How Badly Would A Disaster Affect You?
My best advice (and here again I am not particularly well-placed to give this advice, given my love of books and my reluctance to let any of them go - but I use them! A lot!) is to not buy the stuff in the first place, or, if you have a bunch of stuff that you can't afford to store somewhere safe, perhaps it's time to put it all for sale and fund your emergency fund, or your high-efficiency wood stove fund, or whatever it is would be a better place to put your money than stuff that will be swept away or destroyed so easily.
Seventh: Food and drink
I know: most emergency preparedness guides start here. But I think you know the drill. Keep water on hand, several gallons, and replace it every few months. Stock up on enough peanut butter and crackers and dried fruit to get you through several days. I feel pretty happy about the oodles of canned fruit and jelly and tomatoes and tuna I have; but I would have to remember that, in a truly awful disaster, I would be eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon. That's where the wood stove and/or propane cook stove would come in handy.
Also remember that whatever you have in the freezer would spoil quickly if your electricity were to go out. While I wouldn't tell you to avoid using a freezer (I can't talk, what with all the beef I have down there), I would tell you to consider this as part of your calculations. You're going to have to eat it all fast, or find some brilliant way of curing or drying it, if the power goes out.Eighth: Skills Speaking of brilliant ways of curing and drying food: having skills like this could mean the difference between surviving for weeks without power and having to spend your entire emergency fund on restaurants and motels. There are lots of ways to gain skills in everything from making beef jerky to lighting a fire without matches to rigging a shortwave radio. While you don't need to know how to do everything yourself, it's good to find out what your close friends and neighbors can do, and develop complementary skills. Make it fun; some friends organized “Disaster Relief Trials” to simulate how we could bike emergency supplies around in an earthquake that took out most of the city's bridges. My 10-year-old is taking survival skills classes as part of a year-long curriculum that includes lots of magic and role-playing, too (and he will be our family's chief fire-starter and shelter-gatherer in an emergency). Imagine. Come up with scenarios. Think about what might happen and how to prepare yourself. Make it fun, make it a community effort, get to know your neighbors. It's possible that preparing for a disaster could improve your life, financially, in well-being and a sense of satisfaction - even if that disaster never comes.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV