Usually, playing the game of “what if…” is just another way to drive yourself mad slowly.
In my teens: What if my hands never get better (the fibro was only in a couple places at this point)?
In my 20s: What if I’m too sick or crippled to work by the time I’m 30 (the fibro had spread every joint in my body)?
In my 30s: What if I have a family, then become crippled from the pain and have to stop working? What if (it’s only a matter of time, according to the USGS) we get hit with a huge earthquake and we’re not prepared? What if Little Bean is (any number of horrible things)? What if one or both of us dies in the near future? What if my brother deteriorates further, or hurts someone? What if my dad’s health fails because he won’t take care of himself?
Some things, I have zero control over. *ahem* Family and their health. Or their decisions that I think are terrible.
The rest of the time though, and usually it’s financially, it morphs into my To-Do List, because the answer tends to be “that’d be horrible! Now how to prevent it (or mitigate the pain)??”
1. What if one or both of us dies?
Estate planning, get our wills and trust sorted – there are hard conversations to have but PiC and I are getting to be more and more on the same page about these things. We have ourselves to consider, Little Bean to consider, our extended families to think of. And not just consider, we have to determine exactly who we would ask to take care of things in the event of our untimely demise: who would take care of Little Bean? Who would take the dog(s)? How will they be adequately provided for? What if one of us dies? What if both of us die?
Of course these aren’t FUN questions but I’ve had to consider these things since I was 19 and the primary breadwinner. Real life isn’t always a carnival unless this is the house of whatever-mirrors.
2.What if we lose one or both jobs?
Savings, steady as she goes – I won’t reduce our savings rate from at least 25% of our gross income, period. There’s nothing we want or need badly enough that we couldn’t cut somewhere else to preserve that savings rate because I refuse to compromise in a way that exposes us more to the risk of being poor and sick/disabled. I watched my mom live and die without savings, without choices, and without adequate care, I’m not doing it.
Investing, take some risks to grow our assets – As much of a cash hoarder as I am, we have to increase our income in ways that will provide a viable means of retirement income when the time comes. Research continues to effectively invest our income across a variety of vehicles, not just the stock market. Anything can happen and diversifying is one kind of insurance against any single area crashing.
In an ideal world, I don’t want to work a corporate job until I hang up my spurs, and I know PiC doesn’t want to either, so this serves more than one purpose.
3.What if we get in an accident/lose our home?
Insurance, speaking of … – Every so often, I reevaluate not only if we can get a better rate, but also whether our insurance is enough for our needs. We carry car insurance, homeowners’ insurance and an earthquake rider. I’m also considering an umbrella policy.
We’ve been scoffed at for carrying an earthquake insurance rider and to that I say: Psh! I’m no fool, we can’t afford to cash flow the rebuild of our entire home and the cost to live in the meantime, and that’s the risk I’m insuring against. In an area where the USGS predicts a 99.1% chance of a catastrophic earthquake in the next 50 years, it’s hardly throwing money away.
4.What if our computers crash or die a fiery death?
Bills, Data, & Records – while I’m mostly banking and doing most transactions online, I don’t think our system is nearly ready for any number of problems. I do most of the bill paying, this needs to be more automated and organized so that PiC can take over if necessary. I do all our investing, he also needs to have easy access to the necessary information. And we need to make sure all our important records are not only digital, they’re saved in more than one place in case of natural disaster.
5.We live in CA, what happens WHEN we experience a real natural disaster?
Earthquake, Fire, & General Disasters – Where you have an earthquake, you have a huge risk of fire following. Just look at what happened in Napa, recently. We have a long way to go on this prep and I’m just getting things organized. We need an emergency kit for us at home, for PiC’s office, for the cars, and for the dog. (Seamus is really strong so he could actually carry his own emergency pack of food and water once I find one, that’s one minor relief.) It’s weird how much easier it is to spend money on immediate needs even when I know this is something that just absolutely has to get done.
I’ve ordered some emergency food, but we still need food, water, some form of shelter, decent shoes, crank powered radio/charger thing, flashlight, etc. Basically add everything in this post with an eye to portability in case the house is damaged and unsafe; I don’t love the premade kits because of the need for portability so I’m taking some notes from the USGS recommendations.
Also, we need a plan for what we do when and if this disaster strikes and PiC and I are separated.
Think that’s enough to be getting on with? What’s on your mind when you start thinking What If?
Care to share?