By: Revanche

Applying the safety pads for Life

October 20, 2014

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?

16 Responses to “Applying the safety pads for Life”

  1. NZ Muse says:

    I think we’re a bit less prone to natural disasters here, but it’s definitely something we should consider.

    My current ‘what if’ is ‘what if this employment drought drags on for months or longer and we just cannot get anywhere in life’?
    NZ Muse recently posted…Have you ever ‘just known’ something was the right thing to do?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Definitely good that you have less to worry about in the way of natural disasters, at least, there’s plenty of other stuff to consider.

      Have you done an income and expenses projection? When I was out of a job for nine months, I was in the worst brain space about how I was going to get anywhere in life too :/

  2. moom says:

    Snork Maiden refuses to seriously discuss any of these issues -even how to access accounts and stuff (and I am almost 50 years old). Maybe this will change if/when we have a baby – currently waiting to see if the IVF was successful.

    • Revanche says:

      I will admit to having trouble sharing passwords but thinking about how much harder life would be for one of us if either one of us was incapacitated or even unavailable for 2-4 weeks makes me realize I’d better get this in order!

      My fingers remain crossed for the IVF being successful, and that she’ll seriously discuss some of these with you soon.

  3. Linda says:

    I’m saving this post for future reference because I need to do many of these same things. I don’t have a will and when I asked the attorney about it recently she said to wait until I am moved since the law can be different in other states.

    Also because of the move to the Bay area, I need to plan for an earthquake, too. Since I’ll be living in Napa, I’m sort of hoping that the recent ‘quake means that I’ll get a pass on a big one for a few years, but I know that I can’t count on that. Earthquakes will be new for me and I’m not sure how I’ll react to them. :-/
    Linda recently posted…Thoughts on the end of a relationshipMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      The lawyer’s advice does make sense, I’ve been doing a lot of preliminary reading on wills and asset distributions and some is pretty CA specific.

      My fingers are crossed we’re a long way off from a big one! I may have been born and raised with them but that doesn’t make the bigger ones less concerning :/ I hope your first one isn’t horrifying.

  4. Cloud says:

    I was always a planner. I had a “packing list” for use in the event of a wildfire evacuation, for instance. We’re both computer geeks, so our important files have always had an offsite backup. I’m thrilled that all the cloud solutions for backups have made it much easier to maintain this!

    Having kids kicked it up a notch, though. Now we have a full on estate plan, a go bag (I refresh the contents twice a year), and a family plan for what to do if a disaster strikes while we’re away from home.
    Cloud recently posted…Its Release Day for Petunia!My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m pretty sure that reading some of your tweets/posts about readiness has kept this at the forefront of my mind! I do love that some of the cloud options available make data backup easier.

  5. My guess is that as long as you don’t live in the Marina, you should be OK even in a pretty major earthquake. If you do live down there, though, don’t even bother to prepare — there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. 😉

    Seriously: a propane stove w/ several canisters of propane, a bunch of candles, matches, and butane lighters, some camp food, extra dog food, and carboys of water would be good to have. A few days’ worth of canned foods, too. The power would probably come back on within a week. If the water were out much longer than four or five days, you’d have to evacuate anyway.

    Jobs: same as the plan for jumping off the treadmill into self-employment: always have a year’s net salary in savings, in a cash position. If you get health insurance through your employer, add to that enough to cover COBRA for a year or until you can get private coverage.

    In addition to life insurance and estate planning, don’t forget The Talk with your partner AND with your doctors about how you wish (and don’t wish) to meet your end.

    I now keep financial records in QB online and back up all other essential data to the cloud, to Time Machine, and to a flash drive that I can take out of the house with me. Time Machine resides in my office, but the cloud and the flash drive will still be there after the house burns down.
    Funny about Money recently posted…Another Day, Another Doctor…My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      “My guess is that as long as you don’t live in the Marina, you should be OK even in a pretty major earthquake.”
      Would that it were so – USGS might be a bit exaggerated (I can’t find the links now) but last I checked a few months ago, our area was rated at a 90+% likelihood of experiencing a major (>6.7) earthquake in the next 30 years. The damage we’ve experienced from being within a reasonable distance of 6.0+ shaker in SoCal has been enough to make me pretty cautious.

      We really need to get the water situation sorted – that’s going to be the most important thing even if we just have a couple of days without water, electricity, etc.

  6. Peanut and I have done a lot of this kind of planning (mainly AFTER Pickle arrived, instead of beforehand, which would have been smarter). I’ve posted about my round-and-round with wills, and ultimately we didn’t end up seeing a lawyer to draw them up – our wills would dictate nothing different than what our state laws already cover, so we decided to leave it for now. I do now have an active Health Care Directive, which is a load off my mind.

    One area we are lacking is planning for a natural disaster – or even an unnatural disaster, like a longterm power outage. I have some bottled water in the basement, but not enough to support three people and a cat for any length of time and no specific plan for anything else. I guess the plan would be “leave and go to in-laws’ house,” assuming that would be a possibility. We’re not as likely to face the kind of natural disaster that California is, but a longterm power outage during a blizzard is not unrealistic, so I should do some more thinking about this.
    Litle Miss Moneybags recently posted…Petty cash?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I would tend to start with the power outage thing first, in your shoes, since that’s probably the most likely thing to go wrong, I assume.

  7. Even Steven says:

    I don’t think you can have enough emergency protocol/fail safe/backup plans in life, I think it will only protect you in the long run. I do believe that one should always be positive and put in their mind that good things will happen, but you can have 5K set aside if they don’t.
    Even Steven recently posted…Would You Pass Up a Raise and Management Position?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Nothing wrong with being prepared, I’d much rather be prepared for something that doesn’t happen than be caught short.

  8. […] one of my what-ifs actually happened just as I was in the middle of dealing with insuring against […]

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