Everywhere you look there are people using all forms of media to tell us how to manage our finances so that in the end we have some magic number of dollars in some investment fund set away for our retirement. This is just another form of preparedness that has earned the respect of society. The disaster they prepare for? Old age. Yep. Those years when you are promised to either live out happy last days or need vast dollar amounts for the diseases of old age. Either way, we are encouraged from the beginning to plan and prepare for the latter years of our lives.
Now, with modern communications and a glut of programming opportunities, we are bombarded with encouragement to be prepared for just about any calamity that might afflict our country. Even the government has a web site dedicated to being prepared for what might happen. Doomsday preppers spend the better part of their lives, and the lives of their children, preparing for the event of their choice. Like a religion, they encourage others to join them.
How is preparing for old age different from doomsday preparedness? It’s only different because of what resource is being stockpiled and where it is being stored. Doomsday preppers shun the banking system because, in their world view, money will be useless. Old age preppers, if you will, put their extra resources in banks. Doomsday preppers plan to utilize their resources for their own use and for barter. Old age preppers will use their resources for the same thing. The unsettling thing about both groups is that many of them are living for the future and forfeit life now.
The unsaid premise is for which event should a person prepare? For the average income households, by preparing for disaster there may not be enough resources to prepare for old age. The converse is true as well. Clearly, to prepare for both would be extremely difficult for most households and absolutely impossible for many people. This forces families to make stressful decisions based on available information and their opinion of what is most likely to happen.
Really? Is that how people should live? Constantly worrying about “what if”? We say emphatically, “No!”. People should adopt a lifestyle which allows for them to be reasonably prepared for an unexpected emergency. There will be more on reasonable preparedness in another post, but for now, consider how you live and if your lifestyle will allow you to continue your life as uninterrupted as possible in a disastrous situation.