Are You Prepared?

For anything life might throw at you?  Are you nimble and can go with the flow and make common-sense, logical decisions quickly?  Are you more the “I need to think about it, make lists and work a plan”?  (I’m the latter.)

Whatever you are… There’s no better time than NOW to start getting prepared.

Apparently, September is National Preparedness Month.  (I found this site which may have some useful info: http://www.ready.gov/september?utm_source=Academy+of+Defensive+And+Protective+Training&utm_campaign=9f05338e9e-Monthly_Newsletter_June_2014_6_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f08c451ec9-9f05338e9e-67563541)

Who Knew?!  I totally stumbled upon it and luckily so… because according to the calendar September is almost over.  So, I better hop to it. (I bet no one will chastise me for taking a few more weeks or months to get myself and family “prepared”.  Heck… it might take longer, but as long as I’m thinking about the What Ifs and the Options, then I’m probably doing pretty good.)

So.. prepared for what?

  • The Zombie Apocalypse? Ha! Ha!  As far as I’m concerned, this is already upon us and we’re having to deal with crazy people every day in our lives in one way or another.  Now, if you’re looking to outfit yourself with a “zombie kit” or “bug out bag”… just do a quick online search and you’ll have dozen of sites pop up with all sorts of lists of what you should have ready.
  • A natural disaster like a flood or earthquake or tornado or hurricane?  Yea… absolutely.  Stock up the pantry with water and canned goods and have manual tools at the ready…and have some basic first aid handy.  Heck, get a book on first aid. Visit your local camping store like a Big 5 or Bass Pro to buy just a few portable, camping things that will serve you well should your electricity, plumbing, etc… get turned off for a few days. (Now… don’t get crazy and buy the store out.)
  • The next step in your life?  A move?  A job change?  A lay-off that you know is coming up?  Again… yea… there’s some preparation needed for that.  Mentally and physically… there’s a transition so be prepared to make that change.  Change can be fun and scary at the same time.  Prep yourself for it.  However, you think is best.  Personally… I think taking a week off as a “break” from the grind is a good way to mentally and physically break the habits you had with the “old” ways so that you can start the “new” with a fresh breath and fresh perspective.  That way if you are carrying any ill feelings or baggage from the “old”… you give yourself time to “cool down” and re-focus.
  • Getting older?  Yea… I went there.  What are you going to do when you’re *gasp* “old”?

Many people can and do prepare for “emergencies” and “disasters”.  But not many really plan and prepare for when they get old.  They just figure they’ll figure it out “later”.

Getting older is inevitable. It’s the one thing, we all can pretty much figure is going to happen to us or our parents or our kids….. if we don’t die first. I say this half tongue-in-cheek and half seriously. Because the reality is that you are going to die at some point whether you are old or not.  I’ve experienced much too soon that life is full of unexpected unpleasantries.  My dad and my MIL both died when they were 60… 60!!!  That is So-NOT-Old.  That is young by today’s standards.  However, in both cases it was unexpected and quick.  (Thankfully, not in the same year, but still the ramifications were and are clear. Get Your Affairs In Order!)

If you do plan on getting “old” before dying… What’s your plan?

plan

  • Do you have a retirement plan?
    • An actual one, not just a 401k and a portfolio.  These are instruments, not a plan.  An actual plan has benchmarks / milestones which you need to hit in order to retire by “x” age.
  • Are you (or someone) managing your funds so that you are saving money sooner rather than later?
    • Now, don’t get crazy and start moving funds around constantly because there’s a hurricane in the gulf or there’s a freeze in Florida.
    • Listen to your financial advisors, and make smart, calm, rational, logical decisions.  (Oh wait… no one does that anymore.  Oh well.)
  • Are you discussing this with your loved ones and kids?
    • Not only is this a good idea… but guess what?!  They might even have other ideas you didn’t know about or didn’t think about that might be useful.  I know it’s a novel concept… COMMUNICATION!
    • Now, if they don’t want to listen and be part of a constructive discussion and understand your wants and needs because they’d rather stick their head in the sand and not face reality….  Just write it all down and leave if with your lawyer to deal with later.  Your family doesn’t have to like it, they just need to accept that your wants and needs are just that … YOURS!  Even if they are far-fetched and absurd…. in that case they can have you declared mentally unfit.  Ok.. so maybe you are and you should get help. Either way… have a plan, write it down and let someone know.
    • So… maybe evaluate your relationship with your loved ones first before opening the door of communication.  If they have common sense, love and / or respect for you, go with option 1.  If not, go with option 2.
  • Do you have a living trust or will in place? (or at least a draft of one)
    • Always a good idea… as soon as you have anything worth anything.  Don’t leave it to your spouse or family members to figure out what to do with your stuff once you are gone.  Trust me, they will only screw it up or squabble over it.  So,  be sure to document what’s what and have it made legal.
  • Have you talked to your spouse or loved ones about what you want when you pass?
    • Yes, this is a tough one.  But life is full of tough conversations and choices…. the Birds and the Bees with your kids, How to tell your spouse they need to get a prostate exam to make sure their parts are ‘ok’, How you want the end of your life to go… all important and all necessary!

Most probably answered “No” to most of those questions.  I know I did, and it scares the hell out of me.

Time to start making those lists, setting up a living trust and putting the funeral arrangements on a payment plan so it’s a done deal when the time comes. That way I know I’m not burdening someone else to figure it all out at a difficult and possibly sad time.

And if anyone is wondering… when I die, I want a big ass party.  You can cry, but it better be with a cocktail in hand saying “Damn, we had fun! Remember that time when…. ”

 

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