Don’t Be Broke When Disaster Strikes

As I mentioned before I live in Florida.  And every year from the month of June until October we go into what is called “Hurricane Season”.  The last few years have been particularly active years.  And this got me to thinking,  “What if I didn’t have the money to buy the plywood, generators, extra food, water, and fuel?”.  What would you do to protect yourself and your family if you didn’t have the money?

I guess to you would have to leave it all to chance and just pray that the storm doesn’t destroy everything you own.  Then scrape together the money to evacuate and sleep in your car somewhere safe until the storm were to pass.  Currently we are dealing with hurricane Irma.  She is about to tear up the west coast of Florida in the next day or so.  By pure luck I live on the east coast and should be safe.  My personal expenditures for this storm total about $2,000.  I bought a generator for $700, plus food and other supplies to ride the storm out.

But watching the news and seeing the millions of people in harm’s way made me realize that in terms of probabilities, or the law of averages, most of these people truly cannot afford the supplies to protect themselves.  So how are they doing it?  The first thing that jumps to my mind is that they are using credit cards.  Which will put them in an unwanted position of adding to their consumer debt.  But sadly, some of them don’t even qualify for credit cards or have maxed them all out.

This brings me to my point.  I paid cash for my hurricane supplies.  To me it was a minor inconvenience.  For others it could be a decision between what bills can be paid late, or worse yet, what corners could be cut on protecting their family.  Having the goal of saving at least 3 to 6 months worth of living expenses in cash will change your life for the better.  If disaster strikes, you can spring into action and meet any obligations that need to be paid.  You can rest well knowing that you have that buffer to protect yourself from the unforeseen circumstances that are bound to crop up.

When a situation like this occurs and you have no money to use towards your own protection it can leave you feeling vulnerable.  That vulnerability will then cause you to make rash decisions about your safety and what is acceptable behavior.  We all have seen the videos of people packed into stores fighting for water or plywood.  I have witnessed myself many a person at each other’s throats over the perceived lack of you name it; water, gas, plywood, bread.

I believe at some level this is spurred on by the stress of the coming storm literally and figuratively.  People who feel like their backs are against the wall with money will behave differently than someone who is there to just check off the list of needed supplies.  It’s like burning a candle from both ends.  Unfortunately someone who has limited funds is already on edge.  Then they watch as people quickly buy up their badly needed supplies and it’s like adding a match to gasoline.  Tempers flare and people act out.

Some of this might seem like common sense, but believe me, when you are surrounded by the crowds of frenzied people it’s easy to lose sight of what is civilized behavior.  Luckily for me I was able to pick up my items and not worry about the cost or think twice about whether I could afford it.  I just thought of what was needed and I got it.  I want this for everyone and it is possible for you have it too.  Start today and save up enough to get you through life’s storms.