“I’ll start getting better prepared once I get out of debt.” This statement makes me cringe, frankly. It’s a myth—a deceptive rationale—for SO many reasons.
For starters there’s the misconception that being out of debt has “everything” to do with being better prepared. And yet there are countless aspects to preparedness that don’t require ANY money for success. Instead, they require an appropriate amount of willingness, a constant quest for knowledge, and a positive attitude. You can’t buy any of those things with money. In fact, I can’t think of a single time
I’ve had to pay to go to the library and get books that educate me. I’ve also never had to pay for a CPR class or perusing the internet for additional information. Neither have I had to shell out a dime to a shrink to be better mentally prepared for a “what if” scenario.
The other misconception about financial preparedness is that it’s a “top priority.” It isn’t. In fact, out of the 10 Components of Preparedness, in order of priority, financial preparedness comes in at number 9. That’s right. There are 8 other more important aspects for you that will aid you in being better prepared for a disaster than having your mortgage and credit cards paid off. That’s not to say that getting out of debt isn’t important. But it’s not as important, for example, as making sure that you have food, water, shelter, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. I assure you, your mortgage payment is the last thing on your mind if your child comes down with cholera, or the ground opens up all the way down your street due to an earthquake.
Also, as I’ve written about time and time again, it doesn’t always take money to increase your food, shelter, medical, and water supplies. There’s so much that’s simply given away at garage sales or by friends and family, and I can’t even begin to list all of the quality goods I’ve received for free or dirt cheap via coupons.
Another reason why financial preparedness mistakenly gets overrated is that folks tend to forget about the viable “fit hits the shan” scenario. One of the developing scenarios that I’m watching very closely is the possibility of an all out financial collapse—meaning that your money isn’t worth anything any more. And yet, if you had the necessary goods of sustenance in your home, regardless of what you paid for them, they will still be worth a great deal to you and your family. A case of tuna, regardless of whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for a steal will still give you 12 quality servings of protein in a pinch. I firmly believe 100% that there will come a time when a bucket of wheat is worth more than a bucket of gold. Why? Because currency will forever have its REAL place in the pecking order amidst a survival scenario—and that place is secondary to almost all others. You can’t feed your family on gold. You can’t even exchange gold for vital supplies if those supplies are limited in households across America. If you have a savings account plump full of money but no necessary supplies to survive an emergency it does you little good, right? What if there’s a serious power outage? How do you expect to access that hefty savings account, IRA, or checking account so that you can buy supplies? Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that thousands of other people will have had that same idea just before you get to the store. (Going to the store at the first sign of trouble isn’t a plan. It’s a suicide wish.)
When things go south, yes, some cash on hand will serve you well immediately—like in the first 24 hours if you’re lucky--but expect to see that acceptance quickly disintegrate into a non-currency environment. Commodities such as food, ammo, tents, diapers, etc. are what will be worthwhile. Having said that though, remember that being prepared has a great deal to do with being INDEPENDENT regardless of what comes your way. So, yes, being out of debt is a worthwhile goal for you to be focused on. Just don’t let the other aspects of preparedness suffer as a result. When compared with all else that’s more vital to your family’s survival, financial independence just doesn’t hold a candle to spiritual, mental, physical, medical, clothing/shelter, fuel, water, and food preparedness.
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