Financial preparedness is a big part of prepping that is often overlooked. We preppers think often about our food supply, water supply, heating supply, medical supply, etc., but sometimes leave out the importance of preparing financially for when the SHTF. Financial preparedness covers a variety of aspects depending on the particular SHTF scenario, so today I’m going to go over some basics of financial preparedness that can cover a variety of SHTF situations.
Financial Preparedness 101
The steps you need to take to cover financial preparedness depends on the individual SHTF situation. In some situations, such as storms or terrorist attacks, you might be best off hunkering down at home. As long as you’ve got your necessary supplies, you’re covered at home for the most part and financial preparedness might not be an issue, especially if you’ve got well-stocked supplies in all arenas.
These same situations, though, might put you into a place where you need to get to your “bug out” location. Do you have the financial resources to get there? Are the financial resources you need even usable? When Hurricane Sandy hit the east cost, hundreds of thousands of families were left without power or access to food or clean water due to a lack of preparedness. Grocery stores were without power too, leaving them unable to be open to service needy storm victims, which led to looting and rioting. Restaurants were out of the question: they didn’t have the power to cook the food or to ring up customer purchases.
Recommended Reading for Financial Preparedness: Second Chance: for Your Money, Your Life and Our World
It’s not always possible to go to the next block or the next town to get your food, water or money in the event of a disaster, and so it’s important to plan your survival in a way that assumes you won’t have nearby help.
Financial Preparations to Consider
In order to prepare yourself for nearly every type of SHTF scenario, whether that’s a problem within your own family (think: spouse trying to escape from abusive partner), within your own city (think: terrorist attack), within your region (think: storm or other scenario), or whatever the case may be, consider taking the following financial preparedness steps.
1. Don’t limit your bank accounts to just one bank, either online or brick and mortar. I suggest having accounts at at least two locations. Different types of disaster scenarios will affect all institutions different, and each institution will handle a scenario differently. Your online bank might be shut down immediately due to a smart bomb or other computer related scenario, or your online bank might have its own issues due to a local situation where the company resides. Your local bank or credit union might be more accessible in those situations.
The reverse could happen as well: your local bank/credit union could be inaccessible due to a local disaster, while an online banking branch could save your monetary tail.
2. Always have some cash stashed away. Always. In a safe place that very few people know about. If you ever need to bug out or buy supplies that are in short supply, it’s good to have cash on hand in case ATM cards aren’t working.
3. Always keep your gas tank at least half full. This might not seem like financial preparedness, but it absolutely is. Transportation can allow you to get to your bug out location or another area where things might be more calm, such as another city, state, or even another country if you’re near a border. Another city or state might allow you access to your money via an ATM or buy supplies at a store even if your state is in chaos.
4. Get out of debt. Getting out of debt is vital to any kind of preparedness. The last thing you want when people are going nuts due to a disaster is to be in bondage to a panicky lender. We don’t see much of this – yet – but financial chaos has in the past led to loans being called, etc. Get yourself out of a situation of being slave to a lender in order to maximize financial preparedness and freedom.
5. Consider owning currency from a nearby country. In the case of Americans, it might be wise to own some Canadian currency. If the U.S. dollar becomes worthless, it could prevent you from buying the things you need in the event of a SHTF scenario. Owning some currency from a nearby country could save your tail in the event of an emergency.
6. Keep your passport accessible. You might not be able to go to that nearby country to get/spend your money if you don’t have your passport. Keep all passports/birth certificates handy and easily accessible in order to enhance financial preparedness.
As you work on your preparedness and survival skill plans, don’t forget the very important step of preparing yourself financially. If you ever have to use your plans – and I hope you don’t – you’ll be glad you had them in place. 🙂