financial life is a huge part of a responsible adult’s life, it pales in comparison to basic safety. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been thinking about over the last few days:
Situations I’m Completely Unprepared For:
A Fire in My Apartment
Let me give you a layout of my living situation. I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building. I have one door that exits to a hallway, another door that exits to my deck, and a window in my bedroom. If there were a fire in the hallway or in my apartment blocking access to the hallway door, I would basically be screwed.
While I do have fire alarms and a sprinkler system in my apartment, I don’t have a fire extinguisher. I also don’t have an escape ladder. My current (non-existent) plan to address a fire is to a.) hope the sprinklers put the fire out or b.) jump from four stories high onto a concrete parking lot and hope to survive.
Obviously my current strategy is terrible. I will be buying a Fire Extinguisher and an Escape Ladder soon.
Tom Cruise Movie Situations
I don’t want to sound like an end of the world prepper, but I’ve started thinking about how completely dependent I am on a fully functioning society. If something crazy happened (terrible flu/bacteria/virus pandemic, World War III, economic collapse of America, etc.) where I’m trapped inside my apartment because it’s too dangerous to leave, I have enough supplies to last me about… a week if I’m lucky.
I have no bottled water or dry goods saved up for emergencies. I usually have less than one week of food in my fridge and cabinets (of which the stuff in the fridge would go bad in a few hours in the event of a power outage). If the water goes out I’m completely screwed.
I’ll never be an end of the world prepper: if all hell breaks loose and it never goes back to “normal” then I’m most likely screwed. However, I need to at least prepare myself with enough basic necessities to allow myself to hide in my apartment for a few weeks and wait for the cure to whatever disease is killing everyone. Dry food and bottled water is also very useful for tornado/earthquake situations where you might be trapped in your house.
And worst case scenario, I eat and drink the stuff before it expires.
Financial Soundness Doesn’t Matter if You’re Dead
I’m going to keep being a responsible financial adult, but it’s time I started being a responsible adult when it comes to disaster preparedness. I’ll spend the $100-$200 it will cost for fire escape equipment and a small amount off food and water, and hopefully I’ll never have to use any of it!
Readers: Are you prepared to make it through a fire or some terrible disaster?
If you do decide to become a Prepper, note that keeping a low profile is a very good idea. http://chl-tx.com/2012/03/prepper-tv-show-a-really-bad-idea/
My wife just published the first of 3 volumes of a Prepper manual. http://dfwpreppers.com/survival-steps/
Water is the most important thing to have. You can do without food for a month, but not without water. In addition to a stock of drinking water in your apartment, you might invest in a portable purification system. I’d recommend one, but I’ve already got two links in this comment.
I submitted a comment, and didn’t even get a “moderation” confirmation. Maybe that’s because I included
a couple of (topical) links?
It’s approved. See above 🙂
And yes, it was because of the links. The problem is I get 20-30 spam comments a day that all have links and my spam filters don’t catch them, so I have to moderate every comment with a link.
The people I know who store food are Mormons, and I’m tougher than them.
Could you write a post about why you use your Roth for emergency savings? I’m sort of doing the same thing, but I’m thinking of changing my strategy and want to hear your thoughts on the subject.
It is just “end of the world preppers” who should have supplies. Think about DC right now. They have been without power for a day and already the stores are out of supplies. I have read several places that the average household has 3 days of food/water on hand. You are slightly above average for having a weeks worth of supplies, but if you were in DC right now you might be wishing you had a month or more.
It seems like your blog and my life are always strangely in sync! One of my New Years goals this year was to put together a good, quality emergency survival kit, especially focusing on earthquake survival (I live in California, where we have lots of earthquakes and are due for a really big one “any day now”). I was going to assemble it myself, but just this morning I found a good 2-person, 72-hour survival kit for $130, which I’m going to run by my boyfriend’s survivalist stepfather and then invest. $130 doesn’t seem like a whole lot for a one-time insurance payment!
Although it isn’t my favorite flick, Book of Eli was a great film to get me thinking about what items would be *really important* in a Tom-Cruise-movie situation. Gold? No. Batteries? Gasoline? Water (or a way to disinfect water)? Physical protection? Lighters? Bicycles? Good stuff.
I don’t think you be prepared for everything, but certainly most things. Living in Los angles, I am prepared for earthquakes, fires and intruders. I cannot stop it, but I have enough prepared to handle it reasonably..
My old man said “always expect the unexpected” to me when growing up. I thought it was a contradiction, couldn’t understand what he meant. Now as an adult I’ve come to regard it as a great piece of advice.
I started my “survival preparedness” before my “financial preparedness” which in hindsight should have gone hand it hand. One thing I did first was get together smaller more believable scenarios. If there was a tornado or tropical storm heading my way (not very likely in eastern New Mexico/West Texas :D) I have a “GOOD” or “BOB” bag ready to go. It has 72 hours worth of water, clothes, food (mostly dehydrated snacks), light, batteries, sleeping bag, etc. I also included a firearm for nastier scenarious (riots or whatever). I also have about $5.00 face in junk silver. Anything that lasts over a month will really degrade down to petty bartering. Gold and silver have always had an inherent value to humans. Gold is to big a value to barter for things like food and water, so silver (especially familiar silver) will be muy beneficial. Not to mention that if nothing happens where you would need to barter your silver, you can just trade it in for cash money! I also like to splurge on a box of .22 lr every couple of weeks. I shoot as a hobby so .22 gets used, but I never use a full box of 500. I’ve slowly stocked up about 2500 rounds or so. You never know when you might start craving some rabbit or praire dog! Basically, I’m trying to get to the point where I’m at least able to survive long enough (in any scenario) for order to be restored, or I decide I need to pack up and get the hell out of dodge.
I probably need to think of similar things although my fire escape plan is very easy as I live in a two story townhouse with a potential exit in every room except the bathrooms. I do need to prepare for a hurricane though because I live in Florida and am totally not prepared.
What is the building code regarding egress in your municipality? Ideally you would have 2 methods of escape in your “dwelling”. I would check with local code but the building should have fire escapes in case the main entryway is blocked, no?
If not maybe that is something to look for when searching apartments!
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