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Disaster Planning 101

As a financial advisor, I’d like you to take thirty seconds to read this story by the legendary fabler, Aesop.


A singing bird was confined in a cage which hung outside a window, and had a way of singing at night when all other birds were asleep.

One night, a bat came and clung to the bars of the cage. The bat asked the bird why she was silent by day and sang only at night.

“I have a very good reason for doing so,” said the bird. “It was once when I was singing in the daytime that a fowler was attracted by my voice. He set his nets for me and caught me. Since then, I have never sung except by night.”

The bat replied, “It is no use your doing that now when you are a prisoner. If only you had done so before you were caught, you might still have been free ...

“... because precautions are useless after a crisis!”

Why am I sharing this story with you? Because, as your financial advisor, part of my job is to help you prepare for obstacles and crises that might get in the way of reaching your goals.

One obstacle we need to talk about has nothing to do with Wall Street or Washington. It’s a much older, much more serious type of obstacle. I’m speaking, of course, about natural disasters.

This may seem like an odd topic for a financial advisor to talk about, but the fact is, we live in a world where a natural disaster could strike at any time. Just watch the news and you’ll see that every week, disasters abound. Whether it’s an earthquake or flood, a hurricane or a wildfire, the threat of a disaster is always real. And while we normally fear these disasters for the physical destruction they can bring, the potential for financial ruin is just as strong.

You see, too few people in this country have followed even the most basic emergency preparedness steps, like having food storage, drinking water, and medical supplies set aside in the event of a catastrophe. Even fewer are financially prepared. But let’s say a major «Potential Disaster» hits. Do you have the funds set aside to repair or rebuild your home? Do you have the means to handle any long-term healthcare costs? What if your employer goes under and you lose your job?

Now, it’s easy to think, “But we haven’t had a major disaster in ages!” And that’s true—which also means there’s no better time to prepare for one than now. Because remember:

Precautions are useless after a crisis!

After all, when’s the worst time to buy a home-security system? After a break-in. When’s the worst time to check your tire pressure? After you’ve already had a blowout. When’s the worst time to prepare for a natural disaster? You get the idea.

So, this is my advice, and it’s some of the most important advice I’ll ever give: start preparing now for a potential crisis. Do now what you’ll wish you had done later. Here’s how I would start:

  1. Read our blog titled Creating an Emergency Fund
  2. Visit www.ready.gov to learn more specific steps you can take to prepare you and your family.

Even though we haven’t had a disaster yet, the time to prepare is now. My team and I have recently reviewed our own emergency preparedness plan so that we’ll be ready. Because I care about you and your family, I strongly urge you to do the same. Please follow the steps listed above, and let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.