Posted by Dave on June 12, 2012
This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I have tons of insurance. I have house and liability insurance, car insurance, CAA (accident/roadside assistance), health insurance through work and life insurance. Additionally, I have a fairly sizable amount of cash in savings, which would allow my household expenses to be paid for almost 8 months if anything changed employment-wise. Essentially, just about anything that would substantially affect my financial goals is insured against (probably too much).
I am generally not one to sit around worrying about worst-case scenarios, I don’t freak out thinking about possible future happenings, but one thing that I have been thinking about in the past little while (perhaps due to reading or listening to too many post-apocalyptic stories) is what would happen if money couldn’t fix the problem? One instance of this is the power outage experienced in Ontario in 2003.
For those outside of the Southern part of the province, the power went out for over 3 days in this period. For me, and most people involved, this turned into a pretty good time. I went to a friend’s place with the meat in my freezer and we had an enormous barbeque and drank warm beer. Eventually, the power came back and everything was fine. When I look back though, I’m wondering what would have happened if the power had remained off for longer, say a week to 10 days….
I would have run out of food, in fact I was basically out of food at around the time the power came on. At some point, I’m guessing city water would stop running and that would result in some problems as well. I could have left the city and headed north but there weren’t any gas stations available to fill up my car, which had only 1/4 of a tank of fuel in it. I would have had some troubles if the issue had continued and I don’t think I was the only one.
Think of your own family – do you have people who have food allergies and can’t just eat any food? Is anyone dependent on refrigerated medication, or something like that? What about pets – how much food and water do you have available for them?
The government of Ontario has a website listing items that should be included in an emergency kit that probably nobody has ever looked at or thought about (I know I hadn’t until a few weeks ago). Some of the stuff that should be included in the kit is obvious, but the amounts needed should be kept in mind (for example 4 liters of water per person per day), along with just ensuring that you have at least some of the stuff that is on the list.
We in the developed world are heavily reliant on each other, even though we don’t even talk to our neighbours anymore. We need the transport trucks full of food (which I swear at when trying to get somewhere on highways) and grocery stores because we don’t grow our own anymore. Most of us depend on taps of water to deliver our cooking, cleaning and drinking water because we don’t have wells in our backyard and the water in our rivers and lakes is not safe to drink. In essence, we don’t really look after ourselves all that well.
While I have no vision of some catastrophe that would require any such emergency kit – isn’t that the point of insurance? I also don’t think my house will ever burn down or I will be in a car accident, by I pay quite a bit of money per year to cover these eventualities. At some point maybe all these different kinds of insurance are overkill, but then again I’m reminded of newscasts showing people after a fire who didn’t have house insurance and don’t want to feel like that.
Do you have any sort of Emergency Preparedness plan? Do you ever foresee a situation that you would need one?