The Misconception of Financial Preparedness

Debt can weigh you down  Photo c/o

Debt can weigh you down Photo c/o

“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.

Overwhelming Temptation  Photo c/o

Debt Temptation Photo c/o

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.)


Just groceries or bargaining tools? Photo c/o

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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I am so glad that I've run upon your site-- I'm just getting started with preparing my small family and it is very overwhelming-- coupons especially to me :) I'm glad for great articles to help give me more perspective. Thanks

I agree that debt reduction should not be the first thing you save to prepare. I also agree that water and food should be the first two. The only concern my family has is, what happens when the dollar/economy crashes and we have no savings to fall back on. How do we pay the mortgage on the house when the banker comes calling?

First of all, keep in mind that water and food is merely a priority to financial preparedness, not the first two priorities.

Secondly, the world will change dramatically when there is a financial collaspse. It wont' be business as usual--that much I do know. I don't have all the answers. But I do live by the motto to prepare for the worst and then pray and take action for the best.

Kellene, I agree. My priorities have been to get food, water, 72 hour kit, etc., first. I pay more than is required on my payments, but I put getting prepared with the necessities first. At the present, I am getting as prepared as possible for a pandemic. If a pandemic doesn't happen, all of those supplies can still be used in whatever other emergency happens. It doesn't take a pandemic for people to get sick, so they will be useful no matter what.

P.S. Because of shortages predicted of wheat and other grains, sugar, and fruits and vegetables, I feel and urgency for getting as much food as possible. Because of the terrible drought in Calif. and the government essentially turning their water off, there won't be much coming from there.

Most of the previous exporters of wheat are now importing. So there will be shortages and higher prices there. Also, all of the abundant storage that the U.S.A. has had in the past is gone---sold to pay on this countries debts.

I have heard that there will be shortages on sugar. India and Brazil have been the biggest exporters, but now they are importing.

Then with the coming BIGGER financial crisis, and possible pandemic, and who knows what natural dissasters, eit., etc., etc., I know that food and the other necessities should take priority.

Hi Kelleen,

I agree with you 100% on this. My husband is not a member of the church and I have tried to explain this concept to him; I plan on sharing this article with him to help is understanding. Thank you.


If you haven't had to pay for a library book, that means you've never forgotten to get it back on time, eh? :) I've often thought about this aspect in the event of an EMP attack. One question I have is would all electronic financial data be destroyed when the entire country's electrical infrastructure was destroyed, or do financial companies have backups all over the world?

More simply stated, would my mortgage company come collecting in a few years after the infrastructure was repaired?

There is a LOT of data backup/storage going on nowaday. I don't believe all of the data would be destroyed, but I do believe that a great deal of it will be lost and that which has been stored will take a LONG time to recover.
Who knows how the debtors will react to this, frankly?

I was reading an older post about meals in Mason jars:
You can have meals already made, cooked, and stored in a Mason jar! You can bake bread, cake, cookies, casseroles, pudding, and more, in a Mason jar, seal it, and they will last for SEVERAL years! That way you don’t have to figure out how to cook up something every day while you’re enduring a crisis.

And I would be VERY interested in learning more about that - including some recipes. I am starting to get very into canning.


P.S. you can just email me if you want and not do a whole post about it.

I think the problem is being prepared is a mindset. All 10 items are inter-related so that it is hard to prioritize. Even I found it odd that good sturdy clothing ranked higher than water than food. I understand why clothing is your 1st shelter/protection from the elements and something you should always have on or available. I may disagree with her priorities, but all of her ideas are well thought out and practical.
But let's say as a thought experiment we had an EMP with 30 minutes warning, or there is a terrorists attack against the Fed or the US banking system. You have made all payments on time, they have and you have 30 days to get stuff straight.
That 30 days puts way outside of my rule of 3's. 3 minutes air, 3 days water, 3 weeks food.
That said, I found getting free of debt, gave me a level of Peace of Mind similar to knowing I had a years worth of food, and was as ready for any disaster that may happen.
Debt is similar to being an indentured servant or a slave. Whomever owns that debt makes the rules as many folks are finding out about "Credit Cards". I am not saying that credit is bad or evil. Just something I was glad about getting out of the mindset that the credit companies were validating me somehow.
I am rebuilding my "Credit Rating" after a bad illness and becoming 100% disabled. Yes I paid everyone off with the help of my parents. Yes social security disability kicked in after 6 months though only 25% of claims get approved the 1st time, but most banks want payments more often than 1 time every 6 months. They are right as well I ran up the debt, I have to pay it off. Now I use layaways, or buy with cash. I did get new 2003 car because of my handicap. It's on a 24 month loan it will be paid off in 10 months.
It's all part and parcel of your mind set. If you follow what info is on this Blog you will save scads of money. That money can then be used to pay down debt. The first 3 things about preparing are mental,physical and spiritual. None of those things cost money. But they do cost time and effort on your part.
There are no cheap magic wands to give you what you want, but with a little effort it is all doable. Plus you will find a sense of self-confidence and peace of mind that no credit card in the world can give you.

Can't wait to come to your class for couponing in October!!

BRAVO again! Kellene, you need to have a radio talk show. Your wealth of knowledge is such a benefit to those of us who read your work. Being able to spread it across the airwaves would be wonderful and reach so many more people. Perhaps someone who reads this will have a connection to make that happen?? What is that saying about being connected to others who know others who know others and the next thing you know you are talking to the right person to accomplish what you need.

Kellene...the reason this blog is so successful is that with all the great tips and techniques you share, you also invote,involve and invite great thought to incite people to think about all the reasons to prep. My biggist worry is the dollar crashing. What you said about a bucket of wheat being the new gold is so true. If cash has no value, then debt or savings will have the same value. Lenders will take the same hit as those with savings. Deeds and Titles will have value in ownership and squatters rights if you have those documents. Your name on a mortgage is way better than being a renter and the goods charged on your defunt credit cards are way better if they are edible or barterable. The Great Drepression took many years to build the economy back and that was with paper money still in use, but with no paper money, there's only free-market. Until the States re-establish hard trade and taxes, we will have to be productive within our own community. Barter and tradeable services will be the new money. Charity will be wealth. Hard work, skills and living honorably will be what the future bankers will rely on to build America back...not your TRW credit score.

Connie, I love how you said "charity will be the new wealth." I've been working on this for an aritcle and you just gave me the missing piece!

Yes, actually I"m working on an article specifically to address your question. You're not the only one who keeps me hopping with requests...right Kris? :-) Stay tuned.

(uh...that's stay TUNED...I never should get on here AFTER I've taken my sleeping pill. LOL


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